Critiquing Marx and marxism can backfire but if we do it from the left we can make clear that the need for an upgrade of its core theories. We have suggested a look at the so-called ‘eonic effect’: this time, however, you are free to critique any such historical perspective. At the same time even a minimal take in this vein makes clear that values have a crucial place in the analysis of history. And the dynamism visible, if only in part, actually involves such values, and example being both the ideology and dynamics of ‘freedom’, a remarkable if tricky circumstance. This does not prevent a stance of objectivity: we can for example examine the dynamism of freedom with both a sense of participation and yet a stance taken up deliberately of neutrality. We have to change gears in studying history between attempts at objectivity and our own immersion in history.
We have produced some fairly radical perspectives here but it does not follow that we endorse all the theories of marxists or Marx.
The left can no longer proceed with unexamined views of evolution based on Darwinism. It has been outflanked by the Intelligent Design movement whose critiques may show confusion over the issue of ‘design’ but which has picked up and developed the classic underground critiques of the Darwin paradigm: selectionist evolution. It is almost impossible for leftists to speak critically on the subject without getting blackballed by the general conformity on the issue. But times are changing rapidly. More and more mainstream biologists are falling away from the false consensus.
It should have been the job of leftist/marxists to have exposed a theory that has a troublesome legacy of ‘social darwinist’ ideology. Some have done so from the perspective of the critique of sociobiology, trotting our Spencer but absolving Darwin. But the problem is with the claims for natural selection. And it is desperately easy to see the key flaw in selectionist evolutionism: the issue of statistics. Beyond that there is a subtle difference, and confusion, between saying that natural operates in the natural world and saying that natural selection operates in the culture of intelligent agents: those agents can consciously apply such a theory to culture as a ‘should’: instant ideology. And the confusion of all this with class warfare as natural selection has a grim historical legacy, mostly suppressed.
Beyond that, one of the best ways to see the problems with Darwinism is to study the eonic effect, so-called, as developed in World History and the Eonic Effect. This book/material is about world history but it has a useful way to debrief oneself as to evolution in deep time. The reason is that ‘evolution’ and ‘history’ are linked as the historical emerges from the evolutionary. The historical is about free agents and evolution is about their emergence. The issue arises with the onset of the ‘animal’ who makes history, so to speak, but becomes very explicit in the evolution of primates to man, and especially man, whose ‘evolution’ is the ‘evolution of freedom’. Although such abstractions can be hard to analyze they do show that the question of history and evolution is a janus-faced unity. But in the process conventional science suffers from the inherent contradiction or antinomy involved in such declarations about the evolution of free agents. The latter is not as such any assumption about free will: free agency is a more generalized variant.
Thus, in studying the eonic efect, the question of a causal theory or science of history is exposed as the new type of model looks beyond historical laws to a kind of historical potential in motion as history resolves to a series of transitions showing directionality and the realizations (of men) that arise in their wake. The point here is that we can track evolution, but we never really see its mechanism, itself perhaps a misnomer since the process is not causal in the linear/temporal sense. We don’t see the teleological Kibitzer that periodically intervenes to reset the unfolding process, a deliberate ‘design’ argument manque: we see design, but not designer . The situation resembles ‘fine tuning’, to the degree we know anything about that, and suggests that both life and the resulting emergence into mind primates/man is part of a so far non-existent cosmological theory of life and evolution. Something primordial on the surface of a planet and in the cosmological background generates the emergence of life in a sort of Gaian metaphor, or no metaphor at all.
The eonic effect shows the way this appears to us: a series of epochal intervals starting with transitions filled with innovations and then the open future of those transitions in the play of free agency. While this is open to conjecture it generates its own validations as we zoom in to see what’s going on. And that requires a lot of study. In fact we begin to see that to the extent we see ‘evolution’ or ‘history’ at all, it is with very limited data sets, and very geographically restricted ones.
Study of the eonic effect offers no certainties but it does kick the problem upstairs and gives the larger perspective on the hypercomplexity of evolution entirely lost to the cretin theories like natural selection.
You may argue that evolution in deep time and historical development are distinct. And you may certainly start that way, but slowly but surely the analog in both sets of process becomes clear along with the unity of ‘evolution/history’.
Applying the term ‘evolution’ to world history seems counterintuitive to many, but in fact the influence of darwinian ideology has distorted perception and blinded historians, and everyone else to the hidden developmental driver behind civilization. It is the range of standard views that are at fault, including even the marxist crypto-teleological thinking matched with economic determination, etc…
This interpretation as ‘evolution’ is postdarwinian, and invokes a mystery we call the eonic effect of barely visible directionality in the successive progression of epochs and their dynamic cyclicity. Standard views of evolution try to invoke some causal view in a unity of physical interpretation at all levels. Such an approach to a science of history is obsolete even by the standards of current physics which has spawned quantum mechanics and its continuation up to string theory, which is hardly a conclusive subject, if it is a subject at all: we actually don’t yet have a physics to apply to the whole of reality: it is an unfinished subject about which we can hardly draw any conclusion to apply to history.
The eonic effect suggests the most natural model of ‘evolution’ of any kind, historical or biological: some higher level factor must operate on the life sphere and do this intermittently to overcome causal slump.
The interesting thing is that we catch a glimpse of this in world history and this beggars the views of standard historiography, darwinian evolutionism, and religious historicism.
Actually the ancient israelites sensed the eonic effect but spoiled that insight with a theistic invention that turned into a pernicious religious ideology which then entered into christianity. Whatever the case the biblical view of history is grossly aberrant yet contains the implication that a mysterious ‘something’ can interact with the continuous stream of history.
Despite its incomplete nature the model of the eonic effect points directly to something physics, to some scandalously, has already stumbled on: the mystery of fine-tuning in the display of cosmic evolution: we must suspect that some factor is pre-arranged to emerge in its own logic connected connected ultimately to the big bang. Fearfully for by the book physicists that sounds awfully like some form of teleology. But in any case the issue of evolution we begin to suspect is connected to cosmological emergence. That makes sense: we suspect where the unity of physics and biology really applies at the level of cosmology.
The question of evolution in general, and the related ‘evolution’ of civilization has been so totally muddled by science, biology, and everyone else that is almost impossible to conside…
Our post on the supposed ‘African model’ of history shows the inherent confus ion arising from the imbalance of the macro effect. The result is a kind of ‘me too’ consideration that is often misguided.
Our model explains why so much great literature appears in the transition zones of the early modern, with spectacular effect, and then suddenly wanes in the wake of the transitional interval. This puts everyone in a strange position. After a while Shakespeare as a world -historical poet of the globalizing ‘pidgin English’ begins to pall and people begin to look at their own traditions. But we can also get wise to what is going on and see that the effect is to create a world culture to which all belong. And in any case the process of modernity globalization, despite the cavil of the reactionary gurus and postmodernists has been a spectacular success and has created already a global oikoumene of shared modernism. So we might be wary of kicking a gift horse in the mouth even as we move to critique the outcome of this prodigious show of the eonic effect. The same confusion arose in antiquity with the Israelites who unfortunately thought themselves bound in a special
relationship with god, to the unending confusion of later religion. The Israelites were certainly in the right place at the right time and spawned (along with the Persians, we for get) the lineage of monotheism. But we must in the modern case move to prevent any suggestion of Eurocentric superiority, the result would destroy the whole era. Let us note the parallel and eerily synchronous Buddhism appearing in almost direct concert wi th Israelite monotheism, soon to spawn Mahayana and Christianity.
We can see the need for something like the eonic model as a successor to historical materialism and this can be adopted in a streamlined form as a model, that is as a tool. The issue is n ot a new belief system but a tool that is useful and can be adopted on provision. It points to a complicated reality but even on the surface it produces a handy way to resolve the confusions of historical development.
We can adopt a simple version of the eonic model, as a tool for historical inspection and a set of suspicions about the emergence of civilization:
civilization emerges in a complex set of transitions in a macrosequence
these transitions initiate new epochs and monopolize almost all ultra -complex core cultural innovations at their starting points
technology Innovation) and economic development are not the same and show continuous histories…
Eras after the divide realize the implications of the transitional periods but may suffer decline in their‘middle’ period (medieval?) the Axial Age was a clear exemplar of the macro sequence which shows potential sequential and parallel aspects
This parallel/sequential aspect can be seen as a minimax of some kind to maximize teleological directionality and lateral integration as one process.
Modernity resumes the sequential logic after the lateral synchrony of the Axial Age, the reason is transparent: the end state of globalization needs unique focus…
The transitions never repeat themselves and alw ays restart at a frontier area, the so-called frontier or acorn effect: e.g. Israel at the frontiers of ancient Egypt, Persia at the frontier of ‘Sumer’, Greece at the frontier of the Middle East. India and China in this period are obvious related cases of frontier effects. Note thus that the modern transition occurs in one of the last areas of the Eurasian sphere…
This model can be used as a tool and then replaced with a simple chronology of epochs, and we see two such very clearly (probably seven in al l starting 8000BCE 0r even 10000), from 3000 to 600, then 600 to 1800, followed by a new epoch, the modern after 1500/1800 (our marker points are relative to 300 year transitions) showing the start of a new epoch in this series. We can see that we are already using this model! An example is our instinctive sense of the ‘middle ages’, clearly a sense of the middle section of the epoch emerging from the Axial Age (better called the Axial interval).
This model we should note is a generalization of the Israe lite sense of the Axial period and thought it evidence of ‘god’ in history. This effect is NOT the result of theistic action, which would be cosmic (or to an atheist nonexistent), however and the point is obvious from the way it generates religion, secularism, in one and the same pattern. But this data does leave the question of ‘where the blazes’ does all this come from? We should adopt a provisional agnostic stance here, the value of our model which merely shows what is going on, not how. We have attempte d a number of discussions of this in WHEE and Enigma of the Axial Age, but in the final analysis we don’t understand our own process of evolution, in deep time and in history, but we do receive many indications of how to proceed and here is the crucial poi nt: we don’t have to produce a theory of this to proceed: the macro action as we perceive it is always in the past in a transient interval and we are left with a series of ‘to do’ potentials that we must realize as our own free action. We thus don’t actual ly require the model but we would do well to at least hold it in reserve as tool. We will otherwise make all sorts of mistakes, e.g. history is random and shows not teleological. Using this model as a tool we get a strong red light warning that that is false.
This model is tailor made for postmarxist historiography but conventional science, historiography, evolutionism, and marxism will do everything they can to suppress this model. But perhaps not for long. As the reign of Darwinism and scientism collapse people will begin to ask where they went wrong.