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Re: The Eonic Effect and the problem of evidence
by Nemonemini
25 September 2002 00:04 UTC
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In a message dated 9/24/02 6:23:50 PM Eastern Daylight Time, 
malexan@net-link.net writes:

<< I will try to be more specific in my evidence remarks.  The eonic effect 
(if I understand it correctly) involved the idea of "pulsed" development of 
human society with an associated frequency of about 2400 years. That is, if 
we were to plot the "height" of civilization over time we would get a 
"step-shaped" profile with periodic bursts of development surround by less 
active periods. The two critical dates to be examined are 600 BC and 1800 AD. 
 The idea is the centuries around these dates see a rate of development that 
dwarfs other periods.  It is noted that a large number of developments began 
just before 600 BC and in the centuries immediately following. Similarly, the 
rise of the modern world has occurred in the centuries around 1800.
With all due respect there are so many mistaken assumptions about my method 
in this first paragraph that the rest is a bit unfair to the text. That's 
partly my fault, the text is not easy, and the exact way to take the model 
are a little unclear. 
To plot the 'height of civilization over time' seems close to what I am 
saying, but it is worth keeping in mind the long discussion throwing out the 
use of the term 'civilization' in the eonic analysis, cf. chapter three where 
there is  a discussion of the fundamental unit of analysis, which is not the 
civilization, but the transition, etc...
Rome probably reached a far greater height than Greece, yet it is the brief 
phase in the eonic sequence, a series of near backwoodsmen in the Greek city 
states that are more significant. The height of Assyria vastly surpasses that 
the Israelite phenomenon, yet that turned out to generate the future in one 
respect, religion in Occident. In fact, Israel doesn't even survive as a 

We have a problem thus with measures of anything. We must assess the meaning 
of what is happening. It is like a play in a series of acts. The only measure 
is the discrete series of acts. But that tells us little of the play.

More generally, the issue is the seminal creativity of certain areas, and 
these form a sequence. 
The question of the rise of the modern is dealt with in the first chapter, 
'The rise of the modern'. The denigration of the Middle Ages is explicitly 
dealt with. We see, not a date to begin a new era called the modern, but two 
dates, neither exact, to express an interval relative to world history of a 
change of direction.  Once we think in terms of a discrete continuous model 
the use of the term 'evolution' must be changed, for you are quite right, the 
middle ages is not some primitive state from what modernism evolved. 
In general, it is not a matter of economies, measurable statistics, but the 
action of emergence and the change of direction in that. 
In any case, the phase from ca. 1500 to ca. 1800, taken relative to longer 
time scales shoulds the world system reaching a new major plateau with the 
innovations to recast the forms of civilization. It is that rough phase that, 
in toto, is the unit, the question of evolving from the prior medieval period 
then set aside.  

The rate of change in these phases, and it is my fault for using metaphors of 
acceleration, is not the issue, really. Did Greek tragedy appear due to a 
rate of change? Or the appearance of Buddha. Clustering is a sort of rate of 
change, but in fact not really. 
So we are hard pressed to both make use of and not get mislead by system 
More to come on this, I am pleased by these reactions, and I can see the need 
to create an elementary introduction. Most of your objections are answered in 
the maze of the text, which is undiscovered country
John Landon

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