THE PHILOSOPHY OF THE COMMON TASK
The problem of brotherhood or kinship, of the causes of the unbrotherly, unkindred, that is, the unpeaceful state of the world, and of the means for the restoration of kinship.
A memorandum from the 'unlearned' to the 'learned', clergy and laity, believers and non-believers.
Why is it that the words 'peace' and 'world' are not synonymous? Why does peace, according to some, exist only in the world beyond and, according to others, neither in this world nor beyond it?
Why is nature not a mother, but a stepmother who refuses to feed us?
Participation of all in material comfort or participation of all in the work – essentially voluntary – of understanding the blind force which brings hunger, disease and death, and transforming it into a life-giving force ?
In 1891, the disastrous year when crop failure in many of the provinces constituting the granary of Russia caused a famine which threatened to become endemic, and when rumours of war were rife, we suddenly heard of experiments in rain-making by means of explosives1 – that is, by the very substances which hitherto were used solely for wars foreign and domestic (such as revolutions, dynamite attacks and so on). The coincidence of this famine caused by drought and the discovery of how to combat it by means used hitherto only for mutual annihilation could not fail to produce a shattering effect on those on the verge of starvation as well as on those who had relatives of military age. And not on them alone.
1.Reference to Powers's experiments in rain-making ; see note 18 to the Introduction.
Indeed, people have done all possible evil to nature (depletion, destruction, predatory exploitation) and to each other (inventing most abominable arms and implements of mutual extermination). Even roads and other means of communication – the pride of modern man – serve merely strategic and commercial purposes, war and gain. Profit-makers look upon nature as 'a storehouse from which to extract the wherewithal for a comfortable and enjoyable life, destroying and squandering nature's wealth accumulated over centuries'.*
* From a sermon by Bishop Ambrosius of Kharkov, preached at the University of Kharkov and published under the title 'The Christian way in natural science', Tserkovnye vedomosti, 1892, n° 5.
This could lead to despair, because there was everywhere only evil to be seen, without a glimmer of hope. Now, suddenly, like a joyous ray of light for 'those dwelling in darkness and under the shadow of death', come the good tidings that those very means of mutual annihilation may become means of salvation from hunger. Here is hope that an end may be put to both famine and war – moreover an end to war without disarmament, for the latter is not possible.
Even unbelievers, even professed atheists, can hardly fail to see in this possibility of transforming a great evil into a great blessing a sign of Divine Providence. Here is a completely new proof of the existence of God and His Providence, a proof derived no longer from contemplating the purposefulness of the natural order, but from acting and from influencing it in real life. Is it not indeed a manifestation of God's great mercy to man, who seems to have reached the limits of perversity, sinning against both nature and his fellow beings and even rejecting the very existence of God?
Yet from the pulpit comes a voice saying, 'Beware of this audacity which seeks to bring down rain from heaven by means of gunfire.' * But if gunfire cannot be condemned out of hand even when it brings death (for example, in the defence of the homeland), why should it be condemned when it brings life and saves people from starvation? Is it not rather the carrying out of God's will? Having created man, did He not enjoin him to possess the Earth and all that is upon it? So why is it wicked insolence and even sacrilege to redirect a cloud from a place where its rain could be harmful, to one where it would be beneficial? To channel water from a stream or river for irrigation is not regarded as obstructing God's will, so why should redirecting moisture for human needs, not from a stream but from atmospheric currents, be contrary to God's will? The more so when this is done not for the sake of luxury or fun but to provide our daily bread.
* Concluding remarks of Bishop Ambrosius of Kharkov.
If the censure expressed in the sermon 'The Christian way in natural science' referred solely to plans envisaged by the Americans to patent their discovery and thus make a holy act of succour into a financial speculation, then one could bow to the wisdom of the condemnation. However, our hopes are based not on the possibility of bringing about rain by firing a few cannon shots, but on that of controlling moist and dry air currents over vast territories by concerted action which would require the joint efforts of the armies of all nations. Consequently, it could not become a private financial speculation.
Even if our hopes of rain-making by means of explosions were to be thwarted, the value of the hypothesis would remain, since it points to an operation involving the
whole human race. Other means used in warfare might be found to regulate meteorological phenomena: consider, for instance, the suggestion of V.N. Karazin (who pioneered the setting up of the Ministry of Education and the foundation of the University of Kharkov) for raising lightning conductors on balloons into the upper strata of the atmosphere. Balloons are not yet used as military equipment, but might be in future; at the present time everything is put to the service of war. There is not a single invention which the military are not bent on applying to warfare, not a single discovery which they fail to turn to military purposes. So if it were made the duty of the armies to adapt everything now used in warfare for controlling natural forces, this duty would automatically become the common task of humanity as a whole.
Crop failures and, in particular, the 1891 famine impel the 'unlearned' to remind the 'learned' of their origin and of the vocation that this entails, namely:
1. To study the force which produces crop failures and lethal diseases: that is, to study nature as a death-bearing force and to regard this study as a sacred duty and, moreover, as the most simple, natural and self-evident duty.
2. To unite both the learned and the unlearned for the purpose of studying and controlling this blind force. Indeed, can there be any other purpose or task for a being endowed with consciousness? To expect that a blind force destined to be controlled by a conscious being, who fails to do so, will produce only good results such as rich harvests, is extreme childishness – and of this the Paris Exhibition of 1889 and the French Exhibition in Moscow in 1891, the very year of the famine, were manifestations. No wonder that the wrath of the Lord is upon us for the protracted infantilism of our behaviour. How can it be otherwise, since we fail to heed His command 'to come unto true wisdom', which consists in achieving a unity similar to that of God the Father and God the Son, a unity which can be achieved only through working for one common cause, that of our fathers?
The learned, who have fragmented science into a multiplicity of branches, imagine that the calamities that strike and oppress us are within the competence of specialised disciplines to control, whereas in fact they constitute a single problem common to all of us, namely the lack of kinship relations between a blind force and rational beings. This blind force makes no demand on us other than to endow it with what it lacks: rational direction, or regulation. Yet no
regulation is possible owing to our disunity, and our disunity persists because there is no common task to unite men. Regulation, the control of the blind force of nature, can and must become the great task common to us all.
The regulation of meteorological processes is necessary not only to improve harvests and agriculture in general, but also to replace the inhuman underground toil of miners who extract the coal and iron on which modern industry is based. Regulation is necessary in order to replace this extraction with energy from atmospheric currents and solar radiation, which created the coal deposits in the first place. The position of miners is so miserable that it would be unpardonable to disregard it, and it is these conditions that the socialists – these foes of society – expose to stir up sedition. The regulation of the meteorological process could solve both the agricultural and the industrial problems.
Since the consequences of the lack of kinship relations bear most heavily on the unlearned, they naturally turn to the learned to question them, because the educated are a class which exhibits alienation from its kin in an extreme form, and also because that class has the duty, ability and responsibility to restore kinship. But although it has within its grasp the understanding and, consequently, the solution of the problem, the learned class fails to solve it. Moreover, out of servility to feminine caprice the learned have promoted and are supporting the manufacturing industry, which is at the root of alienation; arid, furthermore, they invent weapons of destruction to defend this manufacturing industry.
The unlearned are in duty bound to question the learned on the causes of alienation, both because of their present attitude to the unlearned and because of the very origin of the learned class. Historically, we would be wrong to explain
the emergence of the learned class as occasioned by the setting up of a commission with a definite assignment, just as it was wrong to explain the origins of the state by the social contract, as posited by eighteenth-century philosophers. Of course, there is no juridical evidence for the idea of such a commission. However, if one takes an ethical view of history, the separation of the urban from the rural classes, and the further separation of the learned from the mass of the urban class, could have had no other purpose than that of a temporary assignment – otherwise such a separation would be permanent and would constitute the complete negation of unity. Historically, we may be wrong to explain the origin of the learned class as the setting up of a commission for a definite purpose. One cannot contend that this happened in actual fact. Nevertheless, morally we are right, for that is how it should have happened.
A truly moral being does not need compulsion and repeated orders to perceive what his duty is – he assigns to himself his task and prescribes what must be done for those from whom he has become separated, because separation (whether voluntary or not) cannot be irreversible. Indeed, it would be criminal to repudiate those from whom one descends and to forget about their welfare. For the learned to behave thus would be to reject their own welfare, to remain prodigal sons for ever and be permanent hirelings and servants of urban caprice. This would lead them to disregard completely the needs of rural communities, that is, real needs, because the needs of such communities, unspoilt by city influences, are limited to those essentials that ensure survival in the face of hunger and illness, which not only destroy life but also displace kinship relations and replace love by enmity and hostility.
Therefore the rural problem is (1) loss of kinship between men who, through ignorance, forget their relatedness, and (2) the hostility of nature to humans, which is felt most acutely if not exclusively in villages, where people confront the blind force directly; whereas townsfolk, being remote from nature, may think that man lives at one with nature.
The hateful division of the world and all the calamities that result from this compel us, the unlearned – that is, those who place action (action in common, not strife) above thought – to submit to the learned this memorandum concerned with lack of kinship feelings and the means of restoring them. In particular, we address it to theologians, those men of thought and ideology who rank
thought above action. Of all divisions, the dissociation of thought and action (which has become the appurtenance of certain classes) constitutes a great calamity, incomparably greater than the division into rich and poor. Socialists and our contemporaries in general attribute the greatest importance to this division into rich and poor, assuming that with its elimination all of us would become educated. However, what we have in mind is not schooling, which will become more evenly available with the elimination of poverty. What we have in mind is universal participation in knowledge and research. The elimination of poverty is not sufficient to ensure such a universal participation. Yet it alone can bridge the chasm between the learned and the unlearned.
So long as participation in knowledge does not embrace everyone, pure science will remain indifferent to struggle and depredation, while applied science will contribute to destruction either directly by the invention of weapons, or indirectly by endowing things like consumer goods with a seductive appearance, thus fostering friction among people. Scientists, who take no direct personal part in the struggle or in actual war and who are outside the reach of natural disasters because they are sheltered against them by the peasantry – who bear the full brunt of nature – will remain indifferent even to the depletion of natural resources and to changes in climate. Indeed, changes in climate may be pleasant to town dwellers, even when they result in crop failures.
Only when all men come to participate in knowledge will pure science, which perceives nature as a whole in which the sentient is sacrificed to the insensate, cease to be indifferent to this distorted attitude of the conscious being to the unconscious force. Then applied science will be aimed at transforming instruments of destruction into means of regulating the blind death-bearing force. E. HaeckelČ accepts 'scientific materialism' and denies 'moral materialism'. He sees supreme bliss in the knowledge and discovery of the laws of nature. But even assuming that such knowledge were accessible to all, where would be the joy? In contemplating everywhere the ruthless struggle of all against all? Who could enjoy such hell?
1.Ernst Haeckel (1834-1919), German philosopher and scientist who sought to reconcile science and religion in the theory of monism.
Solving the first problem, that of the segregation of the learned from the unlearned – that is, men of thought from men of action – will also solve the division between rich and poor. The root cause of this division lies in common calamities like sickness and death, and can be overcome only given a higher purpose – the participation of all in knowledge and in art, both directed towards solving the problem of loss of kinship and its restoration, that is, the search for the Kingdom of God.
The question of 'brotherhood and the unbrotherly state of the world' implies the conditions under which brotherhood can and must be restored. These conditions constitute a practical problem, as in the case of the Eastern Question, or of colonialism or migration. The problem is how to find a way out of the unbrotherly state. Thus posed, the problem becomes the concern of all the sons of man, particularly of those baptised in the name of the God of their fathers. Although it is directed at scholars because the problem of knowledge and science, that is, the theoretical problem, is contained within the practical one as its necessary prerequisite and integral part, this problem is not one of scholarship or research.
By using the word 'question' in this memorandum to the learned from the unlearned, we admit our weakness in comparison to those to whom we address it. Those who ask are obviously those who do not know and who recognise their weakness. This is not an expression of modesty commonly found in introductions. It is the inevitable humility before the terrifying force which causes unbrotherliness, yet urges union and the need to speak for the least articulate. It is a humility in the face of a force which silences mere interest groups. And if Russia and Russian science address this question to other nations standing at a higher intellectual and moral level, there is nothing offensive in it for these high-ranking nations or for their pride.
The unbrotherly state is conditioned, of course, by serious causes. The circumstances we live in render the question of unbrotherliness one of general concern. In speaking of the causes of unbrotherliness, we indicate that it is not rooted in caprice, that it cannot be papered over by words nor by the mere desire to wish away these causes. The combined effort of knowledge and action
is needed, because such a persistent disease, with roots within and outside man, cannot be cured in the twinkling of an eye, as those who are moved solely by emotions would have it. Their disquisitions on unbrotherliness could be described as treatises on the absence of causality for the unbrotherly state. They would forbid us to think because thought and reasoning mean, in fact, the discovery of causes
and conditions. To admit an absence of causality for the unbrotherly state leads not to peace and brotherhood but merely to playing at peace, to a comedy of reconciliation which creates a pseudo-peace, a false peace which is worse than open hostility because the latter poses a question whereas the former prolongs enmity by concealing it. Such is the doctrine of Tolstoy. Having quarrelled one day, he goes to make peace the next. He takes no measures to forestall clashes but apparently seeks them out, perhaps in order thereafter to conclude a fragile peace.
However, causality in the sense of determinism can be assumed only in respect of people taken individually, in disunion. The learned class accepts fatal, eternal determinism because they deny the possibility of common action. The impossibility of doing away with our state of unbrotherliness is a fundamental dogma of scholars, because to admit the contrary would imply that they must turn themselves into a commission with a purpose to fulfil.
By unbrotherly relations we mean all juridical and economic relations, class distinctions and international strife. Among the causes of unbrotherliness we include 'citizenship' and 'civilisation', which have displaced brotherhood, and also 'statehood', which has replaced loyalty to the land of the fathers. Loyalty to the land of the fathers is not 'patriotism', which replaces love for the fathers with pride in their achievement, thus substituting pride (a vice) for love (a virtue) and self-love and vanity for love of the fathers.
People who take pride in the same object can form a knightly order but not a brotherhood of loving sons. However, as soon as pride in the exploits of the fathers is replaced by grief over their death, we will begin to perceive the Earth as a graveyard and nature as a death-bearing force. Then politics will yield to physics, which cannot be separated from astronomy. Then the Earth will be seen as a heavenly body and the stars as so many earths. The convergence of all sciences in astronomy is a most simple, natural and unscholarly phenomenon, demanded by feeling as well as by any mind not addicted to abstraction.
In this convergence mythical patrification will become actual resuscitation, and the regulation of all the worlds by all the resurrected generations.
The problem of the force which brings the two sexes to unite and give birth to a third being is also a problem of death. The exclusive attachment to a woman leads the man to forget his fathers, introduces political and civil strife into the world and, at the same time, makes man forget that the Earth is a heavenly body and that heavenly bodies are stars.
So long as historical life was confined to the shores of oceans, to the seaboard, and encompassed only a small part of the earth enjoying approximately similar conditions, life was political, commercial and civil; it was a civilization – in other words, a struggle. Now the interiors of continents are drawn into a history which will embrace the entire Earth; so political and cultural problems become physical or astrophysical, that is, heavenly-terrestrial.
...There is only one doctrine which demands not separation but reunification, which sets no artificial aims but one common task for all – the doctrine of kinship... Only this doctrine can provide a solution to the problem of the individual and the masses. Union does not absorb but exalts each individual, while the differences between individuals strengthen unity, which consists in (1) the realisation by every person that he is a son, grandson, great-grandson or descendant, that is, a son of all the deceased fathers and not a vagrant in the crowd, devoid of kith and kin; and (2) the recognition by each and everyone, together and not in disunity as in a mob, of one's duty to the deceased fathers, a duty which is limited solely by sensuality, or rather by its misuse, for it breaks up rural communities and transforms them into an amorphous mass.
The human mob with its mutual pushing and struggling will become a harmonious force when the rural masses, the people, become the union* of sons for the resurrection of the fathers, thus achieving kinship or psychocracy. The metamorphosis of a mob into a union of sons who find their unity in a common task does not entail loss of identity. By sharing in this task every man becomes a great man — because he participates in the greatness of the task — incomparably greater than those who have been called great men. Only the son of man is a great man, for he has measured up to the adulthood of Jesus Christ who called himself the Son of Man.
* Ludwig Noire1 (1829-89), German philosopher and prolific writer
on the history of philosophy, the theories of monism and the philosophy of language. It is difficult to tell to which of his many books Fedorov alludes in this passage.
A humanist who calls himself a human and is proud of this denomination has evidently not yet achieved adulthood in Christ and has not become a son of man. Those who reject the veneration of ancestors are depriving themselves of the right to be called sons of man. Instead of participating in the Common Task they become the organs, the tools, of various industries – mere cogs, however much they may think that they live for themselves. In such a state no one can assert, says Noire,3 that the eternal existence of individuals X or Y has any exceptional importance or even any sense, so that it might have been better for them not to exist at all. This of course refers only to X and Y. It cannot refer to the sons of man, the participators in resurrection, whose existence is not only vitally important but absolutely indispensable if the purpose of life is to transform the blind force of nature into one governed by the reason of all the generations brought back to life. Then, of course, each and everyone is indispensable.
The question posed by the present memorandum is twofold.
1.When the question of the causes of lack of kinship is likened to the Eastern Question or that of migration, for instance, it is assumed that science must be a knowledge not only of causes, but of aims as well. And it must not be solely a knowledge of initial causes, but also of ultimate ones (that is, it must not be knowledge for the sake of knowledge, knowledge without action). It must not be a knowledge of what is without one of what should be. In other words, science must be a knowledge not of causes in general but specifically of that underlying disunity which makes us the tools of the blind force of nature and results in the displacement of the older generation by the younger, as well as in mutual constraints conducive to a similar displacement.
2.When the unlearned admit their ignorance and inquire about the causes of unbrotherliness, other questions arise too: namely, should the learned remain a separate caste or school, entitled to brush aside the questions of the ignorant on the grounds that science is the study of causes in general (pure speculation), or should they turn themselves into a commission for the elucidation and practical solution of the problem of disunity? Should they regard their segregation from the mass of mankind as a temporary purposeful arrangement or as
an ultimate end? Should they consider themselves as 'co-spectators' of the path that lies before all, or are they the better and higher class, the flower and fruit of the human race? Is the problem about scholarship and the intelligentsia, or is it about internal disharmony – in other words, about intelligence deprived of feeling and willpower? And is the complete loss of a sense of kinship an essential characteristic of the learned inevitably resulting from the separation of intelligence from feeling and will?
Internal discord reflects external disunion, that is, the separation of the learned and intellectual classes from the people. Intelligence without feeling becomes the knowledge of evil without any desire to root it out, and a knowledge of good without any wish to promote it. It is an admission of lack of kinship and not a plan to re-establish kinship bonds. The consequence of indifference is oblivion for the fathers and discord among the sons. The causes of lack of kinship extend to nature as a whole, for it is a blind force uncontrolled by reason.
However, as soon as intelligence combines with feeling, memories of the deceased fathers return (museum), as well as the union of sons with those still living (assembly) for the education of their progeny (school). The wholeness of feeling brings about the union of all the living (sons), while the force of their will and joint action leads to the resurrection of all the deceased (fathers). What then is needed for the museum and the assembly to achieve such wholeness?
So long as the object of science is to solve the problem of causes in general, it remains concerned solely with the question, 'Why does the existing exist ?' This is an unnatural, a wholly artificial, question, whereas it would be quite natural to ask, 'Why do the living die ?' Because of the absence of brotherhood, this question is not posed, or even perceived, as requiring investigation. Yet this is the sole object of research which could provide a meaning to the existence of philosophers and scholars, who would cease being a caste in order to become a provisional commission with a specific purpose.
By exchanging their status of upper class for that of a commission with a purpose, scholars would lose only imaginary advantages and gain real ones. The world would no longer be perceived as a mental image, a representation, the inevitable view of the scholars in their ivory towers, deprived of activity and condemned to mere contemplation or to desires with no means of implementing them. The new representation of the
world would then become the blueprint for a better world, and the task of the commission would be the drafting and implementation of such a plan. Then pessimism would vanish, as would the kind of optimism that seeks misleadingly to represent the world as better than it is. It would be no longer necessary to conceal evil or to convince oneself that death does not exist. Yet while admitting the existence of evil in all its might, we would not lose hope that, through the union of all the forces of reason, we would find it possible to redirect the irrational force which produces evil and death and all the resulting disasters. By assuming immanent resurrection, we circumscribe man's curiosity directed towards the transcendental as well as towards thought without action. While objecting to spiritualism and similar aspirations to otherworldliness, we do not restrict man, because the field of the immanent within his reach is so wide that moral brotherly feelings and universal love can find in it complete satisfaction.
The segregation of scholars into a separate caste gives rise to three evils:
1.The fundamental one is the reduction of the world to a mere representation, a mental image ; in ordinary life egotism, solipsism and all ensuing crimes find a philosophical justification in the formula, 'The world is my representation of it' – the latest word in Kantianism. The reduction of the world to its representation is the outcome of inactivity and individualism; it is the child of idleness – mother of all vices – and of solipsism (selfishness) – father of all crimes.
2 and 3. The consequences of this primary evil – the reduction of the world to its representation – are two other evils: drug addiction and hypnotism. If the world is merely one's representation of it, then the transformation of unpleasant into pleasant representations by means of morphine, ether and so on would solve the world's problems by replacing suffering by pleasurable sensations. (Hypnotism provides an even simpler solution. It claims to cure all sickness and vices by strength of will.)
However, to resort to narcotics is to stupefy oneself and forgo reason and feeling. People resort to drugs because they fail to find in life a worthy use for their reason. They will stop doing so when their task becomes the transformation of a blind force into a rational one, thus making all life rational. The peculiar addiction of the learned, that is, the deliberate self-deprivation of reason by those who live by thought, is apparently their punishment for setting themselves apart from the rest of humanity, for their indifference to calamities and for their unworthy use of rational thought.
On the other hand, we witness the drift of science towards magic, witchcraft, exorcism or suggestion in hypnosis. One well known professor advocating 'suggestion', that is, 'exorcism', rather than 'exhortation', seems not to notice that
he relegates the mind to inaction. Indeed, a great intellectual effort is needed to make exhortation convincing, but none is required for suggestion. To replace rational argument by suggestion is an abdication of intelligence and rational willpower by both hypnotist and hypnotised. What will be the fate of a faculty reduced to inaction ? Will it be in danger ot atrophy ? Why give preference to the irrational over the rational ? If admonitions prove ineffectual, other rational ways may be found : for instance, research into individual inclinations and abilities, or discoveries concerning the relations between inner and outer human properties, which may open up new insights into how and in collaboration with whom every human can give of his best in solving the problem of restoring universal kinship.
To replace exhortation by exorcism is to abdicate reason. Moreover, hypnosis is also an abdication of consciousness, that is, a submission to the blind, unconscious forces and a rejection of conscious work. Should we follow the advice of the Evil Spirit to turn stones into bread by uttering a single word? Or shall we earn our bread by work and make sure of it by regulating nature?
Positivism – the latest in European thought – is not a way out of scholasticism because it too is based on the distinction between theoretical and practical reason. The helplessness of theoretical reason is explicable by inaction and by the absence of a common task to provide any proof. Positivism is merely a modification of metaphysical scholasticism, which arose, similarly, from a modification of theological scholasticism. Therefore, positivism is also scholasticism, and positivists form a school and not an investigative commission in the sense we imply.
However, if positivism were to oppose popular and religious attitudes, which consist not merely of knowledge and contemplation but of action, sacrifice, cult, and so on, which are mythical and miraculous (ineffective and illusory) remedies against evil, then positivism could contribute to transforming these mythical, miraculous, make-believe, symbolic acts into an effective, real remedy against evil. It would meet a need hitherto satisfied, or rather, stultified (through ignorance), by sham remedies against evil. If positivism, either Western (European) or Eastern (Chinese), actually opposed the mythical and fictitious, there would be nothing arbitrary about it. However, it sees its merit in limiting and negating. It turns out to be not a method of substituting the real for the imaginary, but merely the denial
of the latter. It even denies the possibility of replacing the allegorical by the real, and hence of satisfying man's most legitimate craving – his urge to ensure his existence.
Critical philosophy – Kantianism and neo-Kantianism – is also a school and not a solution. The Critique of Pure Reason can be said to deal with science or philosophy only within the narrow limits of an artificial, particularised experience (confined to laboratory or academic study). Similarly, the Critique of Practical Reason can be said to deal with life only within the narrow limits of personal affairs and within the kind of disunity that is not regarded as vice; it is a moral code for minors whose crimes would be called 'mischief in popular Russian. The Critique of Practical Reason knows no united humanity, nor does it prescribe any rules for common action by mankind as a whole. Like the Critique of Pure Reason, it knows only experiments carried out sometimes, somewhere and by some people. It ignores those experiments carried out by all, always and everywhere that will come about when national armed forces transform their weapons into instruments for the regulation of atmospheric phenomena.
All that is good in the Critique of Pure Reason – that is God – is an ideal; and in the Critique of Practical Reason, is a reality beyond this world. So reality consists of (1) a soulless world, an irrational, unfeeling force which it would be more appropriate to call chaos than cosmos, and its study chaosography rather than cosmology, and (2) a helpless soul, a knowledge of which can be called psychology (in the sense of psychocracy) only because of its potentialities, since a soul, separated from God and from the Universe, is merely a capacity to feel, know and act, while deprived of energy and will. The union of reason, feeling and will could result in a project, a grand plan, but this is not to be found in Kant. For spiritualists peace can be found only in the world beyond; for materialists there is no peace either here or in the world beyond; and in critical philosophy (Kant) peace is merely our thought, not a reality. When the separation of the intelligentsia from the people is recognised as illegitimate, thought will become planning. Are we not justified in saying that both positive and critical philosophy are schools and belong, therefore, to the age of immaturity?
Like the positivists, Kant doomed knowledge to permanent childhood. Constrained within the boundaries of artificial, toy-sized experiments, science is kept aloof from the unknowable, from metaphysics and agnosticism. Similarly the Critique of Practical Reason (the critique of action), by denying humans a common task, forces them into illusory activities like hypnotism, spiritualism, and so on.
Happiness in life is dearly bought by Kant. Forget about perfection – it is unattainable (for God is but an ideal); therefore your imperfection should not worry you.
Do not think about death, and you will not fall into the paralogism of immortality. Attend to your business and do not think about what lies beyond – whether the world is finite or infinite, eternal or temporary, you cannot know. So says Kant in his Critique of Pure Reason. However, all the negation of the Critique of Pure Reason is based solely on the assumption that human dissension is inevitable and that union in a common task is impossible. This assumption is but prejudice, of which Kant was not conscious, and which he did not perceive because he was a great philosopher and, consequently, could not imagine anything superior to thought. What Kant regarded as unattainable to knowledge is the object of action, an action achievable only by humanity as a whole, in the communion of individuals and not in disunion and separate-ness. The Critique of Practical Reason is similarly based on the unconscious assumption of inevitable disunity. The vice of disunity (though not recognised as such) is also the basis of Kant's moral system. This philosopher, who lived in the days of so-called enlightened despotism, projected the principle of absolutism into the field of morality, as if God had said, 'All for men but nothing through men.'
The principle of disunion and inactivity informs all three Critiques. The philosophy of art which he embodies in his Critique of Judgement does not teach how to create, but only how to judge the aesthetic aspects of works of art and of nature. It is a philosophy for art critics, not for artists and poets. In the Critique of Judgement, nature is regarded not as an object to be acted upon and transformed from a blind force into one governed by reason, but merely as an object of contemplation to be judged on its aesthetic merits; not from the point of view of morality, which would recognise it as destructive and death-bearing...
Since first and last causes are outside of its investigations, positivism considers it impossible to know the meaning and purpose of life. For positivists resurrection is neither possible nor desirable. Does not their reluctance to restore life prove that, to them, this life is not worth restoring ? For the progressives the present is bad and the past was even worse. Only the least thoughtful of them imagine that the future is good, though it, too, will become the present and then the past, that is, the bad. Therefore a true progressive must be a pessimist. A well known professor 4 has said:
Progress is a gradual ascent in the level of general human development. In this sense
the prototype of progress is individual psychic development which is both an objectively observable fact and a subjective fact of our consciousness ; the inner experience of our development appears as the recognition of a gradual increase in knowledge and lucidity of thought, and these processes represent an improvement of our thinking being — its ascent. This fact of individual psychology is repeated in collective psychology, when members of a whole society recognise their superiority over their predecessors in the same society.
4.Nikolai Ivanovich Kareev was professor of history at Warsaw University and, later, at the University of St Petersburg. The quotations are taken from vol. 2, part 4 of his 3-volume work Basic Problems of the Philosophy of History (Osnovnye voprosy filosofii istorii), Moscow, 1886-90.
However, a society consists of an older and a younger generation, of parents and children. Apparently, the author had in mind both old and young without regard to differences in age, assuming that members progress equally (neither ageing nor weakening), so that their superiority is only over the deceased. Remembrance and history are necessary solely to have someone to outclass. Can one overlook the sinfulness of this claim to superiority of the living over the dead, and fail to notice the egotism of the present generation ? Yet the life of a society consists in the ageing of the old and the growing up of the young. Growing up and realising its superiority over the deceased, the younger generation cannot, according to the law of progress, fail to recognise its superiority over the ageing and the dying. When an old man says to the young man, 'It's for you to grow and for me to decline', this is a laudable wish, showing fatherly affection. If, however, the young man says, it's for me to grow and for you to get off to the grave', this is not progress, but the voice of hate, the obvious hate of prodigal sons.
Progress without internal union and without an external task shared by all humanity is a natural phenomenon. So long as there is no uniting for the purpose of transforming a death-bearing force into a life-giving one, man will be dominated by the blind force of nature, on a par with cattle, other beasts and soulless matter.
Progress is a sense of superiority, (1) of an entire generation of the living over their ancestors, and (2) of the younger over the old. This superiority – a point of pride among the young consists of an increase in knowledge, of improvement and advance in the thinking process; even the formation of moral convictions is seen as a reason to extol the younger generation over the older. 'He (every member of the younger generation) feels his superiority over his elders whenever he enriches himself with knowledge, perceives a new idea, comes to appreciate his environment from a new angle or when, in a collision of duty with habit and emotion,
duty is the victor.'
All this is the subjective aspect of the consciousness of intellectual superiority over one's predecessors. In what way will this consciousness become manifest externally ? How will it be expressed as an objective fact observable by those progenitors who are still alive ? The professor does not say. However, the haughty attitude of sons and daughters towards their parents as a necessary expression of their sense of superiority is all too well known, and has even found a mouthpiece in the author of Fathers and Sons,5 although in a watered down form.
5.I.S. Turgenev, Fathers and Sons (Otsy i deti), 1861.
While there are young people in Western Europe – in France, in Germany – nowhere is the antagonism of the young towards the old so extreme as it is with us. That is why it is easier for us to appreciate fully the doctrine of progress. Biologically, it is the replacement of love by presumptuous-ness, contempt and the moral, or rather immoral, displacement of fathers by sons. Sociologically, progress is the achievement of the greatest possible individual freedom accessible to man – but not the broadest participation of all in a common task. Yet society – an unbrotherly association – limits the freedom of individuals. Therefore, sociology demands at the same time the greatest possible individual freedom and the minimum of community feeling. Consequently, it is a science not of association but of dissociation and even subjugation, insofar as it admits the absorption of the individual by society. As a science of dissociation for some and of subjugation for others, sociology sins against the Holy Trinity, the indivisible and unconfused Triune God. Progress is precisely the form of life in which the human race may come to taste the greatest sum of suffering while striving for the greatest sum of enjoyment. Progress is not satisfied with the recognition of the reality of evil; it wants the reality of evil to be fully represented, and revels in realistic art. As to ideal art, it strives to convince people that good is unreal and impossible, and revels in nirvana. Although stagnation is death and regression no paradise, progress is truly hell, and the truly divine, truly human task is to save the victims of progress, to lead them out of hell.
Progress involves superiority not only over the fathers (still alive) and ancestors (already dead) but also over animals. 'The ability to conceive general principles is a purely human ability which sets us above animals and makes possible the development of knowledge, ideals and convictions.' However, this purely mental development is not sufficient to unite us in shared convictions, to lead us to accept common ideals and become of one mind. While placing human nature above animal nature, the advocates of progress deny any importance to humanity in the face of the blind force of nature. While recognising our superiority
over fathers and ancestors and, to a lesser degree, over animals, they accept humanity's utter insignificance before blind, insensate nature.
Progress makes fathers and ancestors into the accused and the sons and descendants into judges; historians are judges over the deceased, that is, those who have already endured capital punishment (the death penalty), while the sons sit in judgement over those who have not yet died. Scholars may argue that whereas in ancient times old people were put to death, now they are only despised. Does not replacing physical by spiritual death constitute progress?! In the future, with the march of progress, contempt will decrease, but not even the withering away of contempt will engender love and respect for one's predecessors, that is to say, the feelings which really ennoble the descendants. Therefore, can progress give any meaning to life, let alone any purpose? Only that which can express the loftiest forms of love and veneration gives meaning and purpose to life. 'The aim of progress is a developed and developing individuality and the greatest degree of freedom attainable by man': such an aim entails not fraternal feelings but disunity and, consequently, the zenith of progress is the nadir of brotherhood.
Resurrection is not progress, but it requires actual improvement, true perfection. A spontaneous happening like giving birth requires neither wisdom nor willpower unless the latter is confused with lust, whereas resuscitation is the replacement of the lust of birth by conscious recreation. The notion of progress in the sense of development, evolution, has been borrowed from blind nature and applied to human life. It recognises an advance from the worse to the better and places articulate man above the dumb beast, but is it right that progress should follow nature's example, taking for its model an unconscious force and applying it to a conscious, sensate being? Insofar as progress is regarded as a movement from the worse to the better, it obviously requires that the shortcomings of blind nature be corrected by a nature which perceives these shortcomings – that is, by the combined power of the human race. It demands that improvement should arise not through struggle and mutual annihilation but by the return of the victims of this struggle. Then progress will mean the improvement of means as well as ends. Such an improvement would be more than correction; it would be the elimination of evil and the introduction of good. Progress itself demands resuscitation, but this involves progress not only in knowledge but also in activity; and progress in knowledge means a knowledge not only of what is, but above all of what should be. Only with the passage of the learned class from knowledge to action will progress move from a knowledge of what is to one of what should be...
The ideal of progress, according to the learned, is to enable everybody to participate in the production
and consumption of objects for sensual pleasure, whereas the aim of true progress can and must be the participation in a common task, the work of studying the blind force that brings hunger, disease and death in order to transform it into a life-giving force.
The doctrine of resurrection could also be called positivism, but a positivism of action. According to this doctrine it would not be mythical knowledge that would be replaced by positive knowledge, but mythical, symbolic actions that would be replaced by actual, effective ones. The doctrine of resurrection sets no arbitrary limits to action performed in common, as opposed to action by separate individuals. This positivism of action derives not from mythology, which was a fabrication of pagan priests, but from mythological art forms, popular rituals and sacrifices. Resuscitation changes symbolic acts into reality. The positivism of action is not class-bound but popular positivism. For the people, science will be a method, whereas the positivism of science is merely a philosophy for scholars as a separate class or estate.
Positivism was right in its critical attitude to knowledge, in considering it incapable of solving fundamental problems. However, the knowledge it envisaged critically was one divorced from action, but which cannot and must not be divorced from action. Aristotle may be regarded as the father of the learned, yet he is reported to have said, 'We know only what we can do ourselves', a statement which obviously does not allow for the separation of knowledge from action and, consequently, the segregation of the learned into a special estate. Yet, although two thousand years or more have elapsed since Aristotle, no thinker has made this principle, this criterion for proving knowledge by action, into the corner-stone of his philosophy. Otherwise, a knowledge of the self and of the external world — of nature, past and present — would have become a project to transform that which is born or given gratis into that which is earned through labour, entailing the restitution of strength and life to the procreators. It would have become a plan to transform a blind force into a rational one and prove that life is not 'a fortuitous and futile
6.First line of Pushkin's poem Dar naprasny, dar sluchainy..., 1828.
Positivism is also partially justified in its critical attitude to personal, individual wisdom, or that of people in general taken individually. But this criticism would be fully justified only if it included a demand for the transition from class knowledge (consisting of a clash of ideas from which truth is expected to emerge) to universal knowledge, uniting all individual abilities in a single common task. Instead, scholarly positivism, ignoring the necessity for universal cooperation, has resulted merely in splitting the learned estate itself into positivists and metaphysicians. Scholars are right to say that for them the world is a representation because, insofar as they are scholars, they have no other approach but the cognitive. However, this approach is only that of scholars and not that of mankind in general. Therefore, scholars are wrong to substitute knowledge for action and even to resist the possibility of action. In their subjective approach they fail to perceive the projective.
Contemporary monism claims 'to reconcile within a superior unity mind and matter as manifestations of a single mysterious essence, perceived as spirit subjectively through inner experience and objectively through external experience as matter'. But, surely, such a reconciliation is spurious and ineffective? 'The anthropopathic monism of primitive man and the mechanistic monism of modern science – such are the first and last word in the history of human philosophy.'7 Yet a mechanistic world view can be the last word only for soulless people, scholars and positivists. The admission that the world is a soulless mechanism inevitably provokes attempts to make this mechanism into an instrument of will, reason and feeling. Primitive mankind persistently spiritualised matter and materialised spirit, whereas the new humanity should strive no less perseveringly to control the blind forces effectively. Therein lies the true transformation of the mythical into the positive.
7.Both quotations are free renderings from a speech by Haeckel on monism as a link between science and religion, 1892.
If positivism and science in general are, linguistically, actions, it is not because the development of language lags behind the progress of thought (is inactivity perfection?), but because man is active by nature (homo factor). The savage imagines himself and the world as they should be, that is, himself as active and the world as alive, whereas the error of positivists is that, while considering themselves superior to savages in every respect, they accept themselves and the world as they should not be. This is why they cannot overcome even the contradiction between their language and their thought. (When scholars of all convictions speak of their mental processes and perceptions
as actions, or when they describe their imaginary reconstructions of the past as resurrecting it, they speak metaphorically of knowledge as if it were action.) Yet the primary meaning of words is not to deceive but to express what should be.
So long as scientists and philosophers remain a caste, even the problem of morality, that is, of behaviour, will remain for them one of cognition and not of activity, a subject for study and not for practical application, something that just happens rather than something that must be done and, furthermore, done not by individuals but collectively. So long as scholars are not prepared to become a Commission for the elaboration of a plan of common action (and without this mankind cannot act according to a single plan as a single being, which is to say, attain adulthood), the contradiction between the reflective and the instinctive cannot be resolved. Failure to accept action as their duty confines the learned class to reflection, while the rest of the human race, uncommitted to any single task, continues to act instinctively and remains the tool of a blind force. Reflection can have only a destructive effect, since it does not restore what is being destroyed. 'To be a conscious agent of the evolution of the universe' means to be the conscious tool of mutual constraint (struggle) and elimination (death). It means subjecting the moral to the physical, whereas even in the present state of disunity and inactive knowledge men still express, one way or another, moral aspirations, though they yield to necessity because of their physical weakness. Only when discord and inaction are recognised as temporary will we be able to imagine the magnitude and meaning of supreme bliss.
As to the state which Spencer,8 and his followers in particular, promise humanity in the future, it cannot be regarded as a higher nor yet as the lowest good. On the contrary, when conscious actions become instinctive and automatic, and man is reduced to a machine (the ideal of fatalistic blind progress), such a state must be regarded as evil – even the greatest evil.
8.The references to Herbert Spencer (1820-1903) are not actual quotations hut summaries of Spencer's arguments elaborated in the chapters on Egoism versus Altruism and Altruism versus Egoism and, especially, the appendix to these two chapters, entitled 'Conciliation', in The Principles of Ethics, vol. 1, Pp. 289-303. included in his A System of Synthetic Philosophy, vol. IX, London, 1892.
The day will come, says Spencer, when altruistic
inclination will be so well embodied in our organism itself that people will compete for opportunities of self-sacrifice and immolation. When altruistic inclinations are implanted in everyone, how will opportunities arise to apply them? Either such a state presupposes the existence of persecutors, tormentors and tyrants, or else the general urge to sacrifice oneself will engender benefactors who will turn into tormentors and persecutors merely to satisfy this passionate craving for martyrdom. Or will nature itself remain a blind force, and fulfil the role of executioner?
If life is good, to sacrifice it is a loss to those who do so in order to save the lives of others. But will life be good for those who accept the sacrifice and retain their life at the price of the death of others ? How is altruism possible without egotism? Those who sacrifice their lives are altruists, but what are those who accept this sacrifice? If, however, life is not a blessing, then those who sacrifice it are neither making a sacrifice nor committing any meritorious act. If knowledge is divorced from action as it is in class knowledge, learned knowledge, then the instinctive, by becoming conscious, leads to destruction. If morality is an instinct which motivates the sacrifice of the individual for the sake of the species. Spencer argues, it will disintegrate by discovering its origin. If, however, morality is the love of the begotten for those who have given them life, then the consciousness of their origin, which is linked to the death of the parents, instead of stopping short at knowledge, will become the task of resuscitation.
The question of lack of brotherhood, that is, disunity, and that of how to restore kinship in all its fullness and force (visibly and evidently), and the question of uniting the sons (brothers) for resurrecting the fathers (complete and full kinship), are obviously one and the same. Both are contrary to progress, which is perennial puerility, that is, the inability to restore life. One should add that the union of sons for the resuscitation of the fathers is the fulfilment not merely of their own will but of that of the God of our fathers — which is not alien to us and gives a true purpose and sense to life. It expresses the duty of the sons of man and is the result of 'knowledge of all by all', not of class knowledge. In re-creation, in substituting resurrection for birth and creativity for nutrition, we achieve the purest eternal beatitude as opposed to mere material comfort.
Thus posed, the problem of unbrotherliness can oppose socialism,
which uses and abuses the word brotherhood while rejecting fatherhood. Socialism has no opponent. Religions, with their transcendental content, being 'not of this world', with the Kingdom of God only within us, cannot stand up to socialism. Socialism may even seem to be an implementation of Christian ethics. Only the union of sons in the name of the fathers, as a counterweight to union for the sake of progress and comfort at the expense of the fathers, exposes the immorality of socialism. To unite for the sake of one's own comfort and pleasure is the worst way of wasting one's life – intellectually, aesthetically and morally.
The forgetting of the fathers by their sons transforms art, from the purest enjoyment felt in the restoration of life to the fathers, into a pornographic pleasure; while science, instead of being the knowledge of all things inanimate aimed at the restoration of life to the deceased, becomes sterile speculation or a procurer of pleasure. Socialism triumphs over the state, religion and science. The appearance of state socialism, Catholic, Protestant or academic socialism, is a proof of this triumph. Socialism has no opponent, and even denies the possibility of having one. Socialism is deception; it applies the words 'kinship' and 'brotherhood' to associations of people alien to each other and linked only by common interests, whereas real blood kinship unites through inner feeling. The feeling of kinship cannot be limited to representatives; it demands real presence. Death transforms real presence into representation (memories). Therefore kinship demands the return of the deceased, each one being irreplaceable, whereas in an association death brings about an easily replaceable loss.
Union, not for the sake of material comfort and affluence for the living but for the resurrection of the dead, requires universal compulsory education which would bring to light the abilities and character of everyone, and would indicate to everyone what he should do and with whom – starting with marriage – thus contributing everyone's labour to help transform the blind force of nature into one governed by reason, and to change it from a death-bearing into a life-giving force.
Is it possible to limit 'humanity's task' to ensuring a fair distribution of the fruits of production, obliging everyone to ascertain without acrimony or passion that no one should appropriate more than the next man, or give up something to others and deprive himself ? Although socialism is an artificial conception, socialists have touched upon the natural weaknesses of man. Thus in Germany they rebuked the German workers for their limited needs, pointing out that the English are more demanding. They also reproached them for excessive diligence and urged them to demand shorter working hours. Socialists, who are solely bent on self-promotion and not the welfare of the people, fail to perceive that even a cooperative state requires
not the vices which they awaken, but virtues, the acceptance of duties and even sacrifice.
In modern industrial societies factory work is usually fairly light, but the very existence of factories is based on the inhuman work of the miners who extract the coal and iron which are the very foundation of manufacturing industry. Under the circumstances, what is needed is not economic reform but a radical technical revolution bound up with a moral one. To impose inhuman labour for the sake of material comfort, even if it were shared by all, is an anomaly. With the control of the meteorological process, energy would be derived from the atmosphere – that is, coal would be replaced by the energy that once produced the coal deposits. In any case, the atmosphere will have to be tapped because coal deposits are being continually depleted. We might hope that energy obtained from atmospheric currents would produce a revolution in the production of iron. Moreover, regulation is necessary to bring industry nearer to agriculture, because the excess of solar heat which affects air currents, winds and destructive hurricanes could be used to power cottage industries and enable manufacture to spread all over the earth, instead of being concentrated in industrial centres. Regulation would also transform agriculture from individual into collective work.
What is needed is:
1. To eliminate wars.
2. To replace the back-breaking, inhuman work of miners.
3. To link agriculture with cottage industries.
4. To transform agriculture from an individual into a collective form of work.
5. To transform agriculture from a means of obtaining maximum incomes – with the ensuing crises and overproduction – into a means of obtaining reliable incomes.
The call for regulation comes from all quarters.
The nineteenth century is nearing its sad and gloomy end. It does not advance towards light and joy. Already it can be given a name. In contradistinction to the eighteenth century, the so-called age of enlightenment and philanthropy, and to the earlier centuries from the Renaissance onwards, it can be termed the age of superstition and prejudice, of the negation of philanthropy and humanism. However, the superstitions it brings back are not those which lightened life and awakened hopes in the Middle Ages, but those which made life unbearable. The nineteenth century brought back faith in evil and rejected faith in good ; it abdicated both the Kingdom of Heaven and faith in earthly happiness — that is, that earthly paradise that the Renaissance and the eighteenth century believed in. The nineteenth century is not only an age of superstition; it also denies philanthropy and humanism as reflected in particular in the doctrines of modern criminologists. In rejecting philanthropy and accepting Darwinism, the present century has accepted struggle as a legitimate occupation, thus endowing a blind tool of nature with a conscious
purpose. The armaments of today are in complete harmony with its convictions, and only the backward – who wish to be regarded as progressives – reject war.
At the same time the nineteenth century is the direct result and true stirp of the preceding centuries, the direct consequence of that separation of the heavenly from the earthly which is a complete distortion of Christianity, whose precept is to unite the heavenly with the earthly, the divine with the human. General resurrection, immanent resuscitation carried out with all the heart, thought and actions – that is, by all the power and abilities – of all the sons of man, is the implementation of the precept of Christ, Son of God and also Son of Man.
A memorandum from the 'unlearned' to the 'learned' Russian secular scholars, written with the war fought against Islam (1877-8) and the expected war against the West in mind, and ending with the approaching 500th jubilee of St Sergius
This part of the memorandum is addressed to Russian scholars, the scholars of an agricultural, patriarchal, continental country, that is to say, one of climatic extremes ; moreover, a country suffering from soil exhaustion and subject to periodic and increasingly frequent crop failures. It is addressed to the learned of a country where the need to regulate natural phenomena is so obvious that it is incomprehensible how they could have overlooked it.
1.Only excerpts are given from Part II, since much of it is a restatement of Fedorov's views on the Holy Trinity as a model for the transfiguration of humanity, a model not provided by either Islam or Buddhism; moreover, the original Part II also deals at length with matters relevant only to some aspects of Russian medieval history, in particular to the spiritual influence of St Sergius of Radonezh (d.1392), founder of a monastery consecrated to the Holy Trinity (now Zagorsk). Fedorov compiled Part II of FOD in 1891, on the eve of St Sergius's fifth centenary.
True religion is the cult of ancestors, the cult of all the fathers as one father inseparable from the Triune God, yet not merged with Him. In Him the
indissoluble union of all sons and daughters with the fathers is divinised, while they still retain their individuality. To abdicate universality is to distort religion; it is characteristic of pagan religions which venerated only the gods and ancestors of their own nations... and even of those Christian denominations which restrict salvation to those of their ancestors who were baptised. Separating our forefathers from the Triune God is a distortion of religion, as is the limitation of its universality.
God Himself confirms the truth that religion is the cult of ancestors by calling Himself the God of the fathers. We have no right to separate our fathers from God, or God from our fathers; neither have we the right to merge them with Him, that is to say, to permit their absorption (which would mean merging God and nature), nor to limit the circle of fathers to our own tribe or race. The doctrine of the Trinity divinises the universality of religion and its catholicity, as well as the indivisibility of the fathers and God (while remaining unmerged). Therefore it condemns not only segregation and division, but also deism which separates God from the fathers and pantheism which merges them with God. Both deism and pantheism lead to atheism, that is, to the acceptance of a blind force and its veneration and submission to it. Venerating a blind force means deifying it, assuming it to be alive. Such worship and deification are not religion but mere distortion, while the present subservience to the blind force is a negation of religion; it engenders either practical technology (manufactures) or its diabolical (military) application to destruction. The negation of religion consists in using the blind force not for true and good purposes, but for evil ones; to submit to it (under the guise of mastering it) is to submit to sexual selection (through manufactures) and to natural selection (through all types of destruction). Serving God entails transforming the blind, death-bearing force into a life-giving one, by controlling it. Contrary to the exploitation and utilisation of nature – that is, its plundering by prodigal sons to pander to women's caprice – which only leads to exhaustion and death, regulation brings about the restoration of life.
If religion is the cult of ancestors or the universal prayer of all the living for all the dead, then nowadays there is no religion because there are no cemeteries adjoining churches. And in these sacred places reigns the abomination of desolation... [To overcome such neglect] museums, especially natural science museums, and schools should be built in the vicinity of cemeteries... To save cemeteries, a radical change is necessary: society's centre of gravity should be moved to the countryside... Such a relocation would also be conducive to union with other nations, starting with the French. In view of the present (1891) relations among nations, union should start with France rather
than with the Slavonic peoples. However, neither exhibitions nor naval visits can be regarded as the beginnings of unification. 2
2.A reference to the official visit of a French naval squadron to Kronstadt (St Petersburg's naval base) as a preliminary to the signing of the 1891 Franco-Russian Alliance. In 1889 a French Exhibition had been held in Moscow.
Unification could be started only by an exchange of the products of the mind and by congresses concerned with the study (helped by armies) of the effect of explosives on atmospheric phenomena, or any other means of affecting those phenomena, and by founding a joint institution for such research that would promote and develop a rapprochement. It would be both immoral and unwise to expect such a rapprochement to come about automatically in the course of history.
Having recognised that an exchange of the products of the mind is more essential than an exchange of handicrafts (even those made by artistic French hands, as shown at the exhibition), one must admit that even intellectual exchanges do not suffice for closer cooperation. What is needed is action – joint action – but this action must not be war,3 even with scholarly Germany, that representative of inactive pure knowledge and of knowledge applied to militarism...
3. Relations between Russia and Germany had been strained since the Berlin Treaty of 1878, which had thwarted Russia of the fruits of her hard-won victories over Turkey and accorded only a limited independence to the Slavs in the Balkans.
The union of all nations will obviate the need for forcible annexations or continued domination of some over others. This is the meaning of the inscription over the Moscow Rumyantsev Museum, ‘non solum armis’.4 This task requires not only intelligence but also feeling; so the educated class will become the organ not merely of thought but of feeling too – that is, it will cease being a class indifferent to common human suffering.
4.The Rumyantsev Museum was founded in 1826 to house the collections of Count Nikolai Petrovich Rumyantsev, eldest son of the famous general and statesman Pyotr Alexandrovich Rumyantsev-Zadunaisky. In 1861 this collection of books and artefacts was moved to Moscow, and in 1867 its library (where Fcdorov worked) was further enriched by the addition of the Chertkov collection of ancient Russian and Slavonic books and manuscripts. After the Revolution, the museum's exhibits were allocated to other museums and the library renamed after Lenin. Modern books are now kept in the new building, but the old one (sometimes referred to as Pashkov House, after the name of its first owner) still houses the collections of ancient books and manuscripts.
...As long as history was limited to the shores of seas and oceans, that is to say, to territories influenced by them, where
the benevolent sky inflicted neither scorching heat nor excessive cold, nor downpours nor droughts, human labour was confined to the earth and, furthermore, to certain parts of the earth, and not to the planet as a whole; and it certainly did not extend as far as the sky. Then dissension dominated, because unity is possible only in heaven, where solar energy affects meteorological processes, and when it is controlled by humans. When the continental countries free themselves from the influence of the maritime ones and become active and independent – when they emerge on to the historical scene – being so liable to scorching heat, extremely hard frosts, floods and droughts, they will understand the need for weather control and will find unity in a task common to all. With soil exhaustion exacerbating the unfavourable weather conditions, people will realise the importance of the Earth as a celestial body and the importance of celestial bodies as terrestrial forces; they will realise where the exhausted Earth can and must draw its energy, and that the Earth, separated from other celestial bodies, can bear only mortals and, therefore, will increasingly become a cemetery. They will come to see that the knowledge of the Earth as a celestial body and that of celestial bodies as earths cannot remain idle knowledge...
So long as no direct communication links the most continental country with its outlying territories, either from the west (St Petersburg-Odessa) to the east (Nikolaevsk-Vladivostok) or from north-west to south-east (from the far northern ice-free harbour of Rybachi peninsula to a point on the Pacific), and so long as communications depend on sea routes, maritime countries will predominate. However, as soon as these outlying territories become linked by direct overland railways, the continental countries will come into their own. Despite such names as Vladivostok and Vladikavkaz 5 this should not lead to domination over other nations but to their unification. Indeed, centres of unification such as Constantinople and the Pamir lie not in any continental country but between the continental and oceanic belts. Moreover, there might arise the possibility of global cooperation, because a transcontinental railway will require a trans-Pacific telegraph, which together with the existing transcontinental lines will form the first electric ring around the globe.
5.The phoneme Vlad in Vladivostok and Vladikavkaz (now Ordzhonikidze) is the root of the verb vladet', meaning ‘to possess’.
Could this ring be electrified by the magnetism of the Earth? Could a spiral of such rings have effect on the Earth, which is a natural magnet? Could they affect clouds and thunderstorms (belts of dead calm and gales) as a kind of meteoric equator? Could such rings shift those bells? Could they be used as an apparatus encircling the Earth to regulate the meteoric processes affecting the Earth ? Could globe-encircling
cables supported by aerostats with lightning conductors be lifted into the thunderstorm belt ? And, finally, could there be any wars when every country's harvest would depend on an apparatus encircling the whole planet and managed by all? 6
6.Telephone cables obviously have not affected the magnetism of the Earth. However, in the late 1970s there was some talk in the USSR of siting all nuclear power stations beyond the Arctic Circle, away from densely populated regions. In this connection the question was raised whether high-tension transmission lines radiating southwards from the vicinity of the magnetic pole could perhaps in some way affect the Earth's magnetism ; see N. Dollezhal and Yu. Koryakin, 'Yadernaya energctika : dostigeniya i problcmy', Kommunisi, 1979, n° 14, pp. 19-28, and N.M. Mamedov, 'Ekolo-gicheskaya problema i tekhnicheskie nauki Voprosy filosofii, 1980, np 5, pp. 111-20.
Such specialised problems would be part of joint activities, uniting the human race the world over. We presume that the use of a world network of telegraph cables for such a purpose is undoubtedly more important than the transmission of commercial telegrams.
Global communications by land and sea, rail and ship, require energy. Past energy received by the planet and embodied in coal, peat, and the like, is insufficient to maintain unifying communications among the inhabitants of the Earth; so use will have to be made of the force which gives rise to storms, hurricanes, and so on. A united humanity will become the consciousness of the planet Earth and of its relationships with other heavenly bodies.
By recognising ourselves, according to Christian criteria, as the mortal sons of all the deceased fathers, we would recognise the transcendence of God (His externality to the world), but this could only be the case if we, the living sons of deceased father, failed to consider ourselves to be the instruments of God in the task of returning our fathers to life (the immanence of God). One should not remove the Immortal Being from the world and leave it mortal and imperfect, nor should one confuse God with a world where reign blindness and death. Our task is to make nature, the forces of nature, into an instrument of universal resuscitation and to become a union of immortal beings. The problem of God's transcendence or immanence will only be solved when humans in their togetherness become an instrument of universal resuscitation, when the divine word becomes our divine action. If it is true that Semites tend to deism and Aryan
tribes to pantheism, then in the doctrine of the Trinity as a commandment both will find pacification, for this commandment prescribes peace to all tribes.
The Divine Being, which is itself the perfect model for society, a unity of independent, immortal persons, in full possession of feeling and knowledge, whose unbreakable unity excludes death – such is the Christian idea of God. In other words, in the Divine Being is revealed what humanity needs to become immortal. The Trinity is the Church of the Immortals and its human image can only be a church of the resurrected. Within the Trinity there are no causes for death, and all the conditions for immortality. An understanding of the Divine Trinity can be attained only by achieving universal human multi-unity. So long as in actual life the independence of individuals is expressed in their disunity, and their unity in enslavement, universal human multi-unity modelled on the Trinity will be only a mental image, an ideal. If, however, we reject the separation of thought from action, then the Three-in-One will be not merely an ideal but a project, not merely a hope but a commandment.
One learns to understand only by doing. Our understanding of God increases with unity and, conversely, decreases with discord. If our thought processes result from experience, and experience shows only enmity and enslavement, and if in life we witness only either fragmentation into individuals hostile to one another (manifest in paganism) or the Muslim absorption of many by a single personality, it becomes obvious that only the victory of the moral law, its complete triumph, can make us understand the Triune Being: that is to say, we will understand Him only when we (humanity as a whole) become the union of many or, better still, when in our togetherness we become like a single being. Then unity will not manifest itself in domination, and the will to individual independence not in discord, but there will be complete mutual understanding and trust.
Will the realisation by humanity of the Christian idea of God be also that of the law of love? External authority can impose silence, but not conviction and truth; and disunity leads directly to the negation of truth and justice. Truth requires the same conditions as good: namely, the absence of oppression (by any external authority) in the search for truth, and the absence of discord. There is no truth or justice in the West because of disunity, and none in the East because of oppression.
The man who, out of feelings of love – and not of self-interest, as nineteenth-century people would assume, projecting their attitudes into the past – the first man who, although he was capable of living separately and independently, yet did not leave his parents even after their death, can be said to have been the first son of man; and with him began tribal life, tribal religion (ancestor worship) and our human society. If at different times and in different places there arose other progenitors, the possibility of there having been several does not invalidate the unity of humankind, because the unity of the Common Cause – that of resuscitation – is the highest form of unity.
The grief of a son mourning the death of his father is truly universal, because death as a law (or, rather, an inevitable hazard) of blind nature could not fail to arouse intense pain in a being who has attained consciousness, and who can and must achieve the transition from a world dominated by this blind force of nature to a world governed by consciousness, and where there is no place for death. This universal grief is both objective because of the universality of death and subjective because mourning a father's death is common to all. Truly universal grief is the regret for having been lacking in love for the fathers, and for one's own excessive self-love. It is sorrowing for a distorted world, for its fail, for the estrangement of sons from fathers and of consequences from causes.
However, we cannot speak of universal grief if we grieve over the death of our fathers not because we have survived them, that is, failed in our love for them, but merely because their death implies our own. Nor can we regard as universal grief that manifested by our intelligentsia, for it is universal neither in volume nor in content. To demand happiness, unearned in any way, to demand all good things without labour, to desire for one person what should belong to all and to grieve that this is not possible, is merely selfish world-weariness which excludes others from happiness. Obermann7 admits that he was not unhappy, merely not happy. This is an offence on the part of God and the world against him. Why was the world not created solely to be at his service? This is what Obermann complains about. Rene,8 who
shuns all activity, especially that of earning his daily bread, does not question his right to live, only his failure to enjoy it.
7.Obermann : the principal character of the French novel of the same name by Senancour (1804).
8. Rene : a similar character in a story by Chateaubriand, first included in his Gertie du Christianisme (1802).
In general, grieving about the impossibility of happiness in onliness or even of happiness limited to one generation cannot be called universal grief. Nor can one regard as universal the so-called civic grief, such as that displayed over the failure of the French Revolution or the failed ideals of the Renaissance which, incidentally, were very limited. Universal Christian grief is the sorrowing over disunity (that is, over enmity and hatred and their ensuing consequences such as suffering and death), and this sorrow is repentance ; it is something active that includes hope, expectation and trust. Repentance is the recognition of one's guilt over disunity and of one's duty to work for unification in universal love in order to eliminate the consequences of disunity.
Buddhism, negative and passive, grieves also over evil, but does not see disunity, hate and enmity as the greatest evil; nor does it see unification and universal love as the greatest good. On the contrary, Buddhism hopes to destroy evil by abdicating love and affection. It encourages life in isolation, in separateness, in the desert; a life of constant meditation and inaction; and then laments the illusoriness of the world. As if not only thoughts and day-dreams but also the manifestations of the forces of nature – uncontrolled by us – are nothing but ghostly, elusive, transient phenomena indistinguishable from visions and mirages! Therefore life itself becomes either a pleasant but delusory dream or an oppressive nightmare. Indeed, natural phenomena will remain visions until they become the product of the general will and activity of all humans, acting as God's tools. And notions will remain ghostly and dream-like until they become projects, blueprints for the works to be achieved by the general human will and that of God manifested in it.
Implicitly the doctrine of the Son of Man embraces also the daughter, because with the son she shares not only a common birth but also a common knowledge. When speaking of the Son of Man as the Word, that is, as the knowledge which leads to divine likeness, the daughter too must partake of the knowledge of the fathers (seen as one father) and in the knowledge of nature, to
transform it from a death-bearing into a life-giving force. The daughter of man is especially called to repentance, to self-knowledge, to the knowledge of being the daughter of all the deceased fathers, to the rank of myrrh-bearing woman (bringing life), thus rising far above any woman physician who is capable merely of healing. Moreover the parable of the prodigal son concerns not only sons. Our forgetting brotherhood and God – the perfect Being – highlights our imperfection, our unworthiness. This in turn leads to self-knowledge and a conscious recognition of our superiority over other creatures, since the sons of man should always keep in their mind's eye the image of the Son, and the daughters that of the Holy Spirit.9 In this sense the former should always strive for a likeness to the Son of God, and the latter to a likeness to the Holy Spirit.
9.In ancient Syriac, the Holy Spirit is referred to as she. In many languages, including Church Slavonic, the dove – symbol of the Holy Spirit – is a feminine noun. Fedorov refers to book 2, article 26, of the Apostolic Rules, where the bishop is compared to the Father, the deacon to the Son, and the deaconess to the Holy Spirit.
Do we conform to the criteria of the Gospels when we take the Holy Spirit as a model for the daughter of man? It would show our indifference, insincerity and dead faith not to take as model for both individuals and society the One God, venerated in three Persons. The model of the children — to whom belongs the Kingdom of God – implies that filial love is not only the love of sons but also, obviously, that of daughters. If the kingdom of God is an image of the Deity, then the Deity is the spiritualised Son and Daughter imbued with boundless love for the Father.
...The state has arisen as an exceptional measure against the danger of mutual tribal extermination, or for the defence of one group of tribes against another group that had formed an alliance to destroy or enslave the former. The state will be necessary until worldwide brotherhood is achieved. Uncon-. sciously, universal kinship is beginning to come about but in a distorted way.
The minorship of the human race is nowhere more evident than in the superstitious veneration of everything natural, the acceptance of the supremacy of blind nature over intelligent beings (natural morality). It is not the savages who are in this state of childishness and minority, not young nations, but the ageing ones which do not notice their superstitions and even pride themselves on being
free from superstition. This happened in ancient history, it is happening now, and this state of childishness usually begins during the era of a nation's decline, though the nation believes itself to be at the zenith of its civilisation. The present puerility of Western Europe is a form of paganism, though secularised since the era of the so-called Renaissance. Death is venerated too, as being natural. The fear of death leads to regarding death itself as a liberation from this agonising fear, to writing laudatory hymns and glorifying it (the bards of death – Leopardi, [the nineteenth-century French poetess Louise Victorine] Schequet, Ackermann and others).
Nature is regarded as a death-bearing, self-destructive force, but not because of its blindness. Yet where can a blind force lead except to death ? Humans admit nature to be a blind force even when they regard themselves as part of it and accept death as a kind of law and not as a mere accident which has permeated nature and become its organic vice. Yet death is merely the result or manifestation of our infantilism, lack of independence and self-reliance, and of our incapacity for mutual support and the restoration of life. People are still minors, half-beings, whereas the fulness of personal existence, personal perfection, is possible. However, it is possible only within general perfection. Coming of age will bring perfect health and immortality, but for the living immortality is impossible without the resurrection of the dead.
...The deepest and fullest assimilation of the idea of duty is needed in order not to fall into despair and lose hope, and in order to remain always faithful to God and the ancestors, because humanity will have to overcome difficulties of such magnitude as may frighten away the most daring imaginations. Only hard and prolonged labour will purify us in the fulfilment of our duty, bring us to resurrection and the communion with the Triune Being, while we remain, like Him, independent, immortal persons, capable of feeling and conscious of our oneness. Only then will we have the ultimate proof of the existence of God and behold Him face to face.