Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
Did you miss your activation email?

Login with username, password and session length

The engine of history

The engine of history
November 13, 2013, 02:27:00 AM
What drives individuals, social change, and revolutions. What is the engine of history?

Is it, as the marxists thought, material factors: like the level of technology at the time, or the particular productive arrangements?

Or is it, as Hegel thought, consciousness: ideas?

Can one man with belief change the world? Or will the world only change if it is ready to?


Re: The engine of history
November 13, 2013, 05:53:56 AM
I thought it was pretty clearly the will of the flying spaghetti monster.

Jokes aside (or not?) to attempt to pinpoint one process or abstract interaction as the "engine" of history is faulty because Everything causes Everything. To know for sure where any movement (historic, personal, social, evolutionary) would require knowledge of all past events up to the universal genesis. For further reading see Laplace's Demon. It is simply too broad a question for pursuit, even for a all of humans for now.

Maybe that's pessimistic but watch as I sit back and relax while the gods smite you for such hubris.

Re: The engine of history
November 13, 2013, 06:38:19 AM
Nobody in history ever changed the world. Other people, who were changed by the example set by one man who changed himself, went forth and changed themselves, too, causing others to see the value in changing themselves...
The only thing anyone has the power to do, is to change themselves. It is a sacred duty.
And by change, I don't mean change for the sake of change.
I mean to go from being a wanker, to a fully realized, sane and balanced being, able to perform to design specs.
Squawk!

Re: The engine of history
November 13, 2013, 02:39:52 PM
I agree with DL (dead lift) that a unilateral assessment of historical movement will prove inconclusive. But,creating an awareness of the factors you refer to, and then attempting to parse specific modes of their manifestation I do think is worthy, and deserving of reflection.

Re: The engine of history
November 13, 2013, 06:52:37 PM
Irreducibly complex. Your best bet is to keep an eye out for patterns matching what we've seen before. If W, X and Y are happening, have happened, then it's safe to conclude D is around the corner.

Re: The engine of history
November 13, 2013, 08:36:26 PM
Or is it, as Hegel thought, consciousness: ideas?

Did he lift that from Plato? That's what Plato would argue. Material is not a cause of information change even if expressed in material.

I mean to go from being a wanker, to a fully realized, sane and balanced being, able to perform to design specs.

I can't stress enough how important this is. Most people live in fantasy-land formed of socialization and its tokens. They are individualists to the point of narcissism for the sake of having social status, and as a result they see only what the herd indicates is important.

Our goal as individuals is to clear our minds, discover clarity in life, and act on what is both (a) realistic/pragmatic/necessary and (b) an ideal ongoing destination, such as "the good, the beautiful, the true" and "the perennial things."

This is basically what black metal said when it posited "no trends" and "the past is alive."

Re: The engine of history
November 14, 2013, 04:11:03 PM
The primary mover for all societal change has always been technology.  If you want to see a stable society, just look to the ones who have had minimal influence from technological advance.

Re: The engine of history
November 14, 2013, 11:12:36 PM
The primary mover for all societal change has always been technology.  If you want to see a stable society, just look to the ones who have had minimal influence from technological advance.

This leads right back into ideas. Technology is always created to fill a purpose and that purpose always has some relation to something a particular cultural dispensation thinks is important.

The minimalist societies you describe never make it very far into the world of abstraction and thus, their technologies are not terribly advanced in relation to high civilization.

Re: The engine of history
November 20, 2013, 03:57:28 PM
I agree with the guy who said technology. Material factors are the main drives of human history - physical conditions, material comfort, and technology levels. These are the sort of things everyone is affected by.

This is my main issue with all ideological die-hards, both leftists and rightists. It's not political ideologies that cause massive worldwide changes. Only someone who lives in a fantasy world, with his head far up his own ass, seriously believes that ivory-tower political ideas are the engines of history.

Re: The engine of history
November 20, 2013, 04:43:17 PM
I try to look at it from a pragmatic viewpoint.  Have people changed in the last 20,000?  If you took a man from the end of last ice age and put him in modern society, I think he'd eventually become just like everyone else.

Democracy, capitalism, fascism, and communism have all existed before throughout human history, in a different time and  place with different names. Empires rise and empires fall for the same reasons they always have whether it bet ancient egypt, rome, khmer, or the united states. People still gain happiness from the same basic elements of accomplishment, family, and community.

What has changed is how man survives, his daily livelihood.  Before complex societies arose, humanity spent almost all of its effort on survival.  It has gradually been getting easier to survive and thrive since the first domestication of plants and animals. 

Today, it has gotten to the point where in most countries can support vast numbers of people who do nothing for their own survival.  The effort required for survival is essentially approaching to the point where nothing is required.  The difference between our current lifestyle and our hunter-gather ancestors is painfully obvious.

Technology can essentially be described as accumulated knowledge of humanity for adapting to the environment for survival.  Policy and philosophy can be as part described as part of that but they tend to be more circular in nature. The implications of technology are wider reaching than any particular mode of thought or advancement gain from them.

Re: The engine of history
November 20, 2013, 06:35:28 PM
I agree with the guy who said technology. Material factors are the main drives of human history - physical conditions, material comfort, and technology levels. These are the sort of things everyone is affected by.

This is my main issue with all ideological die-hards, both leftists and rightists. It's not political ideologies that cause massive worldwide changes. Only someone who lives in a fantasy world, with his head far up his own ass, seriously believes that ivory-tower political ideas are the engines of history.

The technologies society produces are always contingent on cultural narratives telling them what is important and what they should produce. Physical conditions and resource base are propellants, but towards what? Enter: Ideas. Shifts in narrative cause large changes, mismatches between expectation and reality cause mismanagement which causes collapse.

There are any number of directions technology will go, just as there are any number of directions resources will be allocated. Politics are subservient to the same dominant narratives which are strictly within the realm of ideas; the engine of history.

Re: The engine of history
November 21, 2013, 07:20:16 AM
Some interesting points.

Sometimes I think ideas, then I think, would the mode of social organisation in Western society have changed from fuedal allegiances, guilds, and 'clan' like modes to atomistic, individualistic, bureaucractic modes, if it weren't for the industrial revolution, which 'required' the peasants to break their traditional loyalties, to move from the country to the city (for the availability of interchangeable, cheap labour), and the destruction of fuedal lords and the unflexible, countryside-based arrangements which tied the workers to now unproductive parts of the economy and whose traditional ties were basically a barrier in the way of the 'freedom' (see French Revolution!) of the new capitalist class to hire who they wanted, when they wanted, and for people to work for who they wanted (which was previously not allowed - even in the period between feudalism and capitalsm, mercantilism).

Sometimes I think technology, then I think, would the industrial revolution have occured if it weren't for the scientific revolution of the 16th and 17th centuries?