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Re: The Eonic Effect and the problem of evidence
by Nemonemini
25 September 2002 00:18 UTC
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Let me comment on a few things here. 
My model is of progressive cyclicity, not or cyclical recurrence. 
The feedback device in a room shows cyclical recurrence, perhaps, but that is 
not a property of the events in the room where the device is located. 
Thus in world history we see a series of transitions in a sort of cyclicity, 
but this is progressive. That is, civilization as a whole is developing or 
not on its own terms, the recurret cyclicity of phases seems to simply come 
on schedule to bring directionality to that entity. 
In any case comparing the one to one match of centuries in my model is not 
legitimate. We won't ever find the match with the Myceneans and the European 
middle Ages. 
It sometimes seems to work because we see a 'middle period' in my first era 
of eonic sequence, and a middle period in the second. The sense of comparison 
is intriguing, but it never works because these are not cycles of 
civilizations, but cycles of directional transformation of whatever lies in 
the path of the eonic sequence. 
And that seems to act on schedule indepently of content found in its path, 
more or less.
One consequence of this is that decline and collapse are not part of the 
It may be true that some civilizations collapse, but the eonic model shows 
only rise and rise in phase, but not decline which is not entailed by the 
To see this note that the model applies to the history of China, yet we see 
no Dark Ages, and it never collapses. It just goes on and on.
This model then has little relation to the civiliztions it refers to!!!!

In a message dated 9/24/02 6:23:50 PM Eastern Daylight Time, 
malexan@net-link.net writes:

<< The idea of pulsed development in an intriguing concept.  But to discuss 
issues like this (and indeed any of the ideas in "big history") one has to 
have a really good idea of what happened during such transitional periods in 
order to get the dating right.  One also needs to have an equally-good 
understanding of what happened during the non-transitional periods to verify 
that change did occur at a substantially slower rate.  Here is where 
statements reflecting the old concept of the Renaissance as a time when the 
"old knowledge" of the ancient Greeks and Romans was rediscovered by a Europe 
rising from the "dark ages" of Medievalism are problematic.  Built into this 
concept is the idea that somehow 1500 is a divider between the "modern world" 
and a benighted time before.
 Modern scholarship, especially that including Braudel's concept of "total 
history" has shown that the emergence of the Modern World is not 
well-described as a transition around 1500, but rather the whole process is 
more of a piece.  If any date is to marked as a transition, it would be 1348, 
when the European world was abruptly and dramatically changed forever.  
Anyways, we can "map" the 600 BC dates together with the 1800 AD dates as 
 1300 --> 1100 BC
 1500 --> 900 BC
 1800 --> 600 BC
 2000 --> 400 BC
 This mapping is interesting, because it matches up the "collapse" of 
Medieval civilization in the 14th century with the collapse of the Mycenaean 
civilization in around 1100 BC.  It is possible that the forces at work in 
both collapses were similar.  In the early 14th century, European population 
reached  a level beyond which further increases were no longer possible 
without a significantly improved technology.  Caloric intake for the bulk of 
the population had been reduced to barely that needed to survive and 
resistance to disease was reduced.  Even without disease, gradual exhaustion 
of soil would force population declines.  Indeed, the first shot in the 
collapse of Medieval civilization was the Great Famine of 1316, which is 
estimated to have killed 10% of the population.  This was followed by the 
coup de grace of the bubonic plague a generation later.  
 The result was a massive drop in population which did not recover its 
pre-famine levels until the early 16th century. Real wages doubled in the 
half century following the plague.  They stayed high for the entire 15th 
century.  With no increase in labor productivity, these economic changes 
produced a massive downward shift in the well-being of the upper classes 
especially the landed nobility.  What "collapsed" following 1348 was the 
world order enjoyed by the Medieval elite resulting from a collapse in 
population.  What came to an end (gradually) was the whole noble way of life, 
what we call Feudal society.  In Britain this transition was accompanied by 
the physical elimination of most of the nobility as well in the War of the 
 In Medieval Europe the centers of civilization were too de-centralized to go 
down the tubes with the falling fortunes of the upper classes.  Instead, 
wealth (and the culture it buys) changed hands.  Although most noble families 
lost out, a few managed to prosper (e.g. Sir John Falstaff in England).  Some 
bourgeoisie commoners did well.  The shake-up proved by the plague produced 
opportunities as well destroying fortunes  (what Schumpeter called creative 
destruction).  The big winner was the monarchy.  In highly decentralized 
Northern Italy, spectacular losers like the banking houses of Sienna were 
replaced by Florentine bankers, and the Venetians also did extraordinarily 
well.  These winners funded the
 explosion of art and culture we call the Italian Renaissance.  It is this 
cultural brilliance that makes it hard to see the Rennaisance as a dark age, 
but from the perspective of those who had been on top in the previous 
civilization, it was.
 Now let's imagine a similar thing happened to Mycenaean civilization.  We 
know that the Greek Dark ages was accompanied by a decline in population. The 
Mycenaean elite, who extracted the surplus wealth of the subordinate
 population in much the same way as the Medieval lords did, would likewise be 
hard-hit by a population decline, which reduced the value of the fixed 
capital relative to labor.  The palace economy would likely not survive in 
the new economic reality of the post-decline world, just as many of the 
nobility went under during the 15th century.  Unlike the situation in Europe, 
in which the centers of civilization were many (free towns, the church, as 
well as the nobility)  all these elements were concentrated in the Mycenaean 
palace.  Thus their collapse (which is documented in the record) meant the 
virtual elimination of the Mycenaean elite and their literate culture.  The 
rest of the culture (social norms, customs, music,
 poetry, history, etc.) might have still lived on in the common people as 
oral traditions (and so could be written down by Homer centuries later).  
 The influx of a vigorous, less-advanced population, who brought with them a 
more egalitarian social organization) would produce an amalgam from which new 
social forms could emerge (such as democracy).  Dark ages resulting from such 
amalgams often are times of cultural innovation (e.g. the introduction of the 
moldboard plow, the horse collar and three
 field system during the European dark age, which transformed European 
productivity, leading to higher population densities and greater wealth than 
what had been achieved by the Romans.  Similarly the amalgam produced in the
 Greek Dark ages les to the greater height of Classical Greek civilization as 
compared to Mycenae.
 Still left is the possibility that transitions of this sort occur on a 
regular time table (the eonic effect).  We can check this by noting whether 
other similar collapses have been followed by a dramatic expansion of 
civilization and when this occurred.  For example, Indo Europeans invaded 
India sometime before these things happened in Greece.  Were these events 
followed by a greater flowering of Indian culture and did this precede 
developments in Greece or were they contemporary?  Did things like this 
happen in early China?  How do they fit on the timetable?
 I know that major advances in Indian and Chinese thought (e.g. Buddhism, 
Jainism, Confucians etc) appeared in the sixth century BC.  These are 
compared to contemporary or earlier religious/literary developments in the  
West such as Zoroasterism, the Hebrew prophets, and Homer.  (There is 
something here, I agree) But are these Eastern thought systems really 
religions?  If not, shouldn't they be compared to Greek philosophy, which 
happened later?  As for Homer, aren't the Iliad and Odyssey epic poems, meant 
to be sung?  Could not these stories have existed as an oral tradition in 
more or less the form Homer found them long before he wrote them down (think 
West African griots)?  Besides, epics are not a new form of expression, 
doesn't the epic of Gilgamesh predate the Iliad by at least a millennium?  
Why does Homer "count" as something revolutionary?

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