Fallacies of New Age Evolution
From yesterday, Liberal blogosphere needs to pick up postdarwinism.
Arianna Huffington clearly has problems with Darwinism. So why not say so at Huffington Post? Darwinism’s reign has gone on too long, and the liberal sphere owes nothing to ‘science’ on this question, long taken over by Darwinian pseudo-science and propaganda.
At the same time New Age themes of evolution are themselves a problem. The problem is acute if certain people like Andrew Cohen make dubious claims about ‘enlightenment’ and seem to give authority to the idea. The idea has become an endemic New Age myth on its own terms.
Correctly defining evolution is not as simple as it looks, and the purely reductionist version given by scientists is almost certainly too narrow.
At that point the study of the eonic effect suggests a new and comprehensive way to ‘recalibrate’ the idea of evolution (human evolution) to take into account the observable ‘developmental’ sequence, quite complex, that we see in world history. That is a strange step, and hard for those stuck in genetic reductionism, but the evidence in its favor over the range of history, justifies it.
In that context, we see the interconnection of ‘evolution’ and religious issues, but in an abstract and indirect way, and there is no easy or simple way to connect this to the activity of individuals. The eonic effect shows an action on two levels, and the level of system evolution is not the same as the level of individual realization. There is no other way to analyze the question, and we can see in the Old Testament the confusing difference: the historical interval of Israelite history that intersects with the Axial interval shows, remarkably, correlation with ‘eonic evolution’, but the actual realization is that of individuals, and this includes the actual formation of the Biblical corpus, which now seems to secularists as myth, which is true up to a point, but these materials do reflect the remarkable evolutionary moment of the Axial period. It is a complex issue requiring a thorough understanding of the eonic effect.
At one and the same time we see in the same Axial interval the completely different emergence (among many other correlates) of Buddhism. The synchronous appearance of theistic and atheistic religions should be a reminder of the complexity of the phenomenon of evolution in this instance and the dangers of electic efforts to throw things together that we see in New Age efforts.
This example should be a warning against casual uses of the term ‘evolution’ for ‘spiritual’ endeavors.
If you think that these gurus, with their claims now on the term ‘evolution’, know what they are talking about, I recommend a long look at the eonic effect which shows how macrohistory generates its action on these questions. While it is permissible to talk of ‘evolution’ in terms of religion, in light of the eonic effect, it must be done with great care, and the eonic model shows how to do that. In a gist, ‘evolution’ only applies to a macro level. It does not apply to the efforts of individuals, by definition, unless you care to invent a new term like ‘self-evolution’ and state what you mean. The eonic effect clearly distinguishes (and yet braids) ‘evolution’ and ‘history’ in a special way, and the evolution of religion on one level is not the same as the history of religion on another.
These gurus clearly don’t understand the distinction, and in general have no grasp of the larger issues. And yet they speak with an authority, to some, that is going to imprint this new usage in a fruitless and ineffectual way. It is just the same kind of difference we see vis a vis the ‘evolution’ of religion and the ‘history’ of religious realizations, most of which suffer human frailty.
At this point we don’t control the evolution of religion, and are limited to the realization of its traditions, whatever we think of them. However, attempts to roll back modernity to reconstruct some Axial religious age are completely harebrained misunderstandings, rife in the New Age movement.
The distinctions macro/micro of the eonic model are important, because endless initiatives by New Age figures have emerged in the last century to somehow produce movements, cults, or whatever as ‘evolution’, can’t be called ‘evolution’, and if you examine the wake of the Axial Age you will see what the future will show, which is chaotification and decline, and that the distinction of macro and micro (in the eonic sense) is crucial to understanding the outcome of the Axial Age, as the system slowly but surely degenerated into medievalism. There, apparently, religion thrived.
I will leave it there for the moment, except to suggest not using the term ‘evolution’ in a New Age context. None of the ancient sutras used it, btw. They knew what they were talking about.
It is open to question what should be done here. Relative to world history Buddhism is a massive religious movement, but relative to the eonic effect it is a brief moment of ‘historical realization’, but with the charm and double prestige of association with the Axial Age in a brilliance that not even the best of gurus can imitate. But its initialization was a unique moment, and its realization a long deviation from initial conditions. Its future is therefore under a cloud, even as fragments of its teachings proliferate in a secular world. Perhaps that is all that can be expected, since no replication of the unique generation of Buddhism would be possible now. Every half-baked guru claiming to be a Maitreya is going to try to defy this logic, but something deep and novel is needed, by that rare individual who grasps the significance of antiquity and modernity both. Til then we will see the equal obsfuscations of the Darwin-style reductionists and the traditionalists competing for a glorious future that won’t come because everyone has the wrong approach.