Rene Magritte, “The Perfume Of The Abyss”, 1928
March 1, 2011
If we are having a serious political conversation (and I do hope that we are having a serious political conversation, and even a strategic, conceptual conversation), it is necessarily to discuss two topics: the existing reality and the alternatives to existing reality.
What is the tone in which a conversation like this usually happens?
“Here is the existing reality; it is foul, I do not like it. But I have a dream, an ideal – an alternative. How can I manage to replace one with the other?”
For me such a conversation is absolutely meaningless and immoral. Because the problem is not whether the existing reality is foul or not foul. Neither is it about how much I like the alternative. The problem is that the existing reality is not viable. And then the question we need to ask ourselves is “why?”
THE SYSTEM (element #1) has to lean on THE POLITICAL CLASS (element #2).
However, the present POLITICAL CLASS is incompatible with life for Russia. It does not need Russia. It does not meet the challenges facing Russia. It only can relate to Russia the way a parasite does, a parasite that wants to finish devouring Russia and then to run away.
THE SYSTEM can live as a social-political organism only as long as Russia exists as a state. And this system, especially its top echelon, understands that when it comes crashing down along with Russia, it will be punished not only by domestic forces, but by foreign ones as well.
This means that the system and the political class have not only a symbiotic relationship (“we be of one blood, ye and I”), but also contradictions. How are contradictions like these resolved historically?
Option 1. The political class splits into two parts: compradors and nationals, autochthones and allochthones. And these two parts begin fighting against each other. Ultimately, the viable part, the national one – the part that needs Russia, – wins. The system leans on it, and in doing so, it slightly transforms.
Option 2. The system looks for new bases of support. A force must be found on which the system could base itself on. In history, this has rarely happened. I don’t know whether there is any sense to talk about 1937, and whether or not Stalin actually shifted his base of support. I know that Peter I did shift his base of support. This was a unique case in history, when a genius created a support base for himself. But he spent quite a long time on this. As we know, it took quite a long time for the toy regiments, created by Peter, to turn into a real Guard. And he didn’t just rely on the Guard when he made his decisions.
So, do any groups exist today as vital and energetic social organisms, on which the system could base itself? Here is my answer. From my point of view, there are none.
The task here is not to answer the question “How to save Russia” by studying relations between the system and the existing political class, or by studying relations between the system and some other classes, or even keeping in mind, that these other classes won’t build a relationship with the system; but instead, they shall sweep it away. All these options are possible. But there is no element #3: A NEW SUPPORTING GROUP, A NEW SUPPORTING CLASS as a real entity, as a real social organism. It doesn’t exist, and it is hard today even to imagine what it is. We are building this whole “Essence of Time” program in order to discuss what this element #3 is. Why is it absent? Is it possible to create it? And at expense of what?
You ask, “What are we to do?” as though there is a living element #3 in the full sense of the term, whose actions (in the form of its superstructures – political parties and so on) must either create some sort of new relations with the system, or transform it, or even destroy it. But we’re telling you: this element #3 doesn’t exist! Open your eyes!
You might respond, “We will open our eyes, and it will turn out that everything is hopeless, and we’ll either have to just run, or hide our head in the sand.”
No, we must build element #3! We have to create, to assemble this attractor, these catacombs, these social organisms, living ones, and sufficiently powerful ones.
How does one assemble them? Who assembles these social organisms?
Spirit assembles them. Meaning assembles them. Therefore, we must discuss this meaning.
And so, we see the following processes.
The system tries to base itself on the existing political class and… it falls through, because it is impossible to use it as a base. It falls through; it begins to decay. Political systems decay precisely when they base themselves on classes and entities, which do not meet the challenges these systems face. This is the classical situation of decay.
The system decays even more. Eventually, it develops pathological traits, common to all decaying systems, which cannot find a point of foothold. They have nothing to lean on, so first they lean on themselves, then on parts of themselves, then on subcomponents and so on. Ultimately, the emperor leans on his wife’s arm with difficulty, and his wife leans on the emperor’s arm. And everything is finished.
This problem is inevitable. And we recognize that the easiest way to solve it (for we fear, that the state and the country may collapse along with the system) lies in “element #2”, the Russian bourgeois class, making sense of itself, splitting into compradors and a national bourgeoisie. Then it would be possible to help the nationals to beat the compradors; then the system, with minor changes, could lean on the nationals. Who would show their historical solvency. Who would be adequate to address the challenges facing the country. Who ultimately would follow Yesenin’s great lines:
If the heavenly host should beg me:
“Come to live in heaven above!”
I shall say: “Don’t give me heaven
But the Russia that I love.”
The Motherland would live on.
I don’t want to enter a detailed discussion on China at the moment, and I never considered China to be a gold standard in everything for us. But I realized something during my many travels to China, and I’ll say a few words about this. Besides Daoism, Buddhism, Confucianism, which played an immense role in ensuring China’s soundness (which we lack), there is another element which we lack: house temples, temples of the ancestors. A Chinese person still believes that he can work wherever he wants, but he must be buried in his native land, in his village’s land, so that he can go directly to his ancestors, who have already reserved a lot in heaven for him, and… I don’t want to bring my thoughts to their conclusion, for they are too brief to be adequate; otherwise, everything will end up like some sort of half-caricature, while I take this very seriously.
This sense of one’s ancestors, of one’s holy native land in which one must be buried, is just as characteristic of Chinese culture as its Daoist-Buddhist-Confucianist domains. This domain is more ancient and profound. Moreover, one can perceive about the same thing in Vietnam. We lack this.
Nonetheless, the bourgeois political class must somehow bring itself into concordance with the goals of the historical actor called “Russia”. It must either want to rob others with its help, or to hide in its bosom, or to truly and genuinely love it, to serve it. The latter would, of course, be the best. But in the grand scheme of things, it’s not so important, because the nationals and the compradors haven’t split. Everything is stuck together. “Everything was upset in the Oblonskys’ house”.
This means that the situation when “the system (element #1) leans on the political class (element #2)” does not exist.
Nor does the situation of “splitting the political class (element #2) into compradors (element #2A) and nationals (element #2B) exist, either!
In this way, the arrangement in which the system (element #1) leans on the nationals (element #2B), while the compradors (element #2A) disappear from our horizon, doesn’t exist either. There is no real conflict between the liberals and the conservatives, between the compradors and the nationals, between the allochthons and the autochthons! It’s not there! The ideological basis is being offered for such a transformation, for splitting the class in this manner, A tissue of meaning is being created, but there is no transformation under way! Because it is a failed class. All of element #2 is a failure.
This brings up three questions.
The first question: To what extent is capitalism as a whole today really viable? How viable is the class of the bourgeoisie as a whole? Is it really the hegemon of the modern world that it appears to be?
The second question: Was the bourgeoisie ever (even in situations much better than today) viable in Russia? During February of 1917 it was of much better quality. But it still failed! It lost everything.
And the third question: What is today’s criminal bourgeoisie, which was thrown together in order to destroy communism and the USSR in a binge of the “primitive accumulation of capital”? What is it, considering the base it was created upon? It is impossible to think of a better way to discredit capitalism in Russia than to create it with the methods which were, in fact, used in its creation. Because, ultimately, the capitalist class in Russia was formed as a criminal class. A criminal class can never and in no measure be independent. It cannot and does not wish to purify itself. This is where the real problem lies for our political class, this same “element #2”, and for the system.
Since the whole class is what it is, the system is disconnected from it, and it decays. And it’s not as though it is so different from this class, it is the flesh of its flesh and blood of its blood. But, as a social organism, the system has its own life. The class can crawl over to France, Germany, or somewhere else, but the system has nowhere to crawl to! Its leaders shall pay a high price, if it comes crashing down along with Russia. And they understand this. They understand that they will be made to pay their dues not only inside the country, but abroad as well. This means the system lives a life of its own, separately from political class.
As for “element #3” (new social organisms, new social classes), the ambitious, unbelievably complicated, and nearly unrealistic task lies in assembling this entity. To assemble it through the “Essence of Time” program, through our activities, through our ideological discussions, through our first organizing steps; to assemble it in a very short time in historical terms.
I will be told that this is insanity, that this is impossible to do, that this is an overwhelming task, and so on. But I see no alternative! I neither see, nor understand how we could act differently. I think there is a chance here, even if it’s a minuscule one, while there is no chance for anything else.
What sort of social organism is this? How must we build it? What needs to be done for it to be assembled quickly?
I’ll answer. A new utopia will not get it assembled quickly; this is impossible. It can be done with careful, persistent, energetic, and, I beg your pardon, intelligent introspection into our own past, and through identifying a certain treasure inside it. This is Parable of the Soviet Pearl. What is “The Soviet Pearl”? What message does the Soviet reality contain? What elements of Soviet reality can we and must we use? And why can we use it today?
Answering questions like this has to do two kinds of activity.
The first kind of activity is the criticism of capitalism. Two decades ago, capitalism was declared to be our bright future, the panacea for all troubles; it was said that apart from it, nothing good was or ever will be possible, that only it can save all of us, that only it is effective; consequently, any serious criticism of capitalism was off the table. This wasn’t even in the ideological or totalitarian sense, like “Don’t you dare, or you’ll be thrown in jail!” It was just that the obvious superiority of capitalism had been ingrained into the consciousness of the post-Soviet citizen, even if he honestly considered himself a proponent of socialism, social democracy, but not communism! Communism fell so painfully, that the post-Soviet citizen was scared to even turn his head in its direction, much less to criticize capitalism.
So it was until 2008. Afterwards, the whole world, except Russia, began to discuss the crisis of capitalism. There is no such talk in Russia. Russia’s experience of criticizing capitalism (this is an unavoidable activity if we are serious about assembling “element #3”) is communist. And communism included censorship of an enormous amount of essential things, relating to our actual Soviet way of life, and to communism as such. It was permitted to talk any kind of dissident nonsense about the Soviet system, to curse it, to sneer at it. But to search for the pearls inside of it, to rethink it, or to think it through all the way, was off limits. And one who violated this rule had to pay much steeper price than for criticizing the system. The Soviet system itself was organized in such a strange way. And we will have to discuss this strangeness, as well.
Therefore, in our criticism of capitalism, we cannot turn to our “communist yesterday”. Regardless of how much we respect our past, we can’t just keep living in it.
The topic of capitalism needs to be rethought.
For a start, let’s talk about exactly how the great thinkers of the West and across the whole world critiqued capitalism. How the unquestionable intellectual heavyweights did it, who had nothing to do with the Institute of Marxism-Leninism, nor with the Higher Party School, or to Central Committee of Communist Party of Soviet Union.
I agree with Erich Fromm, one of these intellectual heavyweights, on far from everything. There are things which I could argue with him about. I can point to areas where Fromm, in my opinion, is categorically wrong. I do not want his books to become a new Bible. But I consider Fromm’s assessment of capitalism to be of the utmost importance. This is Fromm, not Soviet doctrinarians from the Higher Party School.
Fromm says that capitalism is a society built on stimulating greed, selfishness, and a competition of all against all. And he was not the first to say this. Hobbes and Adam Smith said the same thing. It was said for the long time, that if greed and the lowest of impulses could be awakened in every single human being, and if every individual would start fighting with one another, then, supposedly, the whole of humanity would suddenly begin to develop rapidly. That the only thing we can rely on for development is all that is low in a person, his greed, his selfishness, his human nature.
Fromm believes that relying on this kind of human nature, which, to a great degree, had been invented with the purpose of justifying a certain social order, leads to alienation. Because a society forms where people want to “have”or to “possess”, but not to “be”.
Fromm analyzes not whether members of this society would eat more or less. He looks at the root of the problem, and he hits the most painful spot, saying that “to consume is one form of having, and perhaps the most important one for today’s affluent industrial societies. Consuming has ambiguous qualities: It relieves anxiety…”
A person reckons that he is mortal, that he is unstable, that on his own (for he has been formed as an individualist!) he is absolutely defenseless against fate. He becomes filled with anxiety and distress, and then, like a drug, he is offered consumption. It reduces his worrying and his restlessness. Go shopping, buy more and more, and you will calm yourself down temporarily; you will protect your ego with a shell of things. You’ll feel them; you’ll like them, and you will forget that you are mortal, that you are lonely, that, in the grand scheme of things, you are unhappy.
All of these supermarkets, all of these hypermarkets, all of this endless shopping is needed to muffle one’s internal existential anxiety, says Fromm. And TV shows with gangsters, cannibals, and so on are needed to awaken fear. Then the consumer, who will begin to worry even more, will once again run to consume. Horror movies and the culture of aggression are needed to drive people into more shopping. “Modern consumers,” Fromm writes, “may identify themselves by the formula: I am = what I have and what I consume”.
He then asks: where does this lead?
“These considerations seem to indicate that both tendencies are present in human beings: the one, to have—to possess (i.e. to run around shopping, and to bite at each other’s throat – S.K.), – that owes its strength in the last analysis to the biological factor of the desire for survival.”
And this is great power, Fromm says, which, of course, can be used as a foundation. This is the beastly layer: all that is prehuman, natural, that exists within a human being; these are all instincts which are asleep, but by no means have they disappeared. Survival… biting for the throat… the jungle… “the war of all against all”…
“The other [tendency], to be—to share, to give, to sacrifice—that owes its strength to the specific conditions of human existence and the inherent need to overcome one’s isolation by oneness with others…
Cultures that foster the greed for possession, and thus the having mode of existence, are rooted in one human potential; cultures that foster being and sharing are rooted in the other potential.”
But one should not say, as Fromm stresses, that these other potentials do not exist. One should not say that it is only possible to build on potentials sought after by cultures which foster the greed for profit, even for the purpose of development. Adam Smith, Hobbes, “the war of all against all”… Adam Smith: greedy individuals start biting at each other; they beget development, the public good, good from the greed.
“To sum up,” Fromm writes, “the frequency and intensity of the desire to share, to give, and to sacrifice are not surprising if we consider the conditions of existence of the human species.”
Humankind cannot exist without building on this. It would perish if it did not exist using this as a pillar.
“What is surprising,” Fromm writes, “is that this need could be so repressed as to make acts of selfishness the rule in industrial (and many other) societies and acts of solidarity the exception. But, paradoxically, this very phenomenon is caused by the need for union. A society whose principles are acquisition, profit, and property produces a social character oriented around having, and once the dominant pattern is established, nobody wants to be an outsider, or indeed an outcast; in order to avoid this risk everybody adapts to the majority, who have in common only their mutual antagonism.”
Then Fromm takes it to completion: “In Catholic theology this state of existence, complete separateness and estrangement from each other, not bridged by love, (and Fromm explains in detail why genuine love is impossible in such conditions, and it becomes substituted with sex, and what all these sexual revolutions were needed for. – S.K.), is the definition of ‘Hell’”.
Fromm equates metaphysical hell to social hell. Hell is a condition of universal alienation, which cannot be overcome even through love.
He then directs his attention on that aspect of Marx, which was not so much banned from discussion during Soviet times, as much as there was just categorically no desire to discuss it. Exploitation was discussed; alienationwas not. And we, in our critique of capitalism, have now started discussing alienation.
Fromm writes, “Labor, [for Marx], represents human activity, and human activity is life. Capital, on the other hand, represents for Marx the amassed, the past, and in the last analysis, the dead (Grundrisse). One cannot fully understand the affective charge which the struggle between capital and labor had for Marx unless one considers that for him it was the fight between aliveness and deadness, the present versus the past, people versus things, being versus having.”
Do you see the logical sequence which Fromm builds together with Marx? Being or having, life or death, the living or the dead.
“For Marx the question was: Who should rule whom—should life rule the dead, or the dead rule life? Socialism, for him, represented a society in which life had won over the dead.”
Which means a metaphysical victory.
And now, I would like to discuss the question of what the destination is of this road which we identified when we said that capitalism today is constructing The Great South, The Great West, and The Great Far East, and that it has begun playing The Great South against The Great Far East, flirting with it. This is sociocultural politics, this is global politics, this is a strategy, but this is not yet a conceptual framework and not an ultimate goal. What is found on the other side of this strategy?
If we are to believe what Fromm and Marx are saying, then the other side of this strategy contains the one thing that can be built when the “Global City” and the “Global Village” are established and when development will cease. As soon as development ceases, and hierarchy becomes immobile, it will turn out that history itself is a sin. And sooner or later, it will turn out, that the only thing capable to finalize this formation conceptually, metaphysically, and strategically is the idea of multi-tiered humanity.
Since humanity (from Marx’s standpoint) alienates its essence from itself in capitalism, then, having lost its essence, humanity will lose its unity. And having lost its unity, it will sooner or later arrive at the idea of a multi-tiered humanity. And the idea of a multi-tiered humanity, where the unity of the species will be negated (which will constitute a new and much more sophisticated variety of fascism) will, sooner or later, demand gnostic metaphysics. For it is within gnostic metaphysics where everything is taken to the extreme: it has “pneumatics”, who are the supreme form of humans, who are driven by the spirit, by creativity, by intellect; “psychics”, who are driven only by emotions; and “hylics”, who are driven only by the body, only by food, and the like.
The acceleration of consumption will, sooner or later, result in the formation of an enormous amount of soulless human consumer-livestock, who will have other hierarchies built on top of them. Not hierarchies of super-consumption, but “the top stories of the multistory building”; hierarchies which cut themselves off from “the lower floors”. This is the conclusion to which the plot leads with this Great South, Great Far East and so on. Ultimately, this is a gnostic endpoint, after which humanity will cease to exist as a unified whole. And as soon as it ceases to exist as a unified whole, then humanism as we know it will cease to be. Because no one stops a chicken farm manager from reducing the number of chickens, if this would benefit the farm or poultry consumers. Why is it then forbidden to reduce the number of hylics, if there is no need in them? Why can one not trample the psychics underfoot, if they are not part of the same humanity as you? If they are fundamentally, anthropologically, and metaphysically different?
What opposed this? And where (apart from the details, which should be never neglected) lie the roots of the Soviet?
The first is the Soviet experience of industrial and even post-industrial collectivism, which we have already discussed. It is a vast experience. Its very existence demonstrates that it is possible to have development without atomization, without demolishing the sphere of collectivist-traditionalist solidarity, without fights over “having”, without the state of awakened greed.
But in this case, all of this collectivist-traditionalist material is not coal for the furnace of development, that as long as you keep throwing it in, the engine keeps running, but when the coal runs out, the engine stops (as it happens in classic Modernist societies). This experience carries great significance. And it is our duty to comprehend it.
To the question which I am so frequently asked, “What should we do?” I answer: comprehend! If you can’t write books, then collect material, write articles, clarify the specific aspects of the problem. Learn. Find those who can do it, so that they could teach others.
But first of all, we need to understand the scale of the problem. Up until now, it was said that the only way forward was the one Adam Smith and Hobbes described. By using awakened greed. And there is no way to awaken it until individuals emerge, until human society becomes completely disassociated. But when it becomes completely disassociated, humanity’s essence becomes alienated from humanity, and what emerges in its place is quite a pre-human, beastly multi-tiered hierarchy.
However, if it is possible to develop in a different way, then why develop like this?! Furthermore, it is no longer possible to develop this way! In our case, because we lack the traditional material to throw into the furnace of Modernity; the West faces the same problem. The East still has this fuel; but even there, the stop is in the not so distant future.
The second is the New Man, the New Humanism, and History as a supreme value. I have said before, I say again, and I will continue saying that there is no economics by itself; there is no sociology by itself.
There are types of sociology and types of economics that are based on the human being as a constant.
And there are types of sociology and types economics, that are based on the human being as a process.
If you are able to elevate the human being, then with this “elevated human being” you will create a different economy. And having created a new economy, you will elevate him even more. The question is not that human nature is unchangeable (and consequently, “sorry, but we have what we have”), as they try to convince us. It is that there are two natures. They suggest that we build on one, while ignoring the second one. But it is this other one that can be used as a basis for building, because it exists, and it needs to be studied, this second nature of solidarism and collectivism, with its pre-human roots, with its development, with its potentials. We must study it and demonstrate how it can be used and how it can be actualized.
The third is an alternative way of life based on different fundamental views on what is good and what is bad. The way I see it (and I am not trying to impose this on anyone), it is splendid, if there are less rags, but more movie theaters and opportunities for spiritual growth. If homes are humble, but there are good Palaces of Culture [community recreational and fine arts centers set aside for amateur performances, which were commonplace in the USSR – translator’s note] and high quality public transportation, then this is excellent. That you don’t have to sit in a Bentley. That meaning of life is not to wall yourself off with things, but to experience joy from ascending together with others to some sort of unbelievable new prospects that keep unfolding before you throughout your life.
And, finally, the fourth is the ultimate nature of what is happening within the antagonism we are discussing. If one root, which we have now unearthed, is gnostic, then we need another one. And clearly, it is chiliastic. Clearly, communism takes its deepest roots in the chiliastic dreams of the Millennial Kingdom of Humanity, of a life of justice and solidarity, of the Kingdom of God on Earth, and so on.
Then we need to study these roots. This unity, that was broken, with all of its overtones (these “overtones” include God-Building, which was saying that Man will himself become God, and also science, which says that, by developing, forms are struggling against Darkness as the principle of entropy, the principle of the destruction of forms).
There is a vast field of study dealing with the extreme conflicts between what Gnosticism generates (which sooner or later starts to talk about hierarchies and about “multi-tiered humanity”, bringing Life to the end and dreaming about the end of Universe and the end of existence as the kingdom of sin and of the evil Demiurge), and Chiliasm (which speaks of absolutely different things).We are not studying this, either.
This means we have a great treasure. And when we are asked, what “element #3” should be formed around, we reply: around the rethought and newly comprehended Soviet heritage. For those who tell us today that the planned economy, or directive planning, are in the past, are simply lying. Those who say that a society which is “stuck” in collectivism cannot develop, are lying. Those, who say that human nature is unchangeable, are lying.
Sooner or later, we will need to start developing rings of meaning, structures, and an organizing entity around Element #3. It is impossible to develop one without the other. Let this Element #3 be formed before everything collapses.
Now, let us discuss how and why the collapse will take place.
A system, that has lost its point of support, starts to decay and to go insane. It goes insane quite “diversely”. Recently, I was obligated to watch several programs on national television. As I watched them, I kept thinking: who needs programs like this? The people who produce TV content are clearly not so stupid and untalented. Then why do they produce such things? What audience is this for?
The usual manipulation (I always considered manipulation to be a low art, while the high art is actualization, when you awaken the real energy within a person, and then this energy carries both of you forward at an unheard-of pace) is always built on the recognition of facts. Lenin’s statement that one must tell the truth to the masses is the foundation of politics. Both Lenin and Kornilov had to say that the situation in Russia was horrible. Only Kornilov had to say, that the “red bastards” were responsible for this disaster, while Lenin had to say that it was the “white bastards”. This next step is called “interpretating the facts after recognizing them”. But it is impossible not to recognize the facts!
All that takes place on TV (or most of what is taking place), is based on ignoring the facts, on turning the real facts, the trouble which every cab driver is talking about, into some sort of glamour, which has nothing to do with real life. Political glamour.
“Who needs it?” I kept thinking, as I examined these few programs. And finally, I understood who needs it. The bosses do. The bosses are not trying to calm the people down with this glamour, they’re trying to calm themselves down. This is the neurosis of the system, which has been cut off from its political base, which is now trying to calm itself down.
Glamour destroys the foundation on which today’s authority is built, TV. But in 1996, when TV saved the system, there was no Internet. Now it is here. It would seem, that the system ought to make use of the Internet. But when it does, it replicates the same glamour there, too. In other words, it leaves itself open to be torn to pieces by the Internet. And here lies another challenge for us: either the Internet will become a weapon in the hands of the Americans, or it will become a tool in the hands of constructive forces. Right now, it doesn’t belong to anyone. Every time the system touches it, it creates another glamorous monstrosity. Meanwhile, the Internet keeps boiling in its own juices; and sooner or later, this boiling will assume its own structure.
And so, there is no proper television, neither is there an understanding of the Internet (and when the system touches the Internet, it also makes something futile out of it). This means there is no mass media operator to speak of. Neither is there an ideology, which ought to make this operator work. This is not so easy to explain. People either understand why a mass media system does not work without ideology, or they don’t. It is impossible to directly manage every journalist; system either halts, or it begins to produce what is asked of it so sluggishly that it sabotages the process. I can see this with the naked eye.
There is no ideology. There is no mass media operator. There is no information review, because first President Medvedev said that everything Merkel, Sarkozy, and Cameron said about the failure of multiculturalism is nonsense; and that unlike them, we are not going to reject multiculturalism. And then he added that we are building a Russian nation while preserving other identities. But this is a completely different model!
The essence of multiculturalism lies precisely in denying that any nation can exist as a core. Multiculturalism builds a system without a core, a mosaic. Nevertheless, this model has failed, and three leaders of Old Europe are talking about it… Multiculturalism is a complex issue. I studied it during a certain time, because I found US Vice-President Al Gore to be interesting, and Albert Gore was a great proponent of multiculturalism.
Why can’t the reviewers explain what multiculturalism is to the President? Is it not possible to organize several groups of reviewers to guide him, so that one statement does not contradict the other? But this is not happening, either.
And there are no sociological data, because sociology has been covered with the same “peachiness”, and all it can produce is reports about victory.
Then what is left?
The repressive apparatus? But we have already examined what it is using Egypt’s example.
There is a ruling top brass.
There is the repressive apparatus itself, which, since it has become “accountocratic” (i.e. it transfers massive amounts of its capital to the West), is under Western control, and it can be “turned off”.
There are “Globies”, people of the Internet, of Facebook, etc., who are always ready to wholeheartedly support whatever the Americans are doing.
And there are fundamentalists, who are connected with the same Americans via special channels.
Defective fundamentalism and the “Globies” take to the streets against the top brass, while the repressive apparatus is paralyzed. Then the top brass, i.e. the political system, goes flying into the abyss.
I don’t know whether it is going to fly there tomorrow or in half a year, but I do know that this kind of a collapse of the country is not a real revolution. This is not a mass political strike, like the one the Bolsheviks were dreaming of, or the one that occurred in 1905. This is not the armed uprising of 1917. This is not a democratic process. This is not a military uprising. This is not Fidel Castro, not the struggle for national liberation in China or Vietnam. This is a “Twitter”, or “color”, revolution, a surrogate, which is only needed to make everything collapse.
Does someone put hope in such a “revolution”? Does someone wish to join its ranks? Does someone want to repeat this carnival, and to once again gaze in astonishment as the shambles of the state come crashing down on everyone’s heads? I doubt it.
What can one do in such a situation?
One could hope that the system will spend not half a year decaying, but three. Because it clearly doesn’t have five years left to decay. Under outside pressure, it could collapse tomorrow.
One could hope that there is still time, even if it is short, and work to assemble this “element #3”. Work to assemble it and to discuss how we are doing THIS? What are we to do next with THIS? If there is a historical actor, then it is clear what kind of project we are talking about. It is also clear what it will be built around. It is clear what our consciousness and our psyche need to be freed from.
Some might ask me, “What are we to do if these processes will unfold rapidly?”
I reply. If processes would unfold rapidly, then at that moment, when everything begins to fall, and it becomes clear that this is the collapse of the state, then those forces, which love the country and which remain loyal to their duty and to the state, must face off with the forces, which the outsiders are mobilizing to destroy the country. Then, but not earlier. “Pay in the morning, play in the evening. Play in the evening, pay in the morning. But you pay first.”
At first, we need do everything possible to prolong the system’s decay, and hope that it will save itself from decay, because everything else is a gamble. And at the same time, work to form Element #3.
But if despite everything, the system starts collapsing, then the streets will be all that remains. And those who want Russia’s ultimate liquidation, must not be the only ones on the streets. This can’t happen.
Then the moment of truth will come. Then, and not earlier. This is the key political moment. This is the question of whether it’s time to pour the water or light the fire.
He, who works to bring about the collapse of the system, commits a historiosophical and a political sin, and he knocks everything down upon his own head. Action in the streets starts only after the other side mobilizes the destructive potential, and the system says, “Guys, I’m done. I’m out of here, so long! I have cleared the field”. Oh, you’ve cleared the field? Then let us see, who turns out to be stronger in the post-Soviet society, the forces working to rebuild the country, or those who yearn for its liquidation?
There is no contradiction between the first task (according which we need to build element #3), and the second task (according to which we need to prepare to resist the country’s terminal destruction if the system collapses). This is a dual task.
No impatience should keep us from doing what is most important: to fully comprehend the nature of that precious treasure, which was handed down to us along with all sorts of useless things, which were accumulated during the Soviet period. To generate a powerful field of meaning and to create a type of human being who is capable of structuring himself into a historical actor within this field. To organize this actor. And then to see what is going on around you…
And the key is not to hinder everything around us, not to destroy it as soon as possible, but to help it. Because this is an additional shell. A shell over what will fall onto your head, leading to the final extermination of your country.
There are people, who very much want this. There are people who place their hopes in infantility, that once again, profoundly immature people will enter unto the historical arena. These will not be the bourgeois, who are now trying to preserve the existing situation through all possible means, who continue to defensively repeat that “everything is peachy”. These will be a completely different kind of people, restless people, people who are not confident in what they want; and perhaps, they may even want something good. Fromm said about them very accurately:
“Among these young people we find patterns of consumption that are not hidden forms of acquisition and having, but expressions of genuine joy in doing what one likes to do without expecting anything “lasting” in return.”
Those are not bourgeois; they would seem to be a new young hope.
“These young people travel long distances, often with hardships, to hear music they like, to see a place they want to see, to meet people they want to meet. Whether their aims are as valuable as they think they are is not the question here; even if they are without sufficient seriousness, preparation, or concentration, these young people dare to be, and they are not interested in what they get in return or what they can keep.”
Through this, they would seem to be much more sincere and promising than the generation that only wants to have.
“They also seem much more sincere than the older generation, although often philosophically and politically naive. They do not polish their egos all the time (unlike the older generation, the bourgeoisie, – S.K.) in order to be a desirable “object” on the market. They do not protect their image by constantly lying, with or without knowing it; they do not expend their energy in repressing truth, as the majority does. And frequently, they impress their elders by their honesty—for their elders secretly admire people who can see or tell the truth. Among them are politically and religiously oriented groups of all shadings, but also many without any particular ideology or doctrine who may say of themselves that they are just “searching.” While they may not have found themselves (because it is impossible to find yourself, when all you are searching for is yourself. – S.K.), or a goal that gives guidance to the practice of life, they are searching to be themselves instead of having and consuming.
“This positive element in the picture needs to be qualified, however. Many of these same young people (and their number has been markedly decreasing since the late sixties) (Fromm was writing about the hippies and about what followed. – S.K.) had not progressed from freedom from ,(the freedom of the Globies, which the Americans will use in order to restructure the world. – S.K.) to freedom to (this freedom, which we must use, as opposed to non-freedom – S.K.); they simply rebelled without attempting to find a goal toward which to move, except that of freedom from restrictions and dependence. Like that of their bourgeois parents, their motto was ‘New is beautiful!’ (remember “We are longing for the changes!”? – S.K. [refers to Viktor Tsoy’s wildly popular perestroika-era protest ballad “Changes” – translator’s note]), and they developed an almost phobic disinterest in all tradition, including the thoughts that the greatest minds have produced. In a kind of naive narcissism they believed that they could discover by themselves all that is worth discovering.”
And here Fromm makes his most important statement: “Basically, their ideal was to become small children again, and such authors as Marcuse (Marcuse is an extreme wing of the Frankfurt School, which diverged from Marxism, and which was actively utilized by the CIA. – S.K.), produced the convenient ideology that return to childhood—not development to maturity—is the ultimate goal of socialism and revolution. They were happy as long as they were young enough for this euphoria to last; but many of them have passed this period with severe disappointment, without having acquired well-founded convictions, without a center within themselves. They often end up as disappointed, apathetic persons—or as unhappy fanatics of destruction.”
Our task is to form a maturity around the ideas which we are now rediscovering, and intellectually developing to their logical conclusion.
Because on the other extreme, one will find this Marcusean ideal of a child, bouncing from one extreme to another in his disappointment. And which, like a gas, can always be directed – towards destruction. As one Soviet sports commentator put it, “we don’t need this kind of hockey”. This will be precisely what we will have to go up against.
Today, like never before, we are interested in maturity. In the ability to be and to act. In returning the fullness of being to ourselves which makes a person the subject of action. Helpless questions about what to do (“Tell us, what should we do? Where is your Politburo?” and so on), are the childish questions.
It is clear what to do: to become a social micro-leader. To connect with other such leaders. To create forms of activity compatible with your ideas, and not to be afraid of failing to create them. To form the social tissue of the future attractor out of this. If you can, propose new ideas. If you can’t, learn the ideas, and teach others. If you are somewhere in between, you can help and create intermediate forms of activity; you can find materials, and give more and more new facts; you can work.
Some people came and made transcriptions of the 46 episodes of “Judgment of Time”, which we wholeheartedly thank them for. Some people came and started making an internet portal dedicated to the Soviet heritage, which we wholeheartedly thank them for. Some people want to make documentary films, and they are asking us for content and for us to appear in these films, while they will prepare the whole structure, the whole matrix of these films. They are doing this on their own accord.
There are many forms of activity that can be accomplished together, if we really want to work, if we are serious about assembling this element #3 as a social macro-group, which would be able to stand against the helplessness and the annihilation, the collapse of what the existing system considers to be its support base, and together with which it will descend into nothingness.
This is the main purpose to produce programs like “Essence of Time”, as well as many other programs and products. This is the reason to act, to build social organisms on the micro- and macro- scale, and to connect them with each other. And, understanding how bad the situation is, to not give up, but to take alternative action.
Either we will manage to form this “element #3” in time, and then the situation will assume the parameters we need in a much calmer fashion, or we will run out of time. But maybe, we will make it in time. And we will manage to create that which will stand up against Russia’s terminal collapse.
Source (for copy): http://eu.eot.su/2017/06/08/essence-of-time-chapter-5/
Essence of Time: The philosophical justification of Russia’s Messianic Claims in the 21st century
Experimental Creative Centre International Public Foundation
Essence of Time is a video lecture series by Sergey Kurginyan: a political and social leader, theater director, philosopher, political scientist, and head of the Experimental Creative Centre International Public Foundation. These lectures were broadcast from February to November 2011 on the websites, www.kurginyan.ru and www.eot.su .
With its intellectual depth and acuity, with its emotional charge, and with the powerful mark of the author’s personality, this unusual lecture series aroused great interest in its audience. It served at the same time as both the “starting push” and the conceptual basis around which the virtual club of Dr. Kurginyan’s supporters, Essence of Time, was formed.
The book Essence of Time contains the transcriptions of all 41 lectures in the series. Each one of them contains Sergey Kurginyan’s thoughts about the essence of our time, about its metaphysics, its dialectics, and their reflection in the key aspects of relevant Russian and global politics. The central theme of the series is the search for paths and mechanisms to get out of the systemic and global dead end of all humanity in all of its dimensions: from the metaphysical to the gnoseological, ethical, and anthropological. And as a result, out of the sociopolitical, technological, and economical dead end.
In outlining the contours of this dead end and in stressing the necessity of understanding the entire depth, complexity, and tragedy of the accumulating problems, the author proves that it is indeed Russia, thanks to the unusual aspects of its historical fate, which still has a chance to find a way out of this dead end, and to present it to the world. But, realizing this chance is possible only if this becomes the supreme meaning of life and action for a “critical mass” of active people who have in common a deep understanding of the problems at hand.
Dr. Kurginyan’s ideas found a response, and the Essence of Time virtual club is growing into a wide Essence of Time social movement. In front of our very eyes, it is becoming a real political force.