6. Transition and Modernity

From Reformation to Revolution


Section 6.1.1

World History 
And The Eonic Effect

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





6. Transition and Modernity 
     6.1 A New Age Begins  
        6.1.1 From Reformation to Revolution  
     6.2 An Age of Enlightenment  
        6.2.1 The Crisis of The Enlightenment  
        6.2.2 Theory and Ideology: Das Adam Smith Problem
        6.2.3 Toward a New Enlightenment 
     6.3 The Great Divide 
        6.3.1 Revolutions Per Second: The Rebirth of Democracy 
        6.3.2 Econostream != Eonic Sequence          
    6.4 System Shutdown: Between System Action and Free Action  
       6.4.1 The Curse of Mideonic Empire?      
     6.5 1848: End of Eonic Sequence?  
          6.5.1 Last and First Men
          6.5.2 Theory and Ideology: Out of Revolution
     6.6 New Ages
          6.6.1 The (Eonic) Evolution of Religion  
          6.6.2 The 'Axial' New Age
          6.6.3 The Great Freedom Sutra 
          6.6.4 Schopenhauer and The Caveman Buddhas
          6.6.5 Coda: Amlothi's Mill

 7. Conclusion


    World History And The Eonic Effect: Fourth Edition

     6.1.1 From Reformation to Revolution


Of all of our transitions, the modern is the most transparent because we have continuous data throughout, and the result shows a clear overall dynamic and interior structure, in a unity stretching from the Reformation and Copernican Revolution to the Enlightenment and French/American Revolutions. And this transition falls naturally into two stages, centered on the seventeenth century, as the Reformation ignites the fast passage, the field clearing in the wake of the Thirty Years War, to give birth to the seminal first signs of virtually all the characteristic eonic emergents of modernity. The relative transformation of a small piece of Christendom on a northern frontier, the Protestant Reformation, is a classic instance of the ‘eonic evolution of religion’. This ‘re-formation’ is at first confusing in that it is a religious rebirth that remorphs into secularism.

Our model summons up the enigma of revolution and solves it indirectly. To be blunt, the thesis of slow evolution fails completely and the cluster of revolutions in the modern transition is no accident. However, these revolutions inside the transition are unique and don’t transfer outside the transitional interval. A great deal of confusion has arisen over ‘revolution’, in part due to the influence of leftist ideologies, which are a secondary response to economic contradictions in emergent capitalism and the post-transitional onset of globalization. But Marx saw the point very well, and categorized modernity as a ‘bourgeois revolution’. Whether that is fair or not, or a complete analysis, the point is clear that the center of gravity of the early modern ‘revolutions’ lies in emergent liberalism , with the ambiguous Münzer a genuine prophet of working class revolution. And that’s the point: the full potential is clearly present at the beginning, and the issue is not liberalism vs socialism, but the outcome of the modern transition, as such. But our eonic ‘revolution’, to use the apt metaphor of ‘revolution’, is something else, and as a transition is a response to the entire world system as of ca. 1400, and echoes a recursion on the order of the Axial Age. Its action produces a new potential for civilization, with many possible outcomes. Having jolted the Eurasian system from its doldrums, it comes to a stop. It is not true that there is some kind of teleological result in the emergence of capitalism. Note the resemblance of the Greek Axial and the modern transition, one with, the other without a capitalist outcome. The same can be said of technological innovation.

Technostream != eonic sequence An immense technological revolution accompanies modernity, in the wake of the Scientific Revolution  (with the exception of the Big Three, clocks, gunpowder, printing bestowed much earlier from China) but it is important to see that the rise of the modern is only secondarily a technological revolution, if only because that’s the way we define it. The technostream is a series of human innovations, the eonic sequence a macroevolutionary driver able to remorph whole culture streams. Modernity and the Greek Axial show an isomorphism independent of technological factors, one with, the other without advanced technology.

Econostream != eonic sequence The same can be said of the economic stream of history, whose actions are basic market operations, the higher cultural software for modern capitalism being claimed by the eonic sequence. Economic systems are universal and occur at all times and places.

The Burkean perspective is equally uncomprehending. The fetish of medievalism is dispatched forthwith in a ruthless recasting of infrastructure. We see the answer: our transitions are revolutionary as macro-action, but not the same thing as revolutions as such which are micro-action. Failure to grasp this distinction has produced confusion, especially in the Marxist focus on economic transformation via revolutionary adventurism, and a new kind of revolution attempting to extend the idea of revolution from liberal to socialist emphasis. No secondary revolutionary initiative can match the complexity of an eonic transition. And these aren’t primarly economic. The question of private property gets a thorough foundation, then our later leftists just after the divide try to reverse this. Such a recasting would force a ‘recompute’ of the whole transition, small wonder the far left fell into chaos, in the sudden appearance of a ‘floating fourth turning point’ phenomenon, the ‘islam’ of the socialist revolutionary. The latter, in any case, will, we can see, prove a constant, if incoherent, mideonic companion to ‘bourgeois’ modernity. This statement makes no judgment whatever about the relative justice in capitalist or socialist systems. In any case we can’t extrapolate a theory of revolutions outside the eonic sequence, since the latter is macro-action and anything else micro-action. Social transformation in that case must be constructivist.

Even our mighty transitional interval, to ca. 1800, can barely achieve a basic liberal revolution, getting lucky once with its North American sidewinder (a frontier effect!), and then comes to a stop, as the synchronous emergence of a new economic system conditions the outcome, and throws democratic revolution out of whack. The emergence of the far left as microaction attempting to complete the result ends in collision and the system becomes the chaotic result we see. We should be wary here, since our model gives the appearance, due to its periodization, of a strong legitimation of the liberal order, but nothing in our mechanics of transitions is designed to resolve the ambiguity in a system using a shotgun approach, and where democracy, liberalism, socialism, and capitalist claims on freedom are all synchronous eonic emergents. We have to exit the model to deal with real problems.

Thus revolution as micro-action in the wake of the modern divide becomes problematical, allowing the system to crystallize in the ambiguous democracies of capitalism. The modern transition is a comprehensive transformation across the full spectrum of culture, not simply political revolution. But the metaphorically ‘revolutionary’ character of modernity is clear from the Reformation itself, accompanied by the German social revolution of 1625. Our later associations with the idea of revolution might make us forget that the truly foundational period of the English Civil War shows us a hybrid stage where the concerns of the Reformation are at work. It begins as a religious conflict and ends with the birth of secular politics. The question of revolution is controversial but the eonic model reduces the question to a simple clarity. Revolutions are eonic emergents. The transition itself stands beyond its incidents of political action. The transition is a massively complex interplay of philosophic, religious, economic, political, and aesthetic emergents. No group of revolutionary agents can match this scale.

The early modern: an emergent field Let’s list a few of the eonic emergents  relevant to our definition of the modern transition. Although the size of this dataset is staggering, if we list enough overlapping zoom targets we can likely get a fair picture of what’s going on. The list can keep growing. We are outside this transition, and must assess using judgment what should be on the list. But even with a partial or debatable list we can make our point, TP3 creates a massive change of historical direction. Thus we get:

The Reformation, with Luther’s and Tyndale’s Bible, Copernicus, Vesalius, then the seventeenth century Scientific Revolution , the birth of liberalism, Descartes and the rise of modern philosophy, Hobbes and onward, the German, English, American and French Revolution s, the birth of democracy, the Enlightenment. The Industrial Revolution, and the onset of modern capitalism…

Note that the generation near the American Revolution, our divide inside our transition, is one of the most massively packed periods of innovation in world history, and much more than a matter of technical innovations.

We see the French and American Revolutions (and soon liberalism spawning democratic liberalism), the Industrial Revolution, the Enlightenment with a Scottish Enlightenment, and a German Aufklärung, Adam Smith and a new economics, German Classical philosophy and the Romantic Movement, Kant, Hume, Bentham, Thomas Paine, … This just skims the most visible data off the top. Our divide is a matter of degree, and could be from 1750 to 1850. But there is a clear fall off in the rate of basic cultural innovations, as opposed to technical innovations or economic expansions. A good way to see that is in the Industrial Revolution. That creates a massive transition of its own, and then stabilizes as a ‘market society’, however unstable that is.

TP3+: Since our turning point is a finite interval, it produces a divide (early nineteenth century?) and, sooner or later, goes through a post-transitional phase, perhaps of reaction against the turning point.

The onset of the modern transition shows us a mysterious starting chord in the synchronous appearance of Luther, and Münzer, next to Machiavelli and our first modern Utopian Thomas More. Let us remind ourselves that if Machiavelli initiates a new science of politics, the hidden note of politically invisible actors, no doubt immoral riff-raff, mongrel descendants of the godly Pharaohs, it is also true that precisely at our divide an ultra-idealistic protest, anti-Machiavel, appears in the Kantian contretemps with Benjamin Constant. Before continuing we should rescue our subject for some ‘idealistic thinking’ with an interpolated ‘sermon’ in the midst of ‘value free science’. Realist politics and the devious schemes of Machiavelli have no status in our system.

An ominous question Has civilization been hijacked by Machiavellian politicians? Note, in our account, how little politics matters in the long run. A few brief incidents of successful bootstrapping beyond dead history in a chronicle of the ‘history of crime’, e.g. the American Revolution, a non-random event structure relative to world history. Our transition in its braiding of macro and micro-evolution shows the strain of morphing toward an ideal, moral ideals at that. There is no implication that the outcome matches that ideal. Fussy old Kant, perched on a crag near the Great Divide, won’t even grant the right to lie by power elites, to the consternation of Benjamin Constant.

We should finally count our blessings to have the counterpoint in a figure so foolish as Kant to protest the ‘dead political zone’. The moral is not assume anything, as far as our model is concerned, about the morality of political action, and the failures, or successes, of obscure political schemes is judged finally by ethical, not simply ‘scientific’, protocols. That said, the enigma of Machiavelli haunts any and all attempts to recast the eonic sequence as ‘idealist history’ and we must remind ourselves, that theory, at least, cannot lie, suspicious that Darwinism is a Machiavellian deception of ideology.

The Northern Crescent In relation to the frontier effect, the prime transitional zones lie along a Northern Crescent, with an early trigger in Northern Italy: Germany, Holland, England, France, Spain. The North American sidewinder rapidly initializes and by the divide point is a prime emergence zone. Our transition has to risk Eurocentrism, then start a fast getaway after the divide: globalization via localization. We are not talking about Western Civilization, or Europe .

Luther—and Münzer Luther’s ‘revolution’ is a geopolitical one, the decisive stroke against the theocratic empire of Christendom, and his ‘re-formation’ is the classic instance of the ‘relative transform’ effect, so characteristic of our eonic sequence: break off a piece of the prior state of affairs, and remorph that in a frontier effect. Neglected in the overall portrait is the German social revolution of 1625, and the appearance of the first of our radical eschatolotical champions of the proletariat, Münzer.

Machiavelli is often said to initiate the modern era of politics, but he is a perfectly Janus-faced figure, looking backward and forward at the same time. As our eonic system starts uphill on Mount Improbable, the world of the Borgias, and the anemic ‘renaissance’, are left behind, and the counsel to the Prince ends in ambiguity. Machiavellianism has no real status as an ‘eonic emergent’ except as a token of post-Christianity, but becomes a de facto pseudo-standard. But his classic reflections on republicanism will resurface in timely echo at the onset of the American Revolution and the complexity of the integration of separate components of that great new beginning of democracy, or republicanism, both echoes and transcends any interpretation of horizontal politics. Observe how Machiavellian real politik is outsmarted by the end of the transition as it touches the ideal, even as the politicians reclaim control of state systems, having learned nothing, but mouthing a different set of slogans.[i]

More’s Utopia One translator of More’s classic remarks that its position is like that of the baby of the Judgment of Solomon, Catholic tract or political manifesto? It is a premonition, at the least, of the last question spawned by our transition, gestating liberal worlds, the question of private property. In the relative transform of a genre created in antiquity, it spawns the ‘eonic emergence’ of the utopian genre, perhaps even the genre of science fiction. We should note that our eonic sequence deals in potentials, and utopianism is an exploration of potentiality in relation to horizontally causal history.[ii]

Copernicus The ‘eonic evolution of science’ in the form of a second Scientific Revolution, the Greek being the first, is a sixteenth century phenomenon, and the ‘great paradigm shift’ of the Copernican Revolution heralds the first order of business for our eonic sequence, the rebirth of Archimedean physics.

As we examine the modern transition, a puzzle resolved about the Greek Axial interval comes to light: why is the effect of the Greek transition so clustered after its divide, and why does the first half of the interval, in the Greek Dark Age, seem to be empty or invisible? In fact, we see the answer in the modern instance. The first half of our transition is hard to distinguish from the ‘Middle Ages’. The real onset of ‘modernity’ occurs in the seventeenth century after the closing of the Thirty Years War. The Greek Reformation, and the progression from monarchy, is there, if we care to look (eschewing overly precise analogies). The first visible effects of the Greek transition appear in the second half, in the eighth century BCE, visible in the Homeric starting point. In a strangely similar pattern, the modern transition really takes off in the generation after Shakespeare and Cervantes, with his Don Quijote, quite the modernist malgré lui.

Thus the Treaty of Westphalia tokens the clearing of the field as the seminal gestation of the Enlightenment begins with rise of modern science, philosophy, and the intimations of democracy. We see in the title of the great work by Copernicus, De Orbis Revolutionibus, that ushered in the Scientific Revolution both the unfolding, and a new signature definition, of the term ‘revolution of the ages’, with the ironic new modern meaning for the term, emerging in relation to the other.

The English Civil War The key to the politics of the coming new age is seen in the English Civil War. As Christopher Hill notes in The Century of Revolution, 1603-1714, “During the seventeenth century modern English society and a modern state began to take shape, and England’s position in the world was transformed”, and yet the transformation lies beyond the question of states, the German field having been almost torn to pieces, yet still exhibiting all the elements, by its end, of the transition. The German Aufklärung proceeds with or without a state. The seeds of the English exemplar will resurface in the American sidewinder in the emergence of the first great mass democracy—at the divide. Christopher Hill, in his The English Bible and the Seventeenth-century Revolution, notes the frequent observation that the English Revolution had no ‘ideological forebears’, that noone passing through it “knew they were living through a revolution”, often taking their cue from the Bible![iii]

Levellers and True Levellers The period of the English Civil War suddenly spawns a virtual hotbed of diverse and beautifully potential radical movements, from the Levellers to the Diggers and Ranters, prophetic in their import, and leaving behind a legacy that will resurface in the great moment of equalization that emerges at the divide. These virtual eonic emergents that soon disappear remind us that we can never finally conclude the outcomes of our transitions correspond fully to ‘what was intended’, so to speak. It wasn’t long before the same old elites reestablish control. The American Revolution will receive many of the influences appearing at this brief moment of historical self-consciousness.[iv]

A bloodless revolution As we examine the eonic sequence we see the danger in this kind of evolution with its frontier effect that certain eonic emergents will be left behind in the hopscotch between cultures, the Indic vegetarianism being one example. Yet if we examine the period of the English Revolution we notice the sudden appearance of a new modern vegetarianism, leaving us to wonder indeed at the nature of our eonic pattern. The modern transition will have a problem in leaving the Indic tradition behind. But we will see its efforts to compensate in the wake of the Enlightenment.[v]

Leviathan: Hobbes to Locke The first seventeenth plateau of the transition produces a recursion from beginnings of political science, with the brutal clarity of Hobbes’ opening note, followed by the essence of the future liberalism crystalling in Locke.[vi]

Birth of the Enlightenment The real beginning of the Enlightenment occurs in the seventeenth century with Descartes and Spinoza, and a host of other seminal premonitions of modernity…[vii]

The New Atlantis Our transition is not without prophets, in the true ‘eonic’ sense, and Francis Bacon, although now beset with the critiques of his enthusiasm, creates the ethos of innovation and technological liberation.[viii]

The eonic evolution of science Our rubric the ‘eonic evolution of X’ comes into its own as we observe the nicely scheduled re-ignition of science seen in the (second) Scientific Revolution in our eonic mainline. We should declare the case of the missing centuries solved in noting that the emergence of science is bound up in the ‘eonic determination’ of the eonic sequence. This raises the question of the contrasting ‘science as free action’ in the passage to the post-transition. Indeed the crystallization of ‘scientism’ shows just this effect.

The rise of a distinctly modern philosophy crystallizes with Descartes. As Bryan Magee notes in an account of Schopenhauer, the rise of modern philosophy shows a clear narrative that chaotifies after the period of Kant.[ix]

Descartes to Hume/Kant The course of Cartesian dualism haunts modernity from beginning to end, and yet if we feel the urge to the non-dual we should consider the plight of contemporary neuroscience shorn of dualistic ‘crudities’. Descartes did his work well, and describes the two-sided creature that will inherit the wasteland of Aristotle and Aquinas.[x]

Spinoza It would be hard to find two more ‘eonic’ beings than Descartes and Spinoza. Spinoza, as if in the first order of business for modernity, appears like an apparition in the Dutch Enlightenment, and produces the last Biblical apochrypha in his brilliant ‘exodus’, the invention of Biblical Criticism, pantheism, and the foundations of liberal secularism. His thinking proceeds underground then resurfaces at the Great Divide in the famous Pantheism debate.

Perhaps the true resolution is glimpsed at the threshold of awareness, as in Kant’s transcendental deduction:

The Rationalist Descartes takes the ‘I think’ to indicate the existence of a substance, distinct from the body. This ignores the important paradox concerning consciousness—which is that we cannot experience it, because it is experience. Hence, the saying “the I which sees itself cannot see itself”. Kant recognizes this paradoxical point and explains it. According to him, the ‘I’ is not an object of possible experience, because it is a presupposition of experience.[xi]

No Age of Revelation here. All you get is a ‘transcendental deduction’. The course of modern philosophy is reflected in this statement, in the endgame of Heidegger, and the postmoderns. As the modern transition takes off into its scientific fugue, Descartes produces a brilliant ‘fix’ or failsafe that will allow the work to be done by those destined to be left orphaned by the onset of reductionism and its myths, almost as pernicious in potential as those of fanatic monotheism. The work of Kant, and his descanting Schopenhauer, perfectly timed at the divide, will lift the question into a realm evocative of the Upansishads, as our eonic sequence comes full circle.

The New Physics The great glory of the modern transition is the birth of the New Physics, with the calculus of Newton and Leibnitz. But the monofocus on the majestic emergence of the new science distracts us from the more complex dynamics and interplay of ideas generated in our transition.

The Leibnitz-Clarke debate Our transition produces an improbable pearl-stringing sequence of exotic genius, and the counterpoint of two such, Newton and Leibnitz, can be seen in the so-called Leibnitz-Clarke interaction which tests the limits of the new physical world view precisely at its onset, resulting finally in the classic antinomies explored in the Kantian dialectic.[xii]

Analytical Mechanics The breakthroughs of Newton and the early physics develop by leaps and bounds and by the conclusion of the Enlightenment have transformed into the abstractions of analytical mechanics, the Laplacean moment, of causal physics matched by the Kantian extension, and this mechanics already seems to prophecy the coming Quantum Mechanics, which is born here, essentially, in tandem with Young’s wave theory of light. Even as physicalism spawns the reign of nineteenth century ‘frozen scientism’, physics has already, by the point of the divide, moved to a potentially deeper perspective.

Rebirth of teleology Newtonian science, in reaction to Aristotle, comes full circle with the appearance of a new teleological insight, quite inchoate, in the minimum principles of analytical mechanics.

The eighteenth century stages the classic second phase of the Enlightenment and this ends in the rushing cascade of the point of the Great Divide, the generation of revolutions and the emergence of capitalism. This period is massively packed with innovations in all areas and consists of multiple ‘enlightenments’, the French, English, German, Dutch, Scottish, American,…

Battle of The Ancients and Moderns The classic debate over modernity is the morning songbird of the birth of a new idea of progress, and the passage beyond the achievements of the ancients.[xiii]

Voltaire, Diderot, D’Holbach Voltaire and the philosophes are the spearhead for the secualization process inexorably springing from the Reformation. Diderot with his Encyclopedie tokens the ‘information revolutions’ to come. We should note that Voltaire was not an atheist. The rise of modern of atheism is ‘still another eonic emergent’, a long suppressed dialectical potential, no more, no less.

Rousseau and Kant Rousseau is in many ways a difficult figure to understand, in part because we think in terms of results, not in terms of the creative dialectical moments of true innovators. Rousseau  precipitates the reaction to Newtonianism, the democratic revolution in the evolutionary macro-action of equality/equalization, and is a direct influence on the Kantian analysis of the idea of freedom in the context of the New Physics.

The invention of autonomy Historians of this period are often describing processes of eonic emergence without realizing it. J. B. Schneewind traces the complex chords of the discovery of autonomy from the rebirth (relative transform) of natural law theory and climaxing in the moral philosophy of Kant.[xiv]

Perpetual Peace Kant is also the author of a famous essay on the emergence of an international system of peace, a text with traceable antecedents in the early modern, thence connected with the emergence of ‘just war’ philosophies. Alex Bellamy in Just Wars traces the tradition, appropriately (no accident!), to one eonic source, the Greek transition, “Between 700 and 450 BC, Greek city-states observed loose traditions aimed at limiting war…The Peloponesian War caused these customs to break down.” A double eonic emergent! Note the concordance as to periodization of the Peloponesian and First World Wars. Note the pre and post divide timing. We must be wary of what we call an eonic emergent in this case, and be ready to refine analysis, since the appearance of ‘jihad’ in the wake of the Israelitic corpus might also be called an eonic emergent, better in fact a degenerated mideonic echo. Our term, in this case, is too coarse-grained a sieve. Our model is too crude to solve the problem of war, indeed we see Hegel with dialectical precision fall in the trap with his remarks on warfare. At least we can be sure that our two-level analysis abstracts teleological unknowns from any connection to temporal drivers of warfare. Kant’s thinking at the divide point sounds the clarion call for peace, most eerily in its timing. [xv]

German Classical Philosophy Kant triggers one of the most remarkable surges of philosophical innovation in world history in the the tour de force sequence, Fichte, Schelling, and Hegel, concluding with Schopenhauer and Marx.[xvi]

Two meanings of historicism The period of Kant is flush with dialectical oppositions and the appearance of, and then conflict with, Herder, Hamman, and the Sturm und Drang, expressing the contradictions of our ‘idea for a universal history’, which we have put into our framework of ‘two, or multiple, universal histories’, in the twin levels of our eonic model. As our eonic sequence swings outward toward globalization the theme of universalism will require challenge from the ‘other’ universal histories in the garlanding of diversity against the dangers of Eurocentrism.

Birth of Romanticism Our eonic model instantly transposes our viewpoint into a larger context where the issue of modernity is not the ‘ism’ of the Enlightenment, but the concert of many eonic emergents, among them the contrary descant of Romanticism. The sudden flowering of poets near the divide challenges the emerging scientism with a chorus of contrary poetic music.

The Pantheism debate Spinoza resurfaces from the early modern just at our divide and is reckoned against Kant in what is really the climax of the Protestant Reformation.[xvii]

Aesthetics With roots once again in the seventeenth century, we see the birth of aesthetics as a modern discourse, the contribution of Kant, once again, standing out in the birth of the Romantic reaction to the Enlightenment. Kant’s third critique, paradoxically, almost has a greater influence than his first, in the reactions of Goethe and Schiller.[xviii]

Bach to Beethoven…to Wagner In a mystery of aesthetic dynamics we see the clear relative transform we call ‘classical music’ peaking in the Enlightenment/divide period, reaching its climax at a white heat in the music of Mozart and Beethoven. This eonic emergent starts falling apart at the end of the nineteenth century.

Utilitarianism Our deliberate over-emphasis on a Kantian perspective should not for a moment blind us to the immense potential spectrum (‘dialectic’) of our divide period, seeing, for example, the parallel birth of utilitarianism as an unmistakable eonic emergent, perfectly timed. Our transition is a multidimensional set of innovations.

Adam Smith Seen in context, Adam Smith, perfectly timed, is a champion of liberty, prior to the emergence of the capitalism he senses coming into existence. Note how Smith has clear roots in the transition, e.g. with figures such as Mandeville.

The eonic evolution of evolutionism The idea of evolution is reborn in the Enlightenment as an obvious eonic emergent, and finds its first true theorist in

Lamarck who produces the correct framework for a theoretical foundation of evolution in the double action of micro and macro factors…Darwinism will decline from this insight. This period also produces the teleomechanists, and the Naturphilosophen.

The period straddling 1800 periodizes as our transitional divide. The clustering of emergent processes is so massive as to be almost a dialectical flood. The transition to micro-action occurs within a half century.

The Great Divide Our transition is swiftly accomplished and gives rise to the sense of a divide. Such a massively packed point of innovation is the best evidence of our eonic model.

Discrete freedom sequence Like clockwork, 2400 years apart, from Solon to Tom Paine, the ratio of macro to micro-action spawns twice-born a democratic emergentism, just at a divide point. Now we see the logic of the mysterious timing of the great democratic revolution(s) of the end of the eighteenth century. Our calculus suggests that the divide line is the appropriate point for ‘free action’ to overtake ‘system action’ in the passage from eonic determination to free action, however ‘free’. The brilliance of the generation of Thomas Jefferson passes quickly to the crystallizing outcome in the world of the Age of Jackson, as a new democratic experiment takes its chances as free micro-action in the new mideonic period. The Athenian experiment lasted about two centuries. The year 2000 might prove ominous for the American experiment.

Abolitionism Out of the blue the abolitionists, appear just at the divide and the overcoming of the great curse of slavery is given its great historical first. The timing is almost uncanny, but our eonic model gives us the mysterious clue.[xix]

Human Rights A prime eonic emergent here is the concept of human rights which comes to the forefront in the eighteenth century, and along with it the (relative) transformation of concepts of natural law arrive just in time to stage an ideological accelerator for this period of revolutions.[xx]

Feminism A late-breaking eonic emergent (but we can see once again its sources in the seventeenth century), feminism is nonetheless another child of our transition, witness such figures as Wollenstonecraft, and its slow take-off in the nineteenth century will await fruition in the twentieth.

Trend toward equalization We can stand back for a moment to see how misleading Darwinian thinking is. Evolution responds to the ‘survival of the fittest’ with injected trends toward equalization. Twice in our eonic sequence, beginning with Axial Age, we see the eonic determination during phases of macro-action, of the evolutionary trend toward equalization. This emerges with unmistakable force in Rousseau, and we can see that the immediate tension arising in the contradictory new economic order. Equalization is an aspect of macroevolution.

Our transition draws to a conclusion with the great era of democratic revolutions, the passage to the new capitalism, the Industrial Revolution, as the nineteenth century begins the New Age proper of ‘modernity’, whose spectrum of opposites is a very balanced dialectic. Watered down renderings of secularism will tend to beggar this holistic totality.

The birth of liberalism  From the seventeenth century to the point of the divide we see the gestation of liberalism, climaxing in its take off in the generation of the great revolutions.

The American Revolution It is hard to think of a more stunning eonic phenomenon than the almost uncanny and magnificent emergence of the great American democratic experiment, perfectly timed at the Great Divide, and showing the massive improbability of so many creative political ‘revolutionaries’, from Jefferson to Thomas Paine. A frontier effect inside a frontier effect, our transition seems almost deliberately to stage its novelty in the geographical fringe area of the open Americas , free of the inertias of European political continuity. The switch-off between system action and free action is clearly visible at once in the drop to a cruder lower grade, but essential, ‘realization onset’, seen in Age of Jackson. Simply spectacular.

Tom Paine Like Spinoza and Kant, Thomas Paine is one of the most perfectly timed gremlins of the eonic effect, appearing in perfect concert, as if with a task to perform, the clarion of secularism, economic freedom, and democracy. Dying out of fashion, in his wake the contrary tide of American fundamentalism will rise to claim a democratic revolution it did not initiate.

Age of Reason Paine’s classic is accompanied by critiques of reason (reason noumenal or phenomenal?), and Hegel on Reason in History…

The rational the real? Our eonic model outflanks yet fulfills Hegel’s classic rumination on the rational as the real, one destined to chaotification short of our rigorous division of levels. We see the eonic sequence expresses an ideal while mideonic micro-action may or may not be so legitimated as rational.

Industrial Revolution Revolution indeed! We tend to see modernity as characterized by capitalism, but this is misleading. Emergent capitalism is a classic ‘eonic emergent’ in the larger system of the modern transition. This ‘relative transform’ reinvents the already existing forms of commercial economy at a new level of technology and a new level of economic philosophy, or ideology.

The French Revolution to 1848 The same eonic characterization is deserved by the French Revolution, whose fate is to become the controversially ambiguous ‘failure’ of the period of the Great Terror. The democratic future will be endlessly delayed by the reactionary formations haunting the comparison with the American exemplar. The French Revolution also shows intimations of the nineteenth ‘far left’ emerging in the wake of the revolutions of 1848.

Tom Paine and the sans-culottes Paine has a close call with the sans-culotttes…The progression from the American to the French Revolution uncovers the latent contradictions in the liberal revolution as an eonic emergent as the element of class warfare enters with the birth of the step child ‘socialism’, and Graccus Babeuf’s timely appearance at the first of the fake Thermidors.

Is there a Kantian Babouvism? The latent contradiction is expressed perfectly in the ambiguities of the classic liberal Kant’s categorical imperative, and an antinomy of teleological judgment with respect to the ‘end(s) of history’, Babeuf to Marx, via Hegel.

Napoleon at Jena Laplace whispers in his ear…Hegel…

The Restoration Is conservativism an eonic emergent? The incomprehending Burke, oblivious to his surroundings, nonetheless exposes the contradictory logic of revolution, as the drama of action and reaction play themselves out, from the streets to Paris to the Commune.


Modern science…to scientism We have flipped the balance in our selection of eonic emergents away from the main event, the spectacular surge of modern science, toward the softer sounds of the multiple garlands of other emergent processes prone to being drowned out in the roaring thunder of the scientific revolution, cresting at the divide, onward through the nineteenth century. This temporary operational bias is easily corrected, and will itself correct our mesmerized focus on the science stream. This transition is almost overwhelmed by modern science, and yet, not. Kant with austere elegance poses the idea of freedom in a complement to the Newtonian triumph.

Schopenhauer The philosopher Schopenhauer, in parallel opposition with Hegel, produces a brilliant Kantian seed ‘sutra’ of superior quality to the decayed Upanishadism that will overwhelm Enlightenment discourse with another version of that term. The two neatly express a Buddhist and Christian line of realization.

Phenomenologies of spirit We have devised a means to outflank Hegelian metaphysics for an age of scientism, and yet we must pause to confess our wonder at the magnificent completion of the Protestant Reformation seen in its genuine ‘prophet’, the philosopher Hegel, and his version upgrade of archaic ‘god talk’. This instant archaeological monument shows us an eonic observer first sensing the eonic effect, and giving expression, as did the creators of the Old Testament, to the eonic character of a transition in the eonic sequence.

Was Hegel an atheist? Enough to ask, we need not answer what some have asked. Camouflaged for the age of the Restoration Hegel’s Concept sublates theism/atheism into a philosophy of religion that will soon be swept aside in the scientific revolution, yet one that carries the hidden dialectic that will haunt the age of scientism.

Manchester…and the birth of ‘socialism’ The rushing logic of the modern transition shows the first signs of jackknife as the bourgeois revolution is sublated into a prophetically envisioned and renewed democratic revolution: a socialism of the proletariat, in a negation of the first outcome of revolution. The question of private property is too basic for easy revisions and the result will be the birth of a floating fourth turning point ideology.

Young Hegelians, Left Hegelians In the collapse of the Hegelian movement the secular era of modernity comes into its own, soon weighted down with the implications of metaphysical materialism and scientific positivism. Karl Marx carries the day with the last stage of liberalism remorphing into an ideology of mideonic ‘floating fourth turning points’.

1848: Marx, Schopenhauer,,… Was Marx a frustrated ‘transcendental idealist’? The strange fissions of the ‘Concept’ show us two figures on opposite sides of the barricades of 1848, and it is strange that Marx’s philosophy of history could so easily have been cast with a non-positivistic foundation. Wagner is there, and will attempt the perhaps failed, perhaps iself tragic, art-politics of the aesthetic state in his realization of his operatic labors.

We have garlanded just a few of the ‘eonic emergents’ and ‘relative transforms’ that characterize the modern transition. It is difficult to grasp the way so many creative individuals and innovations are clustered in the short rush of three centuries, with its climax at the point of the divide. We can see all at once that the explanation is eonic, and that such perfect timing reflects our frequency hypothesis.

System shutdown By the very nature of our model, we can see that the factor of macro ‘system action’, being intermittent, will wane and micro free action will rise to fill the void, with potentially ambiguous results. We see this effect clearly in the nineteenth century, despite its explosion of changes and innovations. The deep action of the early modern is at the source in almost every case. The dangers of chaotification or derailment are ever-present, and with the First World War and the Holocaust we see the first of the mideonic calamities possible in this eonic progression. Take the measure of the modern transition: its action is at all points benign, then it stops. The continuations of completely uncomprehending politicians can wreak havoc in the outcome. Please note that scientism, Darwin, Nietzsche, come well after the divide point and yet rapidly purloin the definition of the Enlightenment.

 Zooming in, zooming out We have done a kind of ‘hundred yard dash’ through the modern transition, culling a short list of eonic emergents, just on the verge of a more intensive look. We need to do the exercise many times from different viewpoints. We should, just here, before losing the forest in the trees, also zoom out to see the context against the backdrop of world history with just enough to see the clustering effect that once seemed like discontinuity but now seems like fullness.



   Web:  chap6_1_1.htm


[i] J. G. A. Pocock, The Machiavellian Moment (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1975).

[ii]Thomas More, Utopia, trans. Paul Turner (New York: Penguin, 1965).

[iii] Christopher Hill, The English Bible and the Seventeenth-Century Revolution (New York: Penguin, 1993), p. 7-8. Christopher Hill, The Century of Revolution, 1603-1714 (New York: Norton, 1961), p. 1.

[iv] Christopher Hill, The World Turned Upside Down (New York: Penguin, 1991).

[v] Tristram Stuart, A Bloodless Revolution ( New York : Norton, 2006).

[vi] Craig Thomas, From Here To There (New York: HarperPerennial, 1991), Peter Schouls, Reasoned Freedom: John Locke and Enlightenment (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1992).

[vii] Jonathan Israel, Radical Enlightenment: Philosophy and the Making of Modernity 1650-1750 ( Oxford : Oxford University Press, 2002), Paul Hazard, The European Mind (New York: Penguin, 1964).

[viii] Charles Witney, Francis Bacon and Modernity (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1986).

[ix] “I have shown how, when the mainstream of modern philosophy ran up against transcendental idealism it ceased to flow along a single current and ramified into various channels.” Bryan Magee, The Philosophy of Schopenhauer (New York: Clarendon, 1997), p. 96.

[x] William Bluhm, Force or Freedom? (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1984), Jerrold Seigel, The Idea Of The Self ( New York : Cambridge University Press, 2005).

[xi] Garrett Thomson, On Kant (Belmont, Ca.: Wadsworth , 2000).

[xii] Sadik Al-Azm, The Origins of Kant’s Arguments in the Antinomies ( New York : Oxford University Press, 1972. John Randall, The Career of Philosophy, Vol II (New York: Columbia University Press , 1965).

[xiii] Joseph Levine, The Battle of the Books: History and Literature in the Augustan Age (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1994).

[xiv] J. B. Schneewind, The Invention of Autonomy (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998).

[xv] Alex Bellamy, Just Wars ( Malden , MA : Polity, 2006).

[xvi] Terry Pinkard, German Philosophy 1760-1860 ( Cambridge : Cambridge University Press, 2002).

[xvii] Frederick Beiser, The Fate Of Reason (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1987).

[xviii] Luc Ferry, Homo Aestheticus, The Invention of Taste In The Democratic Age (Chicago: Chicago University Press, 1990).

[xix] Eric Metaxas, Amazing Grace ( San Francisco : HarperSanFrancisco, 2007).

[xx] Lynn Hunt, Inventing Human Rights ( New York : Norton, 2007).





Last modified: 09/28/2010