History, Evolution, and The Darwin Debate

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The eonic effect, and the pieces of a puzzle

December 15th, 2008 · No Comments

One of the reasons that people might have difficulties with the World History And The Eonic Effect is that its depiction is tied to a set of facts, and what that needs for the depiction, not to the needs of the reader, who is confronted with something totally unexpected and, at first, unfamiliar.
But the overall analysis ties together so many different pieces of a puzzle that we sense, however accurate the ‘snapshot’, that the eonic model can’t be wrong. It is implausible that it could be wrong, whatever the meaning of the result!

A short selection from the book on this:

It is useful to consider the strange implications of what we have found [the eonic effect]. A truly extraordinary number of puzzles join together as one puzzle: issues of the Axial Age, religion, democracy, philosophic history, theories of the rise of civilization, birth of the modern, the mystery of Archaic Greece and the Old Testament, and a host of other questions. We can see that world history shows coherence, directionality, and that this reconciles the paradox of the transition from evolution to history. To see so many independent pieces of evidence interconnected increases the odds against chance in this pattern. Our apparatus of transitions soon yields to ‘understanding by coherence’ as the meaning of history begins to emerge, and our scaffolding yields to the particular after its bout with the universal.
Punctuated equilibrium Although we should be wary of the term, since it has already been used by Darwinists in a different sense, we can see that our pattern corresponds almost perfectly to something we might call ‘punctuated equilibrium’, using the dictionary meanings of the words. We see three punctuations interspersed with equilibria. ‘Disequilibrization’ would work as well since our punctuations are stirring the history stream out of equilibrium into an active state. Having made our point, we will discontinue use of the phrase from now on.
Levels of selection Ironically, one of the concerns of Darwinists in exploring punctuated equilibrium was the issue of ‘levels of selection’. We can see that the eonic sequence operates at the level of selection of whole time-slices of cultural streams!
Our use of ‘discontinuity’ was descriptive, although it seems to suggest something ‘switching’ at regular intervals. In one way, it is like raising contrast in a gray photograph, suddenly the picture stands out. We must be careful here and not speculate. All we can say is that data that fits this method of discontinuous periodization is operating on two levels. The deeper level we never see. No matter how hard we try we will never through increased data ‘see’ that deeper level. The smile of the Cheshire cat is just fading away as we zoom in or out. We can elaborate at length on what we have, but we are essentially done. The strangeness of the result springs we can guess from the hidden teleology of a system that operates on a global scale. All we see is the ‘change of direction’, directionality, as a smoke detector for some teleology.
It should be called ‘the’ pattern for there is only room for one elephant, so to speak, and this pattern, apart from its extraordinary character, is also the most ordinary and obvious answer to the quest for such a constellation. This does not preempt whatsoever the possibilities of other independent cultural evolutions, other patterns, or causal studies of independent processes, such as the history of technology or economy. Far from it, the very nature of this pattern, by its intermittency, operates as a series of relative transformations on a greater whole whose independent motions are a given.
The difference between ‘the’ pattern, and ‘a’ pattern can be controversial indeed, in the sense of ideological issues. Recall our statements about two universal histories. We have made this safe from ideologues, up to a point. Be wary however. Our two levels answer to this issue directly. The highest directs traffic, the broader level is the stuff of human history. The master sequence pushes us to new heights but in and of itself does nothing. We can both adopt the stance of science yet at the same time affirm our thesis as ‘advisory’, rather than final. Note however the irony, that this result is actually a full challenge to Darwin’s claim on the descent of man. We can explore the result. The point is that we operate on the assumption of something like ‘flat history’. A careful examination of the data shows that assumption to be very dubious, however strange the alternative.
The pursuit of patterns of universal history has gone on and on, yet within the space of a few pages we have the result, a pattern of world history, and, whatever the difficulties, a very strong result, almost without trying, using plain vanilla historical blocks, sometimes merely changing labels, e.g. medieval extended to become ‘mideonic’. We succeeded because we stayed out of trouble with causal reductionism and made the critique of such our starting point.

Tags: Third Edition · World History and The Eonic Effect

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