Institute of Philosophy
Russian Academy of Sciences

  2016, Vol. 2, No. 2
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2016, Vol. 2, No. 2


Philosophical anthropology

2016, Vol. 2, No. 2.



Pavel Gurevich. The rational and the irrational in culture

The author seeks to characterize the rationalist version of culture. He notes that culture carries huge content. Its content seems limitless. Culture arises due to the fact that the human mind gives the men the opportunity to earn, save, accumulate, process and use information by special, unknown to nature ways. These methods involve creation of special sign systems by which information is encoded and transmitted in society. Culture is above all supernatural. Nature doesn’t have sounding symphonies, poetic lyrical outpourings, landscapes, captured by anonymous brush. Man creates culture leaning on his own consciousness, emotion, will and intuition. It is designed for creation of unknown worlds. Therefore, describing the culture of particular era, we first denominate the achievements of science, philosophy, art.

These settings inspired the philosophy of culture, the special field of philosophical knowledge, emerged in the eighteenth century. According to W. Windelband, any research in psychology, sociology, and historical development gain value only when they are directed to the detection of the main structure, which is inherent in every cultural creativity in the timeless, superempiric entity of mind. According to him, the foundation of any culture must be laid in the deepest subsoil of any reasonable creativity. Philosophy is obliged to treat the natural world (and it, in the opinion of the German philosopher, covers the instinctive and emotional life) according to the law a reasonable will. Therefore, the entire process of human culture presupposes the inclusion of our lives in reasonable connection. So, culture not only appeals to rationality, but constantly links the birth of new creations with the theoretical work of philosophers, scientists, researchers, art.

However, the author argues with the “protective” tendency of the philosophy of culture. It is noted that this understanding of culture under the banner of retention its classical repertoire largely impoverish her. In a culture only the noblest achievements are praised. Those acquisitions of mankind, which are not blessed by philosophical classics, are rejected by it. Doesn’t it look like the deliberate impoverishment of culture, Eurocentric arrogance, distortion of the idea of culture? Just over the past decades the appeal to archaic forms of cultural identity (myth, tradition and carnival) deeply approved the priority of philosophy in understanding the changing forms of cultural existence. Philosophy has expanded the boundaries of culture, its multipartite, has turned to analysis of the underlying fundamentals of human existence, has proved the fruitfulness of the tradition and crystallization of human experience, has proceeded to the analysis of the unconscious.

The author believes that the range of culture is inexhaustible; it is not limited to rationality, reasonableness. Its source is not only of consciousness. Culture covers all. Many of its forms are born by the unconscious layer of the human psyche, intuition, imagination, emotional responsiveness. Of course, the rational kernel is the core of culture. Rational may be regarded as a generic category covering pure logic in classical and modern thinking and even some forms of mystical experience. However, this thesis of unlikely all-encompassing meaning of the concept “rationality” requires the critical consideration.

Culture can’t include only rational content. It was born in those days when first sprouts of reasonableness germinated, when the vague images of understanding of the world emerged, and shaky criteria of the understanding of the surrounding arised. And this experience was not absurd, alien, and of blur mind. It was a resounding breaks of consciousness, deep inspirations. The article raises the question of the source of culture. Is it the revealing work of the mind, seething human passion, devotional immersion, meditative detachment, powerful streams of life, the depths of the unconscious? Modern philosophy has already made the necessary critical calculations with educational illusions. Philosophers increasingly emphasize the limitations of reason and its inability to be a guide of conduct in a situation of universal nonsense. Finally, in postmodernism there is detected the immoderate fascination of the illogicality. But there is no doubt that man is the only creature that can live in absurd situations. The ever-deepening experience of rationalistic cognition of life and a horrible unwillingness of reality to pack up in this experience. An endless stream of creativity which gives birth to destruction. The yearning for beauty which turns into desire of ugliness. Infinity of creation and the limitation of human life. How to save sobriety of thought within these paradoxes?

Many thinkers of antiquity felt the need for analytics of irrational. Aristotle, for example, noticed the intelligence of the man but also wrote about his irrationality. Already at that time it was believed that the mind is not able to express the fullness and richness of spiritual life. Near-reasonable features of human activity often aren’t amenable to logical thinking. However, they are also involved in the creation of culture, and there is no reason to remove them out of the diverse spiritual experience. Is there such an urgency to move the myth beyond the boundaries of culture? But the myth is the crystallization of people’s unconscious lives. Myth is not alien to the logic, although it has special characteristics. Myth is able to bring order to the chaos, transform the lurking and the unclear in the explanatory figurative formulae.

If we analyze the structure of myth, various transformations of conscious and unconscious human effort to understand the world can be detected in it. Not by chance, for example, G. Bataille in his search of criteria of rationality refers to the internal human experience. He keeps in mind certain limit positions, which initially can be clarified only from the inside. Religious-mystical, erotic, creative impulses of man are not subject to objective analysis. But this does not mean that they are inherently irrational, that they belong to the chaotic, disordered thoughts.

Keywords: art, rationality, irrationality, mind, culture, myth, religion, tradition, value, consciousness



Maryse Dennes. Vers une semiotique anthropologique? Gustave Chpet: actualite de sa pensee



Victoria Vlasova. How is it possible to combine patriotic consciousness with globalization processes?

Is it possible to combine patriotism with globalization processes? How real is process of consolidation of various ethnic cultures with different mentalities for joint solving of urgent socio-political, economic, environmental and other tasks of modern age? The author responds to these questions positively. To combine interests of the autonomous distinctive cultures as participants of globalization is quite possible, if not to reduce the processes of modernization to attempts of unification of unique humanitarian content. Ultimately, genuine cultural globalization, while maintaining the uniqueness of the cultural parameters acquired by each of these cultures due to their own historical experience must be the center of gravity in a single harmonious “counterpoint” of planetary cultural education and form the unity based on the system of universal values, present in every culture.

However, realization of above-mentioned national or ethnic identity in mutual relation of independent cultures with one another, especially during increase of globalization tendencies, has its pros and cons. Which of them will prevail in the future, largely is defined by the specific proposals regarding the tasks outlined in the title of this article. According to the author, nowadays the convergence of financial and economic, political and other interests of the different countries have reached so-called “point of no return”. It is supported by successes of scientific and technological revolution (in particular, in the area of the collection, storage and transmission of information, as well as in the area of granting of communication services, etc.), which made accessible the ways of inheritance and mutual exchange of spiritual values inside and between cultures, inconceivable some more decades ago. On the other hand, because these values every time grew on the unique ethno-mental soil, their founders and carriers have actual grounds for claims for recognition of their “creative autonomy” in the intellectual space of the global culture or even absolute leadership bordering on a dictatorship.

However, the process of cultural globalization that we are witnessing today with big or smaller contradictions regarding its internal components, suggests that centrifugal, not to say the isolationist, forces (acting voluntarily or involuntarily), and equally the quest for world domination in the cultural sphere, sharply reduce the positive expectations for the creative practice of all mankind.

This situation can be explained by the fact that the implementation of the first of subjective tendencies of cultural creation eventually leads to the preservation of traditional (in the Weber’s sense) purposes of material and spiritual production. Ultimately, it contributes to washing away cultures of this kind from the historical scene as a whole. No less sad fate may befall the ethno-cultural entities with overestimated mental self-esteem. Their initiators, as a rule, intend to implant in the public consciousness of humanity exclusively private, the only true and worthy, from their point of view, ideals and norms of cultural creation, opposed to all other. Means of implementation of such plans are very different, from introduction of cultural values, designed in special way and dubiously reasoned, to direct coercion or threats.

Historical practice shows that, eventually, arises the resistance to unification, and not only at the level of individual behavior, but largely on a mass scale. If whole nations and states do not wish to unify their culture in this way, attempts of self-affirmation and, on the contrary, preservation their own mentality and their cultural roots results in regional conflicts of ethnical, religious, political etc. nature. The tragic consequences of these conflicts can call into question peaceful coexistence of the mankind as a whole. If to admit these conclusions fair, then it is necessary to decline execution of unification cultural policy in the course of development of globalization processes. In this case, in modern world it would be impossible to talk about opportunity of globalization of culture as such. However, exactly today, as never before, grew the need for communication of different ethnic cultures for mutual exchange of historical experience. No matter how much some countries care about their own selfish interests, they are forced to interact with alien mentalities of other peoples, which also seek to meet their needs, just in the name of optimal observance of their own interests. This feature of our age proves opportunity for building the global structure of cultural creation and serves as its objective prerequisite.

Naturally, the question arises: is it possible to find in modern ethnic or national polyphony such forms of unification of the disparate, at first glance, cultures, which would lead them to a common denominator, which would preserve the stability and development? The answer, of course, is positive. Moreover, the proposed practice is implemented already long ago. It does not mean that the question has lost its relevance. First, the pace of socio-economic movement accelerate, and therefore, specific historical conditions of all participants in the globalization project are dramatically changing, setting new values, programs, and meanings. Second, there is a constant modernization of cultural attitudes of the ethno-mentalities, still opposing each other. The task of the present generations of historians, sociologists, culturologists, philosophers, and other humanitarian researchers of past and present is comparative analysis of objective characteristics, patterns, and most importantly, the effectiveness of these processes of modernization on a global scale. In the last decade, such analysis has unfolded in both national and world literature, and this problem promises rich and valuable results.

Described misinterpretation of cultural data as a way to solve globalization problems (even when it works for the unification of the original cultural material through an imitation of imposed pattern) is still an act of dialogue – conscious or intuitive, voluntary or protest, creative or epigone. In fact, this act always involves at least two subjects of cultural education. The most serious problem here is to make a distinction between different options of building a world culture from the position of aggregate interests of the mankind as whole. In turn, the answer to this general question requires a preliminary clarification of the criteria for the reinterpretation of established values of individual cultures. On the other hand, it is necessary to analyze how these criteria are compatible with the perspectives of the planetary unity of the total concept of cultural creation.

Keywords: globalization, patriotism, cultural creation, multiculturalism, cultural policy, unification, civilizational dialogue, dialogical culture, universal values, modernization



Ilshat Nasyrov. Ibn ‘Arabi on Islamic mysticism

Islamic mysticism (Sufism) is very complex phenomenon. It may be described in many ways. It is a main element of Islamic religion, a spiritual component of the Muslim culture, an ascetical-mystical movement, a spiritual discipline, a one of the main school of medieval Islamic philosophy, a mystical world view, a social and political organization, a form of self-expression and behavior, etc. The teaching of mystical cognition is a principal postulate of Sufi ideology that combines all tendencies within Sufism. In this respect, Sufism is Islamic mysticism, which leads to direct cognition of God beyond thought and image through purification of self and discipline.

Three phases or stages of Sufism can be distinguished. The earliest form of Sufism was wide ascetic movement (in the 8th and 9th centuries). Other significant developments soon followed, including self-control, mystical insights and annihilation of the self (in the 9th and 10th centuries). During this period, two trends (“drunken” and “sober”) of doctrinal Sufism emerged. The next phase in Sufi history was development of fraternal Sufi orders (11th century) and formation of philosophical Sufism embodied in Ibn ‘Arabi’s teaching of “waḥdat al-wujūd” (Unity of Being) (13th century).

The life-giving impulse of Sufism began to weaken from the 15th century. Since the middle of the 19th century Sufism has ceased to have a serious impact on the Muslim community. Sufism today is in deep crisis. So, the question arise: why did Sufism fall into decline?

The problem of understanding the real cause of Sufism’s decline has become the most important one for historians of Islamic mysticism, and it has not yet found a satisfactory solution. There is a stereotype that the reason for the decline of Islamic Mysticism (Sufism) was famous medieval Islamic thinker Ibn ‘Arabi (1165–1240).

Ibn ‘Arabi was one of the prominent and the most controversial Islamic thinker. It is generally accepted that speculative teachings of Ibn ‘Arabi and his followers have led to the erosion of true Sufism.

The author examines conceptual framework and essence of key principles of Ibn ‘Arabi’s doctrine and shows that there is no link between his intellectual activity and the decline of Sufism. The article focuses an attention on exposition of Ibn ‘Arabi’s doctrines in the context of the paradigm of medieval Muslim philosophical thought.

An approach, which the author proposes here, is to assert that early phase of Sufism (or asceticism)) and doctrinal Sufism (“drunken” and “sober”) share a common set of a problems which all generations of Sufis had to solve in order to achieve their main goal which is comprehension of Truth (God). The early phase of Sufism, or asceticism, had already been realized not only as renunciation of temporal, but also as mode of mystical knowledge. As a result of the Islamic ascetics’ activity the prerequisites of the Sufi teaching of “tariqa” (Way) with the aim seeking “ḥaqiqa” (absolute truth) emerged.

The driving force of Islamic Mysticism’s development were attempts to solve the problem of relationship between sensible and intelligible or between unity and multiplicity (relation between God and the world) and the possibility of mystical knowledge. The prominent Sufi thinkers like ’Abu Sa‘id al-Kharraz, Sahl al-Tustari, ’Abu Yazid al-Bistami, al‑Junayd and others played a significant role in the formation of two trends (“drunken” and “sober”) of the doctrinal Sufism. The adherents of both trends supposed that the ultimate aim can be achieved through the annihilation of the self (fanā’) and dissolution in the divine reality. Al‑Ghazali (d. 1111), the prominent Muslim theologian and mystic, also considered that mystical union with God or “the pure oneness [of God]” (tawhīd) is the vision of only God through annihilation of the self.

Nevertheless, by 12–13 centuries Islamic mystics understood that their practices cannot help them in the realization of divine knowledge, neither ascetical discipline nor dissolution in the divine reality. During the evolution of Islamic mystical tradition, the philosophical Sufism emerged. It was most completely realized in Ibn ‘Arabi’ doctrine of the Oneness or Unity of Being (waḥdat al‑wujūd). His philosophical innovation consists in the radical reconsideration of the view on knowledge and its subject. Other schools of medieval Islamic philosophy relied on the ontological idea that conceives the relationship between God and world as dualistic. On the contrary, the ontological ground of philosophical Sufism knowledge consists in understanding of two ontological levels of being as different aspects of one reality, not different realities. Ibn ‘Arabi considers the mystical knowledge as self-knowledge of God. Man is a place of self-knowledge of God in the course of His eternal self-disclosure.

Thereafter Islamic mystical tradition lost its continuity. Sufism developed into two main forms: the “practical”, or the moderate and the philosophical. The adherents of the “practical” Sufism insist that mystical experience is realized by Sufi discipline (asceticism, poverty, meditation, etc.) while their opponents consider it useless. The supporters of philosophical Sufism argued that direct access to the divine reality is guaranteed by the ontological being of man.

There is no evidence to support the claim that the erosion of Sufism is due to metaphysical teachings of Ibn ‘Arabi and his pupils. The decline of Sufism can be explained by political, economic, social and other causes. Several factors directly and indirectly contributed to the Islamic mystical tradition crisis: bureaucratization of Sufism, modernization and secularization in the Islamic East, etc.

Keywords: Islamic Mysticism, Philosophy, al-Gazali, a spiritual discipline, Ibn ‘Arabi, mystical knowledge



Wilhelm Reich. The Trap



Aleksey Fatenkov. The non indifferent against the tolerant

The norm and the practice of tolerance are being critically considered. It is being opposed by non-indifference as a morally vital priority setting. The author appeals to the existential experience, reconstructing it with minimal internal censorship. In the text the semantics of the life specificity prevail over the conceptual-categorical schematism. Reconstructed experience is full of irony which is mischievous and bitter. The grounds, the advantages and disadvantages of the ironic view of the world and of oneself are being considered. The author examines the relationship between men and women, the element of attraction, the miracle of love – and adjacent to them social and cultural phenomena which do not induce sympathy – prostitution, homosexuality, feminism. The author’s intuition and feelings regarding the sequence of events in the political and economic spheres of modern public life are mainly not optimistic. All interpretation and evaluation relate to the protected position of the non-indifferent to illustrate it, and to the rejected line of tolerance.

Liberal tolerance (according to K. Popper) teaches me to be tolerant to all other, apart from the intolerant. But how should I treat myself? If I treat with intolerance I am a necrophiliac tragedian aimed at disengagement. If with tolerance, then I am not me, but someone of the many other; necrophiliac comedian with progressive symptoms of schizophrenia, with mannered crushing of selfhood into fragments.

“Tolerance” is the pseudoscientific, politicized synonym of “patience”. Terminated word – from philosophical and scientific theories – is different from the word from ordinary, everyday language with much more rigorous outline of its semantic boundaries. The politicization of the term gives the opposite effect, the content of the token becomes vague, in addition the attraction to absurd contexts grows inside.

“Patience” is not the most invigorating idea, it is sluggish. It is, of course, more emotional and mental that the prim tolerance, but, unlike the one (drifting near the centrist zero level) it allows hopeless stooping: “Think of Our Lord suffering on the cross”. Comparing respective antonyms, “intolerance” and “non-patience”, gives somewhat similar situation. Intolerance is vague, it does not have a characteristic detail, is applicable to the foolish protest and to elementary bad manners. Non-patience is much more specific (requires clarification of the recipient), sharper – and not only in opposition to the smallest detail, but and in rejection of powerful structures: “Impatience” is Yuri Trifonov’s novel about the people of the movement of “Narodnaya Volya”: selfless, heroic men... but with a nervous breakdown and agitation of the doomed.

Non indifference is fighting in itself with essentially nondescript tolerance and deformities: like non hurrying impatience, like not doing things in a big way, like not vulgar (but not without edges of rigidity) intolerance. It recommends that I must be not indifferent and have different attitudes to myself and the world around – with all the responsibility to ourselves and others. Not indifferent person has someone to love, someone to hate. It saves some, while tolerating many others. Without advertising. Without hiding. Tolerant person condemns antagonists, real and fictional, treats the others evenly (within the margin of error). Evenness does not exclude indifference but rather encourages it.

As a conclusion, alias premised intuitive point: liberally substantiated tolerance is being responsibly confronted by the not indifference of healthy individualism and existential concentration as such. Both in Europe and in Russia – with great difficulty today.

Keywords: non indifference, indifference, tolerance, patience, man, woman, individualism, liberalism, irony, existential experience



Pavel Gurevich, Elvira Spirova. Voluptuousness and philosophy (About heart-to-heart secrets of Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir)

In this article, the subject of analysis is the relationship between philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre and writer Simone de Beauvoir. For many years, their friendship and love were accompanied not only by collective creation, but also by speculations of love as anxious existential. The subject of freedom played a significant role in their philosophical reflection. Both of them believed that there is slavish psychology in modern society and claimed that freedom merits not only recognition but also worship.

Sartre thoroughly speculated on “Other” phenomenon. Many thinkers of the XXcentury considered this idea, but Sartre qualified the “Other” not as something exterior, but as an embodiment of one’s interior. French philosopher saw love as self-deceit. In addition to that, as shown the article, this feeling conceals plenty of paradoxes and illusions.

The juxtaposition of two concepts Sartre highlights – facticity and transcendence – plays an important role in this article. The first phenomenon can be easily seen in mundanity. Transcendence, on the other hand, leads human to the world of sublime. However, in real life these conditions mutually complement each other and change places. Facticity often turns into transcendence while transcendence becomes facticity. For Sartre and his companion free love involves neither sadism nor masochism, neither domination nor submission. But such free love is still far from being trouble-free. It is associated with eternal exhausting ineradicable conflict. But Sartre claims that self-deceit is an escape from something that cannot be escaped. Self-deceit phenomenon represents danger for any human existence scheme. It contains the risk of self-deceit. This can be seen as a paradox of consciousness. In its existence it is what it is and simultaneously is not what it is.

When speaking about self-deceit, Sartre points out that everyone is responsible for his being-for-other but is not a basis for it. My relationship with Other, notes Sartre, is wholly defined by my own attitudes towards an object, because I am an object to someone else. It is someone else that keeps the secret of my existence. He knows exactly who I am. But this secret is kept from me. Other covered itself of me. Love union can be proclaimed ideal if it exists without coercion, violence or despotic devotion. In J.-P. Sartre’s opinion love offers every man a complex of projects that are considered through his own abilities.

The authors raise different questions, which are covered in the article. What is the connection between these philosophical ideas and Simone de Beauvoir? Do they reflect the drama of their own emotional and erotic connections? The authors of the article have no doubt in it. Without Beauvoir there would be no Sartre. At least it would be not Sartre as we know him. His passion was the cause for her philosophical breakthroughs. The authors also discuss the version that states many of Sartre’s ideas belonged in fact to Beauvoir. She always denied the credibility of such theories. However, in philosophical circles the opinion that she was the intellectual donor of all that love phenomenology gained traction. If in her place as like-minded person was a man, the priorities would be set differently, but love intrigue adds a different angle to the story.

The documents left after Beauvoir’s demise prove wrong her statements of being uninvolved in Sartre’s philosophical arsenal. The experts claim that Beauvoir’s novel “She Came to Stay” contains overtones of ideas later echoed by Sartre.

In his work “Being and Nothingness” J.-P. Sartre presented a peculiar variation of love phenomenology. Though works of Simone de Beauvoir seem consonant with Sartre’s ideas, they carry an alternative version of free love.

How did people receive love as special gift? The article displays most philosophers acting evasive in response to this question. Different sexes exist and there’s nothing to add to this. However, there is a spectacular philosophical opinion on Myth of the Androgyne. Separated bodies of androgynes search for their other half to escape deprivation. For Beauvoir such interpretation applies more to love, perpetual effort to overcome the separation of human existence. Yet sexuality in this case is still taken for granted.

While delving into the history of philosophy, Simone de Beauvoir brings up names like Plato, Thomas Aquinas, Hegel, Merleau-Ponty. However, a reference to Sartre is vital. In “Being and Nothingness” J.-P. Sartre tries to oppose M. Heidegger’s claim that the very finiteness of human existence inevitably implies death. The philosopher is convinced that human existence indeed can be seen as finite, but in the same way, there is reason to interpret it as not bound by time. This idea goes along with the attempts of modern transhumanists to provide human with immortality. Beauvoir’s response to this is an idea both laconic and poignant: if human obtains eternal existence, he will lose the right to be called human. Human is mortal by definition. And individual mortality is replenished by immortality of humankind.

It’s not easy to abandon the feeling that Beauvoir responds to arguments extremely relevant nowadays. For her it is hard to imagine consciousness without a body. Yet such perspective is constantly brought up. Ethereal survival is no longer viewed as something unthinkable. A transfer of consciousness to a silicic medium now is seen as a socio-engineering project. In the meantime, according to Beauvoir, it is possible to imagine society reproducing through parthenogenesis. It is easy to imagine socium consisting of hermaphrodites only. Nevertheless, such train of thought is not very clear yet.

The authors point out that the problems of sadism and masochism have a paradoxical interpretation in French existentialism. In particular, J.-P. Sartre connects the analysis of these phenomena to the analysis of human existence. In a dispute with Simone de Beauvoir, he investigates the basic aspects of a so-called “love” philosophy. The main reference point here is the subject of choice, which allows every human to keep his autonomy, non-engagement in relation to others. Both Sartre and his companion believe that marriage and family don’t let human to exercise their own unlimited freedom. They interpret these concepts as old-fashioned and burdensome to both man and woman. However, in comprehending the essence of love these like-minded persons diverge in opinions. Beauvoir sees love exclusively in the emotional aspect while Sartre stands by a more rational viewpoint, claiming “transcendence” (existence) of love. They believed every human should be the creator of his own destiny. Apostasy from this existential principle manifests itself through two kinds of behavior: masochism and sadism.

Keywords: human existentials, love, freedom, Other, human existence, sadism, masochism, suffering, sexuality, desire



Alexander R. Galloway. Radical Illusion. (A Game Against)

There are two voices in the work of Jean Baudrillard, the early voice, which lasted less than 10 years, and the mature voice, which lasted about 30. The first voice is younger and more conventionally leftist. It was fully embedded in the intellectual debates of the late 1960s. A committed Marxist, the younger Baudrillard wrote on labor and needs, use-value and production. But after this period as a young man, Baudrillard transitioned into a very different thinker in the middle to late 1970s. He developed a whole new theoretical vocabulary that was completely in tune with that decade’s historical transformation into digitization, postindustrial economies, immaterial labor, mediation, and simulation. His theories of play and games are at the very heart of this transformation. Through a close reading of several texts, this essay explores Baudrillard’s interest in play and games through the concepts of seduction, the fatal strategy, illusion, and what he called the “principle of separation”.

Keywords: Baudrillard; game; play; seduction; illusion; separative cause



Tamara Dlugatch. The Third Gospel of N. Berdyaev

Existential thinking of N. Berdyaev is most clearly revealed in his interpretation of freedom and creativity. At the time when nothing was created, freedom to act was boundless. It revealed creative abilities and possibilities of man. These settings determine way of viewing history by the philosopher. Religious purpose coincides for him with the purpose of human existence understood in a completely new way. The introduction to all the problems of his philosophy was the “The Meaning of History”. History for Berdyaev is a movement of humanity which will come to its end; if there is no ending, there is no history. The question about the meaning of history is the question of the origin of evil in the world, of the pre-earthbound fall and of the temptation. The concept of “historical” is included in the consciousness of man, it affected all-encompassing feelings of not the immediate period, but of the entire stretch of history. The author of the article is convinced that the very idea that the life of human generations is the movement, entered, according N. Berdyaev, together with the Jewish religion; in religious views, it was connected with the hope of Messiah. He believed that the main theme is the destiny of man, which is the interaction of the human spirit and nature.

The history takes a number of steps, and on each of them a person has their own goal, their tasks, their desires. Berdyaev denies two former rather common historical concepts, though one of which he had admired before. It was Marx’s philosophy of history; now, Berdyaev argues that economic materialism takes as a basis only the external factors, not considering the life of the spirit. According to the author of the article, the accusation is not quite fair: Marx, as we know now, wrote about the life of spirit and creative impulses of the individual; however their study was carried out in the works that were not known in those years, namely in “Philosophical-economic manuscripts” of 1844 and 1857 years.

Another point of view that caused the criticism of Berdyaev is a theory of progress, associated with Marxism. It is not only that progress is contradictory, and that alongside the positive features it contains negative ones. From this point of view every previous generation is sacrificed for the next. Earlier one is taken only as a kind of stage that prepares higher level and has no independent meaning. According to Berdyaev, each stage, each era has its own meaning – and in this he was certainly right.

To understand the meaning of history, N. Berdyaev divides it into several periods, based on religious interpretations and linking the movement of human history with the divine. This raises many problems, some are common with canonical theology, and others are typical only for him. Berdyaev not always solved these problems, but their very definition and even the approach to them, testify to the originality of his thoughts.

He introduces dynamics in divine history, to explain the appearance of man and of Christ; because they were not in the beginning of the Divine life; Jesus comes to redeem human sins and spread love in the human world, and the man because he is a perfect Divine creation. Creativity is the deepest mystery of man, Berdyaev defines; he creates, as the Lord God does out of nothing. God created the Earth and everything from nothing; man creates unprecedented out of nothing, by his acts he increases existence, multiplies it. Repentance and cleansing are just one of the moments of human life; not only they are man’s fate. Berdyaev is convinced that they are only the negative side of life; the old Testament Christianity is not the complete and final truth. The second Evangelical Covenant also relates to the atonement of sin through divine love and grace. But is the final goal of life and existence in general exhaust by the mystery of the redemption, can the salvation from sin be considered the final task? – No, the author is convinced that the ultimate goals of existence are in a positive creative task. Human nature, like the Creator nature could not be created by God only to transgress, to atone his sin, and to put all their forces in the work of redemption throughout world history. This understanding, he believes, would diminish human dignity and does not correspond to the idea of the Creator.

In this context N. Berdyaev examines the phenomenon of creativity. He treats it as a path of spiritual liberation from the world, as the liberation of the human spirit from the bondage of need, as a great achievement of mankind. This is the path of spiritual authenticity and concentration. Captivity of the spirit by the world is a product of our sin. But we need to get rid of accusations that man is a sinful creature, a fallen creature, so he cannot join the path of the creative life. Rid by the atonement and repentance, one is rid from sin for a creative way. Because it is a great lie and a terrible mistake, hence grows indifference to the good, the rejection of courageous resistance to evil.

The creative act there is always liberation and overcoming. The horror, the pain, the weakness must be overcome with creativity, which is the outcome, victory. Human nature through the Absolute Man – Christ has become the nature of the New Adam and has united with the Divine. The infinite immanent help the person will find in himself, if he dares to reveal in him by the creative act all the forces of God and the world, the free world in contrast with the world of the ghosts.

Creativity in Berdyaev clearly associated with a person’s freedom. In the context of the expressed justification for the creation and redemption there is also the idea, which lead to fundamental questions – the idea of pre-eternity and pre-earth of the fall; the idea is completely non-canonical and controversial.

According to the author, the principle of creativity distinguishes N. Berdyaev from other thinkers of the Silver Age. Indeed, the world in which man lives, is the second nature, is the world created by the creative actions of people – here Marx cannot be refuted. N. Berdyaev came close to this idea, and his contribution is the discovering of the relationship of creativity with freedom, with the augmentation of the world and highlighted the role of the individual, which is of great importance in our days.

Keywords: God, repentance, creativity, antroguinism, redemption, evil, freedom, Holiness, obedience, theodicy



Nadezhda Volkova. Plotinus about an Infinite Power of the One in the Context of Emanation

The main purposes of this article were to reconstruct the philosophical logic in the issue of emanation and to show the role of the concept of the infinite power of the One in this context. One way to talk about the problem of the First Principle of thought and being is to describe the process of emanation of beings from the One. When Plotinus described this process, he often used metaphors. The question why Plotinus used the metaphors is controversial among the scholars (Armstrong, Gerson). The author makes the assumption, why the use of metaphors fitted the discussion of the emanation. The article also shows what notions Plotinus used to solve the aporia of transcendental beginning theoretically, i.e. energeia and dynamis. Using the method of historical and philosophical reconstruction based on a comparative analysis of the texts of Plato, Plotinus, Aristotle, the author concludes that Plotinus developed the concept of the infinite power of the One as a solution of emanation’s paradoxes. By its very nature, the One is an inexhaustible source of intelligible and physical life, because the One creates the world of ideas. Each idea is the completeness of physical things following it, because it is their aim and end. Ideas cannot be calculated, because there is no such soul, which can calculate them. So power of the One is infinite, unlimited. As Leo Sweeney said in his article “The Infinity in Plotinus. Part Two – infinity and power”, the evidence of infinity of power is the infinity of its creations, especially the Mind. In this interpretation Plotinus adheres to the Aristotelian notion of the power as an action: the better and more perfect things the action creates the more perfect this action is. For example, the better house was created by the builder, the higher and the better is his craft as a builder. If the One gives rise to all diversity of the world, the sensual and intelligible, this indicates his power as perfect, unbounded and infinite. Moreover, it is not only infinite, but indivisible, as the One itself is indivisible. As Plotinus says, the One is indivisible not because of its smallness, but, on the contrary, because of its greatness and superiority. The indivisibility of its nature causes the indivisibility of its power, which is a consequence of this nature. This indivisible power cannot be bounded by anything, nothing is opposed to it, that is why it is infinite. It extends down to the last and the weakest of beings – creatures of corporeal nature and formless matter.

Keywords: unbounded, emanation, dynamis, energeia, entelecheia, being, thought, Plato, Aristotle, Plotinus