The years since the late 1700s have been marked by waves of struggle for a more democratic, egalitarian society that have repeatedly been rolled back by power elites. From 18th century political revolutions, to 19th century labor struggles, to civil rights struggles, to the cultural uprisings of the 1960s, people’s movements have made gains. But the rulers of the system have been successful in limiting those gains and pushing back those movements. Their very successes have brought about a rapidly accelerating global economic and ecological crisis that now threatens to crash an order as old as civilization itself, that of the Megamachine.
Rorty was a strange thinker but, it would seem, his stance on Kant, thence philosophy in general, tokens a real mystery, leaves the ‘end of philosophy’ next to the ‘end of history’ in limbo.
A student of the eonic effect sees the problem at once and why it arises, but must consider that in ‘theory’ the end of philosophy is arguably an illusion. The student of the eonic effect has a strange secret, but he may not understand it. Since we can’t predict the future, we leave the issue ambiguous. The history of philosophy, in a word, is bound up in the eonic effect and its mysterious sequence: philosophy arises and advances in clear concert with the eonic sequence, to the extent that we see it, the realm of Sumer, say, remaining hard to understand. Note that Kant, Hegel, and Marx, and a whole school of post-Kantians, Schelling, etc, cluster around the divide interval or point ca. 1800, and this is not a coincidence. Kant especially is a seminal figure nonpareil. Kant has been the object deconstruction later rascal boys posing as philosophers, the biggest target within range, and yet somehow eagle-perched on a timeless crag, beyond comprehension, and always surviving his critics.
So the problem is not the end of philosophy but a waning of a creative era, an effect all too obvious in classical antiquity in the wake of Plato, and then Aristotle.
Aren’t we seeing the same effect in our own time? An eerie timing lurks here.
But by this analysis there is no reason in principle why philosophy can’t advance. But that requires now a genuine understanding of Kant and his related milieu, and that effort defies one and all in its mystery. Kant by himself took philosophy to a height that few can match because they simply can’t understand such a complex figure, let alone his larger contemporary scene. The problem can be seen already in Hegel and Marx: has either of these two understood Kant? Kant’s ethics and transcendental idealism disappear in Hegel, the idealists lumped together and denounced by Marx, with a nearby woods of strange disciples and students, Schelling et al.
But that generation is short-lived and philosophy damps down rapidly because no one can really understand their own subject matter. Can anyone grasp Kant’s strange legacy in the Transcendental Deduction? One can study here to any depth, and yet the mystery there lingers. It is hard to advance from this moment. Schopenhauer can manage, yet he amputated a good deal of Kant’s work. But he keeps alive the sense of the noumenal, but that soon vanishes, and in the rise of science the era of scientism enters, next to the brief flush of the Romantic movement. And a crescendo of dozens of other effects. Just as this brief climax peaks, it wanes, and becomes a mystery that future philosophers cannot quite grasp. For example, classical music peaks in exact concert with the era Kant and his immediate milieu. Is this chance? Surely so. Are you sure. Don’t you have to solve the mystery of this generation in order to pass beyond it? We don’t even know that much. And it remains difficult to take in the whole moment, and the question of what philosophy is lingers to finally stall and then snuff out further advance, for the moment at least. Philosophy seemed to end after Plato and Aristotle (nonsense to some who study later thinkers in antiquity) and yet millennia later it returns.
To see the problem consider two additional figures, this time in the emergence of evolutionary ‘science’: Lamarck and the teleomechanists, in the milieu of Kant. They show a promising start to evolutionary thinking/science, they are soon swamped in the rise of Darwinism, one of most outrageous distortions of science, yet one that few philosophers can detect, even as ‘critical thinking’ becomes a key focus. Philosophy was mostly unable to deal with the strange arising of that evolutionary fiction, although Bergson came close to solving one of its aspects (or so I conjecture). The point here is simply the crisis of understanding in so many directions taken all at once.
Our position is different now. We can see the dynamics and transcend it. We don’t have to remain baffled by Kant forever, or distracted by misleading figures like Hegel and Marx.
Philosophy is part of a far broader flow of culture then, and its mystery begins to move in new directions. And we are left with the challenge of the great yogas that study the mind in a different way. Kant’s thinking almost seems like a form of Advaita and the senses and mentation seem the larger question of mind beyond mind.
We should annotate the obvious point: the theme of Plato’s Cave lurks in the background to explain perhaps one part of our philosophical paralysis.
Update: we should mention that the eonic model distinguishes ‘system action’ from ‘free action’. Clearly philosophy has two aspects and histories: we have just pointed the system driven aspect of philosophy. But the free agency in its wake points to the fact that man can transcend historical momentum and move to create in a period outside the driven moment. There has been a lot of philosophy since Kant and his era, but like Neitzsche the later era can confound itself even as it makes incremental advances, or simply, phases of being as a philosopher. The modern era can be seen as ambiguous, and the future of philosophy would be hard to predict.
But how can philosophy end? Surely the quest for Truth is eternal? Surely the hunger for Wisdom is part of human nature? Surely questions about the Good will never cease to exercise us? Well, yes and no. Certainly Rorty was not proposing that we simply give up on all the big questions. We will always mull over “how things, in the largest sense of that word, hang together, in the largest sense of that word,” a phrase he quoted often from one of his favorite philosophers, Wilfrid Sellars. But he thought that philosophy’s perennial abstractions, distinctions, and problems—including Truth, human nature, and the Good—though they were once very much alive, had by now led Western thought into a dead end and should be retired.
One can only recommend the eonic model of the eonic effect to get a right perspective on evolution. The text of Decoding WH is free. Read it and exit from the endless futility of the Darwin debate.…
Re: Marx beyond theories of history…neo-communism, and the context of evolutionary civilization
Date: Thu, Sep 30, 2021 11:50 am
Thanks for reply. The issue of Darwinism is clear: as Fred Hoyle noted long ago, natural selection can’t even get one peptide right. The so-called scientific community has been stuck in statistical confusion for going on two centuries. I don’t have to debate this anymore. Do the math, first. Shoulders of giants? Really? I have a lot of material on the issue. Online, free of charge.
The real problem is how so many scientists could support Darwinism given the obvious difficulty. Hey, probably the problem is ideology (as Marx suspected at the start before he changed his mind and started lying about it) and is good backup for capitalist market ideology.
If socialists can’t figure this out, they are fired, time for socialism 2.0. Ditto for marxmail subscribers.
I do not talk of eons or the supra-historical. I do use the term ‘eonic’ carefully defined as intervals of 2400 yeas as historical data between 3000 BCE and 1800 AD. This EMPIRICAL data is very provocative and suggests a frequency hypothesis. But no theory of history as science exists yet, for reasons the ‘eonic data or model’ makes clear. Hypothesis. More data is needed. But the probability here is high enough to merit close analysis. The term ‘eonic’ was perhaps a bad choice, but it is useful as a ratcatcher or flypaper for the dozens of bad cyclical theories of history. The data shows why people have been so confused here for so long. The idea is hardly any worse than Marx’s (cyclical) theory of ‘epoch’ and ‘stages of production’, feudalism, capitalism, communism…another bad cyclical theory. The ‘eonic effect’ is not a theory but a data set that looks like an evolutionary frequency (like punctuated equilibrium staggered in a series) of some kind, and may give a glimpse of (organismic, not civilizational) the ‘evolution’ of organisms (the two evidently related). Continue reading “Archived: email re: marxmail, the ‘eonic effect’ defined in one paragraph”
This post was revised and expanded several times and became overcomplicated, but still its point is clear: world history and its macroevolutionary process show a kind of guided ‘evolution’ and this involves even low level detail: artforms, down to the meters of poetry, are influenced by this process.
That shows Darwinian ideas applied as random evolution (in deep time or civilization) are completely off the mark.
The question of the tragic genre is difficult: in fact no one has ever been able to define it, except maybe the charming attempt by Chaucer (Aristotle in the background): Tragedie is to seyn a ceTrt…
The question of the tragic genre is difficult: in fact no one has ever been able to define it, except maybe the charming attempt by Chaucer (Aristotle in the background):
Tragedie is to seyn a certeyn storie,
As olde bookes maken us memorie,
Of hym that stood in greet prosperitee,
And is yfallen out of heigh degree
Into myserie, and endeth wrecchedly
(Geoffrey Chaucer, The Monk’s Tale; late 14th century)
But wait, there are dozens of other definitions: https://purwarno-sastra-uisu.blogspot.com/2005/12/definition-of-tragedy.html!
The point is rather that unlike a sonnet which is definable leading to sonnet writing by definition, tragedy beyond its simplistic definitions has no definable method: a ‘tragedy really means a ‘great tragedy’ with every mechanical recipe failing. There were actually considerable neo-classic canons here. Shakespeare managed the pass beyond them to solve the riddle of (Greek) tragedy (which he apparently never studied) which upon study is a case of many variants, most of which fail the definitions given. Racine is in a class by himself and needs a different study. The Greeks in Athens produced tragedies and comedies by the bushel but today no one can manage it. The issue of blank verse can’t be omitted although many claim that certain novels qualify, like Moby Dick. perhaps, but perhaps not. We confront the cases like Seneca: he wrote tragedies, yet we barely deal with them, despite falling within fixed definitions. That’s the point. Shakespeare create the genre beyond the genre and no definition save his genius can get from stereotype to a creative instance of the ‘tragedy’. Such novels are important in their own right in a new tradition, but the novel can never achieve the same result as a poetic drama. As Buddha says, all is transience, perhaps the verse drama will not revive. For many that is, so what, who cares. But too many Hollywood movies causes shrinkage in the brain, and you suddenly turn into a robot.
That’s why the genre is so rare: tragedians must reinvent the genre and produce a verse drama in actual fact, and it has to be a great work of art. This doesn’t really make sense. Many such as Ibsen have moved on. Those who insist blank verse tragedy is dead don’t understand blank verse or how to write it. But more likely drama will move on, to what, probably Hollywood movies.
It might be easier to make our case with the history of music which requires talent indeed, but it is more self-sustaining as a genre, ‘easier’, maybe because there is a talent for music, but not for writing blank verse, genius perhaps. There is of course a talent spectrum for poetry, but the case of tragedy seems different. We should note that classical music is de facto new invention of history, where tragedy emerges first in ancient times. (see below: Greek tragedy arises outside the transition, but that is a kind of welcome sign: free agents with Homer in the background created (or else Aeschylus) just outside the transition. (in the long run we want that as we take charge of our own history)).
We must brace ourselves for a shock: classical music emerges from the Renaissance spectrum around Monteverdi in chamber and operatic genres, develops rapidly then climaxes around 1800 with Mozart and Beethoven and then begins to peter out, but with Verdi and Puccini and the slightly different Wagner, and then nothing much. This timing if we are familiar with the eonic effect gives itself away at once and we get a shock: classical music is ‘system generated’ in a transition, and then wanes after the divide (1800). It doesn’t have to, but does. Then we see the explosion of ‘pop music’ producing zillions of cases in the twentieth century, very bound up in capitalism (but then so was the commercial theater of Shakespeare, but not the ‘religious festival’ genres of Greek drama.(Greek drama comes after the divide but still very close but really is an aspect of the epic tradition (Homer, if he existed) which peaks in the transition. It is possible another factor is in play here: classical music seems to exhaust a vein of gold, one might guess, and starts to break up clearly in the late Beethoven, then especially with the mysterious Wagner who is already in a different world, it seems: he deliberately moves against melodic forms, as if they were suddenly cliches, whatever. That puts him beyond the tradition we see so briefly. Wagner seems to show directly the shift from ‘system action’ to free action or free agency as the tries to oppose the gifts of music that seem too sugar to him as he grapples with creating a new kind of music, with what success is hard to figure out. A stunning reversal of process, yet as our model seems to predict.
We must be wary of being judgmental. Many fans of classical music are about and many can’t bear modern pop music. As students of the eonic effect we can be judgmental but only in terms of the dynamic under study. (But aesthetic judgments are of course universal) But the change in quality is obvious enough, and need not be a snobbish sentiment. (I happen to like all forms of music). We cannot say how this dynamic works in terms of individuals, their talents, and creativity. All we know is that the modern transition produces a fantastic new form of music in a non-random pattern that must have some kind of ‘eonic’ explanation. Individuals with talent are essential but outside the dynamic their talents don’t realize themselves, as far as we can see. The Greeks seem to understand better: they thought all poetry had a muse in the background
But then pop music becomes of great interest to the student of the eonic effect: because it shows music developing outside the larger dynamic: its signature is truer of human talents as they are in raw form. It is very unnerving but we must begin to assess our evolutionary history in its complexities and this includes the stark discovery of just how much human culture is an induced process. But we must be wary of analysis: we have a set of facts, our interpretations are something else.
The modern age is still young and the example of pop music a step to a larger history to come, no doubt, so judgment in a way must wait many centuries, so to speak.
Watch out: the eonic effect is close to an indirect falsification of Darwinian science fantasy life: be careful who you talk about it to. Biologists and professors of history are probably out since they have very restricted paradigms. If professionals can’t see the problem with Darwinism they are basket cases and may need to be not listened to. So far it’s your/our little secret. But the ‘eonic effect’ is close to public realization. This is the first century with enough new knowledge over five thousand years to see the evolutionary dynamic behind civilizations suddenly stand out. Evolution in deep time and evolutionary history are connected and it is not random evolution. But this kind of model is tricky: it has a dynamic, but it must take into account free agents in the context of system generation. The two overlap in transitions as some kind of boost appears.
This is not science, but the facts don’t lie: world history shows a clear dynamic up to the level of art generation.
Be careful of such a data set: it is vast and tricky….
Any discussion here must include the emergence of Elizabethan drama starting with the fascinating starting point of Gorboduc to Marlowe. And then Milton (and what of Samson Agonistes?). It is important to note that our transitions are not promoting a tragic view of life, but do innovate such a view in the context of an immense dialectical spread of innovations.
The eonic effect eludes us. We study too much Newtonian mechanics, but less often fluid dynamics. (there is no direct analogy here): we see a fluid history suddenly show a fretting structure. And on a scale we can’t visualize.
This material has three or more sets of enemies, making it hard to publicize: Darwinism, Old Testament/Christian views of history, science idiocy claiming history is a causal science like physics, along with marxist confusion over Marx’s great insights but terrible theories of history. Capitalist ideology is another pit of confusion: the ridiculous faux mathematics of neo-classical economics is even more muddled than marxism. By contrast the model here behind this data in one corner of drama in world history is based on solid evidence, but you must read a LOT of books on history, the final obstacle or almost. But the evidence is starting to stand out and the claims made will seem obvious in another generation. But this is impirical: there is no science of history in the usual sense. As a socialist I would say to throw out Marx’s theories: what is left is useful classic commentary on capitalism. Economics can learn to stick to models and computers and throw out calculus nonsense.The question of Jews and Christians needs another discussion.
This kind of new historical paradigm is for those who reject scientism, embrace science, but consider as did Kant a triple theme of reason, ethics, and aesthetics thence to find this in history in a post-theological era of collapsed theistic historicism which it resembles, in vain, because theistic histories are all bankrupt now. It is good to be lured into this forest and left there, as if abandoned, to puzzle over the core and limits of evolutionary immensities. It is too much to grasp at first but the task evokes a new curiosity, and a challenge even to that refuge, secular humanism But this model shows directly how the ‘god in history’ theme arises and how it fails, a mystery still of evolutionary macrohistorical dynamics. We cannot take in at first in a culture swamped in good physics, a dozen bad sciences. Say, something that can process art forms over millennia, and that is just one corner of the complex structure. Relax: you won’t figure out this riddle in a day. First you need historical facts: reading books on history. But the basic issue is very simple and very intuitive if you approach it carefully.
Reference Source: Is Cinema Dead Again? – CounterPunch.org The question points to the mediocre plots of almost every instance of cinema throughout its history. Here we must be snobs for a moment: Holly…
Many readers will reject our brand of explanation here as speculative, and that’s completely OK. Our interpretations however are one thing and the basic eonic effect another. The latter is a rock-solid nonrandom pattern in world history and not speculation at all. Explaining it is quite another matter. It is probable that the category of ‘evolution’ is the right one, but not Darwinian evolution, which is so crackpot and speculative that we must rescue the idea of evolution to a new set of facts. The eonic effect, taken in the large foots the bill, minus our interpretations, perhaps. The eonic effect shows a global process, able to focalize on regions, effect or remorph species change according to unseen form factors and in time remorph repeatedly a set of basic blueprints. In the case of civilizations, we see how men create civilization but do so in the context of a related set of form factors.
Our previous post may seem speculative but the Old Testament is a dangerous ‘frenemy’ to a scientific project. Until we adopt a set of potentially scientific concepts in the process of explanation. Here is the challenge is simple to state: explain Israelite ancient history between Solomon and the Exile with naturalistic concepts without reductionist nonsense or causal sociology which clearly won’t work.
At the last minute we are saved from collapse of this project by the study of Archaic to Classical Greece. Archaic Greece (or in our model, Greece ca. 900 to 600/400 BCE) is a very unnerving but beautiful and ultimately very clear parallel variant to the case of the Israelites in the transition period. And the synchronous timing is uncanny. But the details which come in parallel are convincing. We see the collation of the Iliad and Odyssey in exact concert with the early manuscripts of the biblical corpus, we see the same fixation around a divide ca. 600 BCE, and we see an immense corpus of innovations, literary, philosophic, scientific and political. This is a huge study, but our basic point is made: we see a common dynamic behind the Israelite and Greek case and both in a short interval up to 600 BCE, with a 200-year extension as the early results try to manifest in stable form. We cannot say ‘god’ generated the Israelite case without the same for Archaic Greece and other cases, etc…
The Greek case doesn’t generate a religion but all the resources for a new kind of civilization, many of which barely survive only to reappear in the modern case (e.g.science). Greece remains polytheistic in a strange brand of aesthetic polytheism, but generates the seeds for future secular culture.
The eonic effect shows the way religions (and secularism, and philosophies, and science…) emerge in the context of ‘eonic transitions’, three times, at least: emergent ‘Isra…