The question of how things develop, of how the present emerges from the past, may seem abstract enough, but the more i think of it the more it seems central to our entire project. & when you think about it, history/herstory has been a recurrent concern for all our movements for some time now - at least i would say since Marx and Engels spent so much time and energy on it, probably longer still.
So an atypical shout out to let you all know that the September 2009 issue of Scientific American, devoted to the origins of things, is one of the most enjoyable i have read in quite some time. No, the spin is generally not left - for some time the editors have been pushing what Don Hammerquist (following Walden Bello) has termed "global social democracy" - but never mind that, the subject matter is fascinating.
Pamper your inner geek.