Richard asks a really good question about the eonic effect:
188.8.131.52 Submitted on 2011/05/23 at 8:05 am
Do you think human potential is highest during the “eonic transitions” and that it falls off afterwards? For instance, even though we may be more technologically advanced (and science may have progressed in many respects) after the “Great Divide,” do you think that human potential may be regressing?
My response: human potential remains the same, generally, but its realization is highest during these transitions. By our computation classical music is an example: it climaxes at the divide (Mozart, Beethoven) and this fades away over the nineteenth century. The late Beethoven and Wagner began to sense the instrument was breaking up.
It is hard to grasp without careful study of the eonic effect and its periodization what is going on here. It is not decline as such to lose this genius factor, it just switches off.
Things like this we can’t replicate occur right and left in these transitions. Newton’s calculus is another example. Consider the phase of tragic drama. We can’t remember what that was, or replicate its effect. Look at the English of Shakespeare: totally obvious things we could imitate, but don’t, as our language goes into a nosedive. And so on. But in general potential is a rough constant, as far as I know, although I wonder if man is really as smart as his first ancestors thousands and thousands of years ago.
The way that I set up my data is via the distinction between consciousness and self-consciousness, a traditionalist distinction (sleep, consciousness, self-consciousness, enlightenment are the four cases) that is perhaps too broad for what we see: creative action. Thus it is a question of creative action which is often a side-effect of self-consciousness. If we look at the Axial Age it is clearest: we see a spate of men (Heraclitus is the perfect example) ‘spacing out’ as they jump to a kind of higher octave of consciousness. He seems like a philosopher, proto-sage, scientist in embryo. In general, then, the issue is a kind of creative energy that appears and seems to generate massive innovations in a short interval of time.
That’s hard to explain, but we suspect the right category is that of evolution for this data. This occurs in a series of transitions, such as we see in the eonic effect.
Now your question about whether people are regressing outside, or after these transitions. The answer is unclear, but clearly the loss of self-consciousness in individuals inside these transitions is matched by the general falloff of the whole effect. There is no need for this to be decline, since people are potentially self-consciousness at all times. It is possible then, in principle, to forestall the gross spectacle of decline that we see. The falloff the Axial Age was dreadful. From the Athens period at the peak of poetic tragedy for audiences of commoners, we arrive in six centuries at the ‘Roman rabble’ watching sadistic spectacles in the Roman arena.
But it doesn’t quite follow that this regression is really a anything more than dead batteries. People’s basic nature remains unchanged, but the high octane of self-consciousness has disappeared. But people, or their children can live to see another day of higher consciousness.
Nevertheless the threat of regression must be there. Sooner or later barbaric behavior will affect, I think, human nature, which needs constant ‘exercise’ so to speak of its higher potential.
So far, man can’t last long on his own steam (witness the Xtain theme of redemption, itself often confused and ineffective, but instinctively right that man can start to nosedive badly) and the effect of the transitions that we see have been to advance culture, but also to dose populations with some of the tonic of self-consciousness.
In the modern case, we are starting to see this decline already, in my opinion. You know, my model suggests that two hundred years after the Great Divide the trouble will start.
Look at the sudden onset of the age of Bush in 2000, the timing is spooky. I don’t know, could be coincidence, but if you look at the Greek Axial Age the effect is drastic: the Greek Archaic passes by -600 (age of Solon) into its climactic phase of post-transitiion. The next century and a half is spectacular, and then by -400 the fade out starts. Actually, the Peloponesian war shows that the real Athenian period was very short lived, and was breaking up even as Pericles was alive. By the 300’s the great flash of light is gone, and soon democracy is gone. Please note that this was not the transition, which I compute as from -900 to -600, but the immediate post-transition which shows a brief explosion under its own steam, and then a rapid fade out. The same in modern times: after the great divide we see the onset of decline, but also the spetacular effects of the transition in the spectacular nineteenth century. Note how the first world war came out of the blue and destroyed the sense of progress in the minds of many. That was a good example of the shocks to advance that produce decline. But world civilization recovered, and we have had another century of spectacle. But is the basic inner tone at the sam level? Look at the telltale symptoms, music. The great moment of classical music is clearly gone at this point.
We see that Athens never reaches its previous height, but its citizens remain at a higher level throughout antiquity. The sense of decline is really the spread of culture to the fringes, and to those who have never been through a transitioin. We see the Romans trying to duplicate the Athenian achievement detail by detail, to their great profit, but this never reaches the previous level or forestalls the chaos of the early Roman empire and its degradation of culture.
The answer to your question then is that man remains man, but he loses the ability to really use his complex instrument. Nevertheless decline overtakes the general culture and the whole system slips downhill.
We have a complete simulation underway right now, so take lots of notes for the next several centuries. We will see.
I think that in general the eonic effect suggests that evolution is really macro cultural evolution, and that this generates the genetic changes in its wake. So we are also ‘evolving’ to a new state of man, with a kind of prophetic anticipation in our transitions. We see a lot of things that are challenges to our current mechanical behavior, and in centuries to come some of the implications of our transitions will become an aspect of our nature. This is clear from antiquity: the grotesque decline and collapse was followed by slow recovery, and at a higher average level: witness the future recovery of Xtian populations by the time of the Renaissance but before the rise of the modern transition. The world of the ancient barbarian was gone and a new man had taken his place.
All these questions are hard to answer because there is a suspicion that the earliest men might have been even smarter, though primitive, than modern man. You know, the Hottentot San language has 120 phonemes! Now we talk a series of pidgins, with every third word being ‘fuck’. I have to wonder if human potential degrades over time, with our transitions trying to get man back in shape. It is hard to be sure of all this.
But the falloff from the modern transition is occuring quite rapidly. How far down it will go this time, we don’t know. We don’t have to take it lying down. We can learn from history and try to stay afloat.
Here the influence of Darwinism is absolutely dreadful, because it suggests that conflict, survival of the fittest, elimination of the ‘unfit’ (usually the smartest of all) in the judgment of thugs, is the real evolution. Totally upside down.
So Darwinian ideology could end up being a factor in decline. I think that science culture could backfire here. It has produced a mechanized view of man at his most robotic. That could be a self-fulfilling prophecy. etc, etc…
In general the new age movements have often attempted to reintroduce the culture of consciousness, which can certainly help in this situation, but it doesn’t quite replicate the effect of the periods of transitions which are subtle beyond subtle, yet stimulating the potential of human self-consciousness.
In any case the spectacular effects of technology are misleading, as you suspect, because they are relatively mechanical developments from creative sources and don’t lead to any real change of consciousness. Advances in technology rarely lead to advances in consciousness, or, rather, self-consciousness. The problem is that man can’t control this factor in himself, for the same reason that he can’t control his power of attention, a very close relative to self-consciousness.
In general this discussion can make no sense until a clear outline of world history is established. We are taking about Axial Greece because of its place in the Axial period, and of modernity because it is a similar effect, and its localization in European sectors is explained in a larger context. Without that context it seems like Eurocentric nonsense, but it is not. The European (and American sideshow effect) factor will soon pass, as it did from classic Greece, and the issues are already becomeing global ones.
Modernity is challenged by postmodernists (and idiot Indian gurus) but it has been a smashing success globally, down to the business suit. That it sourced in Europe is already a secondary question. A look at the eonic effect shows we can understand these localizations, which will help to get beyond Eurocentrism.
In general the unfolding of civilization occurs like clockwork and the transitons arrive on schedule, with lots of chaos in between.
Get ready for the roller coaster ride if that decline effect happens again.
The original post : The Darwinian fairytale
The use of the term ‘evolution’ is current science is incoherent: it doesn’t make any sense. A kind of magic process does the whole thing at random.
If we examine an actual example of an ‘evolution process’, e.g. as here in world history, we discover all the paradoxes of evolution resolved in a long-range process which is therefore directional that is intermittent, able to return on its previous steps, one that is global, able to act directly on a series of stepping stone regions, and which an act on a large spectrum of variables in its target, i.e. on more than the purely genetic. We wouldn’t beliver in such a thing without an example. But we do have an example.
That leaves us suspicious of the Darwinian fairytale.