Wednesday, September 26, 2012

600-year Arcs - Capitalism, Astronomy/Astrology

In reading a very interesting piece by Morris Berman at Counterpunch:
The Waning of the Modern Ages, I noticed mention of the "arc" of capitalism, a period thought to be around 600 years long: 1500 to 2100.  Whenever I read about "arcs" I think of astrology.....anyway more on that later. A brief clip from the article:

La longue durée —the long run—was an expression made popular by the Annales School of French historians led by Fernand Braudel, who coined the phrase in 1958. The basic argument of this school is that the proper concern of historians should be the analysis of structures that lie at the base of contemporary events. Underneath short-term events such as individual cycles of economic boom and bust, said Braudel, we can discern the persistence of “old attitudes of thought and action, resistant frameworks dying hard, at times against all logic.” An important derivative of the Annales research is the work of the World Systems Analysis school, including Immanuel Wallerstein and Christopher Chase-Dunn, which similarly focuses on long-term structures: capitalism, in particular.

The “arc” of capitalism, according to this school, is about 600 years long, from 1500 to 2100. It is our particular (mis)fortune to be living through the beginning of the end, the disintegration of capitalism as a world system. It was mostly commercial capital in the sixteenth century, evolving into industrial capital in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, and then moving on to financial capital—money created by money itself, and by speculation in currency—in the twentieth and twenty-first. In dialectical fashion, it will be the very success of the system that eventually does it in.

The last time a change of this magnitude occurred was during the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, during which time the medieval world began to come apart and be replaced by the modern one. In his classic study of the period, The Waning of the Middle Ages, the Dutch historian Johan Huizinga depicted the time as one of depression and cultural exhaustion—like our own age, not much fun to live through. One reason for this is that the world is literally perched over an abyss. What lies ahead is largely unknown, and to have to hover over an abyss for a long time is, to put it colloquially, a bit of a drag. The same thing was true at the time of the collapse of the Roman Empire as well, on the ruins of which the feudal system slowly arose.

 I couldn't immediately relate a 600 year span to anything in astrology, but a little research soon brought up the following at sacred
An astronomical period of 600 years, spoken of as the "Naros," the Cycle of the Sun, the Luni-Solar period or Sibylline year, consisting of 31 periods of 19 years, and one of 11 years, is often referred to in old works on the Mysteries. It seems to have been known by the Chaldeans and ancient Indians; it is a period of peculiar properties. Cassini, a great astronomer, declares it the most perfect of all astronomic periods.

If on a certain day at noon, a new moon took place at any certain point in the heavens, it would take place again at the expiration of 600 years, at the same place and time, and with the planets all in similar positions. 
Hmmmm - not sure how that relates to any supposed arc of capitalism, but the fact that there is a definable 600-year arc in astronomy/astrology is interesting and food for further thought.  Perhaps that brush-stroke I mentioned in a previous post about the current set of Uranus/Pluto conjunctions is actually a brush-stroke in an oil painting covering a span of 600 years - or la longue durée.

 PS - Both linked articles are worthy of full investigation!


JD said...

this is worth reading also -

Twilight said...

JD ~~~ Thanks for the link.
I'm not familiar with Julius Evola's writings. I found a summary of the work you mention and noticed a reference to Kali Yuga there.

Kali Yuga is yet another huge arc of time - much longer than the 600 year one in my post, which could actually be an integral ingredient of the Kali Yuga's wider arc.

Don't know.....every philosopher and deep thinker has their own theory, all trying to make sense of this mad, mad world. None is ever capable of proof, all are fascinating to consider.

Wisewebwoman said...

We sure like to try and make sense of the insanity.

A world run by psychopaths.

It is too terrifying.

Hunker down. Maybe fiddle? :)


Twilight said...

Wisewebwoman ~~ I suppose it's the old Plato's Cave effect again - we and philosophers, scientists, intellectuals etc are seeing shadows - because that's all we are able to see - and trying to make sense of them.

Fiddling as we whistle in the dark, past the graveyard, sounds about right. ;-)

Chomp said...

I read with much interest the artcile about “The Waning of the Modern Ages” (you linked) and know more or less Wallerstein’s Works about the End of Capitalism, teh End of actual system, whose end we are witnessing. And that America failed, no doubt on it, if failing means the inevitable pass of a system...

Let us hope America would still make something against Islamic revanscism, after done that for America it would be the end...

I also am familiar with Evola’s wor quoted in a comment hereon...

Yes, we’re in the end of what the ancient India thinkers and religious men called “The Kali Yuga”, The Dark Ages - that for them would have been in the future form their point of view...

“The Kali Yuga” is when the material forces inherent in man’s life arrive at their peak only to collapse then, via a series of events that are very similar to the End of The Rman Empire phenomenon.

Evola follows Arnold Toynbee’s views on this point: The End of a civlization is basically due to the waning of its central concepts. As it happened in the last times of the Roman Empire.

But, differently from that time, the “new fact” called Christianism does not exist today, and no new idea is appearing... In fact we live on the corpses and bones of the past, among dry lifeless leaves left from the passed living ideas alive in the past but now no more...

When this happens, Toynbee claimed, what was a creative civilization becomes to close in itself in a small group of controlers and in the big group of the excluded...

This last goup increases exponentially at the point the civilization tends to collapse...

Like today small elite governing - tyranizing - the whole world...

Things are not easy but the theme of the day, the main crucial point becomes then to get out of the prison, of the cage...

This may give way to a series of attacks and responses he studied in particular...

A long speech I can here only roughly summarise in general...

But Evola’s book keypoint is this...

Twilight said...

Chomp ~~ Hi! Thank you for your insights - they are much appreciated.

I get the idea that we are living at, or almost at, the point where "the bubble bursts". It's the "almost at" that's key, as I see it.

Several decades ago people were thinking along much the same lines as we are now - they felt sure that another 20 years or so would see "the end". Didn't happen.

At some point the bubble is bound to burst - no doubt of that; but, summoning as much positive thought as I can muster, I suspect that there's a way to go yet in the only timeline we humans can access in our limited sensitivity.

Line from old hymn we used to sing in school :"A thousand ages in Thy sight are like an evening gone" - while I'm not on board with the religious aspect of that, a thousand ages in the life of the universe ARE like an evening gone. We could have quite a few more evenings to pass- and grow wiser, and what if....what if....we crack the code to not ending in exactly the same way as all those old civilisations?

Maybe there IS a code, just waiting to be found, once we grow wise enough. Maybe the Universe has set us that single teaser to solve.

When summoning a positive trend of thought about not only this, but almost everything I recall A.A. Milne's words in his children's book about a little bear called Pooh.
Pooh & friend Piglet were out walking:
'Supposing a tree fell down, Pooh, when we were underneath it?'
'Supposing it didn't,' said Pooh.
After careful thought Piglet was comforted by this.”

mike said...

I just came across mention of a 600 year cycle:
Astrologer Adam Smith

"The waning Jupiter-Saturn trine from their 2000 Taurus cycle culminates on December 21 2020 with the Grand Conjunction in Aquarius. We have seen the archetypal boom and bust, peaking in 2010 with the Jupiter-Saturn opposition, which brought us to the brink. Our present Jupiter-Saturn cycle is the last in Earth for another 600 years, and the present economic tumult is the world saying goodbye to the Industrial Revolution and dog-eat-dog capitalism."

Twilight said...

mike ~~ Thank you for that, mike! The whole article by Adam Smith from which it comes, is an excellent, I've saved it for future reference.

Interesting that there's yet another 600-year point identifiable by astrology, indicating that a cycle has or will soon come to an end, and change will follow....though I'm sure changes will be very very slow, at least at first.

mike (again) said...

From the end of one earth-sign-cycle to the start of the next earth-sign-cycle of the 800 year grand cycle is 600 years. I had to do a little hunting for a good explanation:
Robert P. Blaschke

"The Jupiter–Saturn 800-Year Great Historical Cycle & its 200-Year Elemental Subcycles

Conjunctions of Jupiter and Saturn recur in the same element for about two centuries. (The Grand Conjunctions began to occur in earth signs in 1802.) A transitional conjunction (or two) takes place in the succeeding element just prior to the end of this 200-year elemental subcycle. (The 1980–81 Grand Conjunctions were in the air sign of Libra.) The last conjunction in this subcycle’s earth element occurred in 2000. (The last earth subcycle previously concluded in 1206.)

The Grand Conjunctions will now fall in the air element for the next two centuries, with the Jupiter–Saturn conjunction of December 21, 2020 taking place at 0°29’ Aquarius. It is no small coincidence that Barack Obama’s natal Jupiter is in that exact degree — it shows the astrologer how he became a channel for our hopes for a better future.

A sequence of historical development can be shown to correspond with the Grand Conjunctions cycling through the four elements every 800 years. When there are fire element conjunctions, the world experiences global exploration, conquest, and discovery, along with independence movements. These conjunctions recurred in the fire signs in 1603 and 1623, then from 1663 to 1782, and in 1821.

When Jupiter and Saturn conjoin in the earth element, societal infrastructure evolves globally and there is substantial wealth creation, along with extensive land settlement and territorial disputes. These conjunctions recurred in the earth signs in 1802, then from 1842 to 1961, and in 2000.

Grand Conjunctions in the air element historically correspond with rapid social progress, significant intellectual development, and new concepts entering into human consciousness. These conjunctions recurred in the air signs in 1186, then from 1226 to 1345, and again in 1385 and in 1405.

Jupiter and Saturn conjoining in the water element has resulted in artistic flourishing, the formation of spiritual movements, and societal assimilation on a large scale. These conjunctions recurred in the water signs in 1365, then from 1425 to 1583, and in 1643. This period encompassed the Renaissance.

It is thought that the Jupiter–Saturn 800-year historical cycle commences with a Grand Conjunction taking place nearest to the Aries Point. For our historical era, this occurred in May 1702."

mike (again) said...

Well, Twilight, I'll leave this post alone after I mention the resonant and synodic patterns of Jupiter-Saturn-Uranus-Neptune, which can be explored here in part E4 on:

I would not have thought of these to any great extent had it not been for your post...thanks...I'll have to explore!

Twilight said...

mike ~~~ Thanks, again, for this!

So 600 years is an elemental sub-cycle of an 800 year cycle
of Saturn/Jupiter. I like that he divides it by element. I have faith in the elements as reliable indicators.

Cycles within cycles within other cycles! Well, that's what the universe is - like an enormous clock with hour hands, minute hands, second hands, and a variety of nano-second hands. Finding out exactly what time it is at any given point isn't an easy matter!

Your posts got me reaching for "Horoscope for the New Millennium" by E. Alan Meece (1997) from my bookshelf.

He did huge amounts of research for the book - it contains masses of information, enough to explode one's brain! He talks a lot about the many cycles of civilisation, as he saw things from his vantage point in the 1990s, and maybe earlier when he began research for the book.
Occasionally he has been off-mark in prediction for the 2000s, but his historical research can't be criticised.

Maybe I'll try a post summarising some of his findings - if I can get my head around them without it exploding.

This is the most fascinating part of astrology, but also the most confusing.

Still - we've found 600 year cycles which might correspond to the non-astrological capitalism cycle a writer mentioned....that has to be significant.

Twilight said...

mike ~~~ I hadn't seen your 10.17 am comment when I posted my last one.

Oh my! That last linke really exploded my head - I shall return to it though -
to section E anyway, when the pieces of grey matter reassemble.

I got myself looking into this further too - "another fine mess I got me into...."

Chomp said...

Well I also do know the astrological doctrine of the Great Conjunctions - The “Magnae Conjunctiones” by al-Kindî, plagiarized by Abû’l Ma‘shar - based on the 800 years cycles of Saturn and Jupiter conjunctions...

To return to the point, following Toynbee’s views, is that, when civilizations enter in crisis and lose the charm and the spontaneous attraction of creativity, they generate what he called a “Magnae Conjunctiones”
Abû’l Ma‘shar

“proletariate”, divided in two parts: The “outer” proletariate, as Marx’s devoid of money and power, and the “inner” proletariate, different from Marxian version of it.

The “inner” proletariate is when the fracture, the division, the separation from the rest of the Body social does not happen due to practical reasons, but to ideal reasons.

So to make ti happen what you say, Twilight, there is the absolute necessity that the crystallized domineering ruling class of a civilization may be opened at such a point to **allow** the “inner” proletariate to develop its influence.

What happens usually is that the “inner” proletariate, separated by ideal reasons from the ruling class, is reduced to the state of the “outer” proletariate.

At this point, there may happen many things, basically divided in two sets: If the “inner” proletariate unite with the “outer” proletariate, or not.

In he long history of mankind we see that this necessary unity does not happen, for a reason or another and our present situation is based on the impossibiolity of uniting these two halves, the “inner” proletariate that has the mind and the “outer” proletariate that has the number...

This may explain how difficultly civilizations can be saved when enter the fatal path of The End...

So there is a practical very difficult condition to be paid in order to save a civilization, saving that we may define as such: An ordered and not catastrophic substitution of a ruling class in decline or finished with a **creative** new ruling class, capable of proposing **living** concepts that can rivitalize a civilization **without** using the force, but only the charm and the attractiveness that creativity has and commands...

Chomp said...

Frank Zappa said:

“The illusion of freedom [in America] will continue as long as it’s profitable to continue the illusion. At the point where the illusion becomes too expensive to maintain, they will just take down the scenery, they will pull back the curtains, they will move the tables and chairs out of the way and you will see the brick wall at the back of the theater.”


Twilight said...

Chomp ~~ Many thanks for your further input. I'm not at all well-read on the history of civilisation and attendant philosophies, as you obviously are, so your thoughts are valuable, they cause me to search further into the issue at hand. :-)

The matter of inner and outer proletariat - maybe in laymen's language this would be the ruling elite (inner) and "the rest of us" the outer? And unless the inner can empathise to great extent and voluntarily with the needs of the outer, the outer will, or could, use its strength of numbers to
encroach into the inner and overthrow it - as in revolution?

Not sure I've understood it correctly though.

Civilisation doesn't necessarily crumble due to revolution, sometimes it thrives even more afterwards. I think it would be more likely to crumble due to apathy or ignorance of the outer proletariat..... the masses.

Responsibility lies with both sides, inner and outer, and as things are at present both sides are shirking responsibility, inner due to greed (or fear), outer due to a mix of apathy and ignorance or muddled-thinking as to consequences.

To parody Bob Dylan...."How many civilisations will it take 'til we know that too many civilisations have died?"
Thanks for the Frank Zappa quote - that's a very good one!