The Iranian scholar Jalal al-e Ahmad wrote that development is not Westernization. In 1992, no one could get around Fukuyama’s theory of the end of history. He argued that the ascendancy of Western liberal democracy, which occurred when the Soviet Empire imploded, that humanity had reached not just the passing of a particular period of post-war history, but the very end of history itself.

That is, we had reached the end-point of mankind’s ideological evolution, and the universalization of Western liberal democracy as the final form of human government. The Peruvian genius, Anibal Quijano, stresses what is termed globalization is the culmination of a process that began with the constitution of America, and colonial/modern Eurocentered capitalism.

For Fukuyama, there is no competition for the American model and its amalgam of liberal-capitalism and democracy.  However, the intoxicating promise of a new ‘American’ century was fleeting. With speed the American hope faded, and the end of history seeped away. The euphoria leaked into the dugouts of wars that brought about no strategic success.

After the terror attacks of September 11, 2001, Fukuyama wrote that ‘time is on the side of modernity, and I see no lack of US will to prevail’, (The Guardian, 11 October 2001). Twenty years later, he conceded: ‘The long-term sources of American weakness and decline are more domestic than international’ (The Economist, 18 August 2021).

This notion that the West can and should end history is traceable to the Enlightenment. Fukuyama adopted this notion of the end of history from Hegel, who engineered the idea of the West as a concept and consciousness. In fact, the West is not a compass direction. It is an orientation to living.

Hegel proposed the idea of historical development that remains shackled to temporal sequences. His periodization of history covered a wide spectrum from the historical-materialism of Marx to the genealogical lens of Nietzsche, who in turn influenced post-structuralist like Foucault and Derrida.

But Hegel did not stop there. He differentiated between four phases in the birth and demise of civilization using an anthropomorphic method to the history of humankind: The period of original growth, the period of maturity, and that of dissolution. Likewise, Hegel posited that oriental history is divided into four sub-phases, which corresponds to four political orders: the theocratic-despotism of ancient China, the theocratic-aristocracy of India, the theocratic-monarchy of Persia, and finally the splitting of spirit and matter attributed to Egyptian civilization.

These models of history and power shape the social classification of the world’s population around an axis of ideas that expresses the basic experience of colonial domination.  It is an axis that has proven to be more durable than the colonialism in whose matrix it was established, according to Quijano. Therefore, the model of influence that is globally hegemonic today presupposes a stream of coloniality.

For Hegel, the history of humanity travels from East to West. Europe is the end of history. Asia is the beginning. The history of the world has an East from which the sun rises and a West in which it sinks. Hegel therefore located the end of history in his ‘German World’, just as Fukuyama lodged the end of history in his ‘America’.

But they both erroneously invoke the idea of ‘freedom’ as a yardstick to measure the triumph of one nation over others. They obscure the endless unfreedoms that barricade development. For Hegel, the Orient could not solve the ‘enigma of man’ for humankind. The solution to this riddle and history as a whole for both was to be found in the idea of the ‘West’.

The ‘West’ is an idea that never existed before the Enlightenment, and Hegel helped to create it. This is precisely why, according to the Oedipus myth, the Sphinx travelled to Greece and why the Owl of Minerva opened its wings over the Orient, only to find safety in the Occident.

Western civilization is now seen as timeless and universal – a singularity of history, that now reflects the views of those who celebrate the arrival of Artificial General Intelligence with programs that write programmes, and the crossbreeding of computer code.

This outward expansion of technology since the COVID-19 pandemic into every fissure of human existence is poised to be the new singularity of history. A perfect synthesis within the frame of Hegel and Fukuyama. Microbial, atomistic machines now penetrate toys, appliances, and wearables, expanding into Neuralink brain implants, coding aspects of our behaviours, and feeding our thoughts to algorithms and AI assemblages.

It is therefore not bizarre that Zuckerberg speaks of Meta as a global network that is spreading prosperity and promoting peace despite unending inherited inequality and intergenerational immobility. Zuckerberg is in step with Hegel’s teleological idea to bring about an end of all historical struggles, just that it will not be Germany that forces the Owl of Minerva to descend, but Meta.

For Zuckerberg and Gates, history is about how we have learned to use AI assemblage and platform markets to migrate from tribes, to cities, and to nations.  An era in which Gates oddly believes that market forces can work better for the poor, if we can develop a more Creative Capitalism.