8. Appendix 

The Axial Interval


Section 8.3

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

    8.3 The Eonic Evolution Of Civilization  The Axial Interval


We arrive once again at the onset of the ‘classical’ period, ‘ET5’, with a better perspective on the overall context of this parallel surge of advance, whose eonic structure is now seen to be almost identical with what has occurred in the case of Egypt  and Sumer, in the sense of parallel interactive emergence. Suddenly five dispersed sources move against the trend of the long-term, and in the process regenerate a new constellation of civilizations. We see a complex cultural ‘economy’: it is one field of diffusion, and yet this field is moving as one into separate realizations, in a pattern independent parallel emergence.

In each transitional area, we see the characteristic stream and sequence effect: the Shang leads into the Chou, thence to the classical creative age of China. The Indus, a clear mideonic acorn in the field of Sumer, disappears as a civilization well before the next era, and becomes a field blended with the arrival of the Vedic Aryans, the cousins of the Persians, whose cultural and religious forms will give the misleading appearance to later times of being the source of the ancient explorations of consciousness that will suddenly flower in the transitional age of the Upanishads. We cannot forget that the Persian t-stream entry contributes the most basic religious innovation in the form of its Zoroastrian theme, as this becomes a part of the Judaic manifestation, as this emerges in the most extraordinary of the classical transitions, whose effect, like Buddhism, dares the future without the instruments of state.

The collision and stubborn conservatism of outstanding ‘state constructs’, such as the Assyrians, seems to drive innovation to the boundary areas. As we contrast the Assyrians in transition with the Greeks in light of this view, we get a strange sense of déjà vu, and see the process in a nutshell, with a sense also that the mixture of phases in the old Mesopotamian world cannot truly regenerate itself. Thus there is a strong connection between our transition in Sumer and Greece, in terms of these city-states.

 The Indian sequence seems to show Buddhism emerging from Vedism or Hinduism. But this is a false picture, a later layer of tradition. Later, we see the jackknife-splitting of the sources both in India and in the West. In India, the long reaction against early sources and the appearance of Hinduism in its late forms after the disappearance of Buddhism is a piece of history that makes sense only in an eonic interpretation.

Other theories of civilization attempt to find the civilization in the kingdom. In the case of Israel, we find an eonic generator emerging from a vanishing kingdom, and a people proceeding outward with no kingdom but with a legal code. During the period of the Exile, the kingdom vanishes (and the myth of the Exodus comes into existence). Bent like a pretzel the result is essentially double, a type of religious nationalism , and the seeds of the oikoumene generator that will be spawned, in a fashion even this analysis finds elusive.

 ‘ET5, …’ :

The onset of phase casts its net across the whole field of Eurasia as if to balance a new stage of advance as widely as possible across its sequential dependencies, to be followed by the obviously concentrated follow-up from a single source, during the next phase to come. Our three hundred year transition is open to some ambiguity, as in the modern case. After -1200, the faintest indications of the new dawn begin. But it is in reality the last two or three centuries before -600 that are crucial.

‘ET5+, …’ : This would be the rough period of the ‘divide’, and we see the sudden convulsion in Israel , right on schedule as the system starts to generate its exteriorization. The period of Solon in Greece and emergent Buddhism in India would be comparable.

 ‘ET5++, …’ : This classical phase especially shows the spectacular emergence of a bouquet of multiple oikoumenes, from China to the West, as separate yet intersecting cones of diffusion that fall short of global closure.

This second phase ignites areas that are ready or can respond in the field of sequential dependency stretching across Eurasia .

‘ET5, Assyria, Persia, …Israel, …’ :

As George Roux  notes in Ancient Iraq , “Assyria awoke in 911 B.C,” referring to the recovery after the time of confusion in the Middle East created by the movements of peoples, Semitic and Indo-European, and generally the breakdown of the whole system created in the cones of diffusion of Sumer and Egypt . As Roux notes further, “When the light against comes in about 900 B.C.,” Western Asia has a new substrate of Aramean culture, the Philistines share Canaan with the Israelites, the Phoenicians enter a period of prosperity, the Medes and the Persians are entering the stage, ready to burst into the old oikoumene after the sudden precipitous fall of the Assyrians in -612. We would be hard put, at first, to find signs of anything in the way of evidence of transition too near the older area, but we can see from the distillation of the Old Testament one unwitting record of how one group of the participants experienced it, and saw the extraordinary changes that were taking place, and found themselves attempt to divinize the law of historical change.

 It is interesting that the Assyrians made an effort to preserve the ancient tradition of Mesopotamia in the building of great libraries. The tradition is thus frozen in place, and much of what we know about the earlier period is in fact derived from this Assyrian record.[i]

 ‘ET5, … Israel…’:

We should expect great changes from great forces. But here in the study of the eonic effect we see in the Canaanite ‘Israel’ (Israel/Judah)  the issue of great changes from point sources. Israel will serve as a vehicle of diffusion for a transformed version of the ancient tradition, in the emergence of monotheism and eschatology, evident in the bobbing to the surface of the underground stream in the Book of Daniel, and the final Qumranic, and Christological, injection of the theme into the great oikoumene construction, of which the Judaic, in the Mediterranean world, is the counterpoint to the Roman.

The Israelite transition is confusing, but the symbolism speaks for itself, as a kingdom disappears, the essence of a kingdom spreads into the new oikoumene, complete with a legal code, celestial courts of law, but no government, and a state abstraction, ‘ israel ’. The transition that produced monotheism does not show a monotheistic society, until after the Exile  as far as can be seen. A close consideration of and placement beside the Greek transition will suggest that it is the crucial period from -900 to -600 that is the sudden discontinuous source, and enough time for the full launching and remorphing of the prior Israelite-Canaanite stream.[ii]

 ‘ET5,…Greece ,…’:

Emerging from the period of its Dark Ages into which it had passed after the collapse of the Mycenaean world, the great transition of the Greeks, in many ways a premonition of our own ‘modernity’, moves very quickly to establish the foundations of philosophy, science, new forms of political organization, the tragic drama, and a resplendent art.

The entire transition is clocked by the change in pottery styles, beginning with the austere geometric style ca. -900, followed by the sudden elaboration and flowering, from the eighth century, of the classic styles that run in parallel with full period of transition. The first date, -776, for the Olympic Games, indicates the beginning of the visible effects emerging of the acceleration. The reappearance of writing and the works of Homer by the middle of the century remind us, that even as overseas colonization and an economic Boom get underway, the effects of information technology are as fundamental, and that art at the highest level seems to precede all other manifestations.

That a portion of our transitional period is hiding behind this label called ‘The Dark Ages’ is evident by comparison with its parallel cousins, and by the sudden appearance of the many fully developed cultural forms in the eighth century, such as the Iliad, as if without any development at all. The history of Greece is invaluable because it shows two separate civilizations built from the same stream, one in the sequential state of the Mycenaean medievalism, and the interaction with the e-sequence, the classical Greece  that we know. The sequence, Mycenaean, Archaic/Classical, Hellenistic, dramatizes the nature of one of he most extraordinary form of periodic motion in nature.

Between 750 and 650, we see the end of the period that produced the Iliad, the rebirth of literate culture and the new literature that will exploit it, beginning with Hesiod, and then the seminal Archilochus. This is one of the most rapid periods of cultural evolution  in history, and we can see, if only by hypothesis, that it is a global system transformation in the next phase of oikoumene generation. After -600, and the generation of Solon, the foundations are laid for the great sequences of the Classical era, in sculpture, architecture, philosophy, and politics. By -400 the falloff is evident and the world of the polis passes into the era of the first oikoumene, the Hellenistic empire of Alexander. The world of the polis does not lead so happily to the world of Cosmopolis. The Greek transition is evanescent, and soon bends out of shape.[iii]

 ‘ET5++’: Athens to Rome

The history of Rome has for long been the victim of delegation to secondary status in relation to the Greece. Our outline gives a complete account of this fact, even as it moves to relieve the Roman unfoldment to some relief of this peculiar status. For the Roman emergence, zoned with the Etruscan, is ambiguous in our account in the sense that it is clear an independent parallel emergent in relation to ‘ET5’, and yet also, a fluid transformation of the ‘sequential dependencies’ of the Hellenic Mediterranean network of diffusion, the ‘Greeks overseas’ to use the phrase of the book by John Boardman. Nothing in our approach forbids this double aspect. Roman mythology clearly echoes its early transitional generation, whatever we are to conclude, in its account of the passage to a republic from the era of kingship.

 ‘ET5, …India,…’:

The Indian transition is plainly visible from a distance in the contrast and sequence of the Vedic, Upanishadic, followed by the emergent Jainism and Buddhism and parallel proto-Hinduism, followed by the typical integration phase of Ashoka, in another variant of religion and empire, and the clear emergence of the gesture toward oikoumene. Buddhism and Jainism are in the realization period, ‘ET5+’, analogous to Judaism in the wake of the prophetic era. The different character of Buddhism, for example, is always noted as odd but never quite accounted for. This is one and the same ‘master key’ sequence seen in the Occidental Israelite/Judaic sequence.

It is fascinating to compare the two, for the Buddhist glove slipped off the larger Indian t-stream by the time of the Gupta age. That later ‘Hinduism’ is a complex resurgence of entry t-stream absorbing the transitional shockwave as a complex flow around makes the correct interpretation of the outstanding traditions somewhat confusing. The exact cultural interpretation of the Bhagavad Gita alone is comparable with the difficulties of the Occidental religious texts. The stream and sequence data for the Indian transition must take into account the double stream of the earlier Dravidian mixing with the Aryan entry field, and its blending and transposition of the spiritual that appears to emerge from the polytheistic world of Vedism. This preoccupation with religion must not let us forget that the Indian transition is a broad cultural matrix not so dissimilar from the Greek as a system of small kingdoms, an economic and political sequence, and the typical ‘empire integration’ in the last phase. [iv]

‘ET5, China,…’:

At about the time of the institution of the Greek Olympic Games in -776, we enter the period of 550 years from -771 to -221, the Eastern Chou period, when a phenomenon resembling that of the Greek polis creates political turbulence, the inability of any one state to control China, and a period of ferment in which the gestation of the great Chinese civilization takes place. This whole period is often subdivided into a Spring and Autumn period (-722 to -481) and a Warring States period (-403 to -221).

The Chinese transitional period is of especial interest because of its ‘Greeks of the East’ theme and variations, its distance from the conventional ‘cradle of civilization’ in the Near East, the distinct character of its creative yet diffusionist beginnings in the early Shang period, and its rapid movement from these ‘primitive’ Shang beginnings to advanced civilization after a first period of eonic transition, like a student skipping a grade in school, and yet moving swiftly to make up the difference. The result is almost a kind of compression together of the most advanced forms of culture with a context that almost betrays traces of a more antiquated ‘oriental despotism’, with its elusive common denominator that shows its beguiling family resemblance to what occurs in the West. It is, incidentally, this possibility that two stages of growth can be blended that makes a refutation of most labeled conceptual sequences of evolutionary development and shows why the ‘eonic sequencing’ of ‘empty’ progressive cycles is the only solution to broad parallel development.[v]



   Web:  appndx3.htm


[i] J. Cooke, The Persian Empire (London: J.M. Dent, 1983), Hermann Bengston, The Greeks and the Persians (New York: Delacorte, 1965).

[ii] N. P. Lemche, Ancient Israel, A New History of Israelite Society (Sheffield, England: JSOT Press, 1988), John Hayes et al. (ed.), Israelite and Judaean History (Philadelphia: Westminster, 1977), J. Alberto Soggin’s A History of Ancient Israel (Philadelphia: Westminster, 1985), M. S. Smith, The Early History of God, Yahweh and other Deities in Ancient Israel (New York: Harper & Row, 1987), Morton Smith, Palestinian Parties and Politics that Shaped the Old Testament (New York: Columbia, 1971), Bertil Albrektson, History and the Gods (1967), Giovanni Garbini, History and Ideology in Ancient Israel (London: SCM, 1988), Marc Brettler, The Creation of History in Ancient Israel (1995), H. Saggs, The Encounter with the Divine in Mesopotamia and Israel (London: Athlone, 1978), Robert Coote, Early Israel, A New Horizon (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1990), John Van Seters, In Search of History (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1983), Aberbach David, Imperialism and Biblical Prophecy 750-500 (New York: Routledge, 1993), Bernhard Lang, Monotheism and the Prophetic Minority (Sheffield, UK: Almond, 1983), Ahlstrom, Gosta, The History of Ancient Palestine (Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press, 1993), Albright, William, The Archeology of Palestine, New York: Penguin, 1960, James Pritchard, The Ancient Near East (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1958).

[iii] Chester G. Starr, The Origins of Greek Civilization, 1100-650 B.C. (New York: Norton, 1991), The Awakening of the Greek Historical Spirit (New York: Knopf, 1968), The Economic and Social Growth of Early Greece (Oxford: Oxford, 1977), Anthony Snodgrass, Archaic Greece, The Age of Experiment (Berkeley: University Of California, 1980), The Dark Age of Greece (1971), R.J. Hooper, The Early Greeks (1976), Oswyn Murray, Early Greece (Cambridge: Harvard, 1993), M.I. Finley, Early Greece: The Bronze and Archaic Age (New York: Norton, 1981), The World of Odysseus (1962), W.G. Forrest, The Emergence of Greek Democracy (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1966), Pavel Oliva, The Birth of Greek Civilization (London: Orbis, 1981), A.R. Burns, The Lyric Age of Greece (New York: St. Martin’s, 1960), William Biers, The Archeology of Greece (Ithaca: Cornell, 1980). Donald Kagan, in Pericles of Athens and the Birth of Democracy (New York: The Free Press, 1991), Herman Frankel, Early Greek Poetry and Philosophy (New York: Harcourt-Brace, 1962), Christian Meier, The Greek Discovery of Politics (Cambridge: Harvard, 1990), Jennifer Roberts, Athens on Trial (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1994), Walter Burckert, The Orientalizing Revolution (Cambridge: Harvard, 1992)

[iv] A.L. Basham, The Wonder that was India (New York: Hawthorn, 1967), E. J. Rapson (ed.), The Cambridge History of India (1922), Romila Thapar, A History of India (Baltimore: Penguin, 1966), Vincent Smith, The Oxford History of India (1981), D.D. Kosambi, Ancient India, A History of its Culture and Civilization (New York: Random House, 1965), R.C. Mujumdar, History and Culture of the Indian People (1951), Paul Masson-Oursel, Ancient India and Indian Civilization (1967), Paul Deussen, The Philosophy of the Upanishads (1966) N.K. Sidhanta, The Heroic Age of India (New York: Oriental Books Reprint, 1975), contains an interesting cross history of the Indian and Greek epic traditions. Joseph Elder, Lectures on Indian Civilization (Madison: University of Wisconsin, 1970), Phulgenda Sinha, The Gita As it Was, Rediscovering the Original Bhagavadgita (Lasalle: Open Court, 1987), and Prem Nath Bazaz, The Role of the Bhagavad Gita in Indian History (New Delhi: Sterling, 1975)

[v] Kwang-chih Chang, The Archaeology of Ancient China (New Haven: Yale, 1977), Joseph Needham, Science and Civilization in China (Cambridge: Cambridge, 1965), Fung Yu-Lan, A Short History of Chinese Philosophy (NY: The Free Press, 1966), V. Rubin, Individual and State in Ancient China (NY: Columbia, 1976), Benjamin Schwarz, The World of Thought in Ancient China (Cambridge: Harvard, 1985), H.G. Creel, The Origins of Statecraft in China (Chicago: Chicago, 1970), The Birth of China (NY: F. Ungar, 1954), Donald Munro, The Concept of Man in Early China (Stanford: Stanford, 1969), Frederick Mote, Intellectual Foundations of China (NY: Knopf, 1971.





Last modified: 10/02/2010