Seeing the unit of workers to the front by Konstantin Yuon, 1928.
May 31, 2011.
PART ONE. ACTIVITY.
We have already agreed to begin by discussing our activity. And because many questions are being posed about this activity and activity in general, we must try to give clear answers… This is very important.
This is why I have written a paper as a sort of a prologue to the goals and purposes of the organization. I would like to read this paper out loud, something I rarely do, because its text should be accurate and clear, and because we need to have the opportunity to discuss it. Everyone who watches the Essence of Time broadcast cycle should be able to exist for a while with this paper. We will then need to make some specific adjustments through dialogue. By the coming fall, any and all misconceptions will need to be resolved. We must completely understand each other; otherwise, our initiative will stop evolving.
This is why I am going to read this paper aloud, which is not too long. After that I will proceed to discuss everything related to our activity more freely along with the other sections. What do those joining our initiative on a freely chosen basis essentially obtain? I mean a role-specific basis. This fact must be stressed. People join our initiative on a role-specific basis, not some kind of hierarchy-specific one.
The first thing that must be understood is the role-specific nature of the basis on which people join our initiative.
The organization’s structure is still being developed (no organization can exist without being structured); however, it has a role-based rather than a hierarchical structure.
Does someone want to become acquainted with our materials? By doing so he has chosen a role; and therefore, no one can tell him that he is a second class person, that we do not need him, or that he cannot be the most important participant of our initiative. Who knows, maybe something will change in his mind, and he will write something himself and make everyone see the light at the end of the tunnel. Who knows? We do not discriminate between those who are important and those who are not. However, they have chosen their role they say, “Guys, I want to acquaint myself with what you are doing. I want to watch your films and read your books, your analytical reports, your studies. This is the role I want.”
We reply, “Is that the role you want, and you have chosen it for yourself? This is a role we deeply respect. However, it is you, not us who have chosen this role for you. We did not cage you into some activity; instead, you have freely come here; you decided which floor of the building you want to live on, and you said, ‘This is where I want to live.’ Well then go ahead.”
Another person wants not only to acquaint himself with our materials, but he also wants to present them to other people, and to introduce people to our activity. This, however, is a quite different role. Let’s say he is an activist, not just a person who follows our work. He can then perform his role more or less efficiently. However, it is not our job to impose it on him; we are not the ones who tell him to, “Introduce them immediately!” He already said himself, “Okay, I understand that this is absolutely necessary. This undertaking must expand. If it does not expand, there won’t be anything. I understand how important it is. Now I am starting to introduce others to it.” We will help him do this by providing the necessary intellectual lifeline and by discussing how this should be done. However, it is his personal choice.
And then the question of how efficiently he can do this arises. Can this person create communication spaces based on the Essence of Time video materials, on the meaning of these materials, on our content? This is an important role, too. It is important for many people that people are beginning to organize clubs and discuss the material. No material can be actively internalized until people start arguing about it, start interacting with it, and adding something to it themselves. Passively perceiving something does not comprehensively solve problems. This is the first thing.
The second thing is that people living in a certain atmosphere of meanings, around certain ideas, around certain concepts, and around certain worldview constants will indeed create a social fabric. People begin to interact with each other… “One man alone ain’t got, no matter how alone, ain’t got no bloody chance.” People asphyxiate without the oxygen of meaning, even in terms of social interaction. People are social creatures, and this is a very important role. This person has chosen this role for himself in addition to other roles or as his primary one. He is a communicator.
Does someone want to be an expert? On what subject? Can he be one? Does he have the competence? What is important is that he himself has chosen the role of an expert, a conceptualist, or an analyst.
Does someone want to be an organizer? It’s the same story. Great! Try it. What will you organize? Can you be an organizer? Demonstrate the measure of your competence. Start with something. We will see it, and we will support it.
Maybe someone wants to create projects? Maybe they want to make films? People have already appeared saying, “We want to make a film, a video, or something else.” We strongly support this initiative; we take note of it, and we begin to communicate with this person as with the designer of a project, large or small. People design missiles, airplanes, and cars. One can design intellectual projects and intellectual weapons as well. In this sense, he has become the designer of his project. And who can stop him from doing this? We can only welcome it. Everyone will objectively see that this is his role. This is indeed his role, not because we found him, appointed him, and told him, “Take command of the others!” Again and again, I want to emphasize that hierarchical and role-based principles are very different approaches. And now it is very important to understand that we are moving not towards hierarchical principles, but rather towards role-based principles.
People tell me, “Well, we’re just moving towards chaos and who knows where…”
No, my dear friends, we know very well where we are heading. We are moving in this direction, because moving towards the hierarchical principle would kill the initiative, especially in its current phase.
Someone can carry out studies, create certain projects, or participate in one project or another. I would like to repeat that this is not a hierarchy. This is not some contemporary political shindig, where the hotshots begin to hijack things for themselves just because they are cunning, or because they have learned to suck up to their boss. In a role-based system, nothing can be hijacked. You know why? Because in this kind of a system you have to act. To act, not just run around hallways and offices. In a role-based system you have to perform a certain role; you need to confirm this role, and you have to show everyone that you are capable of performing it.
People will be structured according to the roles they have chosen. And this structuring will be stringent. If there is no structure, then there is no organization. I repeat this not a hierarchy because the roles are freely chosen. The field is very large; a million square kilometers must be plowed; and altogether, we can barely scratch 5 hectares with the small plow that we have. The field is too large to restrict people’s freedom. And why should we restrict it at all? Everyone who is capable shall take a certain role in the initiative, and that’s it. And then everything will depend on how they perform it. Any role is action, and all actions are easily evaluated. “Ye shall know them by their fruits…”
There is no place for cheating or careerism here. Among other things, a computer can potentially assess a person’s efficiency and suitability for a role. This is quite simple. One must then demonstrate that he meets certain requirements. Does the person achieve a result? If yes, then the person obtains greater opportunities to influence what is happening. We simply engage more closely with him. Indeed, no one wants us to engage with 10, 20 or 50 thousand people simultaneously, or to engage with those who are quick enough to get close, and to block contact with everyone else. We will let neither of these happen. Once a person has done something in his chosen role and has shown himself, the principle will come into action of giving this person more opportunities within our initiative. Otherwise, we will have nothing.
So, I stress this over and over again: the participant chooses his role himself. No one forces a role upon him. His choice is absolutely free. However, once one has made his choice, he must confirm his suitability for it. In fact, there is only one obligation he must fulfill, and it is the obligation to work for the good of the common cause. It is a very difficult obligation to act constructively and not destructively. This means one must act, having tamed his own ego (as Stanislavsky used to say, “Love the art in yourself, not yourself in the art.”), having restricted his ambitions, having learned to work side by side with others in an atmosphere of friendship, having expelled the demons of competition and summoned (I am saying this ironically) the angels of cooperation.
Gogol said regarding this, “Deny yourself for yourself, but not for Russia.” A beautiful phrase! This may seem trivial, but it has yet to be put into practice, at least during the post-Soviet period.
For a long time, an overwhelming majority of people has not been working for a shared result, as equals, side by side. People have lost their taste for this kind of work; they have lost the feeling of comradery; they have forgotten that they can occupy equal footing while still having different roles and without a hierarchy. Those who have a Soviet past can, with difficulty, recall how it once was done, and tell the younger ones.
But when it comes to the young people, we must simply hope for something…
For something in the air of our culture.
For something living in our archetypes.
For something that comes to life in very difficult situations. When the scent of disaster suddenly appears, and something happens in this land, something suddenly awakens, and people begin to transfigure, change, and act differently than they were used to. The Time of Troubles is coming to an end. It will end either with a short and devastating agony, or with some sort of a consolidation and surmounting. It cannot last forever.
And so, let the elder generation recall all of this and teach the younger generation. The younger ones are listening… Besides, if we value Soviet traditions so much, then we cannot say that “the elders are fools,” we do not want to, and we will never say so.
Therefore, they must learn the best from the elders. They must learn how to work side by side without empty talk, without arrogance, without a desire to show oneself off while belittling others. They have to master this art quickly. One can only master it if he remembers something, as one sometimes does in a dream. And if he cannot remember it, then things will turn out poorly.
Still, I want to say once again what the participants themselves will receive. This idea just won’t leave me be. I want to state more clearly and accurately for myself, and to understand it “from minimum to maximum.” So, as a minimum, the participants of this initiative obtain the opportunity of having an intellectual lifeline through the video series, this one and others, films, reports, discussions, studies, books, etc. Let us figure a simple question out. Is this not what they obtain for certain?
Did they not receive the results of the survey about the attitude of our country’s citizens towards de-Sovietization? They did.
Do they not receive the issues of the Essence of Time videos, among other things? They do.
Do they not have the opportunity to discuss certain problems on the basis of a common worldview? They do.
Let us continue. Whether they need it or not is a different question. If they do not need it, then they simply are not participants of the initiative. But if they do need it, they receive it. Not only in the form of the Essence of Time or the Special History video series, but also in the form of the survey report and the book Political Tsunami.
We have just published Political Tsunami, a book pertaining to the events in North Africa and the Middle East that have been unfolding since early 2011. Several months have passed since these events began. During this time no one has made sense of what happened, much less published a book on it. We are the first to do so. Why have we done it? Because we want people to read it and to understand the scale of the danger that is creeping upon them. The scope of the danger that is creeping up from outside. And not only the scale, but also the quality of this danger. What is it, volcanic lava or a storm cloud? One can hide from a storm cloud, but as for volcanic lava… One has to take a different set of measures against it.
At a minimum, the participants of this initiative receive information and various kinds of knowledge: analytical, theoretical, and practical. They obtain a conceptual framework. And if we talk about our plays, which many people have already been to, then there exists a different kind of framework, a metaphorical one. And not only a metaphorical framework, but also a symbolic one, something achievable only through mysteries. This is sometimes more important than many other things. And so they receive all these means at their disposal. These are means that they can freely use themselves. What do they use them for? For forming or restoring their worldview, their perception of the world, and their mental outlook all at the same time. This is a remedy of sorts against regress. This is how one counteracts the effect of the “broken backbone.” One cannot escape it without restoring everything together: his sense of the world, his understanding of the world, his worldview, his world perception, and even his mental outlook. The impression sometimes arises that all of these things are crumpled or even lacking. I will try to discuss this in this chapter, but a little later.
I want to ask: the transcripts of the 46 episodes of “Judgment of Time” that our activists have prepared and published on our website, all of which people can read, discuss, and supplement with scientific research and historical discussions ― are they not a means of restoring one’s worldview? For example, restoring a component like historical identity? This is what we are doing, and this is what people are receiving from us.
Why is this particularly important today? I will say a little later. Let us make note for now that people are receiving this. Now, in order for people to receive this, someone has to create a television center, record the programs, organize and engage social activists, collect the material, prepare it, and involve those who possess the necessary knowledge, i.e. experts in various fields… This all has to be done in concert. This is what we call Activity.
Otherwise, there will be no lifeline. Without a lifeline, we lose the most important thing, something critical for moving forward. Moving forward is impossible if the worldview has not been restored, and this worldview must be restored in such a way that it would give hope that people will unite, that all of this will not be ripped to shreds, that a sort of a worldview fabric will begin to assemble. This assembly must be rapid, because time is running out.
When this all exists, and it is assembled, then one can freely use the knowledge, which is given to provide for the clarification of one’s positions or to form them, for learning or for improving one’s existing knowledge. One can receive a lifeline: an informational, analytical, conceptual, metaphoric, and symbolic, or a lifeline of another kind. And try to climb out of the trap of regress, because you cannot pull others out of it until you climb out yourself. “Save yourself, and around you thousands will be saved.” Start with yourself; help yourself and others. Come together in order to climb out from regress, escape it like a trap; otherwise, it will be all in vain.
This can only be done together. Every person who watches this video is an investor. He invests the most precious resource he has: his time. Sometimes the time he has is scarce, I see it on the forums, and sometimes I just hear in conversations how people are crying for want of time. They say this is not 1979, and one cannot afford to throw large amounts of time at these activities, because they have to keep running like a hamster in a wheel. People are spending the last of what they have, so they are investors. Not passive consumers, but investors. And they have to understand for themselves that they are not lying on a couch, doing drugs, or relishing in sweet dreams. They are breaking out of this whirlpool of regress like an animal breaks out of a trap. They are climbing up They get pushed down, but they keep climbing. They will climb the all the way up and escape if they want to. A person’s will makes all the difference here.
We will provide them with the means. This is exactly what I mean when I say, “You will be a different person in one year.” We have the means. How will you use them? We will help you use them correctly. However, whether you want to use them and to what extent is up to you alone. You are absolutely free in this.
First of all, do you want to limit yourself to just consuming? Go ahead, consume. That is already a big deal. It is not just passive consumption, for you have to internalize it. And something inside you has to start changing. This is what our proposal is aimed at. If you want to stop there, then go ahead. If you not, then please proceed further on.
Secondly, we are offering you active work. Carrying out the AKSIO survey is active work. Get up off your those couches you’ve been lying on, move away from your screens and go! We will help you do this. You will have organizational and intellectual help. Make the transition to the active phase. Without the help of those intellectuals who have been and continue to help in this kind of work, you will do nothing. Equally, neither will they accomplish anything without your help. You coexist as equals, side by side with different roles, but without the swamp of hierarchy.
Having begun to actively participate in activity, you will learn things that you would not have known otherwise. We all would not have learned what we learned, if the 1,500 people who carried out the survey had not dared to work actively. We could encourage them to do this, provide them with some starting opportunities, but no more than that. By taking part in this activity, you rid yourself of a very unpleasant feeling, the feeling that you cannot change anything. Like in the song, “These skyscrapers, these skyscrapers, and I’m such a tiny guy…” “The processes are all heading in a certain direction, and they are massive… Something bad is being cooked up out there… But I have no way of making any difference…” This results in profound depression, and depression is a bad condition for a politically and internally active person.
But now, after conducting the survey, you can say you made a difference. Large or small, but you have still made a difference. Do you want to continue making a difference? Then come with us. I cannot tell you that it will be easy, that we will just close our eyes and then open them to a shining reality. No, it is going to be quite the opposite. But this is still a difference you can make. Patience and diligence can overcome many things. Not everything, but quite a few things.
Concentrated willpower is like a laser burning through armor. But one must first know how to concentrate it. And we have to be coherent, just as laser beams are coherent. We have to work together, side by side, as one, leaving our egos aside; otherwise, there will be no coherence.
Thirdly, you can create content or participate in its creation. Write. Write on your own, for you have already created very interesting texts. We will treat your texts with priority and give them opportunities immediately. If you yourself cannot write, then find the necessary works and distribute them correctly. Collect statistics, for we need them urgently. Do what each of you can do. The results of the collective work will belong to all of you. You will immerse yourselves in the collective work like in an ocean, for the sake of transforming yourselves, transforming others, and transforming the situation in our country. Hopefully, in the world as well. Yes, this is terribly difficult. Yes, the chances are few. But it is possible. Each of you will bring a tiny piece; but together, you will gather a multitude. And you will all use it together.
The fourth point is that you can create a communicative environment. I have said it before, and I will say it again. For many people this is like a breath of oxygen. Only meaning can create effective structures. In the grand scheme of things, as the saying goes, “Spirit creates structure; spirit creates form.” A great and vibrant meaning creates effective structures. They do not arise by assembling random nuts and bolts together. That is not how effective structures are created. As I believe Vakhtangov put it, “you cannot fry eggs on a cold frying pan.”
When there is meaning, lines of communication appear. For many people, this communication is insanely important simply for the human standpoint, because human beings are social beings. When you start working through certain issues together with like-minded people (and if you don’t work through these issues, everything will die), a proper social environment will form. And that is a treasure, a bigger treasure than some yacht or a mansion. It is far more important, because it elevates people. It creates a different perception of what is possible.
A human being’s only true purpose is to ascend; he must ascend to his ideal. To an ideal inside him. This is his life. Only this kind of life can fill one with joy and the feeling of truth. When he trades this purpose for cheap finery and anger, nothing good ever happens to him. He destroys himself. Especially if he is a person with a high level of intellectual, spiritual, and value-oriented demands… I am tempted to say, existential demands.
And so, we are thinking about how to create some network resources together, where we could communicate with each other in a worldview-oriented way… For example, Odnoklassniki [a popular social media platform in Russia, literally translating as “Classmates” ― translator’s note] is a network resource where classmates communicate. What kind of resource would like-minded people communicate on? How could we help them communicate online today, then face to face tomorrow, and then start pulling together and assembling something large and real the day after that?
The fifth point is that we will fail without specialists and experts. We see that the patriotic intelligentsia, I apologize for the cliché, has already begun to enter the house we are building together. We understand that this process needs to be accelerated through all possible means. Because we can do nothing without a serious inflow of intelligentsia; and likewise, they can do nothing without working side by side with activists.
The sixth point is that we will assess the degree to which people are suited to these roles, their level of activity and effectiveness. Through what? Through the degree to which people are integrated into activity. Integration into activity will be in accordance with one’s contribution and desire. If you want to integrate yourself, then go on ahead; if you do not, you should stand further away. It’s like a campfire. Someone may want to look at it from afar, while someone else may want to dry himself off from the rain. This is a free choice, but the campfire is burning. If you want to integrate yourself into the activity and you have done something, you will be met with respect, you will be heard, and you will be involved in a progressively more intimate dialogue. But this can only happen if you confirm your role. In other words, you have to prove fitting for the role and be capable in it. Maybe not from your first try, but from your second. Maybe not in one role, but in another. This and only this will be supported, heard, and will find understanding. Meanwhile, the careerists and conflict-prone egotists will be moved to the periphery.
There you have the entire idea of activity at the initial stage. What happens at the next stage will depend on how large of a force we gather during the initial stage, and how quickly we pass this stage.
Of course, our effectiveness today is far from perfect, and we have plenty of criticism regarding this. When someone first begins to act there will always be much to criticize about his actions. Unfortunately, criticism often comes from those who do not act. But sometimes it comes from those who do act, and then it is often just.
But first of all, we are definitely achieving an effect.
Second of all, tomorrow we will act more effectively.
Thirdly, we would very much like to see someone nearby acting more effectively than we are. We would like to see something larger and more effective gather, so that we could feel that we are not alone, and that there are many nearby, with whom we could cooperate in order to achieve large goals. We would very much like for this to be the case. But please, just imagine what would happen if we turn out to be one of the largest initiatives, while our reality begins to rapidly devolve into a certain negative direction, leading all of this (or at least a large portion of it) to fall upon our shoulders? Think about it.
Having discussed these general issues, I will now try to answer some more specific questions, which also arise.
People ask all the time, “How are we to live without a hierarchy, and why are these people (coordination committees, moderators) telling what to do and what not to do?”
Here is my answer, I have just spoken in detail about how to live without a hierarchy. You do so through the role-based principle. Now image that we have begun to live in a hierarchy. Just close your eyes and imagine this, I have already seen this in one of the regions (I will not say which one), where several groups had begun to compete, and where local bosses had emerged. They started fighting over positions. It was funny, embarrassing, and scary. They even started looking for enemies and saboteurs, We managed to put a stop to it just in time. Imagine that this, like a virus would start spreading all over our very, very young initiative. Do you understand what the results would be with this hierarchy? Do you understand what our initiative would turn into in the blink of an eye? Do you understand that my colleagues and I are not the ones being excessively romantic here? We are being practical. We understand all too well what these hierarchies are. And we know how quickly the virus of squabbling over some imaginary opportunities, positions, and the like kills activity. This is where everything good would end, and something entirely different would take its place. As long as I am doing this, as long as I give my energy, my soul, and my time along with you, and as long as I associate certain hopes with this, I will not allow it to happen.
Then they say, “But what will there be? The alternative is chaos…” Not true. The alternative is either chaos or the role-based principle as the structural alternative to the hierarchical principle. It is a different principle. Just let every one of us make a very practical assessment for himself (it’s not rocket science, it’s actually quite easy), see how these two principles are implemented in practice, and understand that the role-based principle is the better option. And that it has nothing to do with chaos.
Now about moderation. Moderation is inevitable. Moderators are like “cleaning ladies” who go around cleaning and sweeping. Everyone gets angry when a “cleaning lady” accidentally hits someone’s foot with her broom or behaves rudely. It is not good when a “cleaning lady” behaves rudely or grumbles, “Strangers are hanging around here, and then the neighbors can’t find their shoes…”
Now let us imagine that the “cleaning lady” stops cleaning the common facilities, corridors, etc. What happens then? You know what… Everything gets covered with quite peculiar substrates. I have said many times before that everyone who wants the market or the elements to arrange priorities should conduct an experiment in his own garden. If you do not pull the weeds, if you do not remove something completely unusable, if you do not do this (and this is a routine, tedious work), you will find yourself in a house with dirty common facilities and corridors. If things persist this way, the house will soon become unlivable.
Therefore, be grateful to the moderators. If they go too far, stop them. You are friends, and this is life. You have a common cause. But if they do not act, if they fail to perform their routine duties, which as I stress has nothing to do with hierarchy, everything will end. They are social activists. They have taken this burden upon themselves, and they are acting. This is why the corridors, common facilities, and the house as a whole are a little tidier. that is why the roof does not leak too much. You say that the roof still leaks, and that there is some dirt in the corridors… Then help! Our common interest is to have a clean and tidy home, in which we can all live and work, not to squabble over the “cleaning lady’s” function. It is not the most important of functions. Occasionally things can go too far but there must not be reactions like, “Take that for what you did!” Are you interested in the common cause or in your ego? If you are interested in the common cause, then you will not tear the cause apart.
Now about the Coordination Committee. Its function is even more routine and also voluntary. It claims no official benefits for itself, Its job is to make the starting phase possible. People ask me, “The starting phase… But what happens next?”
I will explain. At the next phase expert editorial boards must form for each direction of activity. These editorial boards or expert councils are not peripheral issues. They are a matter of life or death. The organization will transition to a new phase of development only after these committees are established and begin to work correctly. On the one hand, they need to be established as soon as possible. On the other hand, this must be done in a tactful, delicate and thoughtful manner.
I will stress this once again: the organization will take form when such councils arise alongside teams of people united by a wide range of freely adopted roles. These role-based directions will form in different regions. It will become clear who has the desire and capacity to do which things. It will become clear what each person’s measure of involvement is and what role he has taken upon himself, and to what extent he fits the role that he has adopted.
Because excessive disorder is also quite likely at this next phase, some people will once again have to take routine functions upon themselves. Again, “cleaning ladies” will appear, and they will again be engaged in sweeping some things up, and not always efficiently. But I will stress once more: the quality at which one performs his role is something a computer is capable of assessing. It is not difficult (I am not saying that people will not be doing this).
As soon as this structure takes form, it will become much easier for me personally to move ahead.
There are objective parameters as well: one person collected ten questionnaires, while another person collected a thousand. One has done this, another has done that. I do not want to compare an expert to an activist. But people do not want to let various roles define them either. If an activist wants to become an expert, let him do so. If an expert wants to become an activist, let him do so. Everything is free. An organization is when different people do different things, and it all integrates together. And everyone gets something they want.
But what is it they want?
I don’t have the opportunity to repeatedly discuss this subject.
I truly believe that a regressive process has been launched in our country. This is a key concept. That the only way to overcome the regress is to launch a counter-regressive process. Therefore, a counter-regressive actor must be created. If you will, a very large social body must be created. Not necessarily a class, but a group. But it must be a macro-group that will live outside of the regress, that will counter it, that will stop the regress and overcome it. Because otherwise this regress will devour everything. In order to drive the swine back into the cage on a national scale, one must first drive it into the cage inside himself and around himself. There is no other way. Catacombs are not empty talk, it is not a call for everyone to sit on the ground with a wooden plow, to sow rye and wheat, or to grow cucumbers…
There are intellectual and cultural communes. The point is that if the regress cannot be stopped within certain communities of people, then it cannot be stopped on a national scale either. I do not believe in simplistic, linear political activity. It will lead to nothing. Because once the second phase begins, people will start fighting over everything, and they will turn out to be as much of thieves as those that they are fighting against. In order to avoid this, some fundamental conditions have to be fulfilled.
Yes, we want to create a counter-regressive actor in a regressive environment. The disease defines the remedy. And we will create it, large or small. Preferably large. In any event, we will create it. Therein lies the strategic task. If we do create it, then we will turn the process around. If we do not reverse the process before it is too late, if there is no counter-regressive actor, if there are no others working in the same direction apart of us, if we fail to unite with them, then everything will collapse.
But we must continue fighting even at the moment of collapse. And then it may be possible that after this collapse, everything will restore itself with fantastic speed, as the Russian Empire restored itself in the form of the Soviet Union. Within twenty years or a little longer. From ruins. Everything is possible. We have to fight until the end. We have to fight so that a large macrosocial actor ― a large group of people, at least several million, who would not have this virus inside them, which was forced onto our country, who would first expel this virus from within themselves, so as to then help others. We have to fight so that such a group could form before it is too late, and then start turning everything around. We can discuss how it will make this turn dozens of times separately, either through studying Gramsci or without Gramsci, either by referencing past historical experience or by developing something new. But believe me, if it manages to form in the necessary quality, then it will shift the process in the desired direction. There will be no problem. The question is whether or not it will form in the required quality and quantity as well.
If the macrosocial group fails to take form in the necessary quality and quality in a timely manner… Well, what can I say? When the Russian Empire collapsed, the Bolsheviks numbered 50,000 people at most. But they had a certain quality to them, a certain drive, a depth of cohesion through their worldview, and a desire to save something. They succeeded. Indeed, no one except them managed to do anything. And this is commonly acknowledged. But they succeeded. This is called a “reassembly.”
This is the worst variant. But who knows what will happen? Here we can only consider the possible scenarios. Everything else is a mechanistic view of the world, which develops not mechanistically, but in a very complex fashion. The world can rapidly accelerate the processes of self-transformation (including in its negative form). The environment we currently live in is extremely unstable. It may seem to someone to have an illusion of stability, with its little shops, restaurants, etc. But it is extremely and horribly unstable on the inside.
People have asked me about religions… We respect all religions. Never again will there be a conflict between atheists and members of religions in our country. A much larger basis for convergence of positions exists in the 21st century than in the 20th. An entirely different issue is that the various religions can contain separatists, regressors, and supporters of archaization, whom we, of course, cannot accept. But we will act intelligently, politely and tactfully to utmost degree in relation to all denominations. And we will never demonize religions as a whole. We will closely monitor the processes unfolding inside them, and we will do so in the most polite manner. We will not force our own rules upon them. We will be more delicate dealing with this matter than with any other.
Nationalists…I have said this many times, and I can say it again. There are different kinds of nationalism. It is a very complex theoretical question. We are working through this theoretical question so that we can then build relations. What are we building, a nation-state or an empire? Russia has been an empire for centuries The empire has a people that acts as its guardian, the Russian people. The Russian people hold the empire together; they kept it together both in its Soviet and pre-Soviet versions. The phrase from the anthem, “Unbreakable Union of freeborn Republics, Great Russia has welded forever to stand”, and Stalin’s toast “To the Russian people!” are both part of the imperial tradition. There is no empire without a guardian people. The Russian people are the empire’s guardian people. It is then that they are a people, an imperial people.
A transition from this into nationalism, even in its most proper form, i.e. a transition from the alternative development model that the Russian Empire and later the Soviet Union followed to Modernity, which is coming to its end, will result in a proper, “French” nationalism. A dialogue with this form of nationalism is possible. As long as this nationalism does not pose the question of dismembering the country, we can converse with it.
However, very destructive forms of nationalism also exit: “shrinking nationalism,” activates the system of tribal reflexes, and it initiates the country’s disintegration. Today, a new phenomenon of tribalization can still emerge: a Siberian syndrome, a South Russian syndrome, a North Russian syndrome. The enemies will try to activate this by all possible means. In order to address all this, we have established the whole direction of Territorial Integrity. If a nationalist seeks to preserve territorial integrity, or better still, to make the country bigger and return it to its normal historical dimensions, then we have a very serious ground for dialogue on this topic. As for all the other topics, we have to address them on an individual basis.
People ask about my attitude towards the Communist Party of the Russian Federation (CPRF). I will repeat again and again that not only is the CPRF not our enemy, but it is a very respectable structure. It is very close to us in terms of worldview, and it contains a great number of dedicated, honest, and right-minded people, if one can say so. If the CPRF leadership does not start behaving like Gorbachev, and it does not start playing malignant games (which has happened before), then no one will seek conflict with the CPRF. If, however, a malignant game begins in the spirit of perestroika, we will call it out very correctly, delicately, and without hurting the feelings of regular communists. This is our intellectual and political duty. But we will not engage in a head-on conflict, because there are too many honest and decent people in the CPRF, whom we respect. Regardless how angry they get with us, we love and respect them. We have very warm feelings and, I repeat, the deepest respect for them.
Regarding the All-Russia People’s Front. I have already proposed a theoretical basis for discussing this issue. I want to discuss it not from positions of preference, but from theoretical ones. There are two such positions.
First. As a result of certain processes, our country has indeed come under the reign of a very malignant class. This malignant class has launched the regress and continues to sustain it. As long as this class maintains its quality, i.e. as long as it refuses to leave the phase of primitive accumulation of capital, it is a murderer. So far, this class exists as a unified whole. The United Russia party is part of this class. Or more precisely, it is the political superstructure over this class. Not matter what fronts it establishes, it remains the political superstructure over this class. The only difference between what Yeltsin did (rapid regress) and what happened with Putin is in buying time. But this is precious time. Had the country been dismembered in 2001, we would not be having this discussion, for its subject would have disappeared. There would have been no people, and we would not have been struggling for them to achieve a new quality. There would have been nothing to fight for.
2017 is not that long of an extension, but it may be possible to create a counter-regressive actor here. How do we want to do it? This is what we live and work for, herein lies our hope. This extension exists for us to use. A new rapid collapse in the form of de-Stalinization is mortally dangerous. The struggle now is taking place between this new rapid collapse and a gradual arrival at non-existence.
Where is the small political chance? It lies the fact that when it becomes clear that there can be no compromise with the United States and the West as a whole, not because Russian leadership does not want it (it very much wants a compromise), but because the basis for compromise has disappeared… Like in one dark joke where the mother is yelling at her children, “Your father didn’t hang himself for you to swing on him, he did it for some quiet!” We are being removed from the list of victors in World War Two not for the sake of compromise, but so that we would die. So that they can afterwards build something on our corpse. Indeed, this is clear. All the global processes suggest this.
When this becomes absolutely clear to individual members of this class, which contains very different people… It acts malignantly as a whole, but it is quite diverse and heterogeneous inside. I already explained this: if a rock has disseminated pieces of conductive ore which are not in contact between each other, then the rock is not conductive. But if the rock has one line of ore running through it, then the rock is as conductive as if it were an almost solid piece of metal.
So, there are very different elements inside this class. If they are told, “Dear friend! (Especially when it comes to members of the political class and above.) Start dismembering the country with your own hands, start Perestroika-2!” ― some people and some groups will say, “No.” I simply know that they will.
Whether their strength will be sufficient to split the political class, to secure this split, is today’s key political question. Because, although this class is malignant, and I place no particular hope in it, it continues to ride firmly on our back. And it was you who placed it on your backs. It was a long time ago, and for a set of reasons. Anyway, it continues to ride on our back. The only thing that can be done is to try to ensure and shape this split, which can only happen when it becomes clear, through factual material, through life itself, and through reflections, that there is no basis for compromise.
Then the split will happen. This split can be shaped one way or another. This may happen in the coming months, or it may not happen at all. The chances are few, but such a split breaks the anti-Soviet consensus in the elite. The political system becomes a thing of the past. A new system must be built; a sharp turn to the left is required along with the consequent convergence of all neo-Soviet and properly imperial forces. A chance for this exists. Yes, certain members of the breakaway class will not be angels, but it will be a political chance. If this happens, then it may be possible to stop and redirect the process. Or it might not. The political class as a whole and all its superstructures (be it A Just Russia, United Russia, or Zhirinovsky, what difference does it make?.. It is a superstructure over this class, and it is the class that shapes the situation) deserve an unambiguous assessment: this is a malignant phenomenon, and it has no future in its current form. But certain chances exist. This is the first point.
Secondly, it may turn out that at a certain stage, in a certain situation, in a certain balance of forces, those who want to devour it all will turn out even worse than those being devoured. This happens in politics. Never say never.
Everything that is happening now and all that will happen in September [2011, when the this series was created – translator’s note] are completely different things. A very high stress political season is coming. Very high stress. Also, whatever happens in domestic politics, the axiom is that any domestic political perturbations that do not lead to the country disintegrating will make the winners deadly enemies to the outside world, to the West as a whole. This, unfortunately, is how life would have it. And this will bring us back to the same collision: a collision of splitting and reshaping the system. All I see in the form of a small chance is the splitting and reshaping of the system. Do you hear me? The system!
What I see as a larger chance is the formation of a counter-regressive actor outside of this system. The strategy lies in this. The tactics are to not disregard the opportunities to split this political class, because our strength is limited. I am saying this for the third time: this class sits on our back very firmly. It is too late to grunt; we have to work. But this has nothing to do with embracing the existing political actor. That has no future. It is senseless. Neither the actor nor yours truly want it.
Life is more complicated that these schemes.
And now I would like to discuss how the process is developing, because it is more important than the issues we are discussing here.
PART TWO. RELEVANT POLITICS.
I will allow myself to read out a short document, which most readers are probably aware of, and in which it is important to hear its melody. It is titled OSCE Parliamentary Assembly Resolution on Divided Europe Reunited [https://www.oscepa.org/documents/annual-sessions/2009-vilnius/declaration-6/261-2009-vilnius-declaration-eng/file].
“VILNIUS, 29 JUNE – 3 JULY 2009
- Recalling the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Helsinki Final Act and the European Charter of Fundamental Rights,
- Taking into account the developments that have taken place in the OSCE area in the 20 years since the fall of the Berlin Wall and the Iron Curtain,
- Noting that in the twentieth century European countries experienced two major totalitarian regimes, Nazi and Stalinist, which brought about genocide, violations of human rights and freedoms, war crimes and crimes against humanity,
- Acknowledging the uniqueness of the Holocaust, reminding participating States of its impact and the continued acts of anti-Semitism occurring throughout the 56-nation OSCE region, and strongly encouraging the vigorous implementation of the resolutions on anti-Semitism adopted unanimously by the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly since the 2002 Annual Session in Berlin,
- Reminding the OSCE participating States of their commitment “to clearly and unequivocally condemn totalitarianism” (1990 Copenhagen Document),
- Recalling that awareness of history helps to prevent the recurrence of similar crimes in the future, and that an honest and thorough debate on history will facilitate reconciliation based on truth and remembrance,
- Aware that the transition from communist dictatorships to democracy cannot take place in one day, and that it also has to take into account the historical and cultural backgrounds of the countries concerned,
- Emphasising, however, that it is the obligation of governments and all sectors of society to strive tirelessly towards achieving a truly democratic system that fully respects human rights, without making differences in political culture and tradition a pretext for the nonimplementation of commitments,
- Deploring that in many countries, including some with long-standing democratic traditions, civil liberties are in renewed danger, often because of measures taken to counter so-called “new threats”,
- Recalling the initiative of the European Parliament to proclaim 23 August, when the Ribbentrop–Molotov Pact was signed 70 years ago, as a Europe-wide Day of Remembrance for Victims of Stalinism and Nazism, in order to preserve the memory of the victims of mass deportations and exterminations,
The OSCE Parliamentary Assembly:
- Reconfirms its united stand against all totalitarian rule from whatever ideological background;
- Calls on participating States to honour and implement all commitments undertaken in good faith;
Urges the participating States:
- to continue research into and raise public awareness of the totalitarian legacy;
b. to develop and improve educational tools, programmes and activities, most notably for younger generations, on totalitarian history, human dignity, human rights and fundamental freedoms, pluralism, democracy and tolerance;
с. to promote and support activities of NGOs which are engaged in areas of research and raising public awareness about crimes committed by totalitarian regimes;
- Requests governments and parliaments of participating States to ensure that any governmental structures and patterns of behaviour that resist full democratisation or perpetuate, or embellish, or seek a return to, or extend into the future, totalitarian rule are fully dismantled;
- Further requests governments and parliaments of participating States to fully dismantle all structures and patterns of behaviour that have their roots in abusing human rights;
- Reiterates its call upon all participating States to open their historical and political archives;
- Expresses deep concern at the glorification of the totalitarian regimes, including the holding of public demonstrations glorifying the Nazi or Stalinist past, as well as the possible spread and strengthening of various extremist movements and groups, including neo-Nazis and skinheads;
- Calls upon participating States to pursue policies against xenophobia and aggressive nationalism and take more effective measures to combat these phenomena;
- Asks for a greater respect in all participating States for human rights and civil liberties, even in difficult times of terrorist threats, economic crisis, ecological disasters and mass migration.
If you have an ear for music, then you understand that this document and the Russian Presidential Human Rights Council’s document are the same. But if you have no ear for music… I mean, for political music… Well, what can I do? I can only read the following.
“A correspondent of The New York Times Judy Dempsey attended a German-Russian-Polish forum in Kaliningrad ‘designed to encourage a rapprochement among three countries with fundamentally different historical narratives of World War II’.
‘Any such process would ultimately mean Russia confronting its past, particularly Stalinist crimes and the gulags, and reassessing its role as victim and victor during and after World War II. It would also mean Russia embracing the European idea of dealing with memory and the past’.” [https://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/24/world/europe/24iht-letter24.html]
So, what is she telling you here? “Reassessing its role as victim and victor during and after World War II”… Do you want to reassess your “role as victim and victor during World War II”? This Judy Dempsey from The New York Times is spitting in your face. In the faces of the Leningrad blockade victims. In the faces of those who died to save her from Hitler’s invasion. In the faces of the soldiers and officers, all of them. In the faces of our people. Do you want this?
And this is not the end of it! On the one hand, a long article appears in the newspaper Nezavisimaya Gazeta, in which Mr. Gudkov, the director of the Levada Center, says: our surveys show that the tandem [of Putin and Medvedev – translator’s note] needs to hurry up and split. In other words, he is simply beginning a political game. [The director of the Levada Center Lev Gudkov told Nezavisimaya Gazeta: “Our surveys show that the tandem should have made the decision a long time ago to hold open and fair elections, in which both Putin and Medvedev would present their programs.” See A. Samarina. Uncertainty in the tandem poses new risks for the country // Nezavisimaya Gazeta. 24.05.2011 (in Russian).]
On the other hand, this same Gudkov begins to falsify data and to say that “we are no brothers and sisters to him and he is not a father to us” [Gudkov. We are no brothers and sisters to him. And he is not father to us. (Subtitle: “Sensational research: It is a lie that Russians love Stalin. They are forced to have this feeling”) // Novaya Gazeta. 23.05.2011]. Novaya Gazeta is Judy Dempsey’s mouthpiece. What newspaper did Judy Dempsey write everything in? In The New York Times? And what is Novaya Gazeta? It is The New York Times’ subsidiary outlet [In its paper version before 2010, and in its electronic version starting with 2010, Novaya Gazeta was published with an insert containing materials from The New York Times]. It contains Mr. Gudkov’s column.
What does he say in it? He begins with presenting a few falsified and meaningless tables. “Do you think the victims among the Soviet people in the Stalin’s period were justified?” This many answered “yes”, that many answered “no”. And so on. Now you could ask me, “Were these victims justified?”
We are asking you, “Do the people want de-Stalinization according to the proposed scheme? The scheme according to Judy Dempsey & Co. and according to Vilnius?”
And you talk about “are the victims justified”! You surveyed 1,600 people about whether the victims were justified, and what? And what?
“Whom do you think should be considered victims of Stalin’s repressions?”
Gudkov presents data that have nothing to do with the issue at hand. He ignores the data of All-Russian Public Opinion Research Center (VCIOM), which is closer to the subject. And it is absolutely clear that these guys have no shame. They will just keep charging through.
This is why a new survey is absolutely necessary. Are you not ready to conduct a new survey? Judy Dempsey will teach you how to live. Do you understand? Do you want Judy Dempsey to teach you how to live in this manner? Did you hear what Judy Dempsey said in The New York Times and what Novaya Gazeta repeated according to the principle “Monkey see, monkey do?”
It just makes you want to vomit. Do you hear what she says? “…reassessing its role as victim and victor during and after World War II.” This is an unheard-of and unprecedented slap in the face. And this is exactly the same as Vilnius. And Vilnius is exactly the same as what Karaganov and Fedotov are doing and what Novaya Gazeta is supporting in close cooperation with The New York Times. Can you feel this stench or not?
If you don’t feel it, don’t conduct the survey!
If you do, then conduct it again and again! And no one is saying that you will win with these surveys.
The moment is now at hand when I can proceed to both a certain direction of activity and to political philosophy.
PART THREE. POLITICAL PHILOSOPHY.
The School of Higher Meanings, which I described as the 7th block of the entire system of activity contains The Theater On the Boards and the laboratory for the study of historical-cultural and metaphysical problems. It also includes a psychological laboratory and an exclusive methodological seminar (Fig. 39).
I want to briefly explain why this is so important. In our play Izn [literally Ife, truncated and incomplete Life – translator’s note], there is an image of a park with statues. We call this park the Ideal.
Now reflect on what happened. Each and every person, if he is human, has his own path to this park. But not everyone frequently visits it during his lifetime. Not everyone beholds all this with his eyes, all of his ideals. People live somehow, and it all subtly affects them, as though they feel it breathing upon them. People are very different. Most people receive a charge of the ideal at a very early age: in their families, in kindergarten, at school, etc. They get this charge, and they calm down. They don’t come back inside every minute. Nevertheless, they have their heroes, their family traditions, their concept of what is good, and their sense of pride. It’s all there, but they live by something else. Something else. One person is engaged in some kind of sales, another forges steel, someone else writes articles. They live by something else.
Now imagine that the ideal has been destroyed. Completely. And that a search is underway: what has not yet been destroyed? Gagarin? Then we will show you the film Paper Soldier! What else has not been destroyed, who has not been destroyed? Is the destruction that certain art and media figures have performed not enough? Then we will introduce political destruction. Everything must be destroyed.
Do you imagine what they want to transform a given person into? They want his park to be completely shattered into pieces. Without building a new park in its place.
The Bolsheviks, when they captured the initiative, first of all, did not destroy everything in the Russian Empire. Indeed, Stalin later began to restore very many things. But the Bolsheviks also destroyed far from everything. No one destroyed Nekrasov. And many other things were not destroyed. Lenin wrote, “What heritage do we renounce?” Therefore, there was heritage that we do NOT renounce.
Secondly, look at the doses of the ideal they immediately began to compensate it with! With what magnitude of a dream and what a great impulse! Everything began recovering in this park. Everyone was invited into this park. It was all presented to them. Here I mean the ideal per se.
Now please understand what happened. Here is the ideal. And here is the space in one’s mind that is supposed to accommodate the ideal. They took this space and just disfigured it like this. (Crumples a sheet of paper.) How can one place the ideal into this disfigured space? How can this be done?
We really have no other problem, do you see? When I spoke in the first chapter about restoring the worldview, the perception of world, etc., it was about exactly the same problem. This disfigured entity must somehow be repaired and straightened out. And how is it straightened out? How does the ideal function in one’s mind? How can it be placed there? How can this be made to function again in unison? Because when it starts functioning, the regress will end. Do you hear me? It will be over in one day. These will be different Russian people, with a different look in their eyes, and with different behavioral models. The country will take heart again in one day if it would end. But it happened. And it continues to happen day after day. What can we do in this condition?
The School of Higher Meanings, our theater (or more precisely, our para-theater), the laboratory for the study of historical-cultural and metaphysical problems, and most importantly, the psychological laboratory, which studies how the ideal functions in one’s mind, are part of one whole, in which we are working hard to solve this problem. How to restore the ethos, how to restore the ideal, what to do with this disfigured space? Who is damaged and to what extent? How can this damage be mended? How can the functional norm be restored?
We can solve a thousand political problems, and still solve nothing. Or we can solve this one problem, and then we will solve everything.
If we are talking about counter-regress, then once the ideal is restored, the swine is driven back into its cage (which is practically the same thing), and this mechanism starts functioning again, then we have saved the country and the world.
In this sense, images and symbols are not bells and whistles. They are a powerful weapons in the struggle for life, and against it, for salvation, and against it. Watch Sokurov’s films. What a capacity for hate he has! How firmly he understands that he is creating symbols for the sake of destruction.
Consider all of these documents from this perspective. We want to understand the extent to which people are damaged. How can the damage be mended? How is it distributed by age, professional, and other groups? Has the process of self-restoration begun? What is happening within the ideal?
If we can solve all this, then we will build a counter-regressive actor. Having built it, we will redirect any political processes. There is no way back.
The regress began with the fall. The fall began the moment when the historical path, the historical ideal was abandoned. The people’s brains were then subjected to a shock. And the people, having lost their minds, were defeated at this moment of temporary insanity. And then they began to be herded towards destruction.
All this must be changed for real. The ideal must be made to function in a restored space. We call up everyone who understands how this works and who can help us to join us! Let us work together. We urge everyone who loves our country to think about what will happen if we fail at this. We urge everyone who truly understands what kind of processes are taking place globally to consider what will happen if the ideal is not restored within our country, what waves of Thanatos will be unleashed upon the world! Think at least about this, if you have no pity for us. We are supposed to pity ourselves; we are not entitled to the pity of others. And it is not about pity. At least think of your own interests. Think about the potential consequences of it all.
This direction of our activity is both political philosophy and political metaphysics, and much more. This is a key direction, not an accessory to everything else. And I refuse to discuss the large processes taking place within our country, the balance of powers, the strategy and goals of activity, without focusing on the fact that there is really only one main problem. And it is here. All the other problems, political and otherwise, are second-, third- and higher-order derivatives. This does not mean that we should not discuss them. But we cannot become fixated on them. Only having seen this can you see the strategic picture in its entirety. We came a long way to this understanding, and we have finally arrived.
In the following broadcasts we will continue discussing other directions of our activity. After completing this discussion, we will start working in a calm and detailed manner on every molecule… What is regress? How can it be stopped? What damage has it inflicted upon the population? How does the ideal function in one’s mind? What is the political balance; who can still be reached, and who cannot? To whom is Russia dear, and to whom is it not? How do changes in concepts, the meanings of words, the evasiveness of vocabulary, and provocation affect the balance of power? What can be paralyzed here? And most importantly, how can we restore this in our people?
They say, “Ilya Muromets will get up from his stove.”
He will only become Ilya Muromets, who is capable of getting up from his stove after we restore this. Chisel this again into your memory: this is the most important thing.
Source (for copy): http://eu.eot.su/2019/09/13/essence-of-time-chapter-18/
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.