I’ve a friend in the simulations industry, and it almost drives him crazy when he hears about the “force of history” or about how history is cyclic. The one theory is that trends will always move towards the more enlightened position, the other theory is that everything repeats. Both seem to be demonstratively false.
Which is why the LDS Church is not destined to be completely mainstream and accepted (seems the inevitable force of history, doesn’t it) or why SSM has actually lost ground in California since Prop 8 and the recession. Or why women, who had equality in 1100 a.d. Iceland, had lost it by 1400 a.d. So that when a friend of mine was really afraid that equality was being rolled back, I did not tell her that the possibility did not exist.
At the same time, things that look cyclic are really about the changing balance of counterforces. Which is why there are not inevitable cycles either (after all, if there were, there should have been another Franco-Prussian war in 1980 and 2005).
Next time you look at a trend, or the Church or guess where something will go and someone tells you that “everything is cyclic” so that any change will be rolled back, or that “the force of history is inevitable” so that the forces of change will just keep pushing things along, remember that history and its development is a matter of dynamic forces, not linear ones only. A cliff may fall down, but that doesn’t mean it will fall back up, there may be changes, but that doesn’t mean they will continue forever (a cliff quits falling when it hits bottom) or that reversal is inevitable.
What predicted change do you really doubt? Which one do you think really can’t be stopped?