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Author Topic: Ideologies and The Arrow of Time  (Read 223 times)

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Offline sdparquinnTopic starter

Ideologies and The Arrow of Time
« on: May 30, 2018, 08:43:47 PM »
It's possible the connection I'm trying to make here is a tenouse one. It's possible I am full of crap, but it's also possible i'm on to something. So don't be afraid to let me know either way. Debate my assertion and try to knock it down.

It seems large portions of the right have cyclical views regarding historical development, while on the left it's ideologies are more informed by a linear view of historical development. These associations, while probably unintentional, are important parts of the structures of said ideologies. Or possibly that a belief in the primacy of one type of historical development (cyclical v. linear) might prime a person, or make them more predisposed, to take up an associated ideology.   

Strauss-Howe Generational Theory is extremely popular amongst the modern right. Steve Bannon is a famous disciple of the theory. Strauss himself also a conservative. The theory can be simplified (while losing a large amount of nuance) into the following idiom: "hard times create strong men, strong men create good times, good times create weak men and weak men create hard times". Jordan Peterson, another right leaning figure, is in love with the famous "Hero's Journey" put forth by Joseph Campbell. The last leg of said journey is... "The Return", another example of cyclical views of history popping up amongst conservative thinkers. Even on the economy: The "creative destruction" of the free market, the rise and fall of profit seeking firms over and over. The belief in the inevitability of the "Boom-Bust" cycle. Son on and so on and so forth *sniff* (Let's see who catches that joke! If you get it I will give you a reward!).

On the left however... (and by "the left" I do not mean the modern American flavor because, good or bad, what is considered "the left" in American politics today is in truth center right. At least relative to a large portion of the rest of the world).

Marx, taking some cues from Hegel, believed a progression from one form of social organization to the next. Feudal, to capitalist, to socialist... But no real return (of if there is it's an exception, not the rule). Liberation Theology, a mixing of politics and religion in a leftist vien, had the underpinning of the Judea-Christian worldview, which is ofcourse linear (creation->the fall->stuff in between->end times). Many on the left like to call themselves "progressives" and mockingly refer to their conservative opponents as "regressives" further highlighting that many on the left view themselves as a part of progression *forward*, but never backwards, never as beginning a new cycle. While to some on the right... a return to what once is not just natural, but beneficial.

There's probably more examples I could dig up (like the phenomenon of the far-right trying to co-opt neo-pagan beliefs), but jesus christ it's already a wall of text...

So I am just connecting dot's that are just not there?

Offline Oniya

Re: Ideologies and The Arrow of Time
« Reply #1 on: May 30, 2018, 09:26:23 PM »
Actually, the last part of the Hero's Journey isn't the 'Return' - it's the 'Return with the Elixir'.  The entire point of the Journey is that the Hero brings something back to the ordinary world, even if it is intangible (such as knowledge).  Jason retrieves the Golden Fleece.  Ged defeats the Shadow.  Merry and Pippin become warriors, Ent-friends, and sire a line of taller Hobbits.  Janet leaves Frank's castle with a new acceptance of sexuality.  They have gone among the 'gods' (beings to whom the normal restrictions of society don't apply), been changed by the experience, and survived.  If it was truly cyclical - the hero returning unchanged, with nothing to show for it - it really wouldn't rise to the level of myth.

Offline sdparquinnTopic starter

Re: Ideologies and The Arrow of Time
« Reply #2 on: May 30, 2018, 09:35:11 PM »
Actually, the last part of the Hero's Journey isn't the 'Return' - it's the 'Return with the Elixir'.  The entire point of the Journey is that the Hero brings something back to the ordinary world, even if it is intangible (such as knowledge).  Jason retrieves the Golden Fleece.  Ged defeats the Shadow.  Merry and Pippin become warriors, Ent-friends, and sire a line of taller Hobbits.  Janet leaves Frank's castle with a new acceptance of sexuality.  They have gone among the 'gods' (beings to whom the normal restrictions of society don't apply), been changed by the experience, and survived.  If it was truly cyclical - the hero returning unchanged, with nothing to show for it - it really wouldn't rise to the level of myth.
I am sincerely glad you could give me some depth on this. It's one of the things I mentioned that I have the least familiarity with (while still having some).

Any other points you could give outside of that would also be appreciated. What of the general idea? Hokum? or at the very least probably? 

Offline Oniya

Re: Ideologies and The Arrow of Time
« Reply #3 on: May 30, 2018, 10:09:37 PM »
It's an interesting theory, but certain 'appropriations' seem to be (as it all too frequently is) a case of 'not really getting it'.  You mentioned the 'far right' trying to co-opt neo-Pagan beliefs.  I'm assuming that you're referring to certain emblems etc. that were also co-opted - with a considerable amount of twisting - back in the '40's.  I'd say that there's actually a pretty large percentage of folks 'working their way left' in the neo-Pagan community.  (And indeed, some of the people whose beliefs are being co-opted are rather peeved about it.)

I remember hearing a TV newsperson commenting recently that 'History may not repeat itself, but it often rhymes'.  I think that the reality is somewhat more helical, or even like a strange attractor: yes, there are times that the pattern gets arbitrarily close to a particular point, and can maybe be predicted for a short time, but it will inevitably diverge.  The question is more 'which way'.

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Re: Ideologies and The Arrow of Time
« Reply #4 on: May 31, 2018, 01:58:41 AM »
It's an interesting theory, but certain 'appropriations' seem to be (as it all too frequently is) a case of 'not really getting it'.  You mentioned the 'far right' trying to co-opt neo-Pagan beliefs.  I'm assuming that you're referring to certain emblems etc. that were also co-opted - with a considerable amount of twisting - back in the '40's.  I'd say that there's actually a pretty large percentage of folks 'working their way left' in the neo-Pagan community.  (And indeed, some of the people whose beliefs are being co-opted are rather peeved about it.)

I remember hearing a TV newsperson commenting recently that 'History may not repeat itself, but it often rhymes'.  I think that the reality is somewhat more helical, or even like a strange attractor: yes, there are times that the pattern gets arbitrarily close to a particular point, and can maybe be predicted for a short time, but it will inevitably diverge.  The question is more 'which way'.

I definitely agree with that quote - we see similarities to things in the past, but we rarely ever echo the past to the point where it could pass as a copy. Things change, and whether people learn from history or not doesn't really change that the circumstances we face will always be different from those thousands, hundreds or even decades ago.

Admittedly, while I'm certainly left-leaning, I don't necessarily equate humanity's 'progression' to any particular set of ideals. It will change as it will to suit whatever need is most pressing. I would be the first to admit that I'm not exactly the typical leftist, though, so I can't exactly speak for others.

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Re: Ideologies and The Arrow of Time
« Reply #5 on: June 03, 2018, 03:24:03 PM »
Dinotopia, anyone?

The book has the main character - Arthur Dennison - speaking with the head librarian in a place called Waterfall City.  The librarian - a deinonychus named Malik - speaks about perceptions of time.  Dennison, from the West, regards time as a straight line, moving from past to present to future.  Those from the East, Malik goes in, sees it all in cycles of rebirth and decay.  Combining the line with the circle, you get the spiral, or the helix, leading to the summary:

"Time goes on, but history repeats itself."


As for co-opting certain things, that's nothing new.  The manji - one of its many names - is a symbol that has lasted through thousands of years of human history, from civilizations in the Far East to even places like Greece and Spain.

But if I show someone a manji, 98% of people are all going to see the same thing.