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Thread: Giga Saeculums, a theory inspired by Northrop Frye







Post#1 at 07-07-2015 04:44 AM by Chas'88 [at In between Pennsylvania & Pennsyltucky joined Nov 2008 #posts 9,432]
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Giga Saeculums, a theory inspired by Northrop Frye

Originally posted back in 2013 in the "The Mega Saeculum" thread. Bumped here to its own thread, by request.

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Four Stages of Story-telling:

Myth - pure belief, about the divine
Romance - about semi-divine & how they believe
Mimetic - Northrop Frye divides this stage in half, about the "real world" first our leaders and then ourselves and how we live iwth this belief
Ironic - those who believe in the old belief are "beneath us", about the downtrodden


Giga Saeculums in trends in literature as inspired by Northrop Frye:

(Dates are rounded to approximations)

The Hellenic Age: 500 BC - 0 = Mimetic

--An era which gave birth to Tragedy and Comedy. The split between the two periods of High and Low Mimetic being the Peloponnesian war. Prior to that Tragedy and Comedy focused on leaders, while after that Tragedy and Comedy focused more on every man. Brilliant split in this dynamic is shown in comparing Aristophanes and Menander--two comic dramatists from either side of the dividing line. In Aristophanes a leader of some sort attempts to establish a new Comic society at a central location (this formula is on display in Lysistrata the most, where Lysistrata attempts to forge a peace at the Acropolis), while in Menander the focus is not on any sort of leader in any central location. Menander's Dyskolos (aka The Grouch) could be about the farmer next door.


The Roman Age: 0 - 500 AD = Irony (Greco-Roman mythology crumbles, Christianity is born)

--An era where belief in the central myth no longer holds the culture together, new competing myths begin to appear and threaten the stability until at long last the old central myth is replaced with utter chaos. The focus is on those who are "lesser" than others, a lot of stories about slaves, the oppressed and persecuted, etc. All of the saints who were martyred fit in this period. And it should be remembered that one person's saint is another person's low-life heretic. One man's savior being crucified, is another's rebel scum being justly executed. If one reads Plautus and Terence, one gets the idea that they would've laughed all the way through the Passion. There is a duality in this period as the old central myth dies away and new ones are beginning to be born or take hold. Slaves getting burned or flogged on stage occurs here and we're meant to laugh uproariously at them. Stories of Christians being thrown to the lions or burned at the stake also belong here.


The Dark Age: 500 - 1000 = Myth (Christianity, Norse Mythology, German Mythology, Celtic Mythology, Rump Classical Greco-Roman Mythology)

--An era of competing myths: amongst them include the Germanic pagan gods, the Celtic pagan gods, rump Classical myths, and Christianity--eventually Christianity devours them all and comes out on top. The focus in this period is mostly on the divine and the actions of the divine. The most popular rump Classical myth of this period arguable is "Cupid and Psyche" and other tales of lesser Classical gods which eventually serve as the foundation of fairy tales and folklore. Christianity eventually finds a way to devour the competing myths and bring versions of them into its own fiber. Old Celtic goddesses like Brigid becomes St. Bridget for example.


The Chivalric Age: 1000 - 1500 = Romance (Tristan and Isolde, Gawain and the Green Knight, La Morte D'Arthur)

--An era where the central myth has been established (or absorbed all the competitors for the large part) and now we turn our attentions from looking at the divine, to the divinely inspired heroes who seem almost semi-divine and have "God on their side". Not much to say about these stories, as they're rather straight forward in meaning.


The Clockwork Age: 1500 - 1900 = Mimetic

--The semi-divine or divinely inspired heroes of old no longer cut it anymore and we begin to focus on ourselves and society as we are. The cult of the individual pops up. The central myth exists as a binding social force but no longer takes precedent in the story, serving more as background. The central myth is taken for granted and by the end increasingly questioned.

---High Mimetic = 1500 - 1750 (Shakespeare, Marlowe)

-----Focus is on our rulers (monarchs, nobility, and aristocrats) and leaders (Othello for example is a great general who marries into the ruling class of Venice).

---Low Mimetic = 1750 - 1900 (Austen, Dickens)

-----Focus is on the everyman and the followers of leaders, growing increasingly lower on the social scale.


The Modern Age: 1900 - 2??? = Irony

--The central myth which once held our society together no longer does and an empty vacuum in people's lives now exists as they increasingly desire a new central myth that speaks to them. Post-Modernism is a strong philosophy of this period because if there are no "universal truths" then you can argue that everything is "perspective" which opens up the battlefield once more to the idea of competing myths--or will do so eventually. The focus of stories in this period for the large part has been a flourishing of stories about people who are "lesser" than your everyday people as explored in the Low Mimetic period, so essentially expect to see more characters who have handicaps of some kind, mental illnesses, are doomed with living in a previously "unenlightened age", are the lowest of the low on the social scale, the oppressed and beleaguered, etc.


About Sentimentalism in literature...

Frye mentions that sentimental pieces of literature can be written in the manner of an "earlier style", and for a good example he gives the 19th Century Romanticism movement as being a sentimental movement trying to emulate the earlier period of Romance. However there are assumptions that come with sentimental movements that it is an imitation of "the past" and not an invention of "today".

~Chas'88
"There have always been people who say: "The war will be over someday." I say there's no guarantee the war will ever be over. Naturally a brief intermission is conceivable. Maybe the war needs a breather, a war can even break its neck, so to speak. But the kings and emperors, not to mention the pope, will always come to its help in adversity. ON the whole, I'd say this war has very little to worry about, it'll live to a ripe old age."







Post#2 at 07-07-2015 06:44 AM by Einzige [at Illinois joined Apr 2013 #posts 824]
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The last Ironic Age (0-500 AD) contained within it, at approximately the halfway mark, the final collapse of the old storyline -Roman polytheism and the Imperial cult. The Battle of the Milvian Bridge in 312, during which Constantine defeated Maxentian under the sign of the Christian cross through to the Edict of Thessalonica in 380 establishing Nicene Christianity as the sole State religion seem to be the core period of this collapse. That is, incidentally, just about a full modern Saeculum: 72 years. Presumably you expect something similar to occur in this Gigasaeculum.

Would you care to speculate on that, when and what will happen?

It seems to me that we're actually rather "late" into the Gigasaeculum. If the year 0 AD = 1900, we'd be at 115; the next equivalent to the Gospels already ought to have been written. If, as I think somewhat more likely, the Roman Ironic Age begins with the Conversion of Saint Paul around 35 A.D., we're ten or so years removed from our Destruction of Jerusalem.
Last edited by Einzige; 07-07-2015 at 05:54 PM.
Things are gonna slide
Slide in all directions
Won't be nothin'
Nothin' you can measure anymore

The blizzard of the world has crossed the threshold
And it has overturned the order of the soul
When they said REPENT (repent), I wonder what they meant

I've seen the future, brother:
It is murder

- Leonard Cohen, "The Future" (1992)







Post#3 at 07-07-2015 10:09 AM by Chas'88 [at In between Pennsylvania & Pennsyltucky joined Nov 2008 #posts 9,432]
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Quote Originally Posted by Einzige View Post
The last Mimetic Age (0-500 AD) contained within it, at approximately the halfway mark, the final collapse of the old storyline -Roman polytheism and the Imperial cult. The Battle of the Milvian Bridge in 312, during which Constantine defeated Maxentian under the sign of the Christian cross through to the Edict of Thessalonica in 380 establishing Nicene Christianity as the sole State religion seem to be the core period of this collapse. That is, incidentally, just about a full modern Saeculum: 72 years. Presumably you expect something similar to occur in this Gigasaeculum.

Would you care to speculate on that, when and what will happen?

It seems to me that we're actually rather "late" into the Gigasaeculum. If the year 0 AD = 1900, we'd be at 115; the next equivalent to the Gospels already ought to have been written. If, as I think somewhat more likely, the Roman Mimetic Age begins with the Conversion of Saint Paul around 35 A.D., we're ten or so years removed from our Destruction of Jerusalem.
The Last Ironic age, you mean? Give me a bit to work up a response!

~Chas'88
"There have always been people who say: "The war will be over someday." I say there's no guarantee the war will ever be over. Naturally a brief intermission is conceivable. Maybe the war needs a breather, a war can even break its neck, so to speak. But the kings and emperors, not to mention the pope, will always come to its help in adversity. ON the whole, I'd say this war has very little to worry about, it'll live to a ripe old age."







Post#4 at 07-07-2015 10:26 AM by Eric the Green [at San Jose CA joined Jul 2001 #posts 22,504]
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good gigacycle.

The next myth age should coincide with the next religious dispensation due in 2420.
"I close my eyes, and I can see a better day" -- Justin Bieber

Keep the spirit alive,

Eric A. Meece







Post#5 at 07-07-2015 11:43 AM by Einzige [at Illinois joined Apr 2013 #posts 824]
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Quote Originally Posted by Chas'88 View Post
The Last Ironic age, you mean? Give me a bit to work up a response!

~Chas'88
Yes, Ironic, sorry. Still getting used to the terminology.
Things are gonna slide
Slide in all directions
Won't be nothin'
Nothin' you can measure anymore

The blizzard of the world has crossed the threshold
And it has overturned the order of the soul
When they said REPENT (repent), I wonder what they meant

I've seen the future, brother:
It is murder

- Leonard Cohen, "The Future" (1992)







Post#6 at 07-07-2015 12:38 PM by Kepi [at Northern, VA joined Nov 2012 #posts 3,664]
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Don't we already have an Abrahamic religion from every age? You've got Judaism, which is really from about ~500 BC, then Christianity ~1st Century CE, then Islam ~6th Century CE?







Post#7 at 07-07-2015 01:15 PM by Chas'88 [at In between Pennsylvania & Pennsyltucky joined Nov 2008 #posts 9,432]
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Quote Originally Posted by Kepi View Post
Don't we already have an Abrahamic religion from every age? You've got Judaism, which is really from about ~500 BC, then Christianity ~1st Century CE, then Islam ~6th Century CE?
Yes, but what Northrop Frye (whom I'm basing this off of) is looking at is mostly Christian-based . He does delve his toes into non-Christian stories, but the specifics here is mostly a Western European bias--a Western European bias that even the outliers of said bias (America, Canada--home of Frye, Australia, etc) have taken for their own.

But largely I would examine it based on faith which binds a civilization together. While a civilization belief can absorb or even integrate parts of competitors, there's still a dominant flavor to them, and for Western Europe that was for the longest time the development of Roman Catholicism and then its disintegration. But as long as a civilization grouping maintains their faith without having it be absorbed by another Civilization group, I'd argue that you can have multiple civilization groups--and that's how to look at Jewish, Christian, and Islamic Civilizations--as separate (though related) groups, which have their own cycles. Had the Christian civilization (either Eastern or Western European) completely consumed the Jewish faith to the point where all former Jewish peoples were unable to be distinguished (in terms of faith) from Christian civilization, like it had the Germanic and Celtic pagans, then one could argue that we were on the same cycle--but instead the Jewish community has been rather stubborn and stuck to its faith like glue and used it as defining part of themselves and their communities no matter where they live. Thus while they're related to the above cycle, they're not on the same schedule, so to speak--in fact I'd arguably say that they're ahead, having had their peak Giga-Saeculum along with the Hellenic Age, a remnant of the Classical Giga Saeculum, that have managed to survive this Giga Saeculum remarkably well and stubbornly, with things looking up for them in the next Giga Saeculum, should they survive the Isalmic civilization's mood swings.

I would separate out the Jewish and Islamic worlds, with them being on their own civilization cycles--which is why I've been getting a "Renaissance" equivalency vibe from the Middle Eastern based Islamic civilizations IMO. Think of Al Qaeda and all the other Islamicist organizations as equivalent to the Radical Reformation in our own Civilization that brought us such things as the Muenster Commune. Imagine if the Muenster Commune had gotten a hold of the kind of weapons technology we have nowadays? Think of that technology in the hands of radical reformation Christians who thought that the only way to get Christ to return again was to hole up in a specific city, establish their perfect world order there, and then go out from there conquering the world in a war against the non-believers in their specific version of the faith. They would have literally brought Armageddon down on the rest of Europe so that they could rebuild their perfect world from the ashes. Same could easily be said of the Islamicists, which is why I would say that they're in their Mimetic part of the GigaSaeculum quite easily. So Islamic Civilization is in its Mimetic Age as far as their cultural/spiritual beliefs go.

The Jewish Civilizational Cycle is part of the Classical world, along with the Greco-Roman world that got consumed by Christian Civilizational Cycle, and was a competing mythology on its own separate plane alongside the Greco-Roman civilization, with them surviving the previous Giga-Saeculum, but no longer having the potency in this Giga-Saeculum to dominate that they comparatively had in the last Giga-Saeculum, otherwise, they would have beaten out Christianity if they were on the same schedule. Arguably they're being set up for a resurgence in the coming Giga-Saeculum, if they can survive the Islamic Civilization's simultaneous messy Mimetic age that is IMO.

I'm still working on this and developing the ideas. Mostly it's still in the test the system and ideas and see if what Frye saw was only specific to Western Civilization or could be applied outside of such a limitation.

And Einzige, I'm still working on a response.

~Chas'88
"There have always been people who say: "The war will be over someday." I say there's no guarantee the war will ever be over. Naturally a brief intermission is conceivable. Maybe the war needs a breather, a war can even break its neck, so to speak. But the kings and emperors, not to mention the pope, will always come to its help in adversity. ON the whole, I'd say this war has very little to worry about, it'll live to a ripe old age."







Post#8 at 10-26-2015 10:31 PM by Dan '82 [at joined Mar 2014 #posts 349]
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I intended to write this months ago but forgot:

As far as new dominant religion is concerned Rodney Stark has argued that contemporary Mormons are similar to Roman-era Christians. As I remember it Starkís theory is that religions grow more because of high birth rates than conversions. Eric Kaufmann has also argued that conservative religion will make a comeback in the west due to higher birth rates.







Post#9 at 10-27-2015 12:35 AM by Eric the Green [at San Jose CA joined Jul 2001 #posts 22,504]
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Mormons have a long way to go

I wonder if religion as we have known it will ever be "dominant" in any form again. In our new age, I doubt it.
"I close my eyes, and I can see a better day" -- Justin Bieber

Keep the spirit alive,

Eric A. Meece







Post#10 at 10-27-2015 01:04 AM by Dan '82 [at joined Mar 2014 #posts 349]
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Quote Originally Posted by Eric the Green View Post
Mormons have a long way to go
So did Christianity in 150 AD

Quote Originally Posted by Eric the Green View Post
I wonder if religion as we have known it will ever be "dominant" in any form again. In our new age, I doubt it.
I think so and if the giga seaculum theory is true than on definitely will, Israel and South Korea have both gotten more religious in the past few decades.







Post#11 at 10-27-2015 08:18 AM by Odin [at Moorhead, MN, USA joined Sep 2006 #posts 14,442]
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Quote Originally Posted by Dan '82 View Post
Eric Kaufmann has also argued that conservative religion will make a comeback in the west due to higher birth rates.
The problem with is that it assumes that people stay in the faith they were born in, which is obviously untrue.
To recommend thrift to the poor is both grotesque and insulting. It is like advising a man who is starving to eat less.

-Oscar Wilde, The Soul of Man under Socialism







Post#12 at 10-27-2015 10:09 AM by Dan '82 [at joined Mar 2014 #posts 349]
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Quote Originally Posted by Odin View Post
The problem with is that it assumes that people stay in the faith they were born in, which is obviously untrue.
Kaufmann didnít over look that, they donít need to retain everyone, just enough people to maintain a positive growth rate. (Theologically)Conservative faiths tend to have a higher retention rate, the Mormons have a retention rate of 66% and the conversion rate is 35% mean they have a net retention rate of close to zero, when combined with their birth rate of 3.4 children per family leads a high growth rate. The Amish are an even more extreme case they have a birth rate of around 8 children per family and a retention rate of 90%, this causes their population to double every 15 years.

When you do the math out; assuming no immigration the population the United States in 200 year has 371 million Mormons and 300 million people of other faiths. At cthe urrent growth rate an Amish majority will emerge even sooner, in about 150 years the majority of the population will be Amish. Amish society can't exist a a majority culture but Mormonism can.


ETA Here's Kaufman talking about the issue.

Eric Kaufmann


The composition of a population is always a product of the relative pace of secularisation and religious growth. I use the analogy of a treadmill. Seculars are running on a treadmill that is tilting up and moving against them because of their low fertility and immigration. The religious ó notably fundamentalists ó are standing still or walking backward, but their treadmill is pushing them forward and tilting downhill. So in Europe in the late twentieth century, seculars were running fast enough to overcome their demographic disadvantage and overtook the faithful. But today, secularism is slowing down outside England and Catholic Europe, and is facing a more difficult incline from the treadmill of demography. London is a good example: it is more religious now than 20 years ago despite secularisation, simply because of religious immigration and fertility.
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Post#13 at 10-27-2015 04:01 PM by Eric the Green [at San Jose CA joined Jul 2001 #posts 22,504]
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Quote Originally Posted by Dan '82 View Post
So did Christianity in 150 AD
But they did not procreate their way to dominance. They represented the ascendancy of religion per se in the evolution of civilization. The Jupiter meme.
http://philosopherswheel.com/planetarydynamics.html

I think so and if the giga seaculum theory is true than on definitely will, Israel and South Korea have both gotten more religious in the past few decades.
Israel is not a big slice of humanity. As for Korea, we'll see.
"I close my eyes, and I can see a better day" -- Justin Bieber

Keep the spirit alive,

Eric A. Meece







Post#14 at 10-28-2015 12:37 AM by Dan '82 [at joined Mar 2014 #posts 349]
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Quote Originally Posted by Eric the Green View Post
But they did not procreate their way to dominance. They represented the ascendancy of religion per se in the evolution of civilization.
The two are not mutually exclusive. Higher birth rates (and just as importantly in a pre-modern society) lower death rates arenít the only reason Christianity expanded but they are a large part of the reason.


Quote Originally Posted by Eric the Green View Post
I have no idea what that means.



Quote Originally Posted by Eric the Green View Post
Israel is not a big slice of humanity. As for Korea, we'll see.
They are both examples of societies that have gotten more religious as they have modernized, demonstrating that secularism is not a product of modernity.







Post#15 at 10-28-2015 01:58 PM by Eric the Green [at San Jose CA joined Jul 2001 #posts 22,504]
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Quote Originally Posted by Dan '82 View Post
The two are not mutually exclusive. Higher birth rates (and just as importantly in a pre-modern society) lower death rates arenít the only reason Christianity expanded but they are a large part of the reason.
I don't see how you can say that at all. Christianity spread because of its appeal to peoples' needs for help and salvation. It reached out to all people; it was very populist in that way. I don't see any data showing that morally-permissive pagans were less prolific than puritannical Christians.

I have no idea what that means.
Did you read about it?
http://philosopherswheel.com/planetarydynamics.html

They are both examples of societies that have gotten more religious as they have modernized, demonstrating that secularism is not a product of modernity.
Is our society modern? It appears to be becoming more secular, especially among the 2 generations you are on the cusp of. I'm not sure there's a trend there. I don't know about Israel or Korea either. I know Israeli Jews have gotten more conservative and less-interested in peace. Is that religious, or just fearful and stupid?
"I close my eyes, and I can see a better day" -- Justin Bieber

Keep the spirit alive,

Eric A. Meece







Post#16 at 11-16-2015 07:39 PM by Eric the Green [at San Jose CA joined Jul 2001 #posts 22,504]
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The gigacycle's dates are quite similar to the planetary cycle from my book, which I also noticed many years ago had similarity to Northrup Frye's cycle:

http://philosopherswheel.com/fortunes.htm

Also note the next chapter for a larger cycle:

http://philosopherswheel.com/cosmicc...ilization.html
"I close my eyes, and I can see a better day" -- Justin Bieber

Keep the spirit alive,

Eric A. Meece
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