History & Evolution
The Evolution Controversy
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Enigma of the Axial Age

       History, Evolution and the Macro Effect

The study of world history has been revolutionized by the remarkable discovery of the so-called Axial Age, a term given to the data by the philosopher and theologian Karl Jaspers. This discovery is the result of the explosive growth of archaeology and historical research in the nineteenth century. A fitting starting point might be the work of Champollion, although strictly speaking the question of archaeology is as old as civilization and certainly shows a beginning of sorts in the wonder shown by Egyptians of later dynasties, confronted with their own history in the spectacle of monuments in sand.

The data of the Axial Age is ‘déjà vu’ all over again, in the sense that it was first observed by the redactors of the Old Testament, who were first men in world history to record an ‘axial age transition’, in the world historical first, the Old Testament. Theological disputes can blind us to the incipient scientific character of the effort, albeit once cast in the sage of Canaanite religion. That religion under transformation, recoreded by its immediate successors, is one of the wonders of world history, even for a secular age beset with its own quite ‘axial’ question.
The discovery of the Axial Age is a fitting companion to the Age of Globalization, for it shows that global civilization is the result of something almost mysterious, and it not a modern innovation: we see in the period in question a spectacular display of parallel synchronous emergentism, across the entire field of the Eurasian continent. This set of effects from Africa to China, with a question mark about the New World, is evidence of something acting in almost Gaian force, at the level of a planetary species. And that raised the question of the evolutionary as the suspected context for this prodigy of greater nature.
The question of the Axial Age poses a riddle for us, as we look backward at world history through the lenses of modernity, which itself poses a question about disconinuities in history. The Axial period provokes a crisis of theory, due to this sudden break in the record of continuous histories. We are forced into the camp of the ancient Israelites who clocked a great transformation and rendered that in the fantastic images of Canaanite epic, there to demand the basics of a science that does not yet exist, the science of history, if it can be called that.
In an age beginning to explore the extra-planetary dimension of cosmic space, the perception of the Axial Age is a fitting starting point for thinking in terms of a planet, and, indeed, of a species, that of homo sapiens. The nature of history is one to ask for its dynamo ical laws, only to find the stubborn exception of the factor of willed agency, and this in turn begins to trespass on the question of evolution itself. It is here perhaps that the discovery of the Axial Age can suggest a solution to the paradox of historical emergence in the context of the speciation of that remarkable hominid, man. And in the process the question of the evolution of religion comes to the fore with a suggestion given by history that the stance of the ancient Israelites contained a first glimpse of the answer.
The rise of modernity has confounded religious histories, and produced an often misunderstood brand of ‘secularism’. We are confronted by the epochal transition of the religtions of tradition, as they are challenged by the rationality of the Enlightenment. But the theme of the secular modern often forgets the place of the Reformation in that passage, and that period of ‘re-forming’ contains its own hint to our enigma.
We must go in search of history to find the significance, and connection between the secular, the religious, and the evolutionary.

    The Axial Age: Solving a Mystery

           A study of the Axial Age

We live in the first generations with enough data to tackle the question of world history, not only in the extension backward into the dawn of man, but within proximate antiquity itself where the data of the Axial Age has altered our views of the dynamics of historical emergence. This data has in turn pointed to a larger pattern of dynamical action stretching across the span of civilizations emerging from the Paleolithic. This larger pattern, which we can call the eonic or ‘macro’ effect, is the evidence for an evolutionary framework behind the emergence of civilizations. The use of the term ‘evolution’ is controversial due to the dogmatic reign of darwinism, but the term itself refers to any process of development that shows a sequential logic of forms and this fits the data we see in world history. And what we discover suggests in fact a canonical version of the ‘evolutionary’ with a further suggestion which won’t go away that this is directly related to the earlier evolution of man at the dawn of homo sapiens. Our basic strategy is to observe the remarkable non-random pattern in world history and to create a simple type of model to explicate its mysteries. We ideas merge in an elegant unity: the solution to the Axial Age riddle in a larger cyclical system, the deduction of finite model from the idea of the transition from evolution to history, and the solution discovered to a famous challenge from the philosopher Kant. The field is now challenged by the intelligent design critics of Darwinian logic. Our analysis explodes the theistic account of the Old Testament even as it uncovers a far more complex indication of design, whose mystery we leave as systems analysis, not theistic mythology.
The current brands of evolutionary psychology attempting to apply natural selection to a reductionist version of human evolution has dominated biological thought since the era of Darwin but the problems with its core reasoning are well-known, if not well advertised to the larger public. Our strategy in the study of the ‘macro’ evolution in world history is to create a kind of systems model of its action. But this model requires an understanding of processes beyond the standard causal reasoning of normal science with a consideration of ethical and aesthetic issues that have no basis in conventional mechanistic accounts. To this must be added the essential distinction between the action of a system and the agents inside of that system.
This set of ideas will transform our analysis of the historical but it will in the process make it intelligible for the first time. This pattern of cyclicity is in turn related to a set of initial transitions and at a stroke we have the clue to both the enigma of the Axial Age and the rise of modernity.



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Enigma of the Axial Age

History, Evolution, and the Macro Effect