3. Descent Of Man Revisited     

 
 
An (Eonic) Outline of History

  

Section 3.5.3




 
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

   3.5.3 An (Eonic) Outline of History

 

As we look at the eonic effect  in the greater context of world history, we discover its significance as the evolution  of civilization in a fresh definition. We have a sudden perception of a system operating in a frequency pattern, which we can formulate as a hypothesis. This requires moving backwards toward the Neolithic to find the possible source of the dynamic we see. We can then put that hypothesis on the backburner and proceed with the core eonic effect as an empirical given, a superb way to outline world history, starting in the next chapter. We require no beliefs about this hypothesis to proceed in the use and understanding of the eonic effect, but we suspect that our pattern is a cyclical system sourcing in the Neolithic.

A Frequency Hypothesis Our perception of the eonic pattern suggests a system operating in a frequency pattern, strange as that might seem. Since we clearly as seeing only a fragment of a greater pattern we will simple formulate a hypothesis for future research. In the nonce, we can examine a sort of ‘core eonic effect’, the basic sequence since the period of Egypt , Sumer . We don’t need the full pattern to proceed. Like a puzzle, isolated pieces falling together can show meaning. We should note that the earlier antecedent to the phase of Egypt/Sumer is already visible, but still too fuzzy to be conclusive. So we almost have a four beat sequence, greatly increasing the odds towards our hypothesis.[i]

In a complex and ingenious pattern our eonic sequence, operating on the surface of a planet, stages globalization via a set of localized hotspots, shifting into high gear every 2400 years, leapfrogging its prior action in a frontier effect.

(Eonic) globalization It is important to distinguish our sense of globalization  from the current ‘economic globalization’ that we see in our current modern context. Globalization in our sense is the action of the eonic sequence, as it generates a global set of transitional zones in cultural transformations at the highest level of culture (macro-action). Economic, or other, diffusionist globalization has a different, too often, savage character, and too often degenerates rapidly, becoming counterproductive implosive mayhem (micro-action).

In fact, the pattern of eonic data shows us unexpectedly how to proceed (up to a point) with the idea of a science of history/evolution, however we reconcile the two. They fit together, and yet generate a contradiction. We are drawn into the classic dilemma obstructing a science of history, now suddenly with a solution shown by nature in the eonic effect. We see the solution, but can we understand it? We will soon discover the close connection between our enquiry and a classic theme of the philosophy of history, and this will give us an ‘idea for a universal history ’, in a phrase of the philosopher Kant, whose essay on history suggests a framework to organize our thinking. This essay unwittingly asks a question, which we can call Kant’s Challenge , the answer to which we have stumbled on with our eonic data. We have the answer, but what was the question? We have discovered what Kant called ‘Nature’s Secret Plan ’, translated into our systems analysis.

A distinction of System Action  and Free Action gives us a way to deal with the basic antinomy of causality and freedom that bedevils any ‘science of history’ as this wistfully yields to the hope for a ‘science of freedom’.

System Action, Free Action: One side purpose of our model: to table the idea of a science of history, but to adjust to the contradiction in any such project. We have already introduced the distinction of ‘system action’ and ‘free action’, or macro-action  and micro-action. But the only real option for our model is to construct an outline using periodization, a kind of animated Table of Contents. The outline is the model. The dynamic is unseen, all we see is the eonic sequence, and the oscillations of degrees of freedom in the rhythm of macro and micro-action. We can describe history around micro-action, evolution around macro-action. The intersection of the two produces the creative self-consciousness we see in the eonic pattern. It is important to consider that macro-action is always made up of micro-action.

The source of the enigma lies in the unmistakable violation of historical continuity our pattern shows in plain sight. There is no causal antecedent in the immediate pre-history of our transitions. We generate spontaneous questions like ‘What caused the Axial Age?’, or ‘What causes freedom?’, questions fated to limp off to a Kant clinic. And our problem is certainly reminiscent of Hume’s strictures on causal thinking. Like Captain Nemo and the Professor all we can do is put on goggles and stare into the reactor core, the freedom generator. This situation is a remarkable rendition of Kant’s Third Antinomy one the scale world history itself. Thus, before proceeding we need to be clear about historical theories, and as we lay out our eonic sequence we will discover still another beautiful version of our paradox: inside our eonic sequence we will discover what we can call the discrete freedom sequence, the eerie timing of the double appearance of democracy in the macro sequence.

As we look at the eonic effect  in the greater context of world history, we discover its significance as the evolution  of civilization in a fresh definition. We have a sudden perception of a system operating in a frequency pattern, which we can formulate as a hypothesis. We can then put that hypothesis on the backburner and proceed with the core eonic effect as an empirical given.

We can start to head backwards in search of the eonic effect: the eonic sequence. And inside that sequence we discover the ‘discrete freedom sequence’. What defines the ‘modern’? Science? Secularism? An economic society? Technology? The Protestant Reformation? The rise of the West? We should stand back to see the relation of modernism to a greater historical whole. Then we can suggest that it occurs as a function of time in a general sequence. Indeed, also, of place. The riddle of the modern is easy to resolve, if we zoom out, and we need to move backwards toward antiquity to find the relations of eras among themselves. Then, we will see that world history falls naturally into three massive clusters, seen in three turning points, equally spaced, and echoing each other, with a very ingenious placement of successive eras. This is an empirical fact, to which we will try to bring some elements of theory.

???

TP1 the ‘birth of civilization ’,

TP2 the rise of the classical civilizations, the Axial period,

TP3 the onset of the modern world,

???

Thus, the solution to the riddle of modernity is to look at the larger scale. Then we see that we have no choice but to adopt this approach, or something like it. Large-scale historical transformations simply start out of nowhere. And then we notice the resemblance to the modern case. In fact, the rise of the modern is almost like a repeat of the Greek Axial period. In one way, this approach makes no sense. To introduce the idea of discontinuity seems to invoke an artificial device. But it will help us drop the fruitless quest for a causal theory of modernism, and simply look at blocks arranged in a pattern over millennia, the reason for our original perplexity becomes obvious.

From the Reformation to the Enlightenment the foundations are laid for a new era of world history. By the beginning of the nineteenth century the basic innovations are set. Then the three-cornered hat passed into the early versions of the business suit, as a threshold or divide was crossed in the generation after the French Revolution . We assume we are advancing from this period, but the reality is that it creates a plateau effect. In part this is the result of the rise of science, or so it seems. But a closer look shows a broader series of innovations.

 Postmodern Illusions It is significant that our sense of the modern is faithfully reflected, if antagonistically, in the spontaneous sense of the postmodern. Note the term ‘modern’ is ‘eonic’, i.e. a reference to periodization, time. Our basic declared viewpoint is, or might be, that of the Enlightenment. But, all at once, this is under attack, and in general our perspective is not the same as, or need not be, ‘endorsing’ some Enlightenment viewpoint or ‘Project’ Instead, we are in the wake of one of these, forced into a dilemma of objectivity: are we postmodern critics of the Enlightenment or Enlightenment critics of postmodern deviation from historical directionality? We don’t have to decide. But after a while, with the right scale, we can see the most obvious significance of the Enlightenment period all over again, in stark simplicity, as a new era challenges antiquity.

Our modernism is a far broader result than the Enlightenment, and constitutes an overall integration of elements from religion, to science, to culture. It is not a very complicated problem. History fights back. The great Ionian Enlightenment didn’t make it, and was buried for millennia. Perhaps some prefer a Spenglerian future. Sometimes the issue of the Holocaust is raised as a challenge to modernity, or the Enlightenment. While the question should haunt any perspective on history whatsoever, it is entirely odd to lay the blame for this at the doorstep of modernity. That postmodern Spenglerian future is there, close at hand, if you want that. We will soon see another example, the decline of antiquity in the wake of the Axial Age. Another turning point seems to have lost its impetus, and a second reverse turning, more like meandering, undid much of its effect. In fact the rise of the modern seems to pick up where a second turning point left off. What’s going on? Look at the Greek Axial period. Then at the Hellenistic. Then at the postmodern phenomenon. Nothing says our turning points will prove lasting. Once they are done the direction deviates, perhaps. Is this happening again?

 The whole period from the Reformation up to the nineteenth century creates a net effect that forces the issue of global renewal. That’s the point. It doesn’t matter what ‘ism’ we assign to it, by 1800 it is a fait accompli. The unity of advance in all fields is stunning, but we tend to see it incorrectly due to the exclusion of large-scale history. We see this as the rise of the West in some consideration of what we call ‘Western Civilization’. But we are starting to see that the rise of the modern is connected to a greater whole and that we need a new ‘fundamental unit of analysis ’ beyond the ‘civilization’, to use the phrase of Toynbee. The evolution of an autonomous civilization doesn’t quite work as a concept if the real issue is one of timing and the diffusion of information. ‘Modernity’ is a concept of periods, of timing, not of civilizations.

A New Age of Democracy Let us track the history of democratic emergence in our system, to begin to notice something extraordinary: twice in a row, democracy shows correlated jump-start emergence in the eonic sequence, more, just at the point of the divide. We see the sudden appearance of a string of democratic revolutions at the end of the eighteenth century, just as our modern transition is concluding. We can see that this is no coincidence. Why might this be? All at once we suspect the reason, armed with a ‘frequency deduction’. A system that ‘generates freedom’ can’t overdetermine the result. It must be men who create their own freedom. Yet outside the eonic sequence democracy (before the modern period) is rare, non-existent, our eonic something needs to give it a boost. The point of the divide is exactly the right moment, when macro-action stops and micro-action takes over. The modern American democratic experiment follows this logic exactly, and we see a mysterious constellation of brilliant founders just at the divide, followed by a functioning democratic experiment settling into a steady state. Clearly democracy as micro-action is at risk as it sets sail into the uncharted waters of its mideonic period.

 The perception of the rise of the modern is the mirror image of our intuitive perception of the Middle Ages. This medieval period is a phenomenon that we take for granted, and which stands in ironic relation to our ideas of progress (which remarkably go into postmodern decline promptly after the modern transition). Sometimes it is the ‘Dark Ages’, though not everywhere so dark.

A Middle Age It is significant that we spontaneously use the term ‘middle age’, as if we already understood the eonic effect. We are immersed in the cascade of modern things, yet clock this from an arbitrary starting point, the end of a middle period. This is a good example of the way we already sense an ‘eonic effect’, in isolation, without realizing its significance. This chronicling begins in the sixteenth century. We should be confronted with the question, What is this ‘medieval’ period in the middle of?

The pieces of our puzzle fall into place quite easily once we have rightly posed our question of the rise of the modern in terms of its mirror image, a middle, if not a decline and fall. We see the rise of the modern, after a decline and fall, and the rise before this decline brings us to the age of the Roman Republic , and this to the world ca. -600, where a host of changes is rapidly transforming the world it finds. Even as we insert a place marker, to zoom in for close observation, we should wonder, why stop there, just under two and a half millennia separate two punctuations. We shall be curious in advance of the period, now finally an object of archaeological enquiry, taken by an equal interval to about -3000, our destination.

Decline and Fall: The Idea of Progress The rise of the modern is directly connected to our ideas of progress. All at once we can see that there is a dynamic behind this, but of a slightly different kind.

It would seem that progress had dried up at the fall of the Roman Empire , and come to a halt. The difficulties in the idea of progress are essential to explore, for its current form doesn’t quite match the evidence, if we had wished to extend it to an evolutionary context. Promptly its critics are in ascendant. But a facile critique of the idea of progress too often forgets its ultimate implication: the renunciation of the hard won victories of modern revolutions in pulling out of a kind of global slump. The idea of progress is attacked on evolutionary and religious grounds, but we will both embrace the idea and generalize it to a less ideological version, as eonic progression.

We are ready to move backwards again toward antiquity in search of the right perspective on the rise of the modern world. We have asked ‘middle of what?’ There can be only one answer, and we can move on, to examine the onset of our middle period. As we explore the world of the Classical Greeks we know that we are in the presence of another or our seminal eras, further, that as we zoom in on the phenomenon, it shows a strong resemblance with the rise of the modern world.

The Axial Age Our riddle is solved at once, then, by slightly extending the range of examination, to see that while there may be a local explanation for decline, there must be a global explanation for the rise. Our model won’t tell us why Rome declined, only that its (relative) genesis is in the great seminal era of cyclical upturn. We are at the point of seeing the one great clue to the emergence, as evolution, of civilization itself, in this strange phenomenon of synchronous acceleration. All across Eurasia, from Rome , to Greece , to the Near East, to India , and China , we see a sudden burst of cultural acceleration, with a center of gravity around -600, the time of the Exile in the case of Israel. We are back at our starting point, the mysterious drumbeat sounding across Eurasia in the period from ca. -900, and over by -400.

Beginning in the nineteenth century this perception of synchronous emergence in classical antiquity began to crystallize. The number of cultural processes that undergo rapid transformation in this period is remarkable, and it is not until modern times that we see anything comparable. One problem is that the scale of the process is tremendous, the study of five time slices in parallel. The logistics defeats observation, like a blind man reading a Braille text of a movie script. We don’t quite see the spectacular effect. Normal historiography specializes in the part, but this requires a greater whole. Thus specialized study tends to lose perspective on the echoing parallels reverberating across Eurasia as this drumbeat clocks multiple innovations appearing in the ongoing momentum of the target areas. The Old Testament unwittingly suggests the time-frame for this interval, from after around -900 to the proximate period around -600, if we distinguish carefully a kind seminal period from its first spectacular fruits in the rough two centuries after -600.

 Thus, in the clearest case we see the world of the Greeks emerge from its so-called Dark Age, suddenly begin a quiet transformation in the Archaic, then flower in spectacular fashion after -600, significantly the period of Solon. The change in character of the phenomenon shows how it is quite suddenly on the wane after around -400, and within a few centuries men are looking backwards to this era as an historical enigma. The remarkable thing is that we see this synchronous phenomenon in a fashion that transcends the possibilities of cross diffusion, which are nonetheless considerable. The Israelites had heard of the Iliad, there is an influence, but we cannot explain the one from the other. We might thus include the emergence of Rome as an additional independently emergent center, yet we see it more clearly as a variant of the Greek city state expansion characteristic of the Greek Archaic, that is, in part a case of diffusion. But with Greece, Israel, India and China we have no basis to claim that one triggers the other. We get the suggestion of something occurring ‘on schedule’.

All we can really do is to try and observe this phenomenon by setting out rough periodization boundaries. Later, on the analog of the modern we can partition our Axial phase as transition and divide, which is easy to spot. We will examine this ‘differential boundary’ below as being about -900 to -600. This puts a ‘divide’ near -600, after which we find a brief flowering followed by a rapid fall-off. It is almost eerie. Within a generation or two the character of the Greek era changes gears and a great flowering is over (this falloff and the divide are not the same). We had thought that coincidental, but it falls like ripe fruit into our periodization scheme. The factor of eonic determination is waning, and the high-octane fuel starts to be exhausted. The ‘punctuation’ is over and the eonic emergents head out under their own steam, if they survive at all. Greek democracy and tragedy  don’t survive.

A Birth of Democracy Let us continue to track the history of democratic emergence in our system, to note once again: twice in a row, democracy shows correlated jump-start emergence in the eonic sequence, more, just at the point of the divide. Twenty-four hundred years to the decade separate Solon and the modern divide! We see the sudden appearance of a string of democratic revolutions at the end of the eighteenth century, just as our modern transition is concluding. In the Axial period, we see the fragile Athenian experiment emerge from ‘raw republicanism’ in the sixth century. To repeat, we can see that this is no coincidence. Clearly democracy as micro-action is at risk as it sets sail into the uncharted waters of its mideonic period!

We can probably extend this backwards to our first transition, the system of Sumerian city-states, but the data is blurred, and it is probable that emergent civilization is too primitive for democracy to appear.

This is clever sort of sequence. Note what it seems to be trying to do, globalize, but with a minimum principle. Like a pinball machine, the right thwack (relative transform) at the right spot, a little dose of high octane every several millennia. A straight intermittent sequence might be too weak to encompass the whole. It can’t overspecialize on one area, instead it seems to jump around. It needs to get as much done as possible at each brief step, perhaps with parallel experiments, to enrich the final whole. Actually there is no such ‘it’. We can specify no active agent doing anything, and soon discover that man does everything but some periods seem to stand out in an overall pattern.

We notice that our sequence splits in a mysterious synchrony, showing a truly global system at work as our turning points perform a spectrum distribution into parallel streams, as seen already in the Axial Age. How this works we don’t know, but the result is clear, and all of a sudden we see why the Axial Age puzzles us. Our sequence now looks like this, with eight hotspots:

The rise of civilization: Sumer, Egypt

The ‘Axial’ phase: Greece/Rome, Middle East (? Canaan), India, China

The rise of the modern: sector of Europe

Our eonic transitions are more complex than a simple sequence, they show parallel interactive emergence. That’s an immediate caution against naïve teleological thinking. Our system is a sort of multiple multitasking monster, branching out in different streams. Now we have the clue to the ‘Axial Age’: it shows sequence and parallelism, a shotgun approach, perhaps to increase the odds of success, or the quantity of variety. This is dangerous, the system could lose direction, and globalization  will induce collision, although at the Axial period distance is still sufficient for local experiments. But it is probably no accident the next step in the eonic sequence shows a univalent pivot area moving toward universal transcultural categories. It must soon reset direction after its Axial spreading fan phase. Religion and secularism will then be destined to collide as the separate streams converge on a unified track.

It is pretty hard to produce a theory of this pattern, until we see its minimum principle, and we really have two theories in one, an Axial Age and general sequence, connected by their defiance of spatial and temporal continuity. Our pattern looks like a fragment, and is not starting at the beginning, but in the middle, perhaps in the Neolithic. We see three surges in a mainline that is not bound to a particular civilization. But it is a strange mainline, because it can also produce parallel effects in its surges. It seems to start in two places, not one.  

The Frontier Effect There is one more crucial property, the ‘acorn or frontier effect’. Note that something global is occurring starting in a series of local areas. But the sequence restarts in a new place each time, just at the frontier of its predecessor. The world of Archaic Greece is a frontier relative to the center of gravity of civilization. The world of Canaan, spawning ‘Israel', does not look like a frontier now, but in the era of the mythical Abraham it certainly was, and we even have a ‘pioneer’ story about his leaving the city of Ur in a prime diffusion source, the world of prior Sumer .

This property makes complete sense. If we restart too far away, the sequence can’t continue. But if we are too close, the momentum of the earlier stage will overwhelm advance or make novelty abortive.

 Again, A Middle Age: Detecting Sumer We come once again to the same ambiguity with respect to the pre-Axial that we had with the definition of the modern age. The Axial period, like the rise of the modern, is a sudden upsurge in the flow of world history. The Old Testament gives testimony to existence of an immense age of prior civilization, and in fact stages its drama against the backdrop of the greater antiquity of Egypt and Mesopotamia . Buried in the Akkadian texts, like Latinate vestiges in modern languages, is the mysterious, and forgotten, Sumerian. Let us keep moving, using our long-range spotting tactics. We are at square one, with a sense of déjà vu after theories of the rise of the modern, a large discontinuity, and the search for causal explanation in the era just prior to that. What lies at the source of the Assyrians and Egyptians, so faithfully given a snapshot of their last phase by the upstart Israelites?

 

We suspect, as we head backwards again, the answer will be as before. We can almost guess what we might find. Is there anything resembling an explosive, fast advance period, of consistent novelties, albeit of relative beginnings in a time frame comparable, ca. 2400 years, to our previous case, yet earlier still?

It is thus clear that archaeology has found the so-far earliest phase of our eonic effect in the necessary, though minimum detail, and the result is so remarkable that we are almost stunned by the simplicity of the pattern.

The Birth of Civilization Thus, cities, state formation, and the civilizations with writing suddenly come together in the last centuries before -3000. Many archaeologists have remarked on the rapid emergence of higher civilization , and in fact the phenomenon of threshold crossing is obvious from the contrast of scales, before and after, especially in the case of Egypt. The use of the term ‘birth of civilization’ is conventional here, but requires caution. The beauty of our relative beginnings approach is that it emphasizes what we know by changing the label, yet forces us to consider the continuity behind the discontinuity. We must think the Neolithic should be included in this scheme, if we will once again move backwards. And, we note, we find Toynbee struggling with the inveterate causality problem that haunts our eonic effect. What caused the birth of civilization?

Going backward further, our data starts to become insufficient. The period of Egypt and Sumer, at their ‘beginnings’ near -3000, seem a bit primitive to us now, but constitutes what is probably the greatest transition in human history, the point at which the most basic fundamentals of man’s ‘civil condition’ came into existence over a substrate of previously achieved agricultural life. Substitute bullock carts, a great advance, for freight trains, and ingots of gold for high finance, and we have a massive ‘modernization’ period in the wake of Sumer. And it did so with remarkable speed, and yet in a fashion not contradicting slow evolution. And there is more than a family resemblance to the phase of ‘modernism’ we claim exclusively for the achievements of our own time, if we look at the same five hundred years of the Sumerian emergence, three hundred of rapid advance, and two of stabilizing crystallization after -3000, from its ‘Medieval’ sources in the religiously preoccupied world that came before of the Ubaid, and the Uruk.

 Invisible Transitions? We are suspicious of the Neolithic, we are missing something. We can keep on going backwards…

Unfortunately, at this point, before the invention of writing, we run out of close-range data. We can see clearly, however, that we only have one half of our pattern. We now see the significance of what we call the birth of civilization, which is classifiable as one of our ‘relative transformations’ in what we suspect is a series going backward into the Neolithic. Look at the medieval period leading to the sudden rise of the modern. Now look at the antecedents to the sudden crossing of a threshold in Egypt and Sumer . The resemblance is exact.

Invisible Transitions Let us extrapolate backwards to create a ‘retro-diction’, and leave the issue open to future research. We do that by applying our model of ‘transitions, equally spaced’, to the whole period starting before the Neolithic, with an interval of about 2400 years. This generalization is not yet confirmed, but illustrates the meaning of the data we do have very well indeed. This extension will in fact keep our statements honest, because we might forget that our data is incomplete. We are dealing with a fragment. In a fuzzy way the fit is good, to say the least. We can almost spot two prior transition zones and interval.

Our model is highly artificial but works so unreasonably well in the range provided that we are hot on the scent of a more general pattern.

Transition 1  ?Mesolithic transitions
Transition 2  ?Proximate start of Neolithic  ca. -8000
Transition 3  ?The Middle Neolithic interval  ca. -5400
Transition 4:  The birth of civilization, interval before -3000
Transition 5:  The ‘Axial’ period, interval before -600
Transition 6:  The early modern, interval before 1800

We are already suspicious of the period in the sixth millennium, and there is an already filling gap in our knowledge in the area to the north of Sumer in the Fertile Crescent . A highlands culture zone to the north of Sumer seems to flow outward into the Mesopotamian area, in a frontier effect, prior to the historical period. We nearly have a four beat sequence.

There is an obvious catch to this argument, which is that the rise of civilization might be simply a new phase of long term evolution, and that there is nothing much to find in the earlier period of man, save possibly at the period of the first appearance of homo sapiens sapiens. That is, our later sequence could itself be an overall ‘interrupt’ of evolutionary acceleration. That, however, is doubtful, since the unseen stages and primordial beginnings are as much in need of the driving factor as the more advanced. In many ways the rationalization of culture as Civilization begins with farming, it is all of a piece. From hunter-gatherer is a big step, almost an ‘industrial revolution’. Since our model requires only regions and innovative individuals it would be more than able to handle generalizations prior to state formation. There is a uniformity to the entire era beginning with the Neolithic. We must find a region for which later Sumer was once the frontier. Consider by this reasoning the period ca 5700 to 5400 somewhere to the North of Sumer. We can almost see a transition here. We can calculate this might be a candidate for a transitional culture. But we can’t be sure because we don’t have enough data. First we need data, then maybe we can find the secondary data of relative transforms in the exact periodization, a tough requirement. Transition 3 in our list begins to look promising, as we will see in Chapter 4.

The Significance of Israel Now consider the history of Israel . This was a novel breakthrough area armed for the first time with the new technology of writing, and they actually recorded a phase period, and the onset of a new religion. This earlier era didn’t have writing, so we don’t know. And without that closely tracked data we default back to the ‘slow evolution’ mode of explanation, something the Judaic data would not let us do. Now proceed backwards still further into the Paleolithic. We are in the midst of full-blown ‘slow evolution’ theories, assuming that fast transitions do not occur. Yet by incremental steps backward we could suspect that religious and cultural transitions  might be occurring in more primitive fashion at these earlier times.

We must forever be vigilant about jumping to conclusions about historical evolution. Proponents of flat history consider themselves ‘non-speculative’ but they may prove the worst offenders. As we complete our tour we can see that ‘flat history’ is a species of religious faith in a myth of continuity.

Apply this reasoning to the earlier speculations on the Great Explosion , and we see at once the dangers of assuming anything.

 

    Notes

   Web:  chap3_5_3.htm

 

[i] A frequency deduction A system ‘evolving freedom’ cannot cause freedom directly, since the over-determination would be causally closed. But such a system cannot leave action alone, since under-determination would not evolve freedom. Therefore, to evolve freedom such a system might alternate between higher and lower degrees of freedom, in cycles of macro-action,  and micro-action left to its own devices. All at once we see that this corresponds to the eonic pattern. Thus, for example, the Axial Age shows a higher degree of freedom, but under eonic determination, while the mideonic intervals show the potential for freedom without the action of the system, ‘real freedom’, or not. The frequency  system might terminate at some point to allow the realization of this potential. At the end we will suspect that we are at the end of the eonic sequence since observing the eonic effect probably preempts its future action.

This use of the term ‘deduction’ is reminiscent of the Kantian usage, a sort of legal term about the right to use certain concepts, in his transcendental deduction, and is not necessarily a logical theorem or proof-deduction (our procedure is empirical, please note). For us the term ‘hunch’ might work as well as ‘deduction’. The point is, what grounds do we have for makings statements about a ‘frequency’? The answer is that this allows an ‘evolution of freedom’. And what does that indicate about our data? Actually, our data falls like ripe fruit into a classic Kantian analysis of the noumenal and phenomenal, with a slight difference, which we will explore.

 

 
 


 

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Last modified: 09/21/2010