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‘Big History’ done right: the eonic model

August 14th, 2009 · 1 Comment

The other day we discussed John Dean’s essay on Big History at Truthdig: ‘Big History’ and World History And The Eonic Effect

It is a great idea, but there should be two complementary definitions: big history in the horizontal sense, and big history in a kind of vertical dimension, macro-history as opposed to micro-history.
The real issue is the idea that ‘Big History’ can resolve the problems with a science of history. But the resolution of that is not so simple and isn’t achieved by applying Darwinism to historical analysis.
In fact, ‘big history’ done right, well, consider the eonic model.
from The Legacy Of Darwinism

A science of history? The question of a science of history provokes a contradiction as an antinomy of causality and freedom: in the stance of science, there must be a science of history, but in the consideration of freedom there cannot be a science of history. This variant of a classic Kantian antinomy is resolved in a dialectic that ‘somehow’ unites both thesis and antithesis, and bursts asunder the limits of space-time in the context of a discovered analog to ‘transcendental idealism ’, the classic companion to Newtonianism. If we connect this to our question, when did evolution stop and history begin? we can precipate the same antinomy for earlier ‘evolution’. The Darwinian framework is inadequate for this situation. As we will see there can be a science of history: this requires an evolutionary basis, and a mediation of causality and freedom together, a strange requirement, one most surprisingly satisfied, and very exactly, by the data of the eonic effect . We must connect history and evolution in a new way, and this can be found if we pursue a ‘science of freedom’, in the resolution of the paradox of determinism. We can bring evolution into history by asking still another paradoxical question, Has man become ‘homo sapiens’ yet, by ‘evolving freedom’ (according to various definitions of freedom)? If man is ‘not yet free’ the ‘evolving freedom’ must show a macro aspect, otherwise, as his freedom evolves, man’s self-evolution will become a micro process, exiting from evolution in our Great Transition. In fact, as we discover the eonic effect we see that nature provides us with the elegant and simple solution to these enigmas of the descent of humans. We will adopt a rubric of ‘self-consciousness’ as the intermediate transitional category, compatibalist with respect to causality and freedom.

A Science of Freedom? The idea of a ‘science of freedom’ emerged in the wake of the Kantian critique of metaphysics. We can easily establish that, while such a science is not easily attainable, the idea itself is at least coherent, and can be approached empirically. As an example consider the relationship of a computer with a GUI and a user. The tandem system, computer/user, is a relationship of the user’s options and the computer’s (deterministic) program. We must analyze a combined system in which the field of the user’s options and its relationship to a larger system must be studied together. The eonic model discovers such a system in historical/evolutionary terms.

Looking at history we can easily show where Darwinian theory is going wrong. The relationship of history and evolution creates a paradox, and placing the two in conjunction allows us to infer something about earlier evolution. The quest for a science of history is now beginning to overflow from Darwinian confusion as a reductionist tactic for the social sciences in the claims of sociobiologists, ambitious to dismiss all other forms of discourse. It seems like a welcome mistake, a foolhardy gesture we can applaud! Just at that point we do have facts, facts that can stop Darwinist thinking in its tracks, and in the process discipline the current confusions.

Tags: Big History · The Eonic Effect · World History and The Eonic Effect

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