5. Symphony of Emergence 


A Rebirth of Freedom...Cycle, System Return


Section 5.3

World History 
And The Eonic Effect

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




  5. Symphony of Emergence  
     5.1 Cycle, System Return: The Axial Age  
        5.1.1 Non-genetic Evolution
        5.1.2 Karen Armstrong's The Great Transformation
        5.1.3 Art, Evolution and The Tragic Genre  
     5.2 Stream and Sequence: The Axial Transitions   
        5.2.1 Archaic Greece: The Clue 
        5.2.2 The Old Testament as Eonic Data 
        5.2.3 Aryans, Hinduism, and a Buddhist Revolution
        5.2.4 Axial China: Continuity and Discontinuity
        5.2.5 A Flowering of Greek Tragedy and The Birth Of    Democracy  
     5.3 A Rebirth of Freedom...Cycle, System Return       
     5.4 On The Threshold of World Civilization  
        5.4.1 Slavery, Abolition, and Eonic Sequence
        5.4.2 Religion and Empire   

 6. Transition and Modernity


    World History And The Eonic Effect: Fourth Edition

     5.3 A Rebirth of Freedom...Cycle, System Return


We are set to leapfrog into the future. We can note here the frontier effect about to occur as Europe is seeded and the Roman World expands to its limit in the European sector, the source of the next advance, almost precisely at the limits of expansion. It seems like there is a distinct ‘Western Civilization’ that is in some fashion doing one history but that is an illusion of perspective. At this period Europe is a backward fringe area in the sequential zone of the later Roman system. As such it begins to receive, finally, the rich influences of the eonic sequence indirectly. It rises from its slumber slowly but surely. Europe will be the last frontier diffusion zone left in the Eurasian field, Japan being another such. But Europe is fortunate in so far as its medley of tradition will inherit the output of two transit areas, the Judaic, and the Greek, and its languages are a closer match to those traditions, facilitating the spread of the Axial novelties.

The suggestion of the eonic sequence is return on the far future, and we are already in the modern period, as we find its seeds as much in the dilemma of the Hellenistic, as in the economic derivations of capitalism from Medieval Christendom. We have come to another ‘what next?’ point. And we already know the answer, and, further, see why students of the early modern are condemned to equivocate the causality of the European resurgence. The modern period is gestating just here, for system return after 2400 years in a jump diffusion zone, i.e. at the fringes of the tide of expansion. There will be few candidates. The Hellenistic passes into the Roman Empire, thence at the boundary in Northern Europe we find a zone both fed the great advance, and yet still virtually untouched. Granting the dangers of ‘discrete  oversimplification’ as against the sterility of ‘continuity models’, we are nonetheless drawn to the strange conclusion that the rise of the modern shows ‘system return’ in frequency, in a jump diffusion zone, as the ‘emergence zone’, this time unique, for the great roll of eonic sequence rolling out of the Neolithic. We are back at our starting point, the rise of the West, as the next response of eonic sequence to the Eurasian field.

Paul Kennedy , at the beginning of The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers , asks, “Why was it among the scattered and relatively unsophisticated people inhabiting the western parts of the Eurasian landmass that there occurred an unstoppable process of economic development and technological innovation which would steadily make it the commercial and military leader in world affairs?”[i] We have the answer, and the question has already been asked for Archaic Greece, and the other transitional areas. Thus the answer, in part, has been to see the factor of periodization beside the factor of eonic jump diffusion, or the frontier effect, the takeoff in the open fringe, if this has been balanced by good diffusion from the sources.

As of 1500 we see all the inheritor civilizations of the classical phase in a state of convergent stabilization. The field of civilization has reached the same point of ambiguous inertia evident in the centuries before -900. We know what to expect. An untouched extension, as it turns out, in the diffusion field of the Roman system, will abruptly experience takeoff. Thus, find the areas adjacent to the last advance, inside but near the edge of the field of diffusion, sequential dependents as yet untouched by the eonic sequence. Suitable frontier zones are few, Japan, Southeast Asia, Siberia, Europe, The New World?

One ironic fact is that Northeastern Europe, still out of the eonic sequence, has benefited from strong sequential dependency, and is really very ‘close’ to the great diffusion tracks of both Sumer and the classical phase. No field could be as ready as Japan, but it is far from the sequence center of gravity, and isolated. It is interesting and not surprising that Japan will suddenly and so easily move into the transitional network. In some ways the Orient is more advanced, and one effect of our model is the increasing difficulty of staging a relative transform against the whole. And our account must distinguish the economic aspect from the cultural in what we term the ‘modern’, creating a different account altogether. In some ways Europe benefits from its backwardness, but has to cover a lot of ground in a short time, as with Archaic Greece.

European history, in many ways, would seem a mystery. Why did it take so long for it to enter the civilizational nexus? It was always relatively close to the great centers of advance, and yet remained relatively static, once reaching a Neolithic plateau, until its ‘sequential’ entry in the period of the Roman Empire. Already in the era of Egypt we see mysterious stirrings of high barbarism that show rational and religious activity at a high level based on solid foundations in the diffusion of the first Neolithic that reaches Europe and stops, even as the Middle Eastern sources and centers move quickly to higher plateaus. Two great transformations come and go without triggering the passage to higher civil integration via a transitional sourcing. But it receives the great lessons of the ancients in a great vehicle of sequential generation, medieval Catholicism, abetted by the contributions of the Islamic world.



  Web:  chap5_3.htm


[i] Paul Kennedy, The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers (New York: Random House: 1988).





Last modified: 09/27/2010