1. The Analysis of Temporal Structures
The basis for the remarks in this chapter is the following model for the analysis of interpretational patterns. According to this model, analyses of worldviews, interpretational patterns, and categorial structures can be developed along three dimensions. The first dimension involves the depiction of various systems for classifying the world. These systems are characterized by the spatial-topological distinction between different spheres, occurring in its most basic form in the dichotomous differentiation of internal and external, near and far, above and below. The second dimension is concerned with various models for the production, genesis, and temporal linking of events. These process models, which are incorporated in interpretational patterns, can be traced back to the elementary experience and shaping of temporality as actions are performed. The third dimension is concerned with the forms and methods by which a subject reflexively verifies and adopts a posture toward the world (the matter of whether that subject is an individual or a collective is irrelevant). In analyzing interpretational patterns or categorial structures I assume that all interpretational patterns of whatever kind incorporate a structural, a processual, and a reflexive dimension.
1.1. Topological Structure
As is true of other models, models of temporality and change can only be conceived of with great difficulty in the absence of points of reference. In this instance, the structural and topological reference is represented by a fundamental difference on which our awareness and conception of
change depends: the difference between a sphere of stability, continuity, and identity, on the one hand, and one of variability, transformation, and dynamism, on the other hand. Change can only be perceived against a constant background just as continuity can only be recognized against the sphere of change. In an elementary form this difference between stability and continuity occurs as the boundary between the continuity of the subject having the experience and the chaotic change in that which he is experiencing in the "world." Naturally, positions providing a guarantee of identity and continuity may also develop outside the experiencing subject in the world. Thus the development of differences in temporality between different spheres and the topology of those spheres constitutes the first axis in an evolutionary-theoretical reconstruction of models of change.
1.2. Process Models
Process models have been given particularly close attention to date by those who propound historical theories and metatheories of social change. Observers draw distinctions between cyclical and recurrent conceptions of the course of time, on the one hand, and cumulative models of progress and purposive development, on the other hand. A third concept of temporal sequence has gained less attention: the idea that events succeed one another chaotically and at random, the idea of chance and indeterminacy.
Such elementary experiences as purposive action, aging, the sequence of day and night, and uncertainty about events in the world provide the ontogenetic basis for process models. The nature of such processes provides a second important means of distinguishing between the models: change can be kept in motion by action-type processes or it can be determined by natural events. The increasing differentiation between natural, objective processes and those in which action is involved represents an important line of development in the evolution of temporal structures.
No society has confined its concept of change exclusively to one particular process model; several such models have always been used simultaneously, even though they were of course differentiated on the basis of spheres. Together with differentiation according to tempi, that is, according to the speed of change, then, the differentiation of spheres according to the cyclical, cumulative, or chaotic sequences involved is a further area of attention in an evolutionary analysis of models of change.
1.3. Reflexive Forms
The subject of processes of change can adopt three possible responsive postures. One alternative is that change is actively and purposefully driven on by the subject, accelerated or decelerated by him. Another alternative is that the subject experiences change as inevitable and uncontrollable, even though his own action is affected by it. The third posture is that the subject experiencing change is insufficiently affected by it and perceives it with an attitude of indifference. Of course no society confines itself exclusively to just one attitude to processes of change, but attitudes are invariably differentiated to suit particular spheres. For example, even if they accept change in the majority of spheres fatalistically, actors may nevertheless adopt an activist attitude to carrying out their everyday actions and remain indifferent toward the changes in natural phenomena that they perceive but by which they are not clearly affected. Thus the attention of evolutionary-theoretical analysis is directed toward change as it is distributed between spheres in which it evokes activist, fatalistic, and indifferent attitudes.