7. Conclusion

Modernism, Eurocentrism, Imperialism, and 'Western' Civilization


Section 7.3.1

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

     7.3.1 Modernism, Eurocentrism, Imperialism, and 'Western' Civilization


Despite the easy sense of coherence generated by the perception of the eonic effect, we are nonetheless left with a model of history that requires care in its use, and we must move to remind ourselves of the limits of such models. Whatever else he was, Darwin was no sentimentalist and wished to confront what he thought, in part incorrectly, was the dark side of evolutionary emergence. But his views are misleadingly nihilist and threaten to blind us to the evolution toward the ideal that we see in the eonic sequence. Despite our critique of natural selection we can see that evolution of any kind is likely to be a tale full of sound and fury. But why is that? Precisely because man cannot respond to the injunction toward ethical action. Realist, Machiavellian politics, degeneration into imperialism, all at once the status of these strains is bankrupted by the perception of the ethical ideal latent in the eonic sequence. The result is ominous: most of history is degraded by human action. Our eonic sequence controls only the basics of eonic emergence, and then only up to a point, the rest is beyond its control. It rushes in with ‘religions’ of distributed ethical promulgation, but these also fall out of the mainline. We can see that most politics is a play of, at best, tragic heroes. Has not the tragic genre shown eonic determination in this regard? Beside a Kantian ethical enquiry, where is the deduction of principles for Machiavellian real politik? Nowhere to be found. Politicians have hijacked history, the inherent dilemma of the state. Wasn’t slavery  necessary for man’s early development? Doubtful indeed. With the coming of abolition far more complex projects were managed properly without slavery! What about the Pyramids? In fact, the project was carried out with pampered artisans, no? Otherwise it was a mistake! Awaken from the nightmare of ape history, a complete waste! The eonic sequence is no part of human savagery. It waits just roundabout the zoo, then ‘new ages’ and forgets the past, starting over in a discrete series.

We have found something genuine that is broader, and that, to a first look, seems entirely benign in its action, if only because it expresses some ideal beyond the actual realization of its potential in historical action. Its keynote is compassion, and it almost seems to reflect a categorical imperative in action. But the fact must be faced that eonic evolution on the surface of a planet has its own liabilities and accidents. In fact, for this reason we have retreated altogether from the affirmations of theism/atheism into a kind of neutrality about what seems the latent agency in our description of self-organization. Systems analysis is the only safe approach. At the same time we should note that in virtually all cases, despite seeming exceptions, the action of the eonic sequence stands beyond the actual outcomes of its progression, and always proceeds toward an upgrade from savage activities. This is embedded in the crucial distinction of macro-action and micro-action, and finally its source in the type of discrete-continuous model we have proposed. This allows us, most usefully, to cite teleological questions without ever committing ourselves to teleology as such. Like the man with the million pound note we are operating on credit with the idea of teleology. We take out small loans with the idea of ‘historical directionality’, whose historical givenness grants us intimations of a noumenal ‘teleology’, about which we can say nothing finally.

In the question of the modern transition, these dilemmas become especially acute in the way in which localization, as it proceeds toward globalization, finds our system almost crashing as the high octace of macroevolution, always in short supply, yields suddenly to a situation dependent on the individuals in place, micro-action. This is clearly reflected in our ambivalence towards the realization of modernism, clearly arising in the nineteenth century in the distortions of economy, rising imperialism, and the false implications of Eurocentrism. In fact our model resolves all these issues, but that is all too easy to say. In any case, we see that

1. Modernism is an expression of an eonic transition in a larger sequence, not the ‘evolution’ of the culture that expresses it,

2. Eurocentrism is therefore an illusion created by a system operating on the principle of a frontier effect,

3. Imperialism is an egregious side-effect of the eonic sequence, showing no good validations in the periods of transitions. Imperialisms arise as low octane jackbooters take over the ecumenization implied by the eonic sequence. Our eonic sequence always preps in advance the stages of diffusion with instruments of ethical action, but it cannot enforce these. It does not control its mideonic eras, or the zones beyond the fringes of transitional regions (indeed, not even its transition cores). The great religions, in their mysterious timing, prepare the ground for these interactions, but by the time they realize themselves in history they have passed into micro-action, with contradictory results.

4. One confusion in this situation is the illusion that something called ‘Western’ Civilization is in some fashion a superior manifestation of ‘historical destiny’, when it fact we see that this is largely a reflection of its place in the eonic sequence whose coin and currency is not the ‘civilization’. It is simply not helpful to think in terms of civilizations, since our eonic sequence does not honor this distinction.

The scale of the eonic sequence is dangerously beyond the generations of men and their imperfect records of history. Our sequence gives ample preparation for the stage of ecumenization as if to sound the chords of ‘moral urging’, the default task of religion, in the execution of micro-action, but a sermon at one epoch is hard-pressed to reach the ears of descendant rogues several millennia later. Where was the vision of Axial cultural integration at the discovery of the Americas and its holocaust of indigenous peoples. The eonic sequence is on a different time-scale.



   Web:  chap7_3_1.htm





Last modified: 10/04/2010