6. Transition and Modernity

Theory and Ideology: 
Out of Revolution 


Section 6.5.2

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

6.5.2 Theory and Ideology: Out of Revolution


It is ironic that we only begin to observe the eonic effect as we exit its period of action, and as we pull away from the modern transition we are left to wonder if we are at the end of a major evolutionary interval, or whether once again we will fall into the confusions of the post-Axial period with its decline from creativity and advance. It seems that our observation of the phenomenon signals the end of its returns and that we are left to the realization of our evolved freedom in a future of our own creation. 

We are left with a sense of wonder, and the realization of the operation of a larger dynamic, even as we witness a rebirth of freedom in its wake. This double birth of democracy in an exact timing is eerie in its strange precision in the silence of the ages, and a clue to the reality of directional evolution. And, having evolved toward freedom, we must wonder if we will witness once again the cycles of decline and fall, as if in a recurrence of Roman libertas proceeding to Roman imperium. In fact, the ironic aspect of our eonic pattern is that we become aware of it only as its action concludes, and we enter a new future where our evolving freedom passes into our own potential, and we are left with the existential sense of our aloneness as we grapple with a mystery that is incompletely known to us.

As we contemplate the future of our own freedom we are left with the paradoxes of slow and fast evolution, and of revolutionary action, whose basic question is, how do we bring about historical change. This is a moment worthy of the comment of Engels, stripped of its capitalist versus socialist trappings:

The objective, external forces which have hitherto dominated history will then pass under control of men themselves. It is only from this point that men, with full consciousness, will fashion their own history; it is only at this point that the social causes set in motion by men will have, predominantly and in constantly increasing measure, the effects willed by men. It is humanity’s leap from the realm of necessity to the realm of freedom.

 Engels’ language on paper is perfect, in light of our thesis, but the reality that we observe in the progression of civilizations is something vastly more complex than historical materialism can explain. And the attempt by Marx to create a theory of revolutions after the example of the French Revolution and Hegelian dialectic is unsound. The importance of their commentary lies in the way they pointed out the contraction of meaning in the idea of freedom around economic freedom, in the sense of the elite manipulation of economies. It is remarkable this ‘second opinion’ rushed into the fray, but unfortunately the critique was flawed.

The ambiguity of ‘revolution’ We can see that as we exit the eonic sequence we will be driven to either go into decline or conceive some substitute for the eonic transitions visible behind us. The concoctions of spurious revolutionary theory in Marx and Engels are the perfect example. With a better sense of the vastness of the eonic dynamic we can remain less naïve about the transformation of whole civilization. The eonic effect shows us ‘revolutions’ done right!

We can see that it is almost science fiction to expect that human free will could as yet control processes of evolution operating over tens of millennia! And this realization shows us the problematical character of the revolutions of the left attempting to recreate society. That is not an argument against revolutions: the rise of modern shows that revolutions are the key to that rise. The left adopted an ideology of revolution, and we can see that, in light of the eonic effect, a Burkean faith in the slow evolution of society is misplaced, and yet at the same time we can see why simple gestures of political revolution have so often proved to be illusions. We can see that ‘revolution’ is correlated with our eonic sequence, but it does not follow that the model of a revolution corresponds to what we call a ‘transition’. The sober reality is that the liberal revolutions gestating in the early modern, and climaxing in the period of the French Revolution stand in a direct association with our eonic systematics, while the anti-liberalism of the nineteenth century left that arose from Marxism seems to have misunderstood the dynamics of historical motion. By making socialism a negation of a liberalism Marx’s theories produced nothing but confusion. Since socialism is an idea that came into being in the context of democratic revolution, it is a mystery why such poor leadership vitiated the idea at the dawn of democratic republicanism.

 Our eonic portrait, closing on the present, moves between the ur-liberalism of the seventeenth century in the wake of the Thirty Years War and the far left of the nineteenth century, which is just as well, and leaves the reader either in a large library or on the barricades. But a leftist of our own times must ask himself why the initiatives of the nineteenth century far left were unreasonably off the mark and ended in such catastrophe.

We can see how all the effort in our transition works toward one result, basic liberalism, while the effort, post-transition, to modify this outcome is too thin a soup to start from scratch after the main event, and doomed to jackknife against the momentum of renewal created. We should also note how the implicit prediction of this lurks in Kant’s Challenge, as an ‘antinomy of teleological judgment’ haunts the false sense of an end state.

It’s not the end of history but the dawn of a New Age, and if the starting point has a problem we should be ready for ‘mideonic course corrections’. We have consistently critiqued Marx’s theories, but he keeps sneaking back into the picture. It can’t be otherwise, because basic contradictions lurk in the capitalist assembly of atomized individuals seeking to maximize utility. All the refutations of Marx forget a simple fact: atomized individuals at the wrong end of the market game may seek to maximize utility via class struggle and revolution.

Since by the structure of the argument we have invoked Kant and given classic liberalism a one-lap advantage this is hardly bias, but a recommendation to embrace the entire spectrum of dialectic from Luther to Marx in the year 1848. This year also sees Schopenhauer offering his opera glasses to a soldier in the revolutionary broils. Despite his ahistorical Buddhist strain, he stumbled backwards into another resolution of universal histories. There also we find Wagner, a cultural derelict of this period, about to proceed from the left to his reactionary views chasing the phantom of the aesthetic state., an idea destined to shipwreck at the hands of Hitler. By this point the classic German philosophy has bifurcated into separate streams as the chaotification of ideologies proceeds. And the concealed Platonic authoritarianism, Kant only exempt, and often charged against the metaphysical tradition pitted against the Lockes, resurfaces with a vengeance to befuddle the left.

The situation is not complex. Our system is injecting a trend toward equalization, Solon, now Rousseau, both perfectly timed in the mechanization of equalization, and undergoes a convulsion. Our divide era has passed yet even the abolition of slavery is incomplete. What are the rights of one class against another in the woes of world history? It is worth reading Hegel at this point. The credentials of a conservative noting in some alarm the incomplete and contradictory result of the liberal systems is unsettling. It is no use speaking of the glories of the market if King Leopold destroys ten million Africans and there exists no system to challenge that on a global basis. We see the resulting anger of Lenin at a critical moment and the even worse futility of the attempted correction. Marx’s theories are poorly constructed, but his basic insight has proven all too prophetic. We need not agree with Marx to see the cogency of his critique of Hegel on ‘Right’, the starting point of his and Engels’ strange career. But Stalin’s reading of this should remind us that nature in its wisdom shows an emergentism of renewed natural law theory in our core transition, the tool to get the job done, prior to philosophical tinkering. But we seem to lost this option. Nature is waiting for man to produce a system of free and equal men. Five thousand years is enough. The climax of the modern transformation falls into place around this dilemma of equality

We end therefore in the year 1848, whose ambiguities of incomplete transformation beggar easy hopes of the ‘end of history’ conception, and should serve as a reminder of the principle liability warned of by these seminal times, the manufacture of social identity as ideology in the emergence of a new economic order. Our system is not ending, but new-aging. Humanity cannot afford again after two promptings of nature to slide back into a baboonery of lords and ladies.

We are left with Engels’ hope that man can learn to transcend the mechanization of forces of history to recast his evolutionary free action as genuine freedom in an intelligent global ‘commune’ of true men, able to apply direction to econostream without exploitation, and realize the potential of techno-sequence without Faustian hubris, as the tide of human self-consciousness rises to meet and surpass the social forms appearing in phase in a new sequence of his own making that might be called Civilization  for the first time.



   Web:  chap6_5_2.htm





Last modified: 09/28/2010