The problems confronted by the left, and this touches on ‘evolution’, are so complex that if we simply list them much of the danger of a stalinist repetition. The key section of LFM ends with a picture of the theatre of Dionysus: a future communist society will have to ask how history generated tragic literatures and proceed to its own social engineering here.
If you haven’t wigged out on this, there is worse…
______________________From the Appendix to Last and First Men: re: the discussion of the failure of social science, there is a trick to redefining the subject: a famous essay by Kant gives a hint to consider the ‘causality of freedom’. This gesture (which we don’t have to carry out in detail) in principle repairs the ‘fatal flaw’ of sociological historicism….
History…permits us to hope that if we attend to the play of freedom of the human will in the large, we may be able to discern a regular movement in it…
Kant, Idea For A Universal History
4.1 History and Evolution: The Non-random
The question of evolutionary theory haunts the efforts to create a science of the historical. No such science of history exists: there the issue of human nature defies easy analysis with man inside the problem. But we can suspect such a science in the evidence of the non-random.
The term ‘non-random’ is the safest way to refer to a perceived dynamic we don’t understand fully. Crusoe who sees a footprint in the sand shows an example. But ripples in the sand would also quality. The first case ‘designed’ the second causal, and marginally ‘non-random. World history combines both and we see ‘ripples’ or cycles that carry interior cultural ‘designs’.
The question of this ‘pattern’ arises in the context suggested in a famous essay on history to find a pattern of universal history. Although fuzzy, with a dynamics that is ambiguous, our pattern fits the bill, and there are probably no other solutions to ‘Kant’s Challenge’ than the one we uncover using a frequency analysis, over the range of world history for which we have data at the level of centuries, or less. That’s it: pattern shown. But what does it mean?
The ‘non-random’ is any evidence of a patterned process or dynamic. This could be causal, meta-causal or teleological or even designed. The evidence of world history contains a surprise: non-random patterning that exposes a ‘macro’ effect and provides a way beyond the dilemma, with a special kind of model. We see a rough solution to both questions: history and evolution (human) are Janus-faced. Our study will work with a model of this phenomenon and is like a passage through an enchanted woods. But it leaves a complex mystery that we must approach with care. Consider the phenomenon of the Axial Age: the data suggests the meta-causal, that is, some kind of semi-causal process that operates on some different level, acting on history rather than in history. The distinctions of causal event, machine and engine evokes something similar. Or perhaps the meta-causal process is really a teleological one, that gives evidence of directionality in the form of a cyclical process. This in turn hints at a distinction of the Kantian noumenal or phenomenal. This is the reason we limit ourselves to a broad set of outlines. The full model remains somewhat ambiguous.
Our idea of a ‘model’ is that of a periodization sequence that is an empirical chronicle. The periodization sequence may itself be evidence for a possible dynamic, as a conjecture. The value of this approach is that we don’t propose a ‘theory’, i.e. a universal generalization against an infinite interval of time. In fact our model is designed to start anywhere using ‘relative beginnings’ Theories fail. A non-random pattern is very hard to dissipate.
The model in question is a finite transition type, with epochs or cycles initiated by a macro induction phase or transition. Like a locomotive the system goes through cycles or ‘transitions’ with an initial driving phase that applies fresh energy at the start of the cycle. However, conventional dynamics doesn’t apply here in the emergence of values from facts.
The prime warning of the model is distinction of system action/free action. The early modern shows revolutions system generated (and carried out by free action) while the situation after the divide must be due to free action. That means, careful planning of intent, and…remembering to revolt! The macro induction will be absent.