Our discussion at Darwiniana reminds of our discussions of ‘floating fourth turning points’ (as if a fourth ‘eonic transition’ beyond the three visible in the eonic effect, check out Crisis of Modernity/Amazon) which is a kind of vague cover term standing for ‘revolution’, cultural transformation, evolutionary transformation, and in general forms of ‘total’ cultural change.
This was a bit of a throw away term, so don’t puzzle too much about its shifting meanings. A revolution is a ‘total’ cultural transformation, almost by definition, and the implied warning arises: does it take into account the awesome complexity of a real culture? The answer can’t be totalitarian. We can see that the Bolshevik fiasco is a perfect example of cultural contraction, of the reasons we have critiqued ‘historical materialism’ and its overemphasis on economic history. To construct a new culture after a revolution is a task so massive one can balk at the prospect. That is not an argument for conservative ‘do nothing’. Culture left to itself will simply decline, sooner later into barbarism. The capitalist culture of globalization is a good example of something two-sided: it has revolutionized global society but all of a sudden become problematical. We seem to have to have thrived under capitalism but all of sudden it is a calamity of climate change with everyone so brainwashed by ideology noone can do anything about it. The ridiculous bolsheviks had their five year plan.
In terms of the eonic effect we must distinguish system action (our three turning points, and free action, e.g. a putative artificial ‘eonic transition’).
One definition of a floating fourth turning point might thus be:
a three centuries long planned social transformation that resolves all issues of culture, politics, economy, art, religion, philosophy, technology…etc…
The reply here is, you’re mad! Actually not, the abstraction is useful as a warning.
That said, the idea of a floating fourth turning point could mean a ‘revolutionary transformation that is broad enough to create a robust culture that is not the kind of totalitarian horror we get with Leninism/Stalinism. The failure to understand a movie like Grease on the left (see today’s previous post) is an example of the zillion mistakes inevitable in revolutionary action reduced to marxist oversimplifications. The problem is too vast for easy solution, and we couldn’t like the bolsheviks try to mechanize man beyond occult potentials in a totalitarian gulag for occult gangsters.
We must proceed toward a ‘total’ configuration but that can be done with a kind of balance between control and let go. Karl Popper’s idea of the ‘open society’ is a good one, but one has to wonder at this point: is the case of the US that of an open society? It has managed to create its own brand of totalitarianism. We may as well go ‘paper airplane’ with Popper’s ‘classic book’ which of course was a critique of marxism and communism. There is no reason why a communist transformation can’t learn to balance totality and still be an open society within its own limits, e.g. the expropriation of capital, etc…
In any case, the revolutionary must study the great turning points of the eonic sequence to see the massive complexity of the original three turning points (suspected of stretching backward into the Neolithic or beyond). There is something scary about the dilemma of leaving be versus induced social change. We are now at a point when the question of induced social change confronting climate catastrophe is tabled and won’t go away. Revolutions are dangerous, but now the lack of one is even more dangerous…
This puts the issue of pop culture in context. But a real revolution must study the genesis of art forms in the evolution of civilization. It is not what one thinks. Can a floating fourth turning point generate a creative culture? We can see that Bolshevism was incapable of it. Capitalism is almost worse, but it an a relatively open society there is enough space to outwith capitalist forces, up to a point.
We are left with our question about movies and the occult with a larger question, what was the countercultural movement of the sixties? We still don’t understand it but its status as a sort of fragment from floating fourth turning point experiment, is a cogent analog, if only we understood its dynamic. It was at least a proper parody of a revolution, even a floating fourth turning.
That leaves the left with a question: can a revolutionary movement generate musical movements? And then the far vaster culture of total culture visible in eonic transitions. Clearly not, but one can proceed indirectly with a closed/open society that frets an instrument but allows vast open spaces inside it to allow the mystery of historical culture to flow through it. This is no counter-revolutionary argument. We have reached a point where the chances of revolution are better than those of none, but we need as fast as possible to debrief revolutionary fiascos and see if at least thinking about floating fourth turning points can help us broaden of our vision of social action.
No the counterculture of the sixties wasn’t the answer, but it was the sideshow to a last hurrah of the (second plus international) left’s attempts at revolution and has a funny charm as still another malnourished ‘floating fourth turning point’.
To see the issue of complexity of a ‘transitions’ check out section
6.1.1 From Reformation to Revolution in WHEE: it is almost impossible to list the issues involved in this (the catch here is that we must in the end have a ten thousand year plan to coordinate a sequence of transitions):
Of all of our transitions, the modern is the most transparent because we have continuous data throughout, and the result shows a clear overall dynamic and interior structure, in a unity stretching from the Reformation and Copernican Revolution to the Enlightenment and French/American Revolutions. And this transition falls naturally into two stages, centered on the seventeenth century, as the Reformation ignites the fast passage, the field clearing in the wake of the Thirty Years War, to give birth to the seminal first signs of virtually all the characteristic eonic emergents of modernity. The relative transformation of a small piece of Christendom on a northern frontier, the Protestant Reformation, is a classic instance of the ‘eonic evolution of religion’. This ‘re-formation’ is at first confusing in that it is a religious rebirth that remorphs into secularism.
Our model summons up the enigma of revolution and solves it indirectly. To be blunt, the thesis of slow evolution fails completely and the cluster of revolutions in the modern transition is no accident. However, these revolutions inside the transition are unique and don’t transfer outside the transitional interval. A great deal of confusion has arisen over ‘revolution’, in part due to the influence of leftist ideologies, which are a secondary response to economic contradictions in emergent capitalism and the post-transitional onset of globalization. But Marx saw the point very well, and categorized modernity as a ‘bourgeois revolution’. Whether that is fair or not, or a complete analysis, the point is clear that the center of gravity of the early modern ‘revolutions’ lies in emergent liberalism, with the ambiguous Münzer a genuine prophet of working class revolution. And that’s the point: the full potential is clearly present at the beginning, and the issue is not liberalism vs. socialism, but the outcome of the modern transition, as such. But our eonic ‘revolution’, to use the apt metaphor of ‘revolution’, is something else, and as a transition is a response to the entire world system as of ca. 1400, and echoes a recursion on the order of the Axial Age…