NK in the comments has high praise for my work here, but at the same time I am mindful of the difficulty of the basic text.
I have tried to create simplifications, one in Descent of Man Revisited and then in Last and First Men. But these two books had a different set of goals. An easier introduction to WHEE is probably in order, and it fact was announced in the Preface to LFM. I think that one problem is that if I really tried to popularize the material of World History and The Eonic Effect, the result would take off, but in the wrong direction. The basic thematic is highly elusive and confusing: it echoes a design arugment, but uses a systems model to keep that from the bad habits of theologians. A design argument has never been done right, and their refutations aren’t much better. So we have to proceed with a careful agnosticism about ‘design’ arguments, with a sense of ‘naturalistic design’ issues, next to the quagmire of teleology.
We have to face reality: Christians have made a complete mess out of theological world histories. Getting the matter straight, between monotheists and secular humanists is not so easy.
Read the Old Testament if you want a book that ‘took off’ and really confused everyone! I don’t mean that disrespectfully, merely that the material of WHEE clarifies what the Old Testament history of Israel was really about, something that biblical tome cannot really do.
The result requires a fairly broad study of many different areas of world history, in a balanced field that doesn’t focus on one particular area, e.g. the rise of the West, etc…
I think that the question of darwinism has thrown people off and the result is heretical where in reality it provides the best and most relentless critique of darwinism. But the latter is so engrained in popular thought as to be almost beyond reach. It is a strangely unsettling critique because it shows how evolution can operate beyond genetic factors with generalized form factors able to operate in ways that strike one as intelligent design. In fact the book is a liberation from false design arguments even as it leaves open the basic issue of evolutionary dynamics, so far much too complex for current science.
A simpler introduction can help here, and is on the way, but at the same the result needs to remains slightly abstract and reserved. I dread to think of what someone like Zizek or an ID fan could make of the book, with disastrous results.