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In search of a home for nearly defunct ‘historical materialism’

December 24th, 2012 · No Comments

http://history-and-evolution.com/whee4th/intro1_1_1.htm: In search of history

Someone has asked me how they could use the ‘eonic model’ in relation to marxism and, more generally, the left. Easy. If not tricky. The eonic model might strike some as a speculative theory but it is really two things at once:
a baseline empirical model
an extended model with few hypotheses (e.g. a frequency hypothesis, etc…)

It is the model that seems speculative. But if you apply negation to the model (probably thinking you are refuting a theory, but there is no theory, only a limited model) it collapses, if you wish, but the baseline empirical model remains. For example, you speak of modernity in terms of a ‘baseline empirical model’, but a theory of its dynamics may or may not be true, provable. The eonic model is both things at once, which might confuse people.
I think that once you understand this you can use the extended model with caution. In that context you have, not an ideology, but a ‘meta-theatre’ or ‘dialectical field’, or a museum of modernist artifacts, etc… This context autmatically contains a theory and its negations, and much else, and helps to create a broader vision. The point is that the emergence of communism (and of marxism which tried to monopolize that idea) is an event inside that ‘theatre of dialectic’ and this can help to transcend ideological fixation, to see nonetheless the prophetic ‘omen’ of the future cast by the emergence of communism very early in the wake of the French Revolution. The point here is that we need, not a theory of history, like ‘historical materialism’, which is doomed to negation in endless equivocations, especially by quibbling reactionaries, but a simple set of statements about capitalist economies, their relative, not fundamental, status as historical objects (perhaps soon to be put in the dialectical museum) and a ‘recipe’ (or in the model’s language, a ‘free action script’) for a constructivist project of a post-capitalist ‘communist’ society, and economy.
Historical materialism is a brilliant conception, but its format was that of nineteenth century scientism, and it ended in equivocation over causality/free will issues, among other things… The economic substrate and its superstructure don’t really match in the way the theory depicts it. But that theory is a star player in the ‘theatre’ and can’t and won’t be eliminated. But its obsessive hold on though might recede as theory itself recedes, to be replaced with metahistorical but empirical chronicles like the ‘eonic effect/model’ and its association substreams, like those of ‘revolution’, economic development, etc… The eonic model plucks ‘determinism’ from the historical text and puts it at a different level. The model distinguishes ‘system, or model’ and ‘free action’ as paired aspects of a single drama, chronicle or ‘action script’. Note that history is thus scripted, now determined, and the drama of the future becomes the realization of a script, not the deterministic outcome of a causal system.
Even this is more theory (or non-theory) that is needed: the point is to construct a ‘communist target’ as a realizable form of postcapitalism.

I think therefore that we by this method both use the classic marxism, even as it is slightly displaced by a praxis of social construction. Please note that the founders of the American Republic via revolution had no need of a theory: they had a set of ‘action scripts’, creating a republic, and went about that business with focus.

The idea of a script, although not a perfect analogy, is useful: the script is predictive of the future, ‘determines’ a future (of the actor on stage), and can even be called teleological. But the improvisation of the actor can transform the script into something new and creative. There are other variants of this: improvisation without a fixed plot, for example, leaves even more to the actor’s ‘free action’.

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