3. Descent Of Man Revisited     

 
 
Deconstructing 
Flat History

  

Section 3 .2.2




 
World History 
And The Eonic Effect

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

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 CHAPTERS:
 

 

 
 

 
3. Descent Of Man Revisited 
     3.1 Climbing Mt. Improbable: The Eonic Effect  
        3.1.1 An Evolution Formalism and The Eonic Model 
     3.2 History and Evolution: A Paradox  
        3.2.1 Huxley's Contradiction and Evolution #1 and #2 
        3.2.2 Deconstructing Flat History  
        3.2.3 Conflict Theories: Incredulity Toward 'Infranarratives' 
     3.3 An Unexpected Challenge to Darwinism  
        3.3.1 The Great Explosion   
        3.3.2 Measures of Evidence Density  
        3.3.3 A Photo Finish Test 
     3.4 From Fisher's Lament to Kant's Challenge 
        3.4.1 A Certain Strangeness: Beyond Space and Time? 

NOTES 
     3.5 A New Model of History: Eonic Evolution  
        3.5.1 A Gaian Matrix: Detecting A Global System  
        3.5.2 Stream and Sequence, Transition and Oikoumene
        3.5.3 An (Eonic) Outline of History
        3.5.4 World Line of The Eonic Observer

  

Next: 
 4. Idea For A Universal History

 
  
        

    World History And The Eonic Effect: Fourth Edition

   3.2.2 Deconstructing Flat History

 

We have rediscovered something postmodern ists dislike, the so-called metanarrative . The so-called ‘incredulity toward metanarratives’ should be replaced with an ‘incredulity toward infranarratives’. The critique is based on a rejection of teleology and ideology combined. But there is no avoiding the issue of macrohistory, it exists whatever our views, as we can now see. We can easily accept a critique of grandiose histories, and yet we can’t avoid the fact that random evolution fails, as far as world history is concerned. It is remarkable that the eonic effect as data answers to a critique of teleology, and reconciles its contradictions with a ingenious resolution: our eonic sequence is directional, and reflects, but does not correspond to its own ‘teleology’, if any. Teleological thinking is a dangerous subject: it refers to a future we have not yet reached! But we can, looking backward, see that ancient history shows, unexpectedly, a form of directionality. The intersection with our own free options about the future makes the conventional idea of teleology false. It was not our purpose to propose teleological thinking. Directionality, however, is clear as we look backward.

Note that a postmodern critique could just as well be about ‘deconstructing  flat history’, and the ideology  associated with the idea of random evolution, usually a conflict theory of some kind. To say that history has no direction, and that the future is determined by economic and/or evolutionary survival of the fittest, or some variant, is the typical theoretical outcome of seeing only flat history .

We need to be wary of teleology, and a way to distinguish ‘teleologies’ as historical productions of men, and ‘real’ teleology, which is beyond history, as a property of an inferred system in which we are immersed. Directionality, at least, is visible as we move to connect the rise of the modern to a greater system. That is empirical and makes no statement about the future. Note that teleological philosophies are attacked by postmodernists, and rightly so, because they tend to be constructs emerging inside history. And they are unsuitable as ‘meta’ descriptions because they degenerate into ideology. Note how the emergence of teleological history in the Old Testament split into rival versions, claiming the future.

Thus postmodern thought quite understandably tries to deconstruct macrohistory and its metanarratives . The problem is that the direction set by a transition is not the same as the direction set by the overall pattern of turning points. Our ‘metanarrative’ is fairly simple, in any case: a three act play, three scene changes, with the middle mostly dumb show and noise. No ending is given, and the ‘plot’ is quite hard to describe. The Axial spectrum sets five massive ‘directionalities’, and the world religions set two opposing demeanors, historical and anti-historical, as with Buddhism and Augustinian and/or Islamic teleology. The Christian tries to take over the directionality set by the Roman Empire . With extraordinary and unexpected redirection, the small strain of the Ionian Enlightenment is reselected in modern times. The same dilemma arises all over again.

The direction set by the rise of the modern is multivalent, history-bound and has no claim on the far future that we know of. Although, and this is significant, the game starts all over again, with the various new ‘teleologies’ of the future of modernism, Hegel’s being one, and the Marxist response to Hegel being another. It is not safe to predict anything in this pattern. And in any case, a new point arises as we begin to assess all of this in a new present of world history, as ‘eonic determination’ switches into ‘free action’. Perhaps for good. It is hard to see how this sequence could continue once we become aware of it. We might be at the end of the ‘eonic sequence’. At any rate, be humble about teleological questions. The great religions are not humble here, and are adventurism pure and simple, schemes of global ecumenization turned into empires of domination with teleological scripts.

Thus the very significant critique of metanarratives  works both ways. The implied teleology in Darwinist non-teleology, random flat history, is even worse than an explicit metanarrative. It says, with tacit innuendo, that the future belongs to the forces of conflict, and that after great violence the fittest will claim the future. Ethics is superfluous, vestigial religiosity. That is dangerous, and it is not so, as proven by the facts looking toward the past. The Israelites appeared in our second turning point, survived the fittest of them all, the Assyrians, and outlasted them, with no ability to fight back. Many other cases could be found.

We can easily bypass the problems of metanarratives if we restrict ourselves to statements about the past, and do not extend our model into the future, in the sense of causal prediction. In the process, our model then generates a strange sort of ‘macro-dramatic’ history, if not ‘metanarrative’, but the narrative stops in the present, where we act by our own choices, not according to some pattern. The question is simple. We see the modern is part of a pattern of three such turning points, and that this series sets a direction with respect to the past (directionality), but not necessarily the far future (teleology).

 

    Notes

   Web:  chap3_2_2.htm

 
 

 
 


 

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Last modified: 09/21/2010