Have been thinking lately about the cycles and periods of history. Karl Jaspers, in the middle of the last century and around the time I was born, put forth the idea that a critical time in human history was the middle of the millenium before Jesus. Across the world from Greece to the Far East, there was a change from emphasis on group identity towards the individual person. Below is a clear description that I'm studying.
The article is from Ilia Delio's web site, The Omega Center. It is by Matthew Wright, an Episcopal Priest. The second paragraph of the article is included here.
The Second Axial Emergence
The religious landscape is shifting—no one will argue with that. People are leaving traditional religious frameworks in droves, while the number of those identifying as “spiritual but not religious” (SBNR) is on the rise. While some of the religious faithful decry this shift as inherently negative, I believe there’s a framing in which we can see it not only as a hopeful sign for the human family, but for our religious traditions as well.
The twentieth-century philosopher Karl Jaspers coined the notion of the “Axial Age”—a window of time that fell roughly between 800 and 200 BCE. It’s the period of human history during which the headwaters of all our great religious traditions began to form, seemingly independently around the globe: Lao Tzu taught the way of the Tao in China; the seers of the Upanishads were busy realizing the Self in India; the Hebrew prophets preached social justice and monotheism in Israel; the early Greek philosophers emerged; the Buddha had his great awakening. A planetary shift in spiritual understanding was underway.