7. Conclusion

The Eonic Effect As a Resolution of Kant's Challenge


Section 7.2

World History 
And The Eonic Effect

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





7. Conclusion  
     7.1 History and Evolution: A Paradox Resolved 
        7.1.1 Transition and Divide: A New Perspective on Modernity 
    7.2 The Eonic Effect As a Resolution of Kant's Challenge      
      7.2.1 Freedom’s Causality, Teleology and Politics  
        7.2.2 Free Will, Moral Action, and Self-consciousness       
     7.3 Will Democracy Survive? Toward A Postdarwinian Liberalism    
      7.3.1 Modernism, Eurocentrism, Imperialism, and 'Western' Civilization
        7.3.2 Ecological Endgames: A Tyranny Of Markets
     7.4 Ends and Beginnings       
     7.5 Critique of Historical Reason  
        7.5.1 Spengler, Toynbee, and Cyclical Theories 
        7.5.2 Is There a Postmodern Age?  
        7.5.3 Evolution and The Idea of Progress
        7.5.4 The Case of the Missing Centuries 
     7.6  Beyond Darwinism: A Theoretical Self-Defense
         7.6.1 The Meaning Of Evolution
         7.6.2 The Great Transition



    World History And The Eonic Effect: Fourth Edition

     7.2 The Eonic Effect As a Resolution of Kant's Challenge


We can now see that the eonic effect shows in elegant fashion the resolution of Kant’s Challenge. A Kantian perspective can give a clearer indication on the question of the ‘end of history’, or lack of it, than the Hegelian philosophy of history. As we study world history with our ‘eonic periodization’, we suddenly see over the long range of the eonic sequence the resolution of Kant’s challenge: a regular movement in the play of human freedom is almost instantly demonstrable from the eonic effect, and the result shows a cousin resemblance to Kant’s Third Antinomy . Our data shows this at a glance: we notice our three turning points show precisely a movement in the play of freedom as the levels os System Action and Free Action alternate in degrees of freedom.

Idea of a Universal History Note that as we proceed from a provisional idea for a universal history to an idea of a universal history: the question is resolved. We can see that, contrary to expectation and the standard views of history, we can detect a ‘regular movement’ in the play of freedom of the human will. This is our eonic sequence, with its cyclical emergentism based on ‘free action’ under ‘eonic determination’. We have created a terminology for a special subpattern, of the eonic sequence, the discrete freedom sequence, which throws especial light on the question. We can see that the eonic effect corresponds exactly to the implied question given in what we have called Kant’s Challenge. Our model resolves Kant’s Challenge, but that is not the same as ‘fully solved’. We are later, but not outside of history.

Our discrete-continuous sequence follows this ‘regular movement’ precisely in almost eerie fashion, with the (relative transform) evolution of the state, religion, science, philosophy, all major categories of civilization, in the cowcatcher mainline of the eonic sequence. Problem solved: world history shows directionality, purposive evolution, incremental progress toward ‘civil constitutions’, perfect or imperfect, and the unfolding of ‘nature’s secret plan’ (in quotation marks). It is highly unlikely there could be any other solution to this Challenge from Kant. This is a strong, because limited, result, one that uses only large-scale blocks of history, simple periodization, and metaphysical austerity, generic history by the book. No ‘theory’ is invoked or required for the result, which is therefore a form of direct ‘pointing to’. It is probably the case that the dynamic of this system relates to the category of the ‘noumenon’ and is forever beyond observation, which will provoke a review of various Hegelian issues, Hegel being one of the first to respond to Kant’s essay. Kant’s Challenge, however, only asks for a regular movement in the play of freedom. Hegel’s philosophy of history, his metaphysical system apart, doesn’t see the eonic effect, and kludges an argument by design  to get his result.

History on one level is the field of free activity operating in open-ended fashion on the surface of a planet. Yet if we attend to this ‘play of freedom’ as global fields of free action we can easily detect a regular movement in it, the eonic effect, although only in a limited snapshot since the onset of higher civilization and the keeping of records. This regular movement is overlaid on the flat distribution of general history and is directly associated with the eonic generation of civil infrastructure, starting with the statist emergentism visible in Dynastic Sumer and Egypt, the birth of the great religions and democracy in the second, and the resurgence of democracy in the third. In general a far more complex description is required of the fuzzy term ‘democracy’ in terms of incipient republican conceptions and much else. Further we see that this regular movement tends to be in counterpoint to the mideonic fall off into empire taken by a failed ersatz construct between state and its defined boundaries in the context of globalization. This pattern clearly raises the issue of teleology, and is also complicated by the distinction between relative free action and system generation. Freedom generated by eonic determination cannot be purely free, and the jumpstart process visible in the regular movement can only assist but not determine the free action beset with the need to self-initiate its own freedom.

Kant’s essay contains more than the first paragraph we have allotted ourselves, e.g. the idea of ‘Nature’s Secret Plan’, and the ‘progress toward a perfect civil constitution. Wary of hypostatized language such as ‘Nature’s Secret Plan’ we nonetheless see the unfolding of a coherent evolutionary or ‘eonic directionality’, suspicious an alternation sequence produces an historically given representation of some teleological process. The resolution of Kant’s Challenge, as a political problem, can be seen directly in the discrete freedom sequence.

 As to the progress toward a perfect civil constitution we see at once using periodization:

TP1 birth of the state, ‘freedom’ in the state

TP2 discrete freedom sequence, ecumenical religions

TP3 discrete freedom sequence, dialectic of state in contradiction, freedom from state

We don’t associate the birth of the State with freedom, but pace Hegel, it is easily seen to join the list. The same problem seems to be the case with the great religions in the emergence of the perfect civil constitution, because a secular New Age is reacting against theocratic regimes, starting with Luther. In its original context, however, the connection is graphically obvious.

The plight of the Israelites, the source of a transcultural ecumenical religion, is a nationalistic one, and the Old Testament core is a state ideology which then flows into its mideonic field transforming into a universal religion, and then turning into an ideology of empire. In a model of the eonic type we don’t need to claim this succeeded or that its emergence represents an ‘end of history’ solution. Compare the anti-statism of the Buddhist Sangha, in parallel, as a group (with decided political ambitions) of ‘drop outs’ at the fringes of the State.

Quite obviously the modern transition reacts against these, but that doesn’t disqualify them from being ‘evidence of the progression toward a perfect civil constitution’. Since they were imperfect, they appear to be in the process of being bypassed.

The ancient failure of democracy in the discrete freedom sequence, and its consequent reappearance on cue in the eonic mainline is, therefore, the strongest candidate with almost spectacular eonic structure, and Hegel springs into action defending it. Hegel’s ‘end of history’ perception suffers an excessive sense of linear history. We see that he is championing the eonic emergence of liberal systems without realizing it. It is not the end of history as much as the reemergence of freedom at the dawn of a new era, at the ‘end of a transition’, and the need to maintain that freedom against mideonic retrogression. There the question of ‘economic freedom’ emerges to bedevil the whole mix.



   Web:  chap7_2.htm





Last modified: 10/04/2010