On my quest for learning new things, I find that I produce as many questions as answers. For instance, to find out what our "age" is called, I had to poke through my bookcase and, ultimately, online. Here were the answers:
Stone Age began with the first human tool-making. During this time, the first settlements began to appear, as well as crude farming, the domestication animals and trading.
Ice Age included phenomena that changed the surface of the earth, such as glaciers carving river beds, shifting soil building islands and the extinction of large mammoths.
Iron Age began when humans first upgraded their stone tools and weapons to bronze. This age of war introduced gave way to Roman colonization and, later, the first waves of Christianity.
Middle Ages marked reconstruction after the Black Death in Europe, launching overseas exploration and challenges to the teachings and traditions within Christianity.
The Renaissance transitioned the economic stagnation of the Middle Ages to a time of financial growth and revitalized artistic, social, scientific, and political thought. Includes Age of Exploration.
Age of Enlightenment was an intellectual movement which provided a framework for the American and French Revolutions, as well as the rise of capitalism and the birth of socialism.
The Industrial Revolution was marked by social and technological change in which manufacturing began to rely on power (steam), rather than labor (animals). This era also saw a shift from artisans who made complete products to factories in which each worker completed a single stage in the manufacturing process.
Okay. Here's the "question" part: What will the 20th and 21st centuries be called? So far I've consistently seen just "Twentieth" and "Twenty-First" Centuries. What's up with that?
We could go with "Age of Technology," maybe? Nah. Way too easy. Besides, that tells us what we got, whereas "Enlightenment" and "Exploration" gives insight into who we were.
Scary, huh? Who we've been for the past 200 years or so has not been terribly attractive. True, the Huns weren't a pack of Boy Scouts either, but we're supposed to know better! We might be on to something by shying away from choosing an all-encompassing title. But if we wait, the future historians might label our times based on the events that have teetered on this end of the timeline.
I'm not sure how I feel about the Age of Indulgence, the Age of Unraveling Ethics, or the Age of ISMs introducing our pages of history. At the same time, I guess we have to accept that our banner will be the sum our parts. Perhaps, there's still time to whip our parts into better shape so that we might still become the Age of Humanism.
How much time do we have left?