At one point in history one of our evolutionary algorithms led us to a believe in one God. What are the nodal points of human/historical consciousness? War? Random advances in technology? Politics? Is it just an ongoing and uninterrupted process that consists of actions both large and small?
If you are an Hegelian, then you will believe that there is an historical imperative that is based on the growth of reason in human affairs; that succeeding generations – despite the awful events that comprise what Hegel called “the slaughter bench of history” – just keep on evolving. In a way, that is true, as we become more adept at physical survival and – especially in the modern era – more and more dependent on the ever-purer application of intelligence to practical problems. There is a corresponding set of metaphysics at work as well, as the growth of the consciousness of freedom on an individual basis has taken hold of just about every people and every area on earth.
History of consciousness of freedom according to Hegel
As Hegel pointed out in his description of the three historical epochs: in the earliest period of human history only one person was allowed to be completely free in a political sense. In the next period (as in ancient Greece) only a few enjoyed this status. The present or modern era is characterized by a belief in universal freedom, wherein everyone is aware of the fact that he or she is the ground of his/her own being.