Dear members of the complex processes research group,
The next meeting of the complex processes research group on the theme: HISTORY, will feature:
SPEAKER: Dr Steve Mackey
TOPIC: ‘Social Cycle Theory: The Age of Corporate and Demagogic Gods'
TIME: 12.30 Wednesday, 22nd August
Social Cycle Theory is as old as Ancient Greek poet Hesiod’s Golden Age when there was peace, stability and prosperity. Food was abundant and nobody had to work. But then transgressive humans declined through Silver, Bronze and Iron Ages into constant misery and toil. Edward Gibbon’s 1782 The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire charts an actual momentous regression. Marx and Engels’ remarked that: “History repeats itself first as tragedy, second as farce.” Refugee from the Russian revolution Pitirim Sorokin wrote during his subsequent Harvard professorship that human kind will among other things: “… sink still deeper into the muck of sociocultural sewers.” Jared Diamond has discussed related problems in more polite language. German nationalist Ostwald Spengler (1880-1936) is another thinker important to social cycle theory. Though subsequently an anti-Nazi he met Hitler after his The Decline of the West was seized on as explaining why Germany lost the First World War. But perhaps the most important early modern authority in this genre is Giambattista Vico (1668-1744). Vico’s interpretation of the Egyptians’: The Age of the Gods, The Age of Hero[ine]*s and The Age of [Hu]Men is seen as foundational. Where are we presently located in Vico’s cycle? Are some people willing supplicants to Hero demagogues? Are we all forced worshippers of Deified corporations? Can anything be done to change this seemingly fateful trajectory?
*I have modified historic sexist language.