We should close with a pleasant boast that we can, with our curious amalgam of Xtianity, the Reformation and marxiana, break the downfield tackle of the Feurbachians and proceed to further adventures in the final yards to a touchdown.
Actually it is easy:
The framework originally given in WHEE makes no distinction of material and spiritual and uses the purely neutral terms of a kind of systems analysis to explore a model of a suspected/partially perceived historical dynamic. IN one of the mysteries of modern philosophy Kant called for the search for such a dynamic, one that had to respect the ‘play of freedom’, with a warning that the solution to the problem would have to deferred to the future. Correct. Kant knew nothing of Champollion and one might consider the breakthroughs of nineteenth century archaeology, spectacular indeed. As a result we have pushed our knowledge back to the Neolithic, and with respect to the era after the invention of writing, are able to see more less a new history at the century level. And there the surprise so strangely intuited by Kant is found: we find a pattern of universal history, albeit incomplete and we suspect pushing backward.
Actually the method used in WHEE arrived at Kant after the fact and was the result of simple inspection of world history which shows a clear but still fuzzy three term sequence, almost. We can formalize our ‘answer’ by then posing the question, the first and most basic question we can ask: does the item under examination (world history) show any kind of frequency pattern. Answer, it does, the simplest garden variety solution to the grand mystery of Kant. It is interesting that all ages of antiquity suspected a cyclical pattern to history, but they could never get the issue straight: a minimum of five thousand years is needed to perceive a pattern that seems to follow a 2400 year cycle. That interval was reached within two generations after Kant in the nineteenth century.
We can continue there for a long discussion, but the perspective of Feuerbach can be both challenged and embraced by seeing that the stages of our pattern enclose the Axial Age which shows the mystery of the material and the spiritual in eternal (fancy word) entanglement: that era shows the birth of sacred and secular history in parallel, simultaneously. Pause and reflect, and we can continue the discussion tomorrow.