The presentation of the ‘eonic’ or macro effect yesterday ventured some speculations that I keep at arm’s length, but is in reality so simple in essence that one can fail to understand it because it seems harder than it is. The strategy is actually very elemental and uses a putative ‘systems analysis’ (a step backward from a causal analysis). That takes the form of asking of any complex system taken as is, in this case the progression of civilizations, if it has a detectable dynamic. A still simpler version preliminary to that is to ask if the system shows a non-random patterning. To find a detectable dynamic we should start with the typical properties in general of systems, e.g. a cyclical aspect. Looking at world history, we ask, does this system show any signs of a frequency aspect? We get lucky on our first attempts. The question can go either way, of course, but we can see without much trouble, but within the limits of our data that a frequency interval of 2400 years works at once connecting three phases of civilization, from Egypt/Sumer to classical proximate antiquity, to modernity. Three beats is barely enough, but once we see this aspect it is impossible to return to the random interpretation, so we proceed with an empirical proto-theory on provision, in the process rapidly resolving multiple obscure riddles in the whole field of questions.
There is a lot more to that, but the point is that the method of the macro effect is not mystical historicism, and its insight matches the dogmas of the ‘random evolution’ group, and then pulls ahead. There are many complications to this basic insight, but we can roughly answer them, and in the process proceed to a robust approximation of the ‘evolution’ of civilization. How can we use the term ‘evolution’? We use it everyday in multiple contexts. It means development. If anything the darwinists have distorted the term.
Note: we need to create a more complex model to make sense of how it works, because it works in spite of itself: we need to deal with the way the directional system splits into parallel sidebands, the way it jumps to new regions to restart a cycle, the way it uses relative transformations that might no longer correspond the intuitive beginning of things, etc…The curious details build up and the result becomes hard to understand, especially if one is not familiar with world history. Historians tend to frown on such interpretations, they are bemused by the ‘civilization’ concept, and scientists are totally out in left field here, but the method is ‘by the book’ and scores a dramatic success. Everyone in antiquity was obsessed with cycles of history, but always got it wrong. We can see why: in the nineteenth century historiography for the first time had data sufficiently rich across an interval of around five thousand years. That’s enough for the three beats, and the interval between two of them, and the onset of a new cycle. It is hard to figure this without some training to grasp the idea of relative transformations: look at Egypt/Sumer around 3000BCE: the clear onset of a new cycle by our calculation catches two histories at different stages. But that’s almost more of a recommendation for this approach.
Once we see a system like this we move rapidly to consider its implications for early evolution. The first thing is to note that the sheer speed of this cyclical phenomenon would be impossible to detect in deep time, and the reason for our prejudice toward random evolution becomes obvious.
The system we see is complicated by the way it deals non-causally with independent agents: it is not a deterministic system so much as ‘man with a yoyo’ system: a mechanical aspect and a free agent aspect. This results in fluctuations in degrees of freedom, almost arcane, until you realize that we deal with such systems everyday.
The Axial Age is both strong evidence here, and a first exception: the system is suddenly splitting into sidebands. But that is simply, on reflection, evidence of a different and more generalized form of directionality: to ensure direction you posit straightness, to ensure integration you posit sidebands. The implications of teleology are not what we normally think: if the goal is some future state, then directionality points to the future. But if the goal is global integration a lateral strategy makes sense. Clearly both strategies can work together, and, presto, the second riddle in our frequency system resolves itself: in general we can see splitting lines of directionality moving in parallel.
Once we know such a system is possible, because we see it in action, we can rapidly get a better sense of evolution in deep time. It will be different, but the basics of this kind of system are clearly in evidence in the eons of evolution in action.