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In studying perennial philosophy, my method is simple: if two separate civilizations, with zero contact, agree on at least two interdependent ideas then that complex of beliefs is a datum which might be considered part of the perennial philosophy.
Whether the shared datum is attributable to a prehistoric lost Tradition, Jung’s collective unconscious or a convergent evolution facilitated by “chance” or similar ecologies, is irrelevant for this piece.
One fascinating datum is the starting of the Hindu Kali Yuga(1) and the Mayan Long Count(2) at 3102 BC and 3114 BC, respectively. Both the Hindus and Maya had cyclical views of history and saw the time at around 3100 BC as a new beginning.
That’s the datum of interest in this piece: two different cyclical visions of history which saw a “new beginning” for the world happening at around 3100 BC.
In the Hindu view, 3100 BC, is the beginning of a “dark age”, the Kali Yuga, the Age of Inversion, when evil is called good and good is called wrong. In the Maya view, it’s the beginning of a new creation(2). The particulars are different, but the basic gestalt is the same: 3100 BC marks the beginning of a new age, within two different though cyclical views of history.
Interestingly, 3250 BC marks the beginning of Egyptian writing, as far as we know. It is also, at around this time, that cuneiform develops in Sumer thus the beginning of this age roughly converges with the origins of the written word. This is a fun little factoid, but what more can be said? Does this coincidence have any explanatory value? Can we build something from it?
Part of archeofuturism, as I understand it, involves the mining, reusing, deconstruction and reassembling of ancient ideas into new paradigms. The above observation of written language roughly correlating with the beginning of the Kali Yuga and the Long Count, in Classic Maya inscriptions, is what I want to use as the basis for what might be a new Traditionalist or even Archeofuturist historiography.
Part of my motivation is artistic. Modern descriptions of history are dull, uninspiring and void of telos. I want a view that is beautiful, inspiring and hinting at grand design.
My aim is also partly devotional. We moderns with our smartphones, space travel and antibiotics stand on the shoulders of ancient giants. We have what we have because our ancient ancestors did what they did. We are who we are because of who they were. So I want to give a “hat tip” to the past, without being bound to it.
In doing this, I’m not trying to recreate or reveal a God’s eye view of history, or the one accurate historiography; I’m not a prophet, seer or revelator. Instead, I want to create something new that looks like a God’s Eye view of history. I want a unique perspective that is inspired by antiquity but is not bound by it. Like the Pagan stories of cosmogenesis, this is a work of creation ex materia.
The Golden Ratio
Between 3100 BC and 2100 AD, we have a 5,000-year span of history. How might it be divided up into distinct eras? One possibility is by using the golden ratio.
Using the golden ratio of 1.618, we have a grand cycle of 5200 years and epi-cycles of 3200, 2000, 1250 and 800 years(3).
If we count from 3100 BC to 2100 AD, according to the above intervals, we get the following dates: 3100 BC, 2300 BC, 1850 BC, 1500 BC, 1100 BC, 700 BC, 600 BC, 100 AD, 650 AD, 900 AD, 1700 AD, 1900 AD and 2100 AD. The following is incomplete and rough historiography, using these dates as pegs:
1900 AD -2100 AD
This is the Post-Modern Era, our time; the dethronement of most European monarchies, the enthronement of the Persian and Chinese Emperors, the end of the Ottoman Empire, WW1, WW2, Cold War, Jihadism, mass migration, rampant atheism, hyper inversion, nuclear bombs, the promise of transhumanism, rapid advances in science and technology, Spanish flu, AIDS, Chernobyl, Fukushima, Covid-19, the Holocaust, the Great Leap Forward, the Holodomor, Khmer Rouge etc.
1700 AD – 1900 AD
The Modern Era; Liberalism, the American and French Revolutions, “the Enlightenment” (1715-1789), the official end of slavery in the West and Eastern Europe, Manifest Destiny, the end of the Holy Roman Empire(1806), the end of the Spanish Empire(1898), the rise and fall of the Russian Empire(1721-1917), steam engines, the Gatling gun etc.
900 AD – 1700 AD
The Imperial Age, nestled within the span of The Holy Roman Empire(800-1806), this age saw the complete Christianization of Europe, both the Crusades and the Renaissance(1095-1492), and Europe’s domination of the world via the Spanish, Portuguese, British, French and Dutch Empires.
650 AD – 900 AD
The Second European Dark Age; the rise of Islam, the Arab conquest of both Zoroastrian Persia and the Christian Near East/N.Africa, the Muslim conquest of Iberia; Buddhism becomes the state religion of China, leading to its eventual spread into Korea, Vietnam and Japan.
100 AD – 650 AD
Christendom; most scholars date the writing of John’s Gospel to between 90-100 AD; by now, both High Christology and most of the books of the New Testament were developed and written. This period saw the Church Fathers, the formation of the most used version of the Christian canon, the ecumenical councils, the conversion of the Roman Empire, the birth of the Byzantine Empire and the fall of the Western Roman Empire at the hands of Germanic tribes: Angles, Saxons, Jutes, Franks, Visigoths, Ostrogoths, Suebi, Vandals, Lombards etc.
600 BC – 100 AD
The Age of Composition: Christianity and Islam, the world’s two most prominent religions owe everything to this period. Starting with the Fall of Jerusalem in 587 BC and the destruction of Solomon’s temple, the Babylonian captivity marks the death of Jewish polytheism(which had survived outside of Jerusalem, following Josiah’s Deuteronomist Reform) and the cementing of radical monotheism as the defining trait of Abrahamic religion(4).
It is also during this period that the Jewish monarchy ends, the Hebrew canon finalized, the Septuagint written, Jesus of Nazareth comes on the scene, and Jerusalem falls again in 70 AD(the destruction of Herod’s temple catalyzing the innovation of rabbinic Judaism).
This period also hosts the founding of the Persian Empire by Cyrus the Great(550 BC).
We can say that this is the golden age of Greco-Roman culture, philosophy and empire building; Pythagoras, Plato, Aristotle, Alexander the Great, the Stoics, the Pax Romana etc.
100 AD is also the point at which the 5,000 cycle between 3100 BC and 2100 AD cuts into the golden ratio. The development of Christianity(30-100) becomes the hinge on which history’s gate swings.
Christians may see history culminating at this point, with everything following as a degenerative reaction to the Christian hinge.
Other people may take the opposite view, that 3100 BC marks the beginning of a steep decline, which hit “rock bottom” in Christianity and from which humanity has made a steady progression. Other perspectives are also possible. Whether as a peak or as a valley, the advent of Christianity is pivotal.
The Interregnum, wars between Assyria and Babylon, a Semitic Golden Age(?), the invention of metal coins in Lydia, the beginning of the Axial Age?
1100 BC -700 BC
The First European Dark Age, corresponding to the Greek Dark Age or Geometric Period(1100 BC – 800 BC).
1500 BC – 1100 BC
The Vedic Period.
A lot more needs to be fleshed out but so far, so good. The various periods from 4,000 to 1,000 BC also involve the Proto-Indo-European migrations from the Russian steppe to Europe, Iran and India. With the exceptions of Egypt and Sumer, these are mostly prehistoric times.
This model is most robust the nearer it gets to our time but gets weaker the further we get into the past. More work needs to be done, but perhaps this model can eventually grow into something more.
Does it have any predictive value? Maybe. Michio Kaku’s Physics of the Future: How Science Will Shape Human Destiny and Our Daily lives By The Year 2100 paints a very realistic picture of what can only be described as a fast-approaching Transhuman Age. Kaku’s predictions for the near future are realistic because he limits his forecasts to the existence of technologies that already exist as prototypes, “the solid science being conducted in major laboratories around the world today. The prototypes of all these technologies already exist” (5).
Perhaps more sobering is Nick Bostrom’s “Simulation Argument”, wherein humanity’s future comes down to one of only two possibilities: godlike transhumanism or extinction(6). I don’t know what will happen in the future but should Kaku or Bostrom be right then perhaps this historical paradigm will prove to be more than an intellectual exercise.
(1) The Bhagavata Purana (1.18.6), Vishnu Purana (5.38.8), and Brahma Purana (2.103.8); Mahabharata Section CLXXXIX(189); https://www.britannica.com/topic/yuga
(2) David Stuart, The Order of Days: The Maya World and The Truth About 2012(2011); Kindle Edition, Search: “cyclical time” and “3114 BC”.
(3)Golden Ratio= 1.618
(a+b)/a = a/b = Φ
(4)William Dever, Did God Have a Wife? Archaeology and Folk Religion in Ancient Israel(2005); Kindle Edition, Search: “Book Religion”.
(5) Michio Kaku, Physics of the Future: How Science Will Shape Human Destiny and Our Daily lives By The Year 2100(2011); Nook Edition, Pg. 18.
(6) Nick Bostrom, “The Simulation Argument”: https://www.simulation-argument.com/
Frankly, Bostrom’s argument works better as a “Dream Argument” for monistic idealism. We already have billions of simulated worlds, indistinguishable from our own, created every night in human minds, making the likelihood that this world isn’t such a dream, in the spirit of ordinary meta-cosmic consciousness, is at least a 1 in a trillion.