Our model is set up to provide a coherent outline of
world history in the light of evolution, as a theory of evidence, and
automatically subsumes dynamical questions as an empirical map of transitions in
an eonic sequence. These transitions take the place of causal analysis, which,
as we have seen, founders in the antinomy of freedom. Our exposition has been
somewhat repetitive, to look at the eonic effect from several perspectives. But
all these perspectives revolve around Kant’s Third Antinomy, and we can
summarize the whole question in a paragraph from an essay by Kant on history,
where he confronts this antinomy in history, in the process showing how our idea
for a science of history entered the realm of the philosophy of history. The
advantage of this approach is that we produce a result without a ‘theory’. Our
connection to this system lies in the ‘eonic emergents’ themselves. We have
no other options. There is no simple answer to the question of theory. Theories,
and science itself, are sub-processes of our pattern!
We regress backwards into theories about
the evolution of theories, and this invokes classic issues of philosophy. We can
keep trying, of course, in so far as the coherence of this system is such as to
be user-friendly, with a means still unknown to match the self-reference of our
level of discourse to a deeper unknown. In the process of doing all this we
found, in the form of our discussion of freedom and nature, the close
relationship to one classic issue of the philosophy of history, which we have
expressed already in terms of the previously cited Third Antinomy of Kant. We
can develop this a bit further, but note at the onset the ambiguity of our terms
of discourse: we are using the ‘output’ of the system, science or
philosophy, to analyze our system, a probable source of paradox. We can proceed
anyway since we are stumbling on something truly surprising, the correlation of
the emergence of freedom, in some sense, with the eonic sequence. We will call
this the Discrete Freedom Sequence, and consider its implications once we lay
the groundwork. We find that nature itself reflects our model construct, most
remarkably. This interior prediction or confirmation should give us confidence
in the rightness of our approach, i.e. the use of discrete-continuous model,
which is seen to actually reflect the facts.
The resemblance of our situation to a theme in an essay on
history by Kant is remarkable, and even as we construct an ‘eonic model’ we
should also attempt to consider an ‘idea for a universal history’, a phrase
from the philosopher Kant who wrote a short essay, Idea For A Universal
History, with this title. In this essay he proposes a challenge, which we
can call Kant’s Challenge.
Whatever concept one may hold, from a
metaphysical point of view, concerning the freedom of the will, certainly its
appearances, which are human actions, like every other natural event, are
determined by universal laws. However obscure their causes, history, which is
concerned with narrating these appearances, 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, and that what seems complex and chaotic in the single
individual may be seen from the standpoint of the human race as a whole to be a
steady and progressive though slow evolution
of its original endowment.
is remarkable to see that we have already answered Kant’s Challenge directly.
Although Kant is still using the language of the 'laws of history', he sees
clearly in a majestic premonition the crux of our 'mixed causality/freedom'
system. He was still short, for obvious reasons due to his immersion in the
eonic pattern, of seeing what he suspected: the eonic effect, and his thinking
went off ambivalently along a tangent with the idea of 'asocial sociability', an
issue we can discuss later. Note the resemblance of Kant’s statement to
his Third Antinomy.
Kant’s Third Antinomy “Causality according to laws of nature is not the only kind
of causality from which the phenomenon of the world can be derived. It is
necessary, in order to explain them, to assume a causality through freedom.”
Its antithesis is: “There is no freedom: everything in the world takes place
solely in accordance with laws of nature.”
antinomy was first applied to psychological states. Now all of a sudden it is
transposed into history! We say this to carefully distinguish concepts of
personal freedom from this new extension, ‘freedom in history’, an undefined
concept, save that, once again, we have already given it an expression in terms
of our model, our transitions. Whether or not they produce ‘freedom in
history’, these transitions certainly produce innovations.
One conclusion, however tentative, that we could draw from
this is the resemblance of the two levels of our model, the stream and the
sequence, to this distinction in Kant of what seems like two kinds of causality.
This in turn resembles Kant’s distinction of the noumenal and the phenomenal.
There is a classic problem here: we can’t apply ‘causality’ to the
noumenal, but, for all intents and purposes, we see the point, and might
consider that issue later. Let us not confuse heuristic suspicions with derived
conclusions or, for that matter, transcendental deduction, but at least confess
our suspicions: all we see is our sequence of transitions, as phenomenological
appearances. Their dynamism is hidden from us. This situation is precisely like
the ambiguity that arises in Kant’s thinking.
This should not be misunderstood. We are just near the
classic confusion of the Christians and Israelites: some history is an ‘age of
revelation’, special, the theatre of the transcendent. We make no such claim.
All of history is in the realm of the phenomenal, including the history of eonic
transitions, but the interaction shown in the eonic effect in its mysterious
correlation with a domain beyond our representations is the key both to its
mystery, as beyond knowledge, and yet to its intelligibility as an expression of
a familiar discourse in the philosophy of history. History is homogenous,
all of a piece. No ‘god in the gaps’ argument will work on particular eras.
But we see that the Axial interval does stand out. The paradox is resolved via
the ‘self-consciousness’ of the people who appear in those intervals. Their
creativity is both causal and free at the same time, in some sense.