Assessing world history

The left needs a new perspective on both history and evolution. We have produced a short take on the question of the ‘eonic effect’ and can simplify even that as a point of discussion about marxism’s failed theories of history based on economic epochs. The eonic effect is a strange exploration of its own, but in essence it is ultra simple and empirically based. All that is needed is a chronological outline of world history and that is provided by the ‘eonic’ outline. The advantage of the eonic model is that it isn’t speculative theory but a simple observation about the basic sequence of civilizations. In that context one could reconstruct the study of economies in history and their variety and complexity.

If you want epochs in world history, the eonic effect provides them: the era from 3000 BCE: the period of sudden take off in Sumer (and Dynastic Egypt). This era up to the first millennium BCE produces the first global field via diffusion and then suddenly a new era starts ca. 900 to 600 BCE and this is epoch two. This goes on and on until the sudden rise of the modern epoch.

And that’s it: world history in three epochs, plus the Neolithic, which itself may join this scheme. The advantage of this approach is that we are immersed in the third epoch which is still underway and this is open to analysis without subjecting our current free agency to some useless deterministic theory.

This approach is rock solid because it is almost obvious, given the rise of modern archaeology, and is open to the simplest and robust kinds of interpretation. In this system it is clear that the problem with capitalism is not that it is some epoch on its own but that it took over modernity and distorted modern realization in a system that corrupted democracy and produced its own exploitation, etc…

The issue of socialism, which arose as early as Thomas Munzer in the sixteenth century even before the rise of bourgeois democracy, is the first born of the period of the Reformation (with Luther a tad the bourgeois) and thus has the elder lineage of the rise of the modern. But it was the period after the failure of the French Revolution that showed the limits of the bourgeois revolution, a point obvious to Munzer from the start, and generated the multiple strains of socialist political economy. So in a real sense we suffer from ‘modernity manque’ and the issue is not that capitalism is the modern epoch, but that the modern epoch got captured by capitalist (and class) interests. So the issue is not a future epoch beyond capitalism, but the rescue of modernity as itself in real terms.




The schematic of feudalism, capitalism and communism as stages of history just doesn’t work as a theory of history. History is far more than economics and can’t be reduced to a purely materialist affair in opposition to idealism. That debate suffers from the now somewhat obscure details of the post-Hegel generation in collision with rising scientism. Those who are determined materialists should take up a book on Quantum Field Theory to consider that the early ‘vulgar materialism’ of the nineteenth century is a bit dated and that the question of materialistic ultimates is almost metaphysical. It is perfectly possible to remain a ‘by and large’ materialist but the total fanatic opposition to idealism is almost silly now: the equations of mathematics are not material, and their crypto-idealist aspects are a poor argument for an obsolete debate or hegelian hangovers…

We have discussed the issue of history and a science of history many times here, and a recent essay at Aeon, link below, discusses all the trials, in the usual confusion of ‘theories’ t…

Source: Decoding History: new Book in progress (re: the riddle of the eonic effect and the resolution of a science of history, etc…) – 1848+: The End(s) of History