1.3 A Riddle Resolved: The Eonic Effect

Our snaphot of world history has uncovered almost without trying the presence of a non-random pattern of universal history by simple inspection. This pattern of self-organization can give us an empirical basis for considering the questions of human evolution. Instead of speculative theories like Darwinism we can discover a sense of universal history, thence evolution, purely empirically. To sure, ‘facts’ are seen from a particular perspective, but this doesn’t alter the basic finding.
Our suspicion is confirmed that high-speed change can occur on the scale of just a few centuries, witness the Axial Age. And this effect shows us that evolution is hiding behind history in the form of a series of intervals of rapid emergence. World history yields its secret to simple periodization and shows from the invention of writing a clear developmental sequence, with a question mark about its probable source in the period of the Neolithic, the natural starting point for the rise of civilization. The great clue of the Axial Age suddenly provided the gestalt of a larger system at work. The Israelites were right, there is a process of greater evolutionary dynamism that frets the universal history of man.
The Eonic Effect: the hidden structure in world history We can call that sequence of three transitions and the epochs in between them the ‘eonic effect’, as a sequence of three epochs, and note the way that this pattern suggests ‘evolution’ at work, ‘evolution of some kind’. It is at first illogical, it seems, to confound evolution and history. But with a little reflection we will see, first, that the two must be logically connected, and, second, that the data we are discovering directly confirms that logic. This evolutionary sequence is a robust empirical foundation for understanding world history, in the context of evolution.
The relationship of evolution to history must resolve a paradox. The passage between the two could not take place instantaneously. It might show a series of transitional intervals that are evolutionary from one perspective and historical from another. But that is just what we are seeing: a series of ‘axial intervals’ or transitions that express a kind of evolutionary advance, and the epochs in between them that seem to express the historical carrying out or fulfillment of those transitions. What is remarkable is that we see this in historical times, and in a fashion documented by the rise of the technology of writing. It is futile to say that evolution must be purely genetic, since we can see that the ‘evolution’ of civilization is something more.
We have the first glimpse into the nature of human evolution: it is a larger process than the purely genetic development of the human organism. And we can see its last stages in the emergence of civilization. There are many more things to consider here as we proceed, but we have the basic insight into how we can revise our views of the meaning of evolution.

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