8. Appendix  

Eonic Grid 


Section 8.2

World History 
And The Eonic Effect

Civilization, Darwinism, And Theories of Evolution
4th Edition
The Book
By  John Landon






8.1 An Outline of History
8.2  Eonic Grid Coordinates
8.3  The Eonic Evolution of Civilization
       1. Neolithic Beginnings
       2. Egypt, Sumer, and the Rise of Civilization
       3. The Axial Interval
       4. The Modern Transition





    World History And The Eonic Effect: Fourth Edition

  8.2 Eonic Grid Coordinates


Our historical database will invent a new terminology around this idea in which the eonic sequence is a set of eonic transitions, statistical regions about three centuries in length:

(Eonic) Transition 1: -3300 to -3000

ET 2:                         -900 to -600

ET 3:                         1500 to 1800

Below, we will recalibrate this in order to start in the Neolithic because we suspect that is where this sequence starts.

The idea of a Table of Contents is apt. Like the Cheshire Cat the dynamics fades into the background behind a very simple structure. As example consider a well-known world history.

Cheshire Cat Cycles and a Table of Contents. Consider a world history taken at random, William MacNeill’s TOC in his world history The Rise of the West:

Part I: The Era of Middle Eastern Dominance to 500 B.C.

Part II: Eurasian Cultural Balance, 500 B.C. to 1500 A.D.

Part III: The Era of Western Dominance, 1500 A.D. to the present.

Note how the TOC automatically reflects the eonic effect. The eonic effect is a Table of Contents. Note that our present is just outside the last transition. The question of the West, however, is problematical, until we see that the overall pattern is not about the West, but the frontier effect in the Western Eurasian sector. Since this ‘civilization’, the West, began in the agora of Miletus , Asia Minor, and hills of Canaan, it seems pointless to so name it. We can rewrite this TOC:

1. (Eonic) Transition 1,… era of the Mesopotamian/Egyptian oikoumenes

2. Transition 2,… era of the Axial interval, and oikoumenes

3. Transition 3, the present… ???? onset of first global oikoumene.

5. A new mideonic era…end of eonic sequence?

We detect what we have called the ‘eonic evolution’ of civilization. In fact our first transition is probably nothing of the kind, and we can compute backwards in 2400 year steps to posit some possible earlier transitions, but for now all we have is our core eonic effect. We could recalibrate our sequence with a different beginning. In the Appendix we will use a completely generalized terminology of ‘eonic transitions’ exclusively, expressing our frequency hypothesis:

‘ET1,…’ : ?????

‘ET2,…’ : ??-8100 to -7800

‘ET3,…’ : ?-5700 to -5400

‘ET4,….’ : -3300 to -3000

‘ET5,….’ : -900 to -600

‘ET6,….’ : 1500 to 1800

These transitions are quite artificial statistical regions, and approximate the unknown dynamic we can detect. We will also use terms like ‘ET5+’, or ‘ET6+’ to refer to the point of the divide and after, and ‘ET6++’ to refer to the period about two centuries or later after the divide as the system moves into its middle or mideonic phase. The purpose of this terminology is to produce global coordinates, ‘ET5, Greece’, being the Greek Axial transition: an interval of historical time over a given geographical region, an immensely complex historicall unit, yet one with a clear dynamical pattern, as we have seen. We won’t use this terminology all that much, but it represents, in principle, a way to move to a higher level of abstraction about differential evolution regions on the surface of a planet.

Be wary of course of this terminology. Why a matrix this crude could work so well is unclear, the mystery of the eonic effect, and a recipe for secondary deductions that might be false. These ‘transitions’ are approximate statistical regions, and there is no a priori reason why a monotone sequence should be the case here, and frequency patterns can do funny things, but maybe we detect a ticking clock. We need not decide to use our model, which allows us to act under a condition of ignorance, armed with the perspective of relative beginnings. The pattern indicated in its last three phases is a practical reality we always use, and can’t ignore, whatever its theoretical interpretation. The Neolithic is close to falling into our sequence, but without as yet sufficient data.

Thus, the inadequate, but useful terms ‘modernity’ or ‘Axial Age’ can be replaced by these ‘numerical coordinates’, for differential geo-time-slices on the surface of a planet, not a recipe, however, for intuitive history, so we invent this terminology to make a point, and won’t use it too much. This formulation, so far from being dogmatic, invokes a falsifiable hypothesis, and a reminder of how little we know, and will prevent, rather than encourage speculation, forcing us to keep examining the data.

The eonic effect will remind us that we can never safely make (dynamical-theoretical) generalizations about early evolution or history unless we are sure there are no earlier transitions. And we can’t be sure. These would be the decisive factor in any form of explanation. Loose talk about how the Neolithic arose is thus out the window. Having set up this terminology, we will barely use it, and relegate the scheme to the endnotes. Its purpose is to make a point.

What about the in-betweens, the mideonic periods, in our eonic sequence? We seem to have downplayed them, but in fact they are the crucial test points, where freedom is to be realized. We have created two, or multiple, universal histories, using the idea of cultural streams, and the eonic sequence. The first universal history proceeds along a mainline, the second is is the set of cultural streams that make up the totality of human culture. We are always in the second, yet, looking backward, we can detect the action of the mainline, the eonic sequence. Note the schizophrenia in most world histories. They wish to be comprehensive and then end up retelling the history of Europe , apologizing about Eurocentrism, etc,… All of these problems disappear in our approach.

The first order of business is to see that this pattern is not about the cultures invoked in the turning points, but the greater globalization to which they contribute. We must be careful of universalism, and the multiplicity of culture remains a stubborn source diversity. But willy-nilly this progression toward a universal global culture is the first fact of our eonic sequence, and our current history. We can critique the dangers of Darwinism, but we can’t change the difficulties that arise in a system using a minimum principle. We see the quite un-Darwinian ‘natural selection’ of temporary transitional regions. They are selected not for survival but to lead the way, and then yield to the greater oikoumene created. This system must exploit advance regions temporarily and this creates misleading perceptions, for example those of Eurocentrism. We can at least plant the flag of universal history in its strength: it is a tale of universal sympathy, and its subject is one community of man. But how can we create that community? The eonic sequence gives us a lot of hints.

We have learned our lesson about the Oedipus Paradox, and our model refers only to the past. We are free to do as we please, in the present, even contradict our pattern, but as we look backwards, we discover that there was a factor of eonic determination, macro-action, behind our free activity, micro-action. So the first requirement is that the present, or recent past, must be outside of the pattern, and in fact it is. But this freedom was also present in the past. Much of history is about trying to transcend history. Ours is a model about human free action. Every moment of every willful and stubborn individual is a potential ‘fourth turning point’. Consider the way such impulses are conditioned by the outcomes of our transitions. It is not so easy to step out of this eonic sequence. And we are left to wonder if our series is complete, or whether there will be a ‘fourth turning point’ in the future. We strongly suspect that we have reached the ‘end of the eonic sequence’, for reasons we will explore.

Floating ‘fourth’ turning points We can invent an exercise, consider ‘floating fourth turning points’ inside our sequence: every moment of will. The projected ‘fourth turning point’ can float timelessly through the sequence, as we examine alternate potentials in our sequence. This idea has no official status in our model, but it is amusingly apt at times as we observe attempts to ‘escape’ history. The mighty Islam was the most massive effort along those lines. Bolshevism another. This idea can help to see the tension inside history, as man both realizes his macro-evolutionary history and at the same time is moving beyond it. Even his emerging freedom shows macro-determination, a paradoxical restraint on that very freedom. Then, suddenly, he is alone to realize that freedom by himself. Connected to this we see the many times when a large-scale social movement, e.g. Christianity, Islam, Bolshevism, postmodernism, attempts, or mere wishes, to overtake the whole of history with a teleological or crypto-Zoroastrian theme, like the Hegelian ‘end of history’. These ‘floating fourth turning points’ are massive historical interruptions, but can they transcend history or the eonic sequence. But they should be the individual’s self-discovery of the ‘will’ that is his freedom. Very controversial yet important issues….

Falsifications This idea of fourth turning points gives us a model of falsification in practice! And we are free to try and contradict this pattern. But as we come to understand it, that will seem fruitless and wrong-headed. However note that ‘falsification’ is not theoretical, but an historical gesture with its own history!

Why do our transitions stand out? Because of the obvious correlation of major cultural innovations, which are relative transforms, or what we can call eonic emergents .

(Eonic) Transition 1: 3300 to 3000 BCE The birth of the state, appearance of writing, onset of Dynastic Egypt, and Sumer, first higher civilizations,…

ET2 900 to 600 BCE Onset of two world religions, multiple sources of philosophy, birth of science, Greek democracy,… The birth of secularism!

ET3 1500 to 1800 Onset of Reformation, secularism, English, French, American Revolutions, Enlightenment, another scientific revolution, another birth of democracy, Industrial Revolution,…

That’s a very short list. An eonic emergent can be a person, cultural process, artifact, invention, book, or cluster of events. One eonic emergent can be inside another. These dates are rough approximations, statistical regions, and not hard and fast. Such a scheme is highly artificial but what is remarkable is how closely it reflects the data.

Each eonic emergent can be a zoom target, to zoom in on, and inside each are more eonic emergents. Pick any category, and follow it. The most remarkable eonic emergent is democracy. As analyzed in the last chapter, democracy appears twice in the pattern. Take science. It warbles on and (almost) off in this sequence. Why? Trace the history. What we include seems at first relatively arbitrary. The list grows much longer. This system is an arduous ‘black box’, but it gives us a windfall clue, the double appearances of several items. Democracy starts twice. We called this the ‘discrete freedom sequence’, and it might prove a clue to unlocking the riddle of history’s ‘black box’. It reproduces a classic Kantian paradox. In our terms, democracy shows eonic determination, macro-action, its realization free action. A surprising discovery, a new twist to the ‘evolution of freedom’. Note the remarkable appearance of double emergents. The double birth of democracy, science, in the eonic mainline. That’s very strong evidence for the type of model we will create, a discrete series inside a continuous flow, or a discrete-continuous model. It’s like a feedback system. Something suddenly switches on, and interrupts continuous flow, or restarts processes that have died out, or slumped. The idea of feedback has problems, it’s not quite the same situation, but the general idea is the same, a discrete interval or spike interrupts a continuous stream.

Myths of the End Times Note the amusing, or ominous way, in which the Zoroastrian theme enters into our terminology. Actually, that’s useful because it defuses this potent and menacing ideology, even as it grants it formal status, by definition, like the idea of the Omega Point in physics. The end time myths are connected with our ‘floating fourth turning points’, and have produced a lot of confusion! The versions springing from the Book Of Revelation are exotic in their hysterical futurism, and yet they spring from the Axial Age cornucopia and are a part of that history. And these ideas resurface promptly in the early modern. But nothing that we see can ‘beat the system’ that we call the ‘eonic sequence’. Thus, despite our historical respect for Zoroastrian thinking, we need to isolate this unconscious ‘archetype’ in the basis of our actions. It resurfaces very easily in secular thought. Note that end-time patterns are the counterpoint to cyclical patterns, and our model unites both.

We need a narrative that is ‘meta’, as an outline or database surveying the sudden simplicity we have found in the immense complexity of world history. We need to keep it relatively short, since each interpretation of secondary histories will prejudice the basic eonic outline. Research is progressing so fast that much material will be obsolete very quickly, the better then to stick with a generalized outline. But from the arising of civilization onward, the basic framework of data is sufficient. But we need to posit multiple interpretations at each step, and leave the eonic outline in the background. At each step we can let a series of texts take over the task of narrative content.

Reachability: Two Universal Histories Historical narratives suffer the bane of selectivity. Ours is so selective if flies in reverse, a useful trick to solve the problem. Three small time slices are all we need. Having produced one universal history , we promptly create a vacuum and generate a second, as if one is trying to reach another. So our discussion, and the eonic effect, is really about the whole, with a strategy to reach that whole. Since this invokes some form of globalization, we note that it is not the same as the economic variety. Since the American continent was first globalized by the Indian his destruction by later European invaders could hardly be called globalization. We see that the planet is globalizing, but already globalized. The issue then is to do the job right. American civilization put itself at great risk from this botched foundation. Teleology again!

Species Evolution Our data clearly reflects the fact that evolution must be that of a whole species, and we see explicit mechanisms to connect the whole and part, a factor missing in Darwinian-style theories. Darwinism has divided everyone against everyone else and falsely labeled it ‘evolution’. It is clearly not possible, save as a destructive deviation, for one small subset of humanity to declare itself the evolutionary future and by ‘survival of the fittest’ attempt to seize the future of that evolution. The first shall be last, and the last shall be first seems a better description of what is involved. But the fact remains that, so far, human civilization shows an unbalanced state, and history. We are not at the end of the story.



   Web:  appendix.htm






Last modified: 10/02/2010