https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_DDyVrywZn8: Youtube videos on Roman Empire: sideband list with multiple titles
The Roman metaphor is potent but misleading in current discourse. The decline question, multiple posts gives a list of the many posts on this.
The question of the correct understanding of the phenomenon of Roman decline is still unanswered, for the reason that the ultimate outcome was a new and higher level of civilization. So we can’t say we understand the issues based on an ‘entropic decline’ model. The medieval period was a gross chaotification, yet it very quickly produced transitional cultural forms that produced mutations in the slavery that cursed earlier antiquity.The road to abolition was already gestating, not to truly arrive until the modern transition, which eeriely induced a brief regression that fed the fight to abolition.
Will modernity endure a similar decline and fall? The question can’t be answered in the model generally current. If we examine the historical outline in WHEE we see that the rhythm suggested is a cyclical driver that leaves medievalizing periods in the wake of its punctuations or transitions.
By this analog the future of modernity would be a slow decline into a chaotification of civilization. But the model given is not based on deterministic recurrence, but is open to free action able to regenerate civilization, if it can master the ‘technology’ of civilizations, a science that doesn’t exist as yet, and one that would be no easy thing to pull out of a hat. But the task is essential in the long run, because the only solution to a declining civilization is the ability to generate ‘transitions’ to something more complex or in renewal, i.e. a ‘technology’ of civilizations that could mimic action on the scale of the Axial Age and/or modernity as the outcome of the ‘modern transitions’ as defined in the model of WHEE. The macro thus determines a cyclical tempo in a fixed sequence, but it doesn’t disallow a new self-created punctuation that can start at any time in the inbetween.
Here we can change the subject, almost, by assigning the left this task as the ‘revolution’ to postcapitalism, in a science of civilization on the order of the ‘macro model’ of WHEE. That model allows a ‘free intervention’ in the semi-determinate (not deterministic) ‘state as of now’, whenever that is, to remould the course of a civilization. The record of revolution shows this gesture in embryo, but the full scope of ‘revolutionary change’ remains to be studied and known.
That leaves then the question/questions of the nature of the historical macro transitions that we see, with a hard question about those unseen, and the nature of their dynamic. We don’t really know and have to wonder at the the nature of an historical trigger. What triggers the ‘relative transformation’ that we seen in, for example, Axial Age Greece? We can see that like the Israelites we are prone to think that some form of transcendent power at work. But that idea as it fails doesn’t really tell us the real answer! But action from a high ground still unknown to us seems to be the dynamic/design behind what we see. We have to consider whether an intervention into temporal continuity is possible on the lesser scale of history. Since the difference could only be one of scale we should in principle be able to do this. Everything in the data of the ‘macro effect’ suggests a slow transition from the ‘large scale’ to a human ‘free action’ replacement. The very idea of the modern revolution, rare to nonexistent in earlier eras, shows how a latent aspect of the macro effect starts to emerge as ‘free action’ albeit still under macro influence.
We can and must attempt to put revolution in this larger context but at the same time we must see that the question of macro historical change is a study in progress.
The terms macro/micro are one of the significant innovations in evolutionary theory, and apply in many contexts: macroevolution and microevolution, macroeconomics, microeconomics, and perhaps macro(r)evolution, micro(r)evolution. The revolutions we are attempting now are microrevolutions that wish to be macrorevolutions. Only one way to learn, let’s get started: a microrevolution generating a macrorevolution to postcapitalism. Some large supercomputers will help out here…
I have often wondered if something like the weather models, etc, now current could be adapted to this kind of analysis. I fear that measurable coordinates don’t exist at key points where ‘valuation’, i.e. as in the fact/value distinction, takes the place of numerical coordinates. But the point is that the total number of parameters in a macrorevolution like that of Axial Age Greece requires a definite computational device, whatever its method, of very large size, and as we enter the era of Big Data this kind of issue begins to stand out.