The Previous Cycle (114 years)
While the analysis of the 1993 Uranus/Pluto cycle aligning the chronological development of the Computer and Postmodernism with this ‘transformation of intellectual innovation’ cycle may be persuasive, critics are bound to argue that that these are simply coincidences. A much tougher test is to examine the previous cycle from 1851 to 1965 to see whether we can identify in parallel the emergence and adoption of a previous major new technology in tandem with a new methodology in pursuing or extending knowledge.
The previous cycle started with the conjunction in 1851, then an outgoing square in 1876, the opposition in 1901 and the incoming square in 1932. What ‘transformation of intellectual innovation’ did this cycle signify’ ? In what way do development stages in the structure and methods of intellectual, scientific, technological and aesthetic thought tally with these dates and most importantly of all – if the Computer became the new intellectual ‘paradigm’ in 1965, what emerged as its predecessor in 1851 ?
CONJUNCTION 1847 – 1855 (exact in 1851)
Once again in identifying developments around the 1851 Conjunction we shall focus on recorded historical developments which occurred while the planets Uranus and Pluto were within 10 degrees of each other. We are therefore looking at the period approximately May 1847 to May 1854. Can we find in these eight years surrounding 1851 key developments that suggest the emergence of a new technology, a new intellectual ‘paradigm’ ?
Although around 1851 there are significant advances in human knowledge and ideas relating to mathematics and logic, electricity and telecommunications, passenger railways and medical breakthroughs such as vaccination, anaesthetics and hygiene either they are not intellectually generic enough to qualify (e.g. passenger railways, electromagnetic induction) or they do not appear to have been fundamentally transformed or replaced around the year 1965 (mathematics and logic, energy & thermodynamics, urbanisation, public hygiene). Consequently rejecting these we appear to be left with 2 remaining candidates which would lead to the following titles for this cycle – ‘The Age of the Machine’ and ‘The Age of Discovery’. In the book the weaker of these ‘The Age of Discovery’ is dismissed before proceeding.
TECHNOLOGY MINDSET – THE AGE OF THE MACHINE
ENGINES & MACHINES BESTRIDE THE YEARS 1850 – 1965
“The very first glimpse of the highly mechanised world of today can be located in the Great Exhibition of 1851”. The writer J.B. Priestley’s words underline how precisely the emergence of Machines coincides with this cycle conjunction. The Great Exhibition was simply the largest exhibition of new technology that had ever taken place. 1851 is also the year in which electromagnetic induction is discovered and the high tension induction coil invented. The first Professor of Technology in the world is appointed in 1855. Engines and Machines bestride the years 1850 to 1965 in a way they never did before or will after.
‘THE ENGINE AGE’ OR ‘THE MACHINE AGE’ – WHICH FITS ?
But getting an exact title right is important – it determines the intellectual paradigm. So should we be looking at ‘The Engine Age’ or at ‘The Machine Age’ – is there any real difference between them? At first sight the term ‘engine’ appears well suited to cover the full spread of this long period stretching as it does from the widespread deployment of the steam engine in the 1850s to the widespread deployment of the jet engine in the 1960s . It is worth noting that neither the ‘Age of Steam’ nor the ‘Age of Electrical power’ fits this cycle’s dates).
An engine can be best defined as ‘any machine designed to convert energy, especially thermal energy, into mechanical motion.’ An Engine uses heat or pressure such as that produced from steam, ignited petrol or compressed fluid, to produce motion and describes the means of propulsion for a steam pump, a steam locomotive, an automobile, a motorcycle, a machine gun and a propeller airplane. The problem is that with the exception of the automobile the key events in the development of these sorts of machines do not wholly fit this cycle – though as we shall see others definitely do.
In particular steam Engines emerged well before the 1851 Uranus/Pluto conjunction and crucially there are no key specific events relating to ‘the engine’ itself between 1847 to 1855 nor (excepting the addition of an engine to the aeroplane) at the cycle opposition between 1898 and 1906. Hence it looks as if we have to look instead at machines as a whole. So how does a ‘machine’ differ from an engine?
Whereas an engine’s task is generally to simply produce motion, machines typically have a complex set of tasks to perform in some cases at different times. A machine is best defined by the OED “An apparatus using or applying mechanical power and having several parts, each with a definite function and together performing a particular task.”
MACHINE’S COMPONENTS EACH WITH A DEFINITE FUNCTION
So here we are. The notion of mechanical power and components each with a definite function leads easily into the intellectual mindset that components of the world and human existence have a set purpose and by extension a particular objective towards which they inexorably move. This starts to resonate with the world of ideas and knowledge between 1850 and 1965 where ideas like evolution (positivism) and (social) progress were a fundamental and pervasive backdrop. These ideas certainly were not widespread before 1851 and they have all but been discarded in the postmodernist age that followed 1965. The machine also has a distinct echo in historical materialist theories like Marxism (1848), whose theory of successive inexorable stages of social development had not just a materialist basis but an almost mechanical one too.
We shall reverse the order of coverage in this cycle – dealing with Intellectual Mindset first then in detail the Machines. This is in order to emphasize the close parallel between the intellectual mindset and machines – much clearer a century later to our eyes than is perhaps the parallel today between Computers and Postmodernism.
We’ll take a brief look to see how three 1850s intellectual theories – those of Charles Darwin, Karl Marx and John Stuart Mill – align themselves with the then new technology of the machine.
INTELLECTUAL MINDSET : DETERMINISM
Evolution, wrote the historian J.B. Priestley, gets interpreted as a “systematic universal development, an unceasing progress towards perfection….. all was well and would automatically proceed to get better and better’” The two most famous writers on Evolution produced their key books very close to the period we are reviewing.
‘ORIGIN OF SPECIES’
The first is Charles Darwin who first started drafting his landmark book ‘Origin of Species’ in 1838 but so cautious was he about drawing his famous conclusions that he did not have it published till 1859. Between these two dates in 1844 Robert Chambers (publisher of Chambers’ Cyclopaedia) anonymously publishes a book entitled ‘Vestiges of the Natural History of Creation’ – the book causes a major uproar in England, for evolutionism is being seen, partly because of the social upheavals then taking place, as connected to calls for radical social reform and therefore a dangerous view to hold. This intellectual-social parallel resonates to this cycle’s full meaning.
FIRST PUBLIC READING
In September 1857 Darwin first outlines his theory of evolution in a letter to American botanist Asa Gray. Then on July 1st 1859 comes the first public reading of his theory of evolution at a meeting of the Linnaean Society of London. Darwin’s controversial theory is still seen as a huge scientific breakthrough but more than any other 19th century theory, it established in the mind of people that humanity was on an inexorable course upward.
IT IS SPENCER WHO FIRST POPULARISES THE TERM ‘EVOLUTION’
Herbert Spencer, the British philosopher who started life interestingly as a railway engineer, invoked evolution as a universal principle in his book ‘The Developmental Hypothesis’ written in 1852 – seven years before Darwin published ‘Origin of Species’. It is Spencer and not Darwin who first popularises the term ‘Evolution’. Spencer’s ‘evolution’ depends on necessary differentiation and progress from less to more complex. In his book ‘First Principles’ he states that “Evolution under its most general aspect is the integration of matter and concomitant dissipation of motion”. His philosophic and scientific discussion of motion and equilibrium in evolution are framed almost as if discussing an engineering issue !
TRAINED AS AN ENGINEER HE SAW THE WHOLE PROBLEM IN MECHANICAL TERMS
Indeed the 1907 edition of the ‘Cambridge History of English & American literature’ states that Spencer “displayed much ingenuity in fitting organic, mental and social facts into this mechanical framework. His early training as an engineer seems to have influenced his ideas. He built a system as he might have built a bridge. It was a problem of strains and of the adaptation of material. Regarded thus, the whole problem was mechanical and had to be solved in terms of matter and motion. His purpose was, as he says, ‘to interpret the phenomena of life, mind, and society in terms of matter, motion, and force’. “
The same edition also states that “Spencer contemplated the history of the universe as a succession of cycles — alternate eras of evolution and dissolution.” Close though this is to a description of the cycles you are reading about here it is unlikely that Spencer would have intellectually approved of planetary cycles.
THE COMMUNIST MANIFESTO
In 1847 Karl Marx, who has just written ‘The Poverty of Philosophy’, and Friedrich Engels found the Communist League. In February 1848 they publish ‘The Communist Manifesto’. In it they predict that capitalism would lead on to revolution where the workers would take over the means of production and develop an ideal classless society. As J.B. Priestley points out, these were precisely the years when in England the Middle Class was triumphantly consolidating its position.
HIS WRITINGS FOCUS ON MACHINES AT THREE DIFFERENT LEVELS
Marx’s writings focus on machines and engines at three different levels – as a historian of technology, as an economist and finally, indirectly, as a philosopher. First his books analyse in painstaking technical and statistical detail the way in which the first ever engine – the steam-engine – leads onto a transformation of the work environment and work relationships. Marx is quick to point out that it was the machines the steam engine was adapted for that caused the change, not steam power itself. In his main book ‘Capital’ he states – “The steam-engine itself….. did not give rise to any industrial revolution. It was, on the contrary, the invention of machines that made a revolution in the form of steam-engines necessary.” .Secondly, there is the description of the work and production process as an engine. In ‘The Poverty of Philosophy’ (Chapter 2.2) Marx states that “the work shop may, without any great effort of imagination, be considered as an engine, the parts of which are men….” This is scarcely a metaphor, this is one of the bases of his economic analysis. As J.B. Priestley points out, workmen at this time were actually termed ‘mechanics’ and ‘operatives’ Finally there is Marx’s materialist and determinist philosophy.
“MANKIND MUST FIRST EAT AND DRINK, HAVE SHELTER & CLOTHING…”
For Marx the material world and man’s relations with it is the primary reality. The material world is in continuous change through evolution. “Marx”, said his collaborator Engels, “discovered the law of evolution in human history – he discovered the simple fact that mankind must first eat and drink, have shelter and clothing before it can pursue politics, science, religion, art etc.” “Man’s social institutions and the economic relationships man enters into should not be thought of in relation to man’s beliefs and wants”, said Marx – “they are merely reflections of man’s practical relations with the material world.” In other words abstract ideas, which philosophers had traditionally been concerned with, were merely reflections of the type of labour, means of production, social class and the economy – elements Marx saw as components in a kind of universal engine whose end purpose throughout thousands of years of history was clear – progress to a classless society. This heretical overturning of long established metaphysical philosophy mirrors the unleashing of the new technology of the machine just as much as Darwin’s controversial theory of ‘natural selection’ led onto ‘the survival of the fittest’.
POSITIVISM AND UTILITARIANISM
KNOWLEDGE WILL INEXORABLY LEAD TO PROGRESS
Around 1850 Positivism emerges. Positivism seeks to speak for science and the positive results of science; it rejects metaphysical speculation and sees the task of philosophical knowledge as summing up and expressing the positive knowledge gathered by science. As a philosophy Positivism denies the validity of metaphysical speculations, and maintains that the data of sense experience is the only object and the supreme criterion of human knowledge; as a religious system, it denies the existence of a personal God and takes humanity as the object of its veneration. But when we discuss Positivism in this chapter we are talking about something wider – a strong belief that people can accumulate real knowledge about themselves and their world and by so doing exercise rational control over both. It goes very well alongside the Evolutionist view that humanity is on an upward course of development. You could just as well replace ‘Positivism’ by the phrase ‘Knowledge will inexorably lead to Progress’
COMTE’S FAITH IN SCIENCE ECHOES THE MECHANISTIC CONCEPTS OF 1851
It was the French philosopher Auguste Comte who developed Positivism. He had a theory of three major stages applying to social evolution. In the third stage superstition and metaphysics give way to Science. Comte called his philosophy ‘positive’ as an expression of his optimistic faith in intellectual and moral progress – which he believed were inseparable. His key views were set out in his ‘Discourse on the Positivist Outlook’. In 1849 ‘The Positivist Calendar’ is published listing ‘feast days’ and the ‘Universal Church of the Religion of Humanity’ is founded. In 1850 Comte publishes a four volume work on the Religion of Humanity and in 1852 ‘A Positivist Catechism’. Comte’s faith in Science and Progress has had a strong and persistent influence on subsequent thought and echoes the mechanistic conceptual framework of 1851
J.S. MILL PRINCIPLE STILL CITED TODAY – ‘THE GREATEST HAPPINESS OF THE GREATEST NUMBER’
John Stuart Mill, the English philosopher, also advocated Positivism though he did not go along with Comte’s universal church, calendars and catechism. Mill developed a philosophical principle which is still cited as an ethical tool today – Utilitarianism. Appropriately Mill set out the Principle of Utility (the greatest happiness of the greatest number) in the exact way a scientific law would be propounded. His Greatest Happiness principle holds that actions are right in proportion as they tend to promote happiness, wrong as they tend to produce the reverse of happiness. By happiness is intended pleasure, and the absence of pain; by unhappiness, pain, and the privation of pleasure.
Utilitarianism had been originally developed by Jeremy Bentham in 1789 It is interesting to note that Bentham suggested a procedure to mechanically estimate the moral status of any action, which he called ‘the felicific calculus’.
Read the book to see in detail to what degree Psychology first emerges around 1851 ?
DETERMINISM AND THE RISE OF REALISM
This is of course also the world of Charles Dickens, Gustave Flaubert, and Emily, Charlotte and Anne Bronte, the world of the Pre-Raphaelites and Berlioz and Wagner – each of these writers and artists whose major work appeared at this time are in some way influenced by the impact of the machine – either in opting for Realism as in Charles Dickens and Gustave Flaubert or in seeking to transcend realism as in Emily Bronte, Wagner and the Pre-Rapahelites. Realism – presenting ordinary life in a matter of fact way – was a reaction to Romanticism which had ruled the intellectual world since the end of the 18th century. But what unites these artists is something far more powerful than realism it is their growing adherence to Determinism. We believe we shall see across the stages of this Uranus/Pluto cycle the ascendancy, peak and decline of Determinism.
EVERY EVENT IS CAUSALLY DETERMINED BY AN UNBROKEN CHAIN OF EARLIER EVENTS
Determinism is the theory (or mindset) that every event (including human cognition and action) is causally determined by an unbroken chain of prior occurrences. The popularity of determinism in the 19th century is greatly boosted by the ascendancy of Science and the theories of Darwin, Spencer and Marx. The principal consequences of this doctrine of Determinism are that free will is an illusion, and that the outcomes of all future events have already been determined. Determinism seems to colour both realist and late Romantic artists and writers and to extend forward to colour Modernist artists until it fades out by the 1960s.
REALISM FITS FIRST HALF OF CYCLE, MODERNISM SECOND HALF
Realism as we shall see declines half way round this cycle so if the rise and fall of realism does fit a cycle, it has to be a shorter cycle. However it does seem to exactly fit the first half of this Uranus/Pluto cycle from 1851 to 1901. We shall later argue that Modernism takes over from Realism around 1901 and carries through to the end of the full cycle in 1965. Modernism is generally defined as a movement rebelling against realism but it is also a movement which requires the artist or writer to break radically with previous tradition, to reject the past. Just as Modernism was a reaction to realism so realism was a reaction to Romanticism.
You need to read the book to see a detailed correlation of the key output of these creative writers, painters and musicians with the Deterministic and Machine influenced mindset precisely between 1847 and 1855
Charles Dickens, Gustave Flaubert, Hippolyte Taine and Ivan Turgenev are determined to avoid romanticised images and to present ordinary life in a matter of fact way, while exposing some of its evils. Their novels have a Determinist flavour – it often seems as if the outcome of future events has already been determined.
PAINTERS AND COMPOSERS
Realism was apparent in the works of painters like Gustave Courbet and the early Pre-Raphaelite movement. In 1848 the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood is formed as a group of young painters in Britain who wished to ‘correct’ the false principles on which the arts had been based since the time of Raphael – they thought that beauty had supplanted truth in art, and that a return to the principles of truth and usefulness would create better art.
Realism is also just detectable in music composers like Mussorgsky and in Wagner’s middle era operas – Tannhäuser (1845) and Lohengrin (1848) and in his Der Ring des Nibelungen (the ‘Ring’ cycle) whose libretto is completed in 1852 and whose music is largely completed by 1856. Wagner is of course one of the great Romantics but it is in this period that he introduces an element of realism into his operas that had never existed anywhere before.
We have now given some evidence that this cycle’s meaning ‘The Machine Age’ does relate to 1850s intellectual theories and may relate to aesthetic approaches. But what is the detailed evidence that Machines themselves actually emerged in the years around 1851?
TECHNOLOGY MINDSET : MACHINES
Surely there were important ‘machine’ inventions well before 1851 such as the ‘flying shuttle’ in 1733 and the ‘spinning jenny’ in 1764 ? True, but these earlier inventions were characterised by two factors that deprived them of the societal or intellectual label ‘transformative’ – they were all hand powered and wholly concerned with the traditional occupations of agriculture and weaving – they were made to be used by trade workers. What we are looking for are energy powered machines which can be used to automate a task by anyone or which offer a service available at any time to anyone. Priestley quotes a titled Victorian woman, Lady Stanley, saying with staggering prescience in 1853 “I wish one could talk through an electric tube, writing is such a fatigue in hot weather”. This utterance could only come at the beginning of the Age of the Machine. Let us look at 14 machines which emerged at the conjunction in 1851 and whose development exactly matches the following three stages of the cycle.
The fourteen machines are the bicycle, the motor car, the elevator, the telegraph, the telephone, the fax machine, the typewriter, the copying machine, the sewing machine, the washing machine, the camera, the phonograph, the movie projector and the television monitor. All these machines can be and increasingly will be operated by anyone – they do not require, like the ship, train or plane, a trained professional to operate them. As we shall see a third of these inventions effectively reach the limits to their development half way through the cycle around 1901 – the bicycle, the elevator, the telegraph, the typewriter and the sewing machine.
Another third almost certainly require the full remainder of the present cycle of development to come before they reach such a transformational endpoint around the year 2104 – the motor car, the telephone, the copying machine, the washing machine and the camera. The remainder are in the throes of dying wiped out by advances in the present digital cycle started in 1965 – the fax machine – replaced by email, the phonograph replaced by audio tape and now the CD, the movie projector with its spools of film replaced by digital cinema and electronic cinema by DVD, the internet or distribution by satellite and finally the television cathode ray tube monitor edged out by flat screen displays.
As we review the development of machines, bear in mind the enormous range of ‘mechanisms’ that needed to be developed to make machines work and do different things. Mechanisms like cogs, gears ratchets and sprockets, cogwheels, rack and pinion and escape wheels grew in variety and sophistication throughout the 19th century. As Professor Moon of Cornell University states “During the 19th century thousands of mechanisms are invented, designed and built which help nurture the widespread use and manufacture of machines. It is precisely analogous to the plethora of electronic circuits in the early 20th century and [computer] software in the late 20th century”. And there we are – the world of Machineware is as descriptive of the last cycle’s mindset as Software is of the new cycle which started in 1965.
read the book to see detailed correlation of how each machine made its first entry into the world precisely between 1847 and 1855
THE MOTOR CAR
THE FAX MACHINE
THE COPYING MACHINE
THE SEWING MACHINE
THE WASHING MACHINE
Fourteen machines – the bicycle, the motor car, the elevator, the telegraph, the telephone, the fax machine, the typewriter, the copying machine, the sewing machine, the washing machine, the camera, the phonograph, the movie projector and the television monitor – were all developed at or very close to the Uranus/Pluto 1851 conjunction. We shall see whether this is more than a coincidence when we see what happens to these inventions or areas of invention at the cycle out square.
OUTGOING SQUARE 1873 – 1880 (exact in 1876)
In identifying developments around the 1876 Outgoing Square we shall focus on recorded historical developments which occurred while the planets Uranus and Pluto were within 10 degrees of squaring each other. We are therefore looking at the period November 1873 to August 1880. Can we find in these seven years surrounding 1876 key challenges and accelerations to the new technology and the new intellectual ‘paradigm’ that emerged at the 1850 Conjunction?
Let us first see whether those 1850s intellectual theories so aligned with the conceptual world of science and the machine – those of Charles Darwin, Karl Marx and John Stuart Mill – are now facing challenges and whether by surmounting those problems they actually become stronger
We shall see that Darwin, Spencer, Marx and a posthumous Mill all advance the intellectual ascendancy of their theories while also in the case of the first three surmounting serious challenges.
In two books published in 1871 and 1872 ‘The Descent of Man and Selection in Relation to Sex’ and ‘The Expression of Emotions in Animals and Man‘, Darwin expands on topics from ‘Origin of Species’. In particular he discusses whether a belief in God is instinctive in human beings. While Darwin’s original theory is perfectly consistent with a belief in God, the route Darwin’s discussion takes at this time made this combination begin to seem more unlikely.
In the first book he states “I am aware that the assumed instinctive belief in God has been used by many persons as an argument for his existence. But this is a rash argument, as we should thus be compelled to believe in the existence of many cruel and malignant spirits, only a little more powerful than man for the belief in them is far more general than in a beneficent Deity. The idea of a universal and beneficent Creator does not seem to arise in the mind of man, until he has been elevated by long-continued culture.”
In fact his recently revised posthumous autobiography demonstrates Darwin’s conclusions on religion were privately even more radical: “The old argument of design in nature…which formerly seemed to me so conclusive, fails, now that the law of natural selection had been discovered. We can no longer argue that, for instance, the beautiful hinge of a bivalve shell must have been made by an intelligent being, like the hinge of a door by man. There seems to be no more design in the variability of organic beings and in the action of natural selection, than in the course which the wind blows. Everything in nature is the result of fixed laws.”
In 1878 Samuel Butler, the English author, puts forward his own ideas about evolution in a book called ‘Life and Habit’ intended as a companion book to Darwin’s ‘Origin of Species’. Butler had originally made his name through his satirical novel ‘Erewhon’. which revealed his long interest in Darwin’s theories of biological evolution. However Butler later came to believe that Darwin had simply copied inheritance theory from an earlier scientist Lamarck before adding natural selection. What Butler really objected to was Darwin’s exclusion of Mind from the universe.
Butler countered Darwin’s mechanical, Newtonian view of evolutionary laws operating on inert living matter, with the idea that life, far from being inert, has ‘free will’ and has used it to influence its own evolution. He wanted it demonstrated that the individual did have some modicum of control over what form people took as a consequence of their actions. Butler went on to write three further philosophical works on evolution. J.B.S. Haldane however described Samuel Butler’s ‘horrible vision’ as one ‘in which man becomes a mere parasite of machinery, an appendage of the reproductive system of huge and complicated engines which will successively usurp his activities, and end by ousting him from the mastery of this planet?’
It was no wonder that theologians queued up to challenge Darwin including in 1874 the American churchman Charles Hodge who strongly attacks Darwin for “denying the existence of God by defining humans to be a result of a natural process rather than a creation designed by God”. Although this very issue is still voiced in the legislatures of certain American states 130 years later, in tune with the symbolism of the outgoing square Evolutionism survives these attacks, going on to attract ever increasing support from scientists and students of science.
During the 1860s and 1870s the influence of Spencer’s evolutionary theory was on a par with that of Charles Darwin’s literary works. Spencer’s ‘Study of Sociology’ published in 1873 marks the emergence of Spencer as the popular philosopher of the Victorian age. The book is not only academically influential, it also plays an important role in shaping the progressive outlook of many thoughtful persons in the Victorian reading public.
Spencer’s concept of the interrelationship between an ‘evolving’ aggregate and its constituent parts has a very mechanical ring to it. Spencer sees evolution as a progressive movement towards an ‘equilibrium’ (another mechanical term) where individual beings change their characteristics and habits until they are perfectly adapted to circumstances and no more change is called for. One review of his evolutionary theory states “Spencer’s evolutionary mechanism is not only ultimately cumulant (i.e. it ends), but he also drapes it in utilitarian teleological glitter, i.e. the idea that it is ‘progressive’ in an ethical or moral sense – an adequately Victorian notion! “
Spencer has been criticised for wanting to sum up the process of life in a formula. As Charles Cooley writes in the 1920s “You can never compress reason and beauty and hope and fellowship and the organic being of communities and nations into differentiations, coherences, and heterogeneities. These terms may be applicable to human life, just as you can measure a man in inches and pounds, but they can never be the essential and characteristic truth about it.”
Another of his critics points out perceptively “Whatever is said about society is said under the evident domination of conceptions derived from another order of phenomena; and that order is rather the mechanical than the biological, since his biology is itself rather mechanical than vital.’
In 1871 following the French defeat that ends the Franco-Prussian war, a revolution breaks out in Paris, resulting in the downfall of the Second Empire and the establishment of the Commune in Paris. Marx and Engels organise workers’ demonstrations in its support. Marx’s address to the General Council of the International Workingmen’s Association (IWA) ‘The Civil War in France’ stresses the worldwide significance of the Paris Commune as the first attempt at establishing a proletarian dictatorship. With the publication in 1872 of the Russian translation of Volume I of Marx’s Capital, its first foreign edition, and in 1873 a French edition, the linkage between an intellectual theory and an activist ideology is being advanced and consolidated.
However it is in 1872 that the General Council of the IWA, later called the First International, collapses partly because the Paris Commune falls but also because many of its members are turning to Mikhail Bakunin’s anarchism movement. These developments present a serious challenge to the intellectual ascendancy of Marxism.
JOHN STUART MILL
In 1873 John Stuart Mill dies at Avignon, France. In the year after his death his ‘Three Essays on Religion’ are published. The first essay asserts that the author of Nature [God] cannot be at once good and omnipotent, though Mill leaves open the possibility of limited omnipotence. The main argument of the second essay is the adequacy of the ‘Religion of Humanity’ (we should now call this ‘humanism’) and its perceived general superiority to supernatural religions.
The third essay argues that evidence points to the creation of the universe by an intelligent but not omnipotent being, whose love for his creatures was not his sole actuating inducement, but who nevertheless, desired their good. The essay ends by asserting that the ‘Religion of Humanity’ is destined to be the religion of the Future. This agnosticism (we cannot know whether there is a God) from one of the leading 19th century philosophers further advances the ascendancy of Science over religion, of the machine over the natural world.
A new philosophical theory is born, appropriately in the ever more industrially powerful USA. Pragmatism is a kind of extension to Mill and Bentham’s Utilitarianism, though significantly it is efficiency not moral results that is its key measurement
Pragmatism is the theory that a proposition is true if holding it to be so is practically advantageous. It began in the early 1870s with C.S. Peirce’s adoption of Alexander Bain’s suggestion that beliefs are habits of acting rather than representations of reality. This suggestion led William James to think of a true belief as one which leads to successful action, to make a theory of truth as what works. One account of pragmatism’s origins, Menand’s ‘The Metaphysical Club’ claims that pragmatism took form largely in response to the world of Charles Darwin. The American based school, of Pragmatism later included John Dewey who was a key progressivist
Read the book to see how the outgoing square coincides with the beginning of the examination of hysteria and the use of hypnosis passing from medical doctors to psychologists.
DETERMINISM AND THE PEAK OF REALISM
We shall find in these eight years that the Determinist flavour of novels and plays has increased significantly and that in Leo Tolstoy, Emile Zola, and Thomas Hardy we shall find its principal exponents.
read the book to see a detailed correlation of the key output of certain creative writers with the Deterministic and Machine influenced mindset precisely between 1873 and 1880
This is also the world of writers such as Emile Zola, Leo Tolstoy, George Eliot, Thomas Hardy and Henrik Ibsen. These writers were strongly influenced by Realism – determined to avoid romanticised images and to present ordinary life in a matter of fact way, while exposing some of its evils. The influence of realism surges, though a number of French writers follow an outgrowth of the realist school – generally known as Naturalism.
Naturalistic writers are especially influenced by Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution. They believe that one’s heredity and surroundings decide one’s character. Whereas realism seeks only to describe subjects as they really are, naturalism also attempts to determine ‘scientifically’ the underlying forces influencing these subjects’ actions. Naturalistic works often include uncouth or sordid subject matter. For example, Emile Zola’s works had a frankness about sexuality along with a pervasive pessimism.
Emile Zola was the main proponent of naturalism in fiction. Other French authors influenced by Zola were Joris Karl Huysmans and Guy de Maupassant whose key works were published in 1876 and 1880.
PAINTERS AND COMPOSERS
Once again the development of Determinism and Realism correlates less well with painting and music, but we shall find significant successors to Pre-Raphaelite painting in Impressionist painters while music now tries to realistically represent settings and events.
In 1874 the Impressionist movement in Art begins as a private association of Paris-based artists who exhibit publicly. The movement is named after Claude Monet’s painting ‘Impression, soleil levant’ (1873). The Impressionist approach to painting is usually identified with a strong concern for light in its changing qualities, often with an emphasis on the effects of a particular passage of time.
It can be argued that this attention to detail and how things actually appear to the eye is a form of realism – the Impressionists wanted paintings to look just like the eye saw them. Perhaps the main reason for the rise of Impressionism is that the aesthetic world has been so pervaded by photographic images and the two dimensional precision of mechanical produced images that Art felt bound to make its subject much less defined, less objective and more subjective.
In 1876 the first complete performance of Wagner’s four opera cycle ‘ Der Ring des Nibelungen’, whose libretto had been written at the cycle conjunction takes place in the newly opened and specially built Festspielhaus in Bayreuth. It has the most profound effect on the musicians, writers and philosophers who attend from all over the world . Not only is the drama in an opera becoming as important as the music, but a similar development is also happening in orchestral works such as those of Tchaikovsky (Swan Lake is composed during 1875 and 1876, and first performed in 1877), Mussorgsky (Boris Goudonov, Pictures at an Exhibition 1874) Smetana (My Vlaast cycle of symphonic poems 1874) and Delibes (ballets – Coppelia 1870, Sylvia 1876). In each case the music tries to realistically represent settings and events.
But it is Richard Wagner who is the pre-eminent musical focus at this time, Indeed it is Wagner who now becomes the most influential intellectual figure in Europe. Why ? Because Wagner is so much influenced by historicist theories suggesting an underlying rhythm in history with an inexorable clash between rational and unconscious forces heralding dark outcomes. This meshes in with the growing Determinist intellectual mindset at this time.
There were two major developments in Machinery in the years 1873 to 1880 : August Otto’s four stroke internal combustion engine – on which today’s car engines are based – and Alexander Graham Bell’s telephone, both in 1876. It is no exaggeration to say that these two developments were to directly totally transform the world. However other earlier machine inventions are also now being required to prove themselves and take a major step forward – the bicycle, the camera, the telegraph, the typewriter, the sewing machine, the phonograph and the forerunners to television.
read the book to see detailed correlation of how each machine faced a challenge which it ended up overcoming precisely between 1873 and 1880
THE MOTOR CAR
THE FAX MACHINE
THE COPYING MACHINE
THE SEWING MACHINE
THE WASHING MACHINE
The book shows that all fourteen machines – the bicycle, the motor car, the elevator, the telegraph, the telephone, the fax machine, the typewriter, the copying machine, the sewing machine, the washing machine, the camera, the phonograph, the movie projector and the television monitor – make their significant advances at or very close to the Uranus/Pluto 1876 Out Square. This helps confirm the correlation of this cycle. But we will later come to the big test. At the cycle Opposition shall we see all these inventions reach a point of maximised development and influence ? And will this stage of maximisation also reveal signs of inherent contradictions, which might later cause a decline in their importance or influence ?
OPPOSITION 1898 – 1905 (exact in 1901 and 1902)
In identifying developments around the 1901 Opposition we shall focus on recorded historical developments which occurred while the planets Uranus and Pluto were within 10 degrees of squaring each other. We are therefore looking at the period December 1898 to November 1905. Can we find in these seven years evidence that the new technology and the new intellectual ‘paradigm’ that emerged at the 1850 Conjunction and were challenged at the 1876 Square have now reached their point of maximum fruition ?
Let us first see whether those intellectual theories so aligned with the conceptual world of the machine – those of Charles Darwin, Karl Marx and John Stuart Mill and the pragmatist school now reach the peak of their influence, have maximum impact and yet begin to reveal signs of inherent contradictions. Let us see what happens to the world of Psychology that emerged at the previous stage ?
Though Charles Darwin died in 1882 his theory continued to gain new adherents. In the last decade of the 19th century Darwinism became twinned with progressivism and world peace. Two scientific developments seemed to consolidate the theory’s dominance. The first occurs in 1902 when Correns, Tschermak and De Vries rediscover Gregor Mendel’s laws of heredity based on his pea-breeding genetic experiments. While Mendel’s work goes on to form the foundation of modern genetic theory, his work on the mechanics of heredity boosts the life of Darwinian theory, especially when Hugo De Vries puts forward evolution by sudden ‘mutations.’ The second development comes in 1908 when two scientists, Hardy and Weinberg, recognize that evolutionary change is not automatic and that it occurs only when something disturbs the genetic equilibrium.
Gradually, scientists like Hugo de Vries exchange ‘Darwinism’ for, what they call ‘Neo-Darwinism.’ Whereas Classical ‘Darwinism teaches that evolution happens through natural selection, Neo-Darwinism declares “that it is mutations which have made the changes from one species to another, and that natural selection only produces further adaptation within those changed species.” As a result scientists start trying to prove that mutations could really make such cross-species changes.
There is a third development which surges at the turn of the century – often referred to as Social Darwinism. The number of evolutionists, sociologists, psychologists and eugenicists starting to examine whether Darwin’s theory might not apply to the human race grows significantly. If in the animal world the theory proved that only the fittest gain ascendancy and survive, might this not be true of different races, even different classes in human society? This was a particularly dangerous intellectual route to follow as it allowed extremely controversial semi-scientific statements to be made about the two issues which would go on ideologically to dominate the next century – race (Nazism and Segregation) and Class (State Communism). Yet this extension to Darwin’s work also made it more intellectually pervasive.
Beginning in the 1880s, William Graham Sumner and his successors push ‘survival of the fittest’ beyond biology to justify power, wealth, and even racial and gender superiority. US President Theodore Roosevelt champions military expansionism on Darwinian grounds, while eugenicist Charles B. Davenport urges selective breeding to propagate the strong and eradicate the physically and mentally infirm.
Nevertheless Darwinism gets effectively criticised in 1902 by Russian Peter Kropotkin who publishes a book ‘Mutual Aid: A Factor of Evolution’ challenging Darwin’s theory as too narrow. Kropotkin believes the “natural checks to over-multiplication” in Nature are far more important than the ‘struggle between individuals of the same species for the means of subsistence” The really important factor, says Kropotkin, is not the struggle between individual species but the struggle against all natural conditions unfavourable to that species. “It is mutual protection and the further growth of sociable habits which secures the maintenance and extension of the species and its further progressive evolution. Species who do not protect each other or demonstrate unsociable habits are doomed to decay.” Evolution is therefore more a question of co-operation than competition.
Again in 1902 Walter Sutton and Theodor Boveri independently discover chromosomes and the linkage of genetic characters. This discovery seems to some to sound the death knell for natural selection as the producer of new species. Nevertheless despite criticism Darwinism alongside Progressivism flourishes and as we shall see is only effectively intellectually challenged at the cycle incoming square in 1932.
Another revisionist view on Darwinism comes in 1907 when Henri Bergson’s ‘Creative Evolution’ is published. In it Bergson argues that Evolution must be explained in terms of a basic life-force since a merely mechanistic-causal explanation does not work. His book is seen as one of the most profound contributions to the philosophical consideration of the theory of evolution. It marks yet another sign that Evolution is the key intellectual model for the period but it hints that mechanistic explanations may soon become out of fashion.
Spencer’s intellectual reputation is believed to have been at its peak in the 1880s – by then he was a renowned scientist and one of the most eminent Victorians. In 1883 he had been elected a member of the French Academy of Moral and Political Sciences and his work was also particularly influential in US universities, especially Harvard and Yale. However the geographical and popular spread of his ideas could well be said to have peaked in 1902 when he was awarded the Nobel Prize for literature. Only 5 years earlier in America it had been claimed that so pervasive was his influence in the higher social reaches that “three justices of the Supreme Court were avowed ‘Spencerians’.” By the turn of the century Spencer’s name is also revered in big business – in particular by the great industrialist and steel baron Andrew Carnegie, in 1901 the richest man in the world.
Of all the writers that Carnegie read and studied he said that Herbert Spencer was the one who influenced him most. Spencer’s writings in effect provided the philosophical justification for Carnegie’s unabashed pursuit of personal riches in the world of business, freeing him from the moral reservations about financial acquisition that he had inherited from his egalitarian Scottish relatives. In his ‘Autobiography,’ Carnegie writes about the dramatic effect of reading both the naturalist Charles Darwin and Spencer. “I remember that light came as in a flood and all was clear…..Not only had I got rid of theology and the supernatural, but I had found the truth of evolution……’All is well since all grows better’ became my motto, my true source of comfort.” For Carnegie, evolution takes the place of divine providence. Progress is necessary. The more evolved necessarily triumphs over the less evolved; the more evolved is good, while the less evolved is evil; so good necessarily triumphs over evil in the long run.
“Spencer told [Carnegie] that it was a scientific fact that somebody like him should be getting to the top,” says historian Owen Dudley Edwards. “That there was nothing unnatural about it, wrong about it, evil about it.” Not only was competition in harmony with nature, Spencer believed, but it was also in the interest of the general welfare and progress of society. Many successful capitalists of the late 19th century embrace Spencer’s philosophy. These captains of industry use his words as justification to oppose social reform and government intervention. As Spencer said, these would interfere with the natural – and beneficial – law of survival.
Spencer’s health significantly deteriorates in the last two decades of his life, and in December 1903 he dies following a long illness. His influence had been enormous – within his lifetime, some one million copies of his books had been sold and his work had been translated into French, German, Spanish, Italian, and Russian.
In 1883 Karl Marx had died in London and Kautsky had taken over leadership of the world Marxist movement. By 1891 the Second International had been founded and with the creation of social democratic parties Marxism began to permeate workers movements, though significantly not in the USA, UK, Australia, New Zealand or Canada. In 1896 comes the first sign of the forthcoming revolution in Russia as strikes and revolts multiply against the absolutist rule of Nicholas II. In 1902 the Social Revolutionary Party is founded while workers movements mushroom and the coal miners strike. In 1903 the Social Revolutionary Party splits into Bolshevik and Menshevik factions. In 1905 comes the Russian revolution, which forces Tsar Nicholas II to grant a constitution and establish a parliament or Duma.
Also in 1905 comes the founding of potentially the most important workers union in the capitalist world – the Industrial Workers of the World – which aims to unite radical trade unionists and socialists across the whole continent of America. The union’s title is as huge as the wealth, power and opposition of the American barons of industry such as Rockefeller and Carnegie who are ranked against it. The implementation of Marxism in the form of the Marxist Leninist Russian revolution has to wait till 1917 (see Chapt 5 The Saturn/Neptune cycle) but there is little doubt that the power of Marx’s revolutionary intellectual ideas reaches its zenith around the turn of the century.
The most striking phenomenon of this entire period of growth of mass political parties influenced by Marxism is the world-wide extension of its influence, touching successively Western and Central Europe, then the United States, Southern and Eastern Europe (Russia, the Balkans), Asia (Armenia, Georgia, Iran. Japan, China, India, Indonesia), Latin America (Argentina, Uruguay, Brazil, Mexico, Cuba, Chile), Australasia (Australia, New Zealand) and Africa (Egypt, Tunisia, South Africa). By 1905 Marxism as an idea had permeated further than Evolutionism
UTILITARIANISM AND PRAGMATISM
By the turn of the century a blend of Utilitarianism with Evolutionism and Positivism (Change will benefit everyone) was intellectually pervasive and had reached its peak. In 1901 Elie Halévy’s allegedly definitive account of Utilitarianism is published – ‘The Growth of Philosophical Radicalism’. At the same time Pragmatism which had been spreading in US university circles is popularised in 1907 by a best selling book – William James’s ‘Pragmatism’. Although sometimes accused of wanting only the ‘cash value’ of ideas, echoing the growing materialism of late 19th century America, Pragmatism’s aim is to ‘make more room for the knowing, feeling, active subject’.
Back around 1880 one of the original pragmatists, C.S. Peirce, had written an article called ‘How to Make Our Ideas Clear.’ In many ways by the turn of the century this approach came to constitute the perceived goal of philosophers. John Dewey the foundational thinker of educational progressivism and an important progressive in general joins William James in believing that many of the traditional problems of philosophy are created by the uncritical use of dualisms such as reality – appearance and mind – body.
This was undoubtedly a healthy contribution to philosophy in subjecting new or old theories to a clarity road test. It contained however the seeds of a more extreme movement that would come to dominate philosophy from the 1930s – where the language of a theory was not simply subject to a clarity test but where Linguistic analysis would show there was no question to answer or at least no acceptable way of answering one. As we shall see at the cycle In square Linguistic philosophy, along with two World Wars would help kill off Evolutionism. But in the first few years of the new century Evolutionism is riding at its peak.
In 1900, Freud publishes ‘The Interpretation of Dreams’, and introduces what will prove to be one of the most important and innovative concepts in modern times to the wider public – the ‘unconscious mind’. We have correlated the impact and outgrowth of Freud’s theories primarily to the current Neptune/Pluto cycle – the ‘transformation of collective idealism’ which will take us from 1891 to 2385. We have done this because the longterm collective ideals which had their early origins in psychoanalysis are of greater longterm significance than the intellectual impact of psychoanalysis. We have asserted that the 1891 Neptune/Pluto cycle whose 493 year span we are only a fifth of the way through is partly concerned with the ideal of personal fulfillment, with the understanding and amelioration of psychological imbalance as well as psychological damage, concepts which all had their birth in Freud’s theories. However his theories also constituted an important revolution in intellectual innovation and thus also fit the Uranus/Pluto cycle’s 1901 opposition.
In 1895 Freud (with Josef Breuer) writes ‘Studies on Hysteria’. This work constitutes the first time psychological illness symptoms had been attributed to the effects of undischarged emotional energy associated with forgotten psychic traumas. For the first time the therapeutic procedure involved the patient being led to recall and re-enact the traumatic experience, thus discharging by catharsis the emotions causing the symptoms. The publication of this work marked the beginning of psychoanalytic theory and soon after the first use of the term ‘psychoanalysis’. During the period from 1895 to 1900 Freud develops many of the concepts that are later incorporated into psychoanalytic practice and doctrine.
In his clinical observations Freud finds evidence for the mental mechanisms of repression and resistance. He traces the operation of unconscious processes, using the free associations of the patient to guide him in the interpretation of dreams and slips of speech. Dream analysis leads to his discoveries of infantile sexuality and of the so-called Oedipus complex, which constitutes the erotic attachment of the child for the parent of the opposite sex, together with hostile feelings toward the other parent. In these years he also develops the theory of transference, the process by which emotional attitudes, established originally toward parental figures in childhood, are transferred in later life to others. In 1899 Freud’s most important work ‘The Interpretation of Dreams’ is published. This work expounds all the fundamental concepts underlying psychoanalytic technique and doctrine.
In 1901, he publishes ‘The Psychopathology of Everyday Life’, in which he theorizes that forgetfulness or slips of the tongue (now called “Freudian slips”) are not accidental at all, but meaningful revelations of the ‘dynamic unconscious’ . Finally Freud concludes that the sexual drive is the most powerful shaper of a person’s psychology, and that sexuality is present even in infants. He shocks society when he publishes these ideas in ‘Three Essays On The Theory Of Sexuality’ in 1905.
DARWIN & SPENCER’S INFLUENCE ON FREUD
Without the writings of Darwin, Spencer and Marx in the second half of the 19th century and the intellectual upheaval they caused, it would have been impossible for Freud to have written what he had written. Within the psychoanalysis movement evolutionary beliefs were central to theories developed by Freud. The extent to which Freud was indebted to Darwin’s earlier speculation is set out in a widely acclaimed recent book ‘Freud, Biologist of the Mind’ by Frank Sulloway. Two excerpts you can read in the ‘Cycles of History’ book show firstly how interested Darwin was in psychology and secondly how important Darwin’s influence on Freud became.
Additionally, as Robert M. Young has pointed out, Freud draws all sorts of concepts from…the neurology of John Hughlings Jackson whose thinking, in turn, is based on that of Herbert Spencer, the first evolutionary psychologist. As Gerry Keane states “The influence of belief in evolution upon the early developing psychoanalysis movement cannot be overemphasized.”
MARX’S INFLUENCE ON FREUD
But was Freud influenced by Marx ? Freud and Marx were certainly both influenced by the philosopher Feuerbach and his views about religion (Religion is the dream of the human mind) must have influenced Marx (Religion is the opium of the people) and Freud (Religion is an attempt to get control over the sensory world…by means of the wish-world which we have developed inside us…). Both were also strongly influenced by Hegel’s dialectic theory. But did Marx, 38 years Freud’s senior, influence Freud.
In Freud’s 1932 Lecture ‘A Philosophy of Life’ Freud actually acknowledges Marx’s unique pioneering insight into the influence of economic conditions: “The strength of Marxism obviously does not lie in its view of history or in the prophecies about the future which it bases upon that view, but in its clear insight into the determining influence which is exerted by the economic conditions of man upon his intellectual, ethical and artistic reactions. A whole collection of correlations and causal sequences were thus discovered, which had hitherto been almost completely disregarded.”
However he adds “But it cannot be assumed that economic motives are the only ones which determine the behaviour of men in society.” Freud is quick to point out that Marx has failed to show how the general human instinctual disposition, its racial variations and its cultural modifications inhibit or aid one another. He goes further into attack by saying: “that Theoretical Marxism has acquired an almost uncanny resemblance to what it is opposing. Originally it was itself a part of science…but it has nevertheless established a ban upon thought which is as inexorable as was formerly that of religion. All critical examination of the Marxist theory is forbidden, doubts of its validity are as vindictively punished as heresy once was by the Catholic Church. The works of Marx, as the source of revelation, have taken the place of the Bible and the Koran. “ Ouch ! There is certainly no equivocation there.
Freud is critical of the Marxist view of human nature, stating that “…I am able to recognize that the psychological premises on which the [communist] system is based are an untenable illusion. In abolishing private property we deprive the human love of aggression of one of its instruments…but we have in no way altered the differences in power and influence which are misused by aggressiveness, nor have we altered anything in its nature” (Freud 71). Freud does not believe that removal of economic differences will remove the human instinct to dominate others. For Freud, aggression is an innate component of human nature and will exist regardless of how society is formulated.
As R.C. Cooper points out with tongue in cheek “ one could say that Freud recognized that his rival Marx was devising a scheme to overthrow the civilized world. Not to be outdone, he quickly organized his own [libido and aggression] theories into a system and matched his rival [Determinist] point for [Determinist] point.” I have added the word Determinist to Mr Cooper’s words. Marx based his system on economics; Freud on instincts. Marx said that profit could be had only at the expense of labour; Freud that civilized relations among men could be maintained only at the expense of the instincts. Marx said that the capitalists would never willingly relinquish their profits, and must therefore be violently deposed; Freud held that man could never be happy while civilized, and that civilization should therefore be dismantled. Marx maintained that after the capitalists were deposed, utopia would eventually ensue and men would “give according to their abilities and receive according to their needs;” Freud insisted that after civilization fell men would once more become uninhibited savages free to “fornicate and fight to their heart’s delight.”
The juxtaposition of their views demonstrates that both Marx and Freud are hardline determinists, but this is hardly surprising because as this chapter is surely helping prove this age was intellectually a determinist age. It is possible that Freud was influenced by Marx in terms of the need to have a philosophy or view on history. This is especially evident as we shall see in his later works ‘The Future of an illusion’ and ‘Civilization and its discontents’
DETERMINISM AND THE RISE OF MODERNISM
This is of course also the world of novelists and playwrights such as Oscar Wilde, Arthur Conan Doyle, George Bernard Shaw, Anton Chekhov, Joseph Conrad, HG Wells, Henry James and Rudyard Kipling, the world of the Impressionist painters and of Tchaikovsky and Brahms. We shall explore whether Determinism reached its period of maximum intellectual influence at this point and whether there are signs of the beginnings of Modernism – the rebellion against Realism and Naturalism – with artists or writers seeking to break radically with previous tradition and create completely original work.
By 1900 realism is on the decline and a set of new aesthetic and intellectual approaches is beginning to emerge, frequently grouped together under the heading Modernism. Modernism is generally defined by cultural historians as a revolt by artists and writers against Realism and Naturalism but it also refers to the need for an artist or writer ‘to break radically with previous tradition, to reject the past and by creating individual techniques, produce completely original work’.
read the book to see a detailed correlation of how the key output of these creative writers, painters and composers resonated to the maximum with the Deterministic and Machine influenced mindset precisely between 1896 and 1904
In Joseph Conrad and Henry James we have the first stirrings of Modernism. Why these two writers ? Because Modernism needed to explore subjective and personal experience and needed to analyse the structure of characters and situations almost independent of the context they were in, and that is exactly what these two writers begin to focus on.
Conrad’s key books ‘Heart of Darkness’, ‘Lord Jim and ‘Nostromo’ were published in 1989, 1900 and 1904. He almost invariably gives lethal fates to the characters in his principal novels. His narrative style and anti-heroic characters were to influence many authors. Henry James at the most influential stage of his career published ‘The Turn of the screw’, ‘The Ambassadors’ and ‘The Golden Bowl’ in 1989 and 1903 and 1904. Writing from the point of view of a character within a story allowed him to explore issues related to consciousness and perception.
The emergence of Sigmund Freud’s theories offer a theoretical underpinning for this investigation of subjective states. Novelists and artists are transfixed by the notion of a subconscious mind full of primal impulses and later by a collective unconscious that is in turmoil. Above all it seemed that any comfortable ideas of certainty derived from civilization or history or pure reason are now decidedly out of fashion. Though few knew it the greatest and in many ways most military destructive conflict of modern times was barely ten years away – the 1st World War.
PAINTERS & COMPOSERS
Do we see the rise of Modernism in painting and music ? Yes and we shall find them in the early 20th century art movements Futurism and Symbolism, the world of Atonal music introduced by Schoenberg and the symbolist or impressionist music epitomised by Debussy and Faure. Let us start with one of the true trumpet blasts of Modernism – Futurism.
Futurism is sometimes said to have been born with the 1907 essay ‘Sketch of a New Aesthetic of Music’ by the Italian composer Ferruccio Busoni. Futurism was a largely Italian movement and the Italian poet Filippo Tommaso Marinetti was the first to produce a manifesto of their artistic philosophy in his ‘Manifesto of Futurism’ (1909). The Futurists as true disciples of Modernism had a passionate loathing of ideas from the past, especially political and artistic traditions. They espoused a love of speed, technology and violence – the car, the plane, the industrial town were all legendary for the Futurists, because they represented the technological triumph of man over nature.
Marinetti’s impassioned polemic immediately attracted the support of the young Milanese painters – Carrà, and Russolo and Boccioni. Umberto Boccioni writes another manifesto which starts “We will fight with all our might the fanatical, senseless and snobbish religion of the past, a religion encouraged by the vicious existence of museums. We rebel against that spineless worshipping of old canvases, old statues and old bric-a-brac, against everything which is filthy and worm-ridden and corroded by time.” Strong stuff ! Futurism goes on to influence many other early 20th century art movements, including Art Deco, Vorticism, Constructivism and Surrealism before dying out in the 1920s.
In music Modernism emerged with a crash in this very period, principally through the introduction by Arnold Schoenberg of atonal music and later ‘12 note’ music. His ‘String Quartet No 2’ debuted in 1908 to be followed by the opera ‘Expectation’ in 1909. But the defining threshold for the entry of Modernism into music has to be Igor Stravinsky’s ‘Rite of Spring’ sometimes described as the most ground-breaking and revolutionary score of the [20th] century’. Stravinsky’s first orchestral works ‘Fireworks’ and ‘Fantastic Scherzo’ were written in 1908-9 though the Rite of Spring was not first performed till 1913 (some four years out of our period’s range).
Symbolism profoundly influences the composer Claude Debussy. ‘His choice comes almost exclusively from the Symbolist canon – in particular, compositions such as his settings of ‘Cinq poèmes de Baudelaire’, various songs on poems by Verlaine, the opera ‘Pelléas et Mélisande….’ Both Debussy (‘Images 1904-7’, ‘La Mer’ 1905) and much of Faure’s piano music is very ‘impressionistic’ as are certain orchestral pieces by Edward Elgar (‘Enigma Variations’ 1899) and passages in piano concertos by Sergei Rachmaninov (2nd & 3rd piano concertos 1901 and 1908)
Although at other cycle stages you have to read the book to see how the 14 machine developments show a close correlation with this cycle here at the opposition stage we include detailed evidence of how each development reached a stage of maximisation precisely between 1898 and 1905. All these inventions come to fruition as mass market products exactly within the years this cycle is at its opposition, half way, stage. But note at the very same time a third of these 14 machines effectively reach the limits to their development – the bicycle, the elevator, the telegraph, the typewriter and the sewing machine
SKIP THIS SAMPLE ‘MACHINES’ SECTION IF YOU PREFER
By the end of the 1890s the safety bicycle had been universally adopted by manufacturers in the US. The improved safety machine had wheels of equal size, hollow steel tubing, coaster brakes, adjustable handlebars, and other improvements. In 1899 the US bicycle industry is producing about 1 million bicycles a year valued at more than $31 million. However a decade later with the rise of the motorcycle and the automobile, the US bicycle industry had virtually collapsed in size.
The bicycle proves to be a key icon of the Nineties – it is a practical investment for the working man and for ladies, previously confined to riding heavy adult size tricycles only practical for taking a turn around the park, it proves a versatile machine allowing them to ride wearing long skirts. The bicycle craze introduces practical dresses for women and increases their mobility considerably. In 1896 Susan B. Anthony, the noted Women’s rights leader, announces that “the bicycle has done more for the emancipation of women than anything else in the world.”
Technical improvements include the shock-absorbing pneumatic tire, developed by John Boyd Dunlop in 1888 and universal by the end of the 1890s as well as a complete bicycle frame patented by I. Johnson in 1899. Together they help ensure the bicycle becomes a safe, versatile and reliable means of transportation which virtually anyone can master. No wonder the greatest bicycle race of all, the ‘Tour de France,’ a 2,500 kilometre, 19-day race, is launched in January 1903.
One major technical innovation is multi gears. In the late 1890s Frank Bowden meets up with schoolmaster, Henry Sturmey and engineer, James Archer, who have each invented crude three speed gears. He brings them together and the combination results in 1902 in the first practical three speed cycle gear. The three-speed gear revolutionizes cycling and the combined names of STURMEY-ARCHER become household words. Cycle gearing hugely expands the fields of touring and racing, and new record after record becomes established.
THE MOTOR CAR
“‘The new mechanical wagon with the awful name automobile has come to stay” ‘states the New York Times in 1897. This is the first public use of the term ‘automobile’ by the media. Another measure of the automobile’s acceptance comes in 1898 when the very first automobile insurance policy in the US is issued by the Travelers Insurance Company – the cost is $11.25 for $5,000 liability. Also in the same year the first independent auto dealership in the US opens in Detroit and the first franchised dealership opens in Reading, Pennsylvania. In 1899 in the US the first automobile repair garage opens in Boston, the first automobile parts and supply company opens in St. Louis and the first person gets killed by an automobile in New York.
In the same year in Europe the Fiat automobile company is founded. In 1900, while a German engineer patents front wheel drive for cars, the first automobile show in the US opens at Madison Square Gardens. In 1901 New York becomes the first state to require automobile license plates – the fee is one dollar. In 1902 while auto disk brakes are patented, the American Automobile Association is founded. In 1903 while an automobile electric starter is patented, a Ford 999 is driven by a racing driver at a record mile per minute (60 mph). In 1906 in England the engineer Henry Royce and millionaire’s son Charles Rolls build the first Rolls-Royce car.
At this time a typical automobile in the US is shaped like a box, much like a horseless carriage, with little protection from the elements. The car is started by a potentially dangerous hand-crank, its engine mounted haphazardly under the body, and is often steered by a tiller. All of the parts are exposed to the elements, early tyres of solid rubber do not prevent bumps and even when pneumatic tires arrive punctures occur every 10 or 20 miles. Lighting is provided by kerosene side lamps and smelly acetylene head lamps. People who drive motor cars are seen as heroic adventurers. Repairs have to be carried out by backyard tinkers and bicycle makers.
By 1900 there are 50 automobile manufacturing companies and some 8,000 cars registered in the US. Each car is hand-made and with a price of about $1,550 can only be afforded by the wealthy. The only way the price can come down is through mass production. The first manufacturer to begin mass production is Ransom Olds in 1901, who had his workers wheel carts of car parts to each car frame during production. By 1907 this ‘assembly line’ method boosts factory output from 425 Oldsmobiles a year to 2500. However it is Olds’ rival Henry Ford who transforms the process in 1908 by adding a conveyor belt which brings the car frame to the workers. This cuts production time for one Model T car from a day and a half to an incredible 93 minutes ! Ford is thus able within 10 years to halve the car’s price down to $400. The Ford Motor Company, formed in 1903, becomes the pacesetter of the car industry, and makes the industry the template of technological progress.
During the 1890s electric elevators with special gearing connecting the motor and drum come into general use except in tall buildings. In these drum elevators the length of the hoisting rope, and therefore the height to which the car can rise, are limited by the size of the drum – space limitations and manufacturing difficulties therefore prevent the use of the drum mechanism in skyscrapers. The advantages of the electric elevator include efficiency, relatively low installation costs, and virtually constant speed regardless of the load.
As buildings begin to rise to ever-greater heights, so does the need for elevators to meet these new demands. In 1903, Otis introduces the design that would become the standard in the elevator industry – the gearless traction electric elevator . It could be operated in buildings of any height and at much higher speeds than steam-powered elevators – typically 500 feet per minute. The first ones were installed in New York City and in Chicago.
In a gearless traction machine, six to eight lengths of wire cable, known as hoisting ropes, are attached to the top of the elevator and wrapped around the drive sheave in special grooves. The other ends of the cables are attached to a counterweight that moves up and down in the hoistway on its own guiderails. The combined weight of the elevator car and the counterweight presses the cables into the grooves on the drive sheave, providing the necessary traction as the sheave turns.
Further improvements include low-speed auxiliary motors to facilitate levelling with landings, push button controls, electromagnets for spring brakes and various other mechanisms to govern the rising or falling speed of the car especially at the top or bottom of the shaft. Safety is provided by a governing device that engages the car’s brakes, should the elevator begin to fall. A powerful clamp clutches the steel governor cable, which activates two safety clamps located beneath the car. Moveable steel jaws wedge themselves against the guiderails until sufficient force is exerted to bring the car to a smooth stop.
In 1903 the first cable across the Pacific Ocean is laid via Honolulu, Midway, Guam and Manila. It completes a network circumnavigating the globe. In July the Commercial Pacific Cable Co. sends the first around the world message – it takes 9 minutes to circle the globe. But this achievement is to be overtaken by a development of far greater consequence – wireless telegraphy.
The invention of Wireless telegraphy depended on earlier discoveries – Maxwell’s magnetic theory of light, Hertz’s method of producing controllable electromagnetic vibrations and Branly’s practical method of detecting Hertz waves. Guglielmo Marconi goes on to experiment with the devices of Hertz and Branly and constructs apparatus capable of telegraphing over short distances without the use of connecting wires. In 1897 Marconi, with the cooperation of the chief electrical engineer of the British Post Office Telegraphs, in Southern England transmits signals over a distance of eight miles.
In the year 1900 the first Marconi station at Cape Cod, Massachusetts is built, and a year later the station at Siasconset is completed. The intention is to communicate with ships at sea, later to be equipped with radio apparatus. The major founding event comes in 1901 – Marconi, stationed at St. Johns, Newfoundland, receives the letter ‘S,’ transmitted as a test signal from his English station. In 1903 Marconi broadcasts the first transatlantic radio message from his station on Cape Cod – it is beamed to King Edward VII of England from President Theodore Roosevelt.
From 1902 many improvements in radio apparatus are made by American inventors; notably Dr. Lee De Forest, Prof. R. A. Fessenden, Nikola Tesla, John Stone and W. W. Massie. At the same time wireless telegraphy services are introduced commercially by a number of separate operating and manufacturing companies
The key development in telephony at the very beginning of the 20th century is in long-distance transmission. In 1892 the invention of a signal amplifier had laid the ground for this but it was not till 1906 when the triode vacuum tube, which further amplified electrical signals, is invented by American Lee De Forest that telephony could truly cover long distances. In a three element tube heat-produced electrons flow through a control valve. This controlled flow of electrons signals the very beginning of the electronic age. Additionally the use of the ‘loading coil’, which connects to the cable every mile or so, increases speaking ranges to approximately 1,000 miles.
The remaining technical focus in this period is on improving transmission quality and expanding automatic switching systems. In 1893 the first PBX private branch exchange (or ‘central office’ as it is known in the US) with a common battery for talking and signalling begins operating in Lexington, Massachusetts. This common battery arrangement provides electricity to all telephones in the branch exchange. Previously each user’s telephone needed its own battery to provide power. The big and bulky wall sets with wet batteries providing power and cranks to signal the operator disappear to be replaced by sleeker desk sets.
Chapter 5 of the definitive 1910 ‘The history of the Telephone’ volume by Herbert Casson opens with these words: “The telephone business did not really begin to grow big and overspread the earth until 1896 “. In the US its expansion was driven by an astute commercial and marketing strategy – in its initial form the ‘message rate’ tariff system.” Under this system a telephone user pays a fixed minimum price for a certain number of messages per year paying extra for all messages over this number – the large user pays more, and the little user pays less. This resulted in a massive expansion of the US telephone business. In the three years, after 1896, there are twice as many users; in six years there are four times as many; in ten years there are eight times as many. Put another way in New York City the number of users leaps from 56,000 in 1900 up to 810,000 in 1908.
In Europe, where the telegraph had largely been a state monopoly, the opposite happens – development is stymied, confused and frustrated by government bureaucracy and ineptness. In Britain the telephone is particularly slow to take off and when it does operating companies are frustrated by the Postmaster General declaring that the telephone is, like the telegraph, a government monopoly, only later agreeing to issue a limited number of licences. Then in 1900 the Post Office tosses aside its obligations to the one company who had bought out all the licences and throws open the door to a free-for-all competition. It grants licenses to five cities as well as a separate system for London. Later the operations will be brought under the control of the Post Office. By that time only a few hundred thousand homes were connected, a far smaller proportion of homes than in the US. In Germany there is the same mixture of bureaucracy and confusion. In France the lack of standardisation and central planning is matched by extraordinary bureaucracy.
THE FAX MACHINE
In 1902 Dr Arthur Korn invented an improved and practical fax, the photoelectric system. Additionally Ernest Hummel of St Paul, Minnesota, devised the Telediagraph – one of several early fax-like devices for sending pictures via telegraph lines. The first machines are installed in the office of the New York Herald in 1898. By 1899, Hummel had improved the machine and he had machines at most leading US newspaper offices.
The system uses synchronised rotating eight inch drums, with a platinum stylus used as an electrode in the transmitter. The original image is drawn on tin-foil using a non-conducting ink. The image is received on carbon paper wrapped between two sheets of blank paper. When the electrode touches the tin-foil in the transmitter the circuit is closed; when it touches the shellac the circuit is open. The signal controls a moving stylus in the receiver, making it touch or move back from the paper. At the end of each rotation a synchronising signal is sent, and the styluses in both machines move a set distance to the left before scanning the next line.
The first picture sent is a photograph of a military incident and the machine takes over 20 minutes to send and receive the picture. Later photocells allow faster transmission and plain paper originals and photographs to be transmitted.
Towards the end of the 19th Century there were many new typewriters launched with different variations to compete with the Remington model – a few like the Smith Premier (1890), the Blickensderfer (1893), the Oliver (1894), the Empire (1895) and the Lambert (1902) become influential and commercially successful but Remington rules the market until the introduction of the first visible typewriter (typist can visually review what is typed) by Underwood. During the 1890s, the upstrike typewriter is the office standard. Upstrikes are blind-writers: they print on the underside of the platen, and operators therefore could not see their work while they are typing.
The Underwood No. 1 of 1895, the first successful frontstrike typewriter. designed by German inventor Franz Wagner is considered to be the first modern typewriter. But in 1901 Underwood introduces its legendary No. 5 model, which goes on to sell in millions over more than 30 years of production life. The No. 5 includes a ribbon selector, a back spacer and a tabular as well as other mechanical improvements over the years. The Underwood No. 5 sets the standard for the entire typewriter industry and Underwood replaces Remington as the number one typewriter manufacturer in the world.
In 1906 Robert Turner invents the automatic typewriter return carriage but it is Blickensderfer who introduces in 1902 the other truly major breakthrough – the first electric typewriter . This electric typewriter shares the same principles as the IBM Selectric, which did not come on the market till more than a half century later.
THE COPYING MACHINE
The turn of the century brings the development of rotary stencil machines to the Copying machine market. This means that copies can finally be ‘cranked out’ in the literal sense. A.B. Dick’s version of this device is a single drum model with ink inside the drum being forced directly through the stencil. The principle is very similar to that of Dr Korn’s Telediagraph (see The Fax Machine). Gestetner markets a double-drum design, inking the stencil with rollers, which pick up the ink from a tube. Other manufacturers introduce their own models, but for years the two principal names in the industry remain Mimeograph from Dick and Cyclostyle from Gestetner.
In 1903 H. Gammeter of Cleveland patents a multigraph duplicating machine – a kind of small rotary printing press with grooves in its cylinder allowing type to be set on the surface. While at the same time carbon paper begins to replace the copy press in offices for short runs. In 1906 a photographic paper company called the Haloid Company is founded – it will go on to become by the end of this cycle the largest copying machine manufacturer in the world – the Xerox Corporation.
THE SEWING MACHINE
In 1885, Singer introduces the first electric sewing machine. By 1890, the company claims an 80 percent worldwide market share, with sales heading towards 1,350,000 machines. However it is in 1904 that a separate subsidiary, the Singer Sewing Machine Company, is established which will handle sales and distribution activities in the Western Hemisphere and other foreign countries. In 1908, The Singer Building at 149 Broadway in New York City opens. Appropriately it is the tallest building in the world.
Although most domestic sewing machines still use the foot operated treadle, with electric sewing machines the clothing trade is able to make huge savings in costs and significantly expand its range and markets.
THE WASHING MACHINE
In June 1907 the first automatic washer and dryer is introduced. Shortly after in 1908 The first electric-powered washing machine (the Thor) is introduced by the Hurley Machine Company of Chicago, Illinois. The machine is a drum type with a galvanized tub and an electric motor. Although we have not tracked them through this cycle it is worth noting that in late 1899 the first motor driven vacuum cleaner, the first household refrigerator and the first lawn mower are all patented.
In 1888 with the company Eastman Kodak formed, the first Kodak camera is manufactured – it contains a 20-foot roll of paper, enough for 100 two and a half inch diameter circular exposures. In 1889 an improved Kodak camera is launched with a roll of transparent film instead of paper. In 1891 the telephoto lens is first used with cameras. In 1892 Frederick Ives develops the first complete system for natural colour photography. In 1895 the Pocket Kodak Camera is announced.
In 1899 Pascal develops the first photographic roll film spring wind motor advance. In 1900 the first mass-marketed camera, the Kodak Brownie, costing $1, is launched. In 1904 the first colour photograph is published in the London Daily Illustrated Mirror. In 1906 George Albert Smith and Charles Urban develop the first commercially successful photographic colour process called ‘Kinemacolor’. In 1906 Panchromatic plates, for high quality colour separation colour photographs, are marketed by Wratten and Wainright and the autochrome colour process, the first commercial colour film, by the Lumiere Brothers.
The first records were on cylinders, the earliest of which were made by the inventor of the first ‘Phonograph’, Thomas Edison. However by 1888, another American, Emile Berliner files a patent for a gramophone recording system based on a flat disc instead of a cylinder – flat discs are much easier to mass produce than the cylinders they will replace. Berliner also uses a stylus which cuts a spiral groove whereas the stylus in the cylinder had moved up and down in vertical cut format. In 1898 Emile Berliner and his brother found Deutsche Grammophon to manufacture the gramophone player and the records to play on it.
By the turn of the century the industry begins to settle on a diameter of 10 inches for the new format. The rotational speed varies somewhat from one manufacturer to another, but most turn at between 75 and 80 revolutions per minute and most ‘Gramophone’ machines are capable of some adjustment. Eventually 78 rpm becomes the common standard. The name ‘Gramophone’ , originally a trademark for Berliner’s new invention, is adopted by Europeans as a generic term while Americans continue to use the term ‘Phonograph’.
The famous painting ‘His Master’s Voice’ of a dog listening to an early gramophone made its first public appearance on The Gramophone Company’s advertising literature in January 1900. More than any other image it summed up the beginning of the recorded music industry.
In 1891 W. K Dickson and Thomas Edison patent the ‘peep-show’ Kinetoscope, a type of viewing device in which a film loop runs on spools between an incandescent lamp and a shutter for individual viewing. In 1893 Dickson’s camera is patented as the Kinetograph, a device that ensures the intermittent but regular motion of the perforated celluloid film strip to ensure precise synchronization between the film and the shutter. In 1894 while Louis and Auguste Lumière invent the Cinématographe in Lyon, a combination camera-projector that can project moving images onto a screen, in New York City Edison opens the first Kinetoscope parlor and Robert Barker opens the first Panorama, a prototype of future cinemas.
1895 is indeed the year of the birth of the cinema. France’s Lumiere brothers build a portable movie camera and show a film of an oncoming train for a paying Paris audience. In Berlin, Max and Emil Skladanowsky show a 15-minute public program of films made using their Bioscop. In 1895 there is the first advertised public screening of films at Le Grand Café, Paris including the Lumière brothers’ ‘Arrival of a Train at a Station’. In 1896 in New York City the Edison Vitascope is publicly demonstrated while in London Britain’s first projector, the Theatrograph (later the Animatograph) is demonstrated by Robert Paul. In the same year British photographers George Albert Smith and James Williamson construct their own motion picture cameras and begin production of trick films. In 1898 Reverend H. Goodwin is granted a patent for a transparent roll-film made of nitro-cellulose and camphor. In 1899 Dickson’s kinetophone which synchronizes the kinetograph and the phonograph, is launched. In June 1905 In Pittsburgh, Penn. the world’s first theatre geared exclusively for motion pictures opens. In 1906 in France, Eugene Lauste receives the first patent for a talking film.
In 1900 at the World’s Fair in Paris, during the 1st International Congress of Electricity, Russian inventor, Constantin Perskyi makes the first known use of the word ‘television.’ Two paths for the development of TV systems become defined. The first, often labelled ‘mechanical television’, is based on rotating metal disks which inventor Paul Nipkow had termed the ‘electric telescope’. The second is ‘electronic television’ – based on the cathode ray tube.
In 1906 Lee de Forest invents the ‘Audion’ vacuum tube, the first tube with the ability to amplify signals – an essential step in the development of electronics. In that same year Boris Rosing combines Nipkow’s disk and a cathode ray tube and builds the first working mechanical TV system. But in 1907, independent of each other, English inventor A. Campbell-Swinton and Russian scientist Boris Rosing, who had both believed in the use of cathode ray tubes to transmit images, develop electronic scanning methods of reproducing images.
All the above 14 machine inventions – the bicycle, the motor car, the elevator, the telegraph, the telephone, the facsimile, the typewriter, the copying machine, the sewing machine, the washing machine, the camera, the gramophone and the forerunner of the movie projector and television monitor come to fruition as mass market products between or very close to the period 1898 to 1905 when this cycle is at its opposition stage. The book demonstrates that these machines emerged at the cycle conjunction, were challenged but surged ahead at the Out Square and as we shall see reach a terminal challenge to their status as cutting edge technologies at the cycle’s closing stage.
INCOMING SQUARE 1928 – 1937 (exact in 1932, 1933 and 1934)
In identifying developments around the 1932 Incoming Square we shall focus on recorded historical developments which occurred while the planets Uranus and Pluto were within 10 degrees of squaring each other. We are therefore looking at the period April 1928 to March 1937. Can we find in these nine years surrounding 1932 terminal challenges to the new technology and the new intellectual ‘paradigm’ that emerged at the 1851 Conjunction and maximised at the 1901/2 opposition?
Let us first see whether those intellectual theories so conceptually aligned with the world of the machine – those of Charles Darwin, Karl Marx and John Stuart Mill and the pragmatist school – along with the evolutionary phase of psychoanalysis – now encounter a terminal challenge
By 1930 the number of scientists rejecting evolution is rapidly multiplying. One of the biggest scientific movements founded to try to give ‘equal weighting’ to scientific evidence opposing evolution is ‘The Evolution Protest Movement’, founded in England exactly in 1932 by the physicist Sir Ambrose Fleming, FRS.
Eminent biologists in particular now challenge Darwin’s theories. For instance in 1928 Erik Nordenskiold, a leading historian of biology, publishes a book which launches into an attack on Darwinism by saying: “Modern critics have often asked themselves how it is that a hypothesis like Darwin’s, based on such weak foundations, could all at once win over to its side the greater part of contemporary scientific opinion.”
In 1929 Vladimir Vernadsky, the biologist who originated the concept of the Biosphere, brings up a major problem for Darwinian theory. Animals studied by evolutionists are dependent upon oxygen and therefore what has to be studied is the prior evolution and persistence of life at the planetary level. Vernadsky argues it is difficult to understand animal evolution without an understanding of where the components of animal life came from. But by definition Darwinism cannot do this.
Also in 1929 both Louis Vialleton, Professor of Zoology, Anatomy and Comparative Physiology at Montpelier University and S.M.S. Watson, the British palaeontologist attack the theory of evolution. The theory is, in Watson’s words, ‘ a theory universally accepted not because it can be proved by logically coherent evidence to be true but because the only alternative, special creation, is clearly incredible.” These words echo those of Professor Louis More five years earlier ‘”The more one studies palaeontology, the more certain one becomes that evolution is based on faith alone…’ Other books critical of evolution in the next couple of years include Austin Clark’s ‘The New Evolution’ and J.W.N. Sullivan’s ‘The Limitations of science’
Of wider significance are anti-evolution campaigns in the USA. There religious fundamentalists, outraged by what they see as the attempts of science to rule out God’s ‘creation’ manage to get the teaching of evolution banned in Tennessee (1925), Mississippi (1926), Arkansas (1928) and Texas (1929). They lose their objective in 33 other state legislatures but go on to demand that where evolution is not banned ‘creationist science’ should be taught alongside it.
Another development that severely damages Darwinism is the work of Ernst Heinrich Haeckel, the German biologist who popularized Charles Darwin’s work in Germany. He not only takes evolutionism to the limit in asserting that the entire universe (including the human mind) is the result of solely material processes – a mere machine in motion, but also champions theories for which he either had little evidence or was actually caught out falsifying the evidence for. Significantly Haeckel is a flamboyant figure whose popularity with the public is substantially higher than it is with many of his scientific peers. However almost all the speculative concepts that he champions have turned out to be incorrect – including ‘recapitulation’ and ancestral micro-organisms. When he is caught out using doctored embryology data and illustrations in some of his papers and is charged and convicted by his University of fraud, needless to say he becomes a favourite target of ‘creationists’ seeking to discredit the theory of evolution.
EUGENICS & ‘THE SURVIVAL OF THE FITTEST’
But the twin developments which really terminally challenge Evolutionism are Eugenics and the Fascist political ideologies which justify their actions by reference to the ‘survival of the fittest’. Let us look at Eugenics first. Eugenics had been founded by Sir Francis Galton who published his first work on the subject as early as 1865. Many organisations concerned with the improvement of society interested themselves in eugenics, including the Fabian Society, which was to later help found the British Labour party. But it was Karl Pearson who most prominently identified himself with the subject when in 1911 (out of orb) he became the first Galton Professor of Eugenics at the University of London.
Pearson allied a thorough knowledge of evolutionary theory and a strong faith in eugenics with a deep social conscience, dating back to his studies of Marxist thought as a student in Germany. According to Pearson, history has shown “only one way in which a high state of civilization has been produced, namely, the struggle of race with race, and the survival of the physically and mentally fitter race.” This new Social Darwinism mindset was a long way away from that of its founder Herbert Spencer and a considerable way nearer Adolf Hitler and his contemporary Fascist progroms.
Fascism first developed in Italy after 1919, and then in various countries in Europe, as a reaction to the political and social changes brought about by World War I. The name comes from the Latin word fasces, meaning a bundle of rods tied around an axe which had symbolized authority in ancient Rome.
The term ‘fascism” was first used in Italy by the 1922-1924 government led by Benito Mussolini. After Italy, the next fascist government to come to power is in Germany under Adolf Hitler in 1933. In 1932 Mussolini writes: ‘Fascism…believes neither in the possibility nor the utility of perpetual peace. It thus repudiates the doctrine of Pacifism – born of a renunciation of the struggle…War alone brings up to its highest tension all human energy and puts the stamp of nobility upon the peoples who have courage to meet it….. [The Fascist] conceives of life as duty and struggle and conquest…’
Nowhere is the link between Social Darwinism and Fascism more explicitly spelled out. Harun Yahya in his recent book on Fascism’s origins states : ‘Evidently, the main idea behind Fascism, as stressed by Mussolini, is Darwinist conflict and war. For…Darwinism claims that ‘the strong survive, the weak are eliminated,’ for which reason it suggests that people need to be in a constant state of struggle in order to survive. Fascism…promotes the belief that a nation can only advance through war, and regards peace as an element that retards progress’.
“The idea of struggle is as old as life itself, for life is only preserved because other living things perish through struggle…. In this struggle, the stronger, the more able win, while the less able, the weak lose. Struggle is the father of all things.” These words are uttered by Adolf Hitler in a speech in February 1928. The implementation of Hitler’s version of ‘survival of the strong’ would see millions perish in an unparalleled programme of genocide. This utterance heralds the end of Evolutionism’s ascendancy.
EVOLUTION’S STATUS BY THE END OF THIS 1851 – 1965 CYCLE
By 1965 Darwin’s theory of evolution had become seriously discredited. Two quotes leading up to this date serve to underline this:
The first is from Sir Ernst Chain, co-winner of the 1945 Nobel Prize – for developing penicillin: “These classical evolutionary theories are a gross oversimplification of an immensely complex and intricate mass of facts, and it amazes me that they are swallowed so uncritically and readily and for such a long time by so many scientists.”
The second comes in 1957 when the Everyman library decides to produce a special centenary edition of Darwin’s famous book ‘The Origin of Species’. They ask a leading biological scientist, Professor W.R. Thompson, F.R.S. to write an introduction to the edition. In 20 pages of comprehensive criticism his preface demolishes Darwinism – gently but completely.
However as writer Chris Davis points out, by the late 1990s (in the first part of what we have labelled the societal manifestation of PostModernism) “the apotheosis of Darwin still continues apace, as his adherents vie with each other to heap superlatives on him.” Thus:
I think that Darwin’s theory of evolution by natural selection is the most powerful idea ever to occur to the human mind.’ (Richard Dawkins. Darwin: The Legacy. BBC TV 29 March 1998)
‘If I were to give an award for the single best idea anyone has ever had, I’d give it to Darwin, ahead of Newton or Einstein and everyone else.’ (Daniel C. Dennett. Darwin’s Dangerous Idea. Simon and Schuster 1995)
Whether or not Dawkins and Dennett are right as to Evolution being the best idea ever, our cyclical analysis suggests it has emphatically now had its day !
In 1934 Karl Kautsky, the man who on Marx’s death had inherited his intellectual mantle, wrote an article labelled ‘Marxism and Bolshevism – Democracy and Dictatorship’. In this comprehensive assault on the Bolshevist betrayal of Marxism he says of Russia “Gigantic enterprises have been created in agriculture and industry. But they owe their existence to the use of methods which compel the broad masses of the people to starve, to live in rags and filth. This is not the road that will lead us to Socialism… contrary to all promises, things under the Bolshevist state economy have been getting worse every year…and the day is not far distant when even the most credulous will become convinced that the Bolshevist way leads not upward, toward Socialism, but downward, to open ruin or slow disintegration….”
INTERNATIONAL IDEOLOGY v STATE POLITICAL POWER
What had taken Marxist philosophy from the its supreme intellectual influence at the turn of the century to this alleged betrayal? It was the increasing split between Marxism as an international ideology and Communism as a state political power. 1928, the decisive year of change, is sometimes referred to by Communists as the 2nd revolution after 1917. 1928 is the year the In square comes into orb and in Russia Stalin takes over power and implements two plans – the enforced collectivization of agriculture and the rapid industrialization of the Five Year plan. The first will cause the deaths of around seven million Soviet people ! The second will so expand Russia’s industrial output that within 10 years from nowhere it reaches a level only exceeded by that of the US and Germany. Stalin also begins the suppression of all critical opinion and prepares for a ruthless purge of the professional class and later the entire communist party. Let us look back to how this ideological change came about.
In 1922 – 1923 Vladimir Lenin, the architect of Communism, of Marxist-Leninism, had suffered a series of strokes. In his remaining years he had tried to correct some of the excesses of the regime and ensure that Trotsky and not Stalin succeeded him. He had completely failed. Stalin had been far too clever and astute even for Lenin. From 1923 onwards, as Lenin declined further, the Triumvirate of Zinoviev, Kamenev and Stalin began to subvert inner party democracy and impose a new interpretation of Bolshevism. With Lenin’s death in 1924 Stalin began to consolidate his power. To root out the tremendous popularity of Trotsky among sections of the International, a fake campaign of Bolshevization, mis-education and bureaucratic shuffling began. Expulsions, transfers and arbitrary demotions of ‘arguers’ and ‘back talkers’, promotions of conformists and yes-men becomes the policy throughout the Communist International. Although Trotsky and other Bolshevik party leaders try to combat the progressive bureaucratization of the Party and state apparatus, opposition in Russia is isolated and suppressed.
MARXISM NO LONGER A WORLD ORDER
In 1924 (out of orb) Stalin and Bukharin had put forward a major amendment to Marxist philosophy – the anti-Marxist theory of ‘socialism in one country’. This amendment states that it is possible to build socialism in Russia, regardless of the success or failure of workers’ revolutions in the advanced capitalist countries. This theory proves dangerously fatal to the Marxist movement and to its intellectual potency. It promotes the notion that one country, its economy, its working class and its culture can be isolated from the world as a whole. Marxists had traditionally held that socialism would be a world order, based on the highest achievements of industry, technology and culture of mankind as a whole. This amendment places the survival of the Soviet Union above the needs of world socialist revolution. The bureaucrats in Moscow are less concerned with world revolution than consolidating their own power base and ensuring their power base extends its grip into other potential communist countries like China.
In 1926 (out of orb), the Chinese Communist party had capitulated before Nationalist leader Chiang Kai-shek. The party agrees to abandon the agrarian movement, step back from workers strikes and renounce the organisation of Soviets. When certain Chinese Communist leaders try to protest against these policy changes they are accused of ‘Trotskyist’ deviations and silenced. The Third International or Comintern gives a free hand to Chiang Kai-shek in April 1927 to isolate the communists and then massacre tens of thousands of militants in Shanghai, Hankow and throughout China. The Communists retreat into the countryside and begin a guerrilla warfare based on the peasantry. The party, instead of being made up of urban workers, is now entirely made up of peasants. The Marxist program of proletarian socialist revolution is abandoned and real Marxism is purged from the Chinese Party.
THE GREAT PURGE & THE SHOW TRIALS
By the summer of 1928 within the Comintern all voices of opposition have been expelled, exiled and jailed. Trotsky, the sole leader still to hold true to Marxist ideology is expelled from the Soviet Communist party, sent into exile in Kazakhstan and from there deported from the Soviet Union into Turkey in 1929. The final terminal challenge to Marxism as a prevailing intellectual mindset comes with Stalin’s suppression of all critical thought culminating in 1936 to 1939 with the ‘Great Purge’, his forced collectivization in Russia and his sectarian ‘class war’ policy elsewhere.
During this period Stalin effectively rewrites Marxist Leninism to justify his retreat from its key principles. All critical thought is suppressed and party education is reduced to the inculcation and repetition of slogans and dogmas. Those not prepared to wholly sacrifice their individual perspectives or those unable to conceal their concerns or troubled consciences are ruthlessly purged.
It culminates in the extermination of the majority of the original Bolshevik Central Committee, and over half of the largely pliant delegates of the 17th Party Congress in January 1934. Measures used against these victims range from imprisonment in labour camps or Gulags to execution after show trials or assassination. Thousands of people merely suspected of opposing Stalin’s regime are killed or imprisoned. By 1934 the Gulags number several million inmates ! Several show trials, known as the Moscow Trials, are held to serve as examples for the trials that local courts are expected to carry out elsewhere in the country. There are four key trials during this period: the Trial of the Sixteen (August 1936); the Trial of the Seventeen (January 1937); the trial of Red Army generals (June 1937) and the Trial of the Twenty One (March 1938). The last two of these key trials are out of orb.
If Stalin’s aim is to refine Marxism to his own ends, Hitler’s goal is to eradicate it. In May 1933 Adolf Hitler gives a famous speech in which he reminds Germans ‘I declared before the German nation that I saw my task before the bar of German history to lie in the destruction of Marxism, that was for me no empty phrase, that was a sacred oath which I will keep so long as I draw breath…. WE HAVE BEGUN THE FIGHT AGAINST COMMUNISM AND WE SHALL WAGE IT TO THE END’
STATE COMMUNISM DOMINATES EASTERN EUROPE THEN CHINA
In the short term Fascism outside Russia is able to crush not only Marxism and Socialism but very nearly social democracy itself. After 1945 Communist power is set to dominate Eastern Europe and many parts of the developing world, but Marxism as an evolutionary intellectual mindset is on the wane. The Cold War and the nature of life in the Soviet Union ensures that the regime is seen as a State Communism bureaucracy and not a Marxist workers state.
There is a short powerful burst of intellectual interest in Marxism at the beginning of the new Uranus/Pluto cycle around 1965 from student power, black power and feminine liberation activists whose intellectual core is epitomised in the books of Professor Herbert Marcuse. But although left wing socialism is and will continue to be intellectually active, Marxism as a mindset has had its day. The overthrow of the Soviet Union and Soviet communism in 1989 and the pragmatic nature of Chinese Communism leaves only a few states such as North Korea where Marxism officially underpins a dictatorship. Evolutionary Marxism is now perceived as having nowhere to go and has been perceived as inherently a threat not so much to capitalism but to basic democratic rights
UTILITARIANISM AND PRAGMATISM
Working out the overall benefit or the practical results of an action is a philosophical approach which might have been expected to flourish in the complicated inter war years. But the first world war had demolished the positivist base for such philosophies. Of what value was truth if it varied from time to time from person to person. Into this vacuum a new scientistic movement was to emerge that effectively would kill off such philosophic discussion or at best subject it to such a battery of logical tests that there would seem to be no questions left to answer. Logical Positivism had arrived. It began in Vienna at about the same time that the Austrian Adolph Hitler became the leader in Germany of what would later be called the Nazi party.
In Vienna a group of philosophers and scientists meet regularly under Moritz Schlick beginning in 1922 and ending in 1932, when Schlick is shot to death by an irate graduate student. They get referred to as The Vienna Circle. Many of its members go on to leave Austria during the rise of the Nazi party and by 1936 the circle had dissolved. Their approach to philosophy came to be known as Logical Positivism.
Logical positivism holds that philosophy should aspire to the same sort of rigour as science. This means it should be able to provide strict criteria for judging sentences true, false and meaningless. Hence statements are meaningful only insofar as they are verifiable and they can be verified only in two (exclusive) ways: observational statements, including scientific theories, which are verified by experiment and evidence; and analytic truth, statements which are true or false by definition, and so are also meaningful. Everything else, including ethics is literally not meaningful.
The best known writers from the Circle are Rudolf Carnap, Otto Neurath and A. J. Ayer (who popularized Logical Positivism in Britain). The writings of Ludwig Wittgenstein and Karl Popper are also connected with Logical Positivism.
The desire to extend the scientific method into every branch of human knowledge is a mindset which we have attempted to show correlates precisely with the development of the machine world. Science and Technology had produced results. Can that be said of Philosophy ? No. Therefore the answer is to make philosophical statements more scientifically verifiable. Unfortunately the effect, as Professor Ernest Gellner has demonstrated is that “philosophy begins and ends in platitude, common sense is right, the world is as it seems, philosophy is about words and philosophy is a sort of academic garage for concepts that have linguistically been running out of order.” By the end of this Uranus/Pluto cycle in 1965 faced with fresh issues and the world of the computer, Logical Positivism no longer made sense outside or even inside the walls of academia.
RELIGION COMPARABLE TO A CHILDHOOD NEUROSIS
In 1927 Freud’s ‘The future of an Illusion’ is published. The book analyses religious belief as if it were some sort of neurosis. “Religion, is comparable to a childhood neurosis” states Freud. “Religious ideas are illusions, fulfilments of the oldest, strongest and most urgent wishes of mankind. The secret of their strength lies in the strength of those wishes…..The more the fruits of knowledge become accessible to men, the more widespread is the decline of religious belief. “
Freud’s first outright venture into philosophy takes him beyond the sphere of his expertise and into speculative opinion. It is fine to attribute the decline of religious belief to certain factors but attributing religious beliefs to human aberration is not scientifically valid. Religion may appear unreasonable but man’s situation – why he is here and what the point of his and the Universe’s existence may be – have no pat answers, scientific or otherwise. Freud damages the integrity of his psychoanalytic works by venturing opinion as science.
Freud goes on to state “It would be very nice if there were a God who created the world and was a benevolent providence, and if there were a moral order in the universe and an after-life; but it is a very striking fact that all this is exactly as we are bound to wish it to be.” Unfortunately what Freud ignores is that you cannot demolish an idea or belief simply by pointing at the emotional need for it.
Freud states “The gods retain their threefold task: they must exorcize the terrors of nature, they must reconcile men to the cruelty of fate, particularly as it is shown in death, and they must compensate them for the sufferings and privations which a civilized life in common has imposed on them.” He seems to ignore that even without the existence of God the ‘cruelty of fate’ and human ‘sufferings and privations’ pose questions which Science shows no sign of answering.
Freud, like Marx, sees religion as an immediate expression of some deeper human problem which needs to be ‘cured’. Freud believes, as did Marx, that the religious instinct in people is curable and so at some point in the future could be abandoned. This would happen once people left behind their psychological illusions and live in a world of scientifically authenticated knowledge. However there is no evidence at all advanced to support this view that replacing religion by science could remove suffering and conflict. If, as Freud believes, all religion is founded on the premise of fear, then he needs to spell out in what way Science would remove that fear.
HUMANKIND IS FUNDAMENTALLY VIOLENT
In 1930 Freud’s ‘Civilization and Its Discontents’ is published. In it Freud argues that the source of mankind’s propensity for dissatisfaction, aggression, hostility and ultimately, violence is the conflict between sexual needs and society’s social conventions. The evidence presented to support this view stems from his clinical psychoanalytic research and is theoretically persuasive. But then Freud goes much further, again beyond his own field of expertise. He explicitly argues that humankind is fundamentally nasty and violent. Human violence does not occur simply because of misunderstanding between people, or because people are badly brought up, Freud says. Rather, we have a deep drive and desire for violence, and we use any opportunity to satisfy our (often unconscious) thirst for violence.
He cites many instances of terrible inhumanity and violence and suggests that the only reasonable explanation is that it is part of our nature to be violent. The question Freud does not adequately answer is how central that part of our nature is and to what degree it is offset by other instinctual urges – drives he does not analyse. Freud insists that since destructive forces are present in all individuals man is therefore by nature an essentially anti-social and anti-cultural being. And can humanity be happy despite this ? Freud thinks not.
NEVER SO DEFENCELESS…AS WHEN WE LOVE
“We are threatened with suffering from three directions: from our own body, which is doomed to decay and dissolution and which cannot even do without pain and anxiety as warning signals; from the external world, which may rage against us with overwhelming and merciless forces of destruction; and finally from our relations to other men. “ But if our body and the elements are to a large extent beyond our control what about our relations with others. Surely there is value in Love? Freud thinks not:
“The weak side of this technique of living is easy to see; otherwise no human being would have thought of abandoning this path to happiness for any other. It is that we are never so defenceless against suffering as when we love, never so helplessly unhappy as when we have lost our loved object or its love. “
Freud’s believes that it is necessary for civilization that our instinct be sublimated. This means not simply that we don’t act on our primitive instincts, but that the energy of these instinctual drives is taken and diverted to be used for higher purposes – it is these that amount to civilization.
“The marks of civilization are beauty, cleanliness and order” says Freud.
This may well have been true of early 20th century European city culture but again it reveals how un-objective Freud has become – moving beyond his area of professional expertise to express opinions on subjects such as anthropology with no proven evidence or expertise. Freud’s speculative philosophy could be found in ‘Totem and Taboo’ an earlier book which had a far more confined readership and the later ‘Moses and Monotheism’. Freud is obliged to flee Vienna when the Nazis march in and there is much in Nazi collective behaviour to endorse Freud’s pessimistic outlook on humanity’s future. But intellectually speaking the determinist aspect of Freud’s writings is about to be terminally challenged – psychology is no more to be allowed to masquerade as philosophy.
NEW PSYCHOLOGY & ANTHROPOLOGY CHALLENGES FREUD
For between 1928 and 1937 several key new developments in psychology emerge, which indirectly and directly challenge Freud’s psychoanalytical focus. 1926 and 1927 saw the emergence of child psychology (Jean Piaget), intelligence testing (Charles Spearman) and social psychology experiments (Hawthorne). But in 1928 Margaret Mead publishes ‘Coming of Age in Samoa’ the work which is often given credit as the first to challenge ‘universal psychological models’ such as Freud’s which are too narrowly based on particular (Western) cultural norms. For instance psychoanalytic accounts of intra-family dynamics seem to fail to apply to matrilineal Pacific societies – the Oedipus myth just doesn’t fit in a culture in which the male head of the family is not the biological father, but rather, the mother’s brother.
The move towards operational and behaviourist psychology emerges. Psychology is to be as much like physics or biology as it can be and treatment is to be physiological. In 1929 Karl Lashley carries out experiments on rats in which he discovers there is no specific piece of the cortex whose removal would prevent learning. In that same year. Hans Berger first reports ‘brain waves’ to general scientific disbelief. In 1932 Edward Tolman and David Krech map out the cognitive behaviour of the rat. Between 1933 and 1938 comes the first use of electro-convulsive and drug therapy to treat schizophrenics and depressives.
This trend is all away from Freud’s psychoanalysis. In 1933 Edna Heidbreder’s ‘Seven Psychologies’ encourages psychology teachers and researchers for the first time to divide the discipline into ‘schools of thought’ or ‘systems.’ The Freudian school gets a little marginalised. In 1934 George Herbert Mead ‘s ‘Mind, self and society’ is published – the first detailed investigative study of how a child’s self-awareness develops. Detailed scientific evidence is becoming required in highly specific psychology experiments. Freud’s sweeping speculations and generalisations move out of fashion even when his daughter Anna Freud in 1936 publishes ‘The ego and the mechanisms of defence’ which sets more exacting scientific standards than her father in detailing her analytic understanding of children and her account of defence mechanisms such as repression and projection
Carl Jung was a Swiss psychiatrist and one-time colleague of Sigmund Freud. For a time, Jung was Freud’s heir-apparent in the psychoanalytic movement. However after the publication of Jung’s ‘Symbols of Transformation’ in 1912, Jung and Freud painfully parted ways. Jung seemed to feel confined by Freud’s seemingly narrow, reductionist, and rigid view of libido.
THE COLLECTIVE UNCONSCIOUS & ARCHETYPES
Jung’s field of research was geared largely toward the nature of symbolism and peoples’ ignorance of their deeper ‘symbolic’ natures. He is best known for his concept of the ‘collective unconscious’ and the term ‘archetype’ which he often seemed to view as sort of psychological organs, directly analogous to our physical, bodily organs. Jung also coined the term and described the concept of the ‘complex.’ He defined a complex as a cluster of emotionally charged associations, usually unconscious and gathered around an archetypal centre – an inherited pattern of thought or symbolic imagery. He seemed to see complexes as quite autonomous parts of psychological life – almost as if he were describing separate personalities within what is considered a single individual. Jung saw an archetype as always being the central organizing structure of a complex, In other words he saw our psychological lives as patterned on common human experiences throughout history. One Jungian example of a complex would be the ‘I’ or ‘Ego’ and its archetype ‘ the hero’, whose role is to carry forward the community.
Jung has had a pervasive influence on parts of Western society. For instance the influence of Jung ultimately found its way into the 12-step recovery program of Alcoholics Anonymous. Another example is ‘psychological astrology’ largely led by Jungian trained analysts. Jung has had a considerable influence on new age consciousness – especially in that he did not hold the four-dimensional space-time continuum that we conventionally conceptualize to be absolute.
Jung was profoundly influenced by Evolutionism and belief in evolution was of crucial importance in stimulating his theory of archetypes. Richard Noll, his biographer, describes how Jung’s views changed markedly during his life, but evolution remained central to his theories about existence and meaning.
Unlike Freud Jung adopted a teleological (directed at an end) rather than a mechanistic (fulfilling a function) approach to human life. Whereas with Freud one aspect of the psyche leads inexorably to certain effects, and these multiplied seem to determine the fate of humanity, in Jung’s theories purpose, meanings and values all help steer humanity’s course. Moreover in Jung’s view we are all connected to our fellow humans and nature neither mechanistically nor teleologically but through synchronicity, through parallel connections with the collective unconscious.
You should notice that Synchronicity is of course the explanation being put forward for all the correlations you are reading between planetary cycles and human development charted on this website and the book on which it is based!
However by the year 1933 when Jung writes ‘Modern Man in Search of A Soul’ it is becoming evident that his theoretical work was branching far away from what had conventionally been seen as the science of psychology. For instance in 1928 he begins to look at the significance of medieval alchemical texts. In 1934 he publishes “Archetypes of the Collective Unconscious” where he further focuses on, refines and now specifically names archetypes. Moreover his system is beginning to be comprehensively over-arching, leaving little room for chance, accidents or circumstances. Some critics even accuse Jung of ‘over–explaining personality and life in general’. But the main reason that Jung’s mainstream intellectual influence gets challenged during this period is not so much scientific discomfort with such concepts as the ‘mystical interconnectness of synchronicity’, nor certainly any dissatisfaction with his personality typologies. It results from the intellectual community beginning to reject all psychological explanations that are deduced from some general law or principle. The emphasis now would be increasingly on its opposite, ‘induction’ – the method of reasoning whereby general conclusions are derived from a series of specific observations – in the 1930s these are typically experiments and generally on animals.
The book this website is based on attempts to balance the deductions from an unexplained synchronicity between planetary geometry in our ‘universe’ and human development with a detailed inductive analysis of the pattern of timing of events or developments.
DETERMINISM AND THE PEAK OF MODERNISM
This is of course also the period when new Modernist novelists, poets and playwrights surge into the public eye. As we shall see it is apparent that many of these authors still espouse determinism. Deciding which authors qualify as Modernist is a perilous task but I have taken a middle of the road stance making sure that those selected are all authors who focused on exploring subjective experience and that this was more important than any story being told. Some of these writers remain well known such as WH Auden, Bertold Brecht, T.S. Eliot, William Faulkner, Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway, D.H. Lawrence, James Joyce, Franz Kafka, Ezra Pound, Marcel Proust, Erich Maria Remarque and Virginia Woolf but others are now lesser celebrities such as Jean Cocteau, Hilda Dolittle, Julian Green, Christopher Isherwood, Wyndham Lewis, Frederico Lorca, Marianne Moore, Rolf Jacobsen, Gertrude Stein, Wallace Stevens and William Carlos Williams.
read the book to see a detailed correlation of the key output of these creative writers, painters and musicians with the now terminally challenged Deterministic and Machine influenced mindset precisely between 1928 and 1937
All of these Modernist writers with the exception of James Joyce and Franz Kafka write their key books between 1928 and 1937, although it is not always possible to decide when the literary output of poets made its peak impact. Between these dates appear W.H. Auden’s ‘Poems’, ‘Night Mail’ and ‘The Ascent of F6’ , Bertolt Brecht’s ‘The Threepenny Opera’ and ‘Mahagoony’, T.S. Eliot’s ‘Journey of the Maji’, ‘Ash Wednesday’ and ‘Murder in the Cathedral’, William Faulkner’s ‘The Sound and the Fury’, ‘As I lay dying’ and ‘Sanctuary’, Scott Fitzgerald’s ‘Tender is the Night’, Ernest Hemingway’s ‘Farewell to Arms’, ‘Death in the afternoon’ and ‘To have and have not’, DH Lawrence’s ‘Lady Chatterley’s Lover’ and ‘The Virgin and the Gypsy’, Ezra Pound’s ‘Selected Poems’ and ‘A Draft Of XXX Cantos’, Marcel Proust’s ‘A la recherche du temps perdu’ , Erich Maria Remarque’s ’All quiet on the Western front’, Virginia Woolf’s ‘To The Lighthouse’, ‘Orlando’ ,‘A Room Of One’s Own’ and ‘The Waves’. During this same period Jean Cocteau, Julian Green, Christopher Isherwood, Wyndham Lewis, Frederico Lorca, Marianne Moore, Rolf Jacobsen, Gertrude Stein and Wallace Stevens also all write their key books.
Only James Joyce’s ‘Ulysses’ (1922) and ‘Finnegans Wake’ (1939), and Franz Kafka’s ‘The Trial’ (1925) clearly fall outside these dates. James Joyce is noted for not sharing the determinist focus of the age. In any case Modernist authors had moved away from the 19th Century ‘realist’ notion that a novel must ‘tell a story’ from an ‘objective’ and all knowing point of view. Instead, they embraced the ‘subjective’, turning from external reality to examine inner states of consciousness.
The majority of the authors who write their key books during this period are however obsessed with determinist themes – especially TS Eliot, Robert Frost, William Faulkner, Ernest Hemingway, Franz Kafka, Marianne Moore and Erich Maria Remarque. The Determinist focus of writers in the late 1920s and early 1930s centres on three themes – man overpowered by the pervasive hugeness of machine industry, the reduction of the individual to a mere unit by the immense scale of the city and finally the dehumanisation of behaviour in the eyes of an ever more accepted mechanistic psychology.
T.S. Eliot’s most famous work, The Waste Land, expresses a bleak view of the post-World War I world. Consciousness is always determined by what the writer calls ‘vast impersonal forces’. As culture historian Dustin Kidd puts it “Eliot opens the first section of ‘East Coker’ with the banner ‘In my beginning is my end’ ….Here lies the foundation of Eliot’s notion of determinism. It suggests that a man’s life and death has been determined at the time of his birth. In the act of coming into the world he is resigned merely to enact that which has already been planned for him.” Another contemporary poet Robert Frost is similarly stricken and in poems, such as ‘The Road Not Taken’ and ‘Design,’ wrestles with the question of a seemingly hostile world and the issue of free will versus determinism.
William Faulkner’s novels, as Lee Anne Fennell points out, are suffused and permeated with a sense of fate, doom and determinism – especially ‘A Rose for Emily’ (1930). Faulkner was obsessed with the universal theme of determinism versus free will. As W.P Jones has written “Faulkner is the master at conveying….‘the determinism of ‘the blood’ – the visiting of the sins of the fathers on the children unto the third and fourth generation. Ernest Hemingway’s novels also express a bleak view of the world. Franz Kafka’s novels are noted for their severe pessimism.
PAINTERS & COMPOSERS
Do we see a peaking of Modernism in painting? Yes and we shall find it in the movements of Abstract Expressionism, Verism and Surrealism which all peak in our timeframe and which bring Modern Art to a culturally dominant position. We shall find it in the artists Pablo Picasso, Marc Chagall, Piet Mondriaan, Joan Miro, Salvador Dali, Max Ernst, Rene Magritte, Georges Grosz, Otto Dix, Rudolph Schlichter and Stanley Spencer. Modernism now dominates in how things are visualised. Where once painters had relied on the eye to perceive what was visible, where even Impressionism had relied on capturing a moment of visible time, now painters want to look behind the appearance of things, to look at the abstract. Modernism also dominates in the intensity of the artists’ vision of how urban industrial society has dehumanised and exploited man. Both these modernist art developments can be seen building up from Picasso’s ‘Les Demoiselles d’Avignon’ (1907) to culminate in his other most famous painting ‘Guernica’ painted in 1937, whose accusatory outcry was against the Fascist bombing which razed this Spanish town to the ground. Let’s have a closer look at this new technique and focus.
In the exploration of pure colour, of pure form, painters looked for a means to intensify expression. One means used was deliberate distortion and geometrical disintegration. Distortion aimed to capture the essence of things which could only be felt not seen. Geometrical disintegration aimed at the breakdown of perspectival space into shapes like the cube, the cone and the sphere. Depth became surface, foreground became background and multiple forms begin to intersect. These techniques become increasingly pronounced as this Abstract Expressionism, which had started with Kandinsky and Marc’s ‘Blue Rider’ group in 1911, reached its apotheosis with Mondriaan and Klee in the late 1920s
The focus of paintings, following the upheavals of the first world war, especially in Paris and Berlin, had been on modern urban life, on the contrast between its dynamism and its inhabitants’ alienation. Now as a fearful and pessimistic outlook on the future begins to spread against the background of an economic recession and a strong ideological split between the left and right leading to Fascism and war, the focus sharpens. We see this in Verism which also fits the 1928 to 1937 timeframe – here paintings express subjective emotion more subtly yet more forcefully. They are either quiet, precise and detailed representations of urban reality, but made disconcerting by their rigidity and detached tone or at second glance they are biting caricatures. Georges Grosz, Otto Dix and Rudolph Schlichter paint these haunting or scathing images of postwar urban misery.
In the third development, Surrealism, no longer are images merely a suggestion of what could be seen as lying behind an image, images are presented as they would appear in the subconscious and get presented as a kind of Freudian dream. Freud had shown that most of our mind like an iceberg lies beneath the surface in the unconscious and since the unconscious becomes most apparent in dreams, the artist now begins to explore this domain. Salvador Dali, Joan Miro, Max Ernst and Rene Magritte all take very different approaches to this new art.
In 1937 the Nazis put on in Munich an exhibition titled ‘Degenerate Art’. This marks the beginning of an infamous campaign of hatred against all avant garde artists who would not follow the precepts of National Socialist pseudo realism. In 1937 the cycle’s incoming square moves out of orb. In the world of painting what had started out as realism at the 1850s cycle conjunction and moved on at the Out square in the 1870s to Impressionism, what had yielded Futurism, Symbolism and Cubism at the opposition just after 1900 had finally with Abstract Expressionism, Verism and Surrealism reached the end of one particular road. The cycle demonstrates an initial adjustment by Art to the Machine world – essentially in the search for paintings to reflect real life – in terms both of technique and of subject.
BARTOK & BERG
Do we see a peaking of Modernism in music? The cycle opposition had seen the emergence of Schoenberg’s atonal music and Stravinsky’s dissonant music and the increasingly impressionistic and programmatic works of Debussy and Faure. But the period 1928 to 1937 sees a surge in music which breaks with the past in being strongly rhythmic as well as atonal or dissonant. For instance in this period Bela Bartok, who had first gained attention in 1908, now produces his violin sonatas and string quartets which are noted for being ‘strongly rhythmic… and sharply dissonant music’ Alban Berg writes his opera suite ‘Lulu’ whose six movements offer an increasingly extreme tempo, using a 12-note serial tone system. Ravel’s Bolero (1928) is famed for its accelerating up beat tempo.
GERSHWIN & KURT WEILL
But it is perhaps Gershwin who between 1925 and 1936 heralds the dramatic end of the dominance of classical music and the beginning of popular music, His 1935 opera ‘Porgy and Bess’ contains three famous hit songs which would not look out of place in a 1950s pop hit parade – ‘Summertime’, ‘I Got Plenty of Nothin’ and ‘Tain’t Necessarily So’. His earlier ‘Rhapsody in Blue’ and ‘American in Paris’ are the first works to symphonically structure jazz and incorporate realistic sound effects.
It is also German composer Kurt Weill’s ‘Threepenny Opera’ in 1928 and ‘City of Mahagonny’ in 1930 that helps establish classical composers as the authors of popular and influential songs. The former work contains the song ‘Mack the knife’ which will become a stand-alone pop hit in the 1950s when sung by Bobby Darin. Kurt Weill’s opera tackles social issues head on which results in his works being banned by the Nazis. In Russia Shostakovitch and Prokoviev come under strong pressure from Stalin to tailor their works to state objectives.
JAZZ< CROONERS & SWING
During these years music finally begins to spread out from the concert theatre and the music hall to a mass market, principally through the universal penetration of radio. In the non-classical music area Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington and Count Basie create a wider market for Jazz, while ‘pop music’ first emerges from Bing Crosby, Rudy Vallee and other ‘crooners’ singing songs written by Cole Porter and Hoagy Carmichael. In 1935 ‘swing’ music first emerges, later to be globally popularised by Glenn Miller.
read the book to see detailed correlation of how each of the 14 machines reaches a terminal stage in its development precisely between 1928 and 1937
THE MOTOR CAR
THE FAX MACHINE
THE COPYING MACHINE
THE SEWING MACHINE
THE WASHING MACHINE
All the above 14 machine inventions undergo a crucial stage in their development – either that development essentially reaches the end of the road – as with the bicycle, the sewing machine or the elevator – or their operation becomes much more standardised – as with automobiles or cameras – or the key technology gets effectively replaced like the Morse telegraph gets replaced by the Teleprinter, the Cyclostyle by the Photocopier, the telegram by the telephone message. Except in two cases – movies (talkies) and television – any technology leaps forward have ceased to be cutting edge. The two key exceptions point forward to the digital revolution that will be seeded at the beginning of the next cycle around 1965.
The synchronicity of development stages in machines and in intellectual and creative works across this Uranus/Pluto cycle is quite precise and should be difficult for anyone to attribute to chance