The idea of ‘floating fourth turning points’ is one that leftists, or anyone else concerned with social change/revolution/evolution, should consider. The history of civilization is more than a sequence of causal determination, it is a record of free agency in action trying to realize, or modify macro determination. In the macro or eonic effect there is a remarkable mixed option, in the interstices of the three visible transitions: a kind of ‘floating fourth turning point’, an attempt without quite realizing it, to mimic the transitions themselves to create altered or new civilizations. Two dramatic examples are the onset of Xtian civilization and that of Islam, plus, of course Buddhism. Comunist thinking rapidly took off from the idea of the French Revolution, and made it clear they didn’t want to produce just another religion. They considered that they should wrestle at the level of the forces of production and in terms of class analysis. Surely a good example of moving toward the idea of a floating fourth turning point, or a ‘generalized French-revolution’. The analysis was too crude perhaps. It is a tough situation. Many can’t generate the ‘art movements on schedule’ that we see in the macro-series of greater nature visible in world history.
We can see in retrospect that it is not so easy to do this! The modern transition spawns its own hybrid: the ‘revolution’ which graduates into the nineteenth century revolutionary ideology of marxists and others.
The idea arises because the foundational outcome of a transition can serve a purpose and then become a liability far sooner than the next transition. We see that in Occidental antiquity where slavery brought Rome to a terminal state: nothing could happen until that situation was altered. The case in modern times is…regrettably: capitalism. This requires no less than a flowting fourth turning point on a global scale.
We don’t seem to see the equivalent in the eras after Sumer, save that ’empires’, one after another, were perhaps the inchoate version of the idea. Note the way that Axial Age religion tried to replace ’empire formation’ with something more ‘spiritual’, successful or not.
It might help to see the issue of capitalism in the context of the ‘mideonic’ deviation that is challenged by a floating fourth turning point. And it can be a warning to leftist/communist thinkers that the scale and interconnection of culture and economy make the idea of a social change in the large very problematical. But we can see that in the modern case a transformation or revolution on the scale of the early modern is needed, and this includes the key components, not just of economy, but of religion, science, philosophy, law/rights, liberalism/freedom to socialism/communist-democracy, etc…To say nothing of ‘industrialization’ taken into a new format of postcapitalism.
Learning to replicate a transition in the shift from ‘system action’ to ‘free action’ is the next great task for humanity, with its leftist vanguard still not yet equipped for such a massive ‘macro(r)evolution. The idea of a macrorevolution and a floating fourth turning point point to a planetary foundation. The early modern is a complete example.
The near future will not be a capable of such an achievement, we fear, and will muddle its way into a flawed set of compromises.
Floating ‘fourth’ turning points We can invent an exercise, consider ‘floating fourth turning points’ inside our sequence: every moment of will. The projected ‘fourth turning point’ can float timelessly through the sequence, as we examine alternate potentials in our sequence. This idea has no official status in our model, but it is amusingly apt at times as we observe attempts to ‘escape’ history. The mighty Islam was the most massive effort along those lines. Bolshevism another. This idea can help to see the tension inside history, as man both realizes his macro-evolutionary history and at the same time is moving beyond it. Even his emerging freedom shows macro-determination, a paradoxical restraint on that very freedom. Then, suddenly, he is alone to realize that freedom by himself. Connected to this we see the many times when a large-scale social movement, e.g. Christianity, Islam, Bolshevism, postmodernism, attempts, or mere wishes, to overtake the whole of history with a teleological or crypto-Zoroastrian theme, like the Hegelian ‘end of history’. These ‘floating fourth turning points’ are massive historical interruptions, but can they transcend history or the eonic sequence. But they should be the individual’s self-discovery of the ‘will’ that is his freedom. Very controversial yet important issues….
The disciples of Edmund Burke have a hard enough time with the French Revolution, shattered nerves. With the ‘floating fourth turning point’ they may just wig out completely and fall down wimpering.