I. Community as God
II. Communality and Individualism
III. Greece or Hellas?
IV. He Mission of Christianity
V. From the Community Against Individualism to the Community Against the Community
VI. Who is Right: the Orthodox God or the Catholic God?
VII. Cosmos or Earth, Matter or Life?
VIII. The Genesis of Orthodoxy
IX. The Genesis of Catholicism
X. The History of Russia in the Context of the Evolution of the National Spirit and Orthodoxy
XI. Russia in the Early Twenty-First Century
XII. Russia in the Twenty-First Century (2030-2100)
The spirit of the Hellenic civil community (democracy) disappeared, but one of its most notable products remained, the spirit of philosophy, individual creative freedom and the great path to God, the “path from below.” This path was embodied by the image of Christ. Christ also embodied the “path from above” since Jesus Christ, in contrast to the philosophers, found not only truth, the god of Plato, but the Living God, the path of humble appeal to God in the search for answers to the questions of life, society and man. Odysseus became Christ, but not returning to Hellas, but returning humanity to God.
This upset everything. If previously the magnificent philosophical abstractions progressively pushed out the living gods who had become entangled in invented relationships of late paganism, and turned them into empty symbols and fostered the weakening of links between individuals and the communal consciousness, then Christ showed men the path to the new God, to new faith. The new God was created by collective revelation, and Christ explained this to the people. Philosophy, which had already dominated religion for three centuries, now came under the sway of a new God and in the next three centuries became accustomed to its new role, occasionally cooperating with the religious consciousness, and at other times revolting against it.
Arguments about the character and place of Christ continued for some five hundred years. The main theme of these arguments was the issue of the relationship between Christ (God the Son and the Word) and God the Father. The range of heresies was wide: from complete rejection of Christ as God, to recognition of Christ as an entity performing one of God’s roles, i.e. complete merging of his personality with that of God the Father. Both extremes were similar in their consequences.
What was the argument really about? This was an issue of priorities and paths of development of Roman civilization. If Christ had been turned into a man, into one of the biblical prophets of God, then the new Christian God would have been similar to that God of the Jews. But for the Jews the role of Christ was taken by the “chosen people” with God’s Law clearly outlining the place and relationships of the individual and the community for a people that had already gone through not only an individualist evolution, but had also completed a communal revolution during the days of Moses, more than a thousand years prior to the advent of Christ.
What is a communal revolution? It is the coming of a national community to replace the primitive community and the mythology based on this community. It is the appearance of a whole super-personality, a nation united by a single language (even if in dialects) and a single religion, i.e. belief in a single God-Nation. We shouldn’t be confused by the seemingly international character of Christianity. This is the same kind of quasi-thing as the spirit of the single nation in Ancient Greece. Actually, until the very rise of Christianity the Athenians considered themselves more Athenians than Greeks, and the Spartans considered themselves more Spartan, etc. Their nation rested in their nation states.
So the Jews faced no risk of getting lost in the single and indivisible God, of falling under an unconditional but, most importantly, the single authority of the religious-communal I. The Greeks did run this risk, and in this case Christianity would have become essentially Moslem. But during the great age of the birth of national spirit as the spirit of the one God, and not the commonwealth or hierarchy of multiple gods of the pagan pantheon, it was initially established by communal providence that in the following centuries individualism took on new forms and organic I-communities during subsequent centuries in philosophical and theological arguments, and also in real battles, sometimes to the death. The time of Islam, the Islamic revolution, which pushed aside individualism as a system competing with the communal establishment, had not yet arrived, and there the basis was quite different; there was a different cultural soil.
The mission of early Christianity was to preserve the great cultural diversity created by Greek civilization and structurally organized around the balance of communal and individualistic elements.
During the early centuries of its existence Christianity dismissed as extreme the non-deification of Christ, as well as the other extreme, i.e. his complete blurring with God the Father. Both these extremes led to the same consequences: the Islamization of Christianity. In place of the spirit of super-authorities, the authority of the real national community and the authority of the ideal human personality, there would be only one super-authority. The unit would have become a zero (thanks to Mayakovsky for figuring this out).
The main argument was going on in the center, quite far from the most extreme forms of heresy. Gradually, by the fourth century, the view of Christ as a being almost equal to God the Father prevailed. According to this notion, Christ was also immortal and very rarely took on human form. He was inextricably linked with the Father who, in His turn, used His Son as a proxy. Only the Holy Spirit comes only from the Father and not the Son.
What is the Holy Spirit, the third member of the Trinity?
These are the very judges in the human soul who allow man to distinguish truth from untruth, the good from the bad, the beautiful from the ugly. After the arguments of the early centuries, Greek Christianity could answer without doubt: everything true that can be perceived in the human soul comes only from the I-community, but not from the I-individual, even if this individual (Christ) is considered a part of this I-community. Only the “path from above,” only prayer, the liturgy and divine grace provide truth in the last instance and possess complete and incontrovertible authority, but not the “path from below,” i.e. philosophy and reason, even “divine” reason, or theology. The “path from below” was destined to be exonerated by Latin Christianity, i.e. Catholicism.
This begs a very interesting question to which I have yet to find an answer. Is God the Son a symbol of the perfect individual, an example of obedience to God the Father and thus only a myth, or is he a real part of God, something like his cortex, or the conscious over the unconscious. If the first is true, then Christianity is more a clever mythological doctrine that has become a Noah’s Ark for individualism, and Islam is a truer religion that has maintained there is no God other than the Community. This means that the enslaved state of individualism in the new cycle of Greek history after the year 750 also makes sense. The result of this allowance is also interesting, although it means little for the historical concept being considered here: there is no immortality for the individual. The individual, the human soul disappears following physical death.
If in the new super-community there are not only I-communities, but also an I-individual similar to the average human I, and these interact the way reason and the soul interact (one speaks, offers, perceives the outside world, and the other answers, suffers and colors all external events in its own light), then God thinks not only in a way that we cannot understand, making it possible to see the essence of things and envision the future, but also thinks like a human, i.e. in words, concepts and rational thoughts, in “if… then” hypotheses. If we recognize this, then with a bit of effort we can recognize the fact that after death humans discover a niche for their own individuality in God. But what does this mean physically? It means that our brain contains not only God, but a billion dead souls, but this is something more akin to philosophical science fiction and not a subject for this article. Moreover, we can postulate a different physical model emanating from the field and not from substance. So let us return to the topic at hand.
If the second opinion is correct, i.e. the idea that Christ is not a symbol but a Living God like God the Father, then Christianity has not even discovered, but created a unique synthesis in a new communal spirit, and has been the first to create the rational God in human understanding. In the opening pages of the Bible we read Genesis and of the creation of man in God’s image on the sixth day (Christ? Logos?) and man from the dust of the earth (man himself?) on the seventh day! This means that Judaism had already “discovered” the Trinity!
In what follows we will accept the first opinion as our starting point since it is easier to recognize that the nature of the communal I has remained unchanged. The I of the community has remained the I of the community, rather than a combination of two I’s, those of the community and the super-individual. It is quite possible that this is incorrect, but it will help us to preserve a relatively balanced approach to both opinions and, consequently, a critical approach to both doctrines.
Let’s return to the authority of God the Son. God the Son (God the Word) does not emanate the Holy Spirit himself, but the Father passes the Spirit through Him. This is the formula that was accepted by Christianity after many years of searching and arguing during the first centuries of our era. This meant recognizing not only the super-authority of the Son, but also the fact that his super-authority was less than that of the Father. He (the Father) is essential. Everything comes from the Father, and all other beings are nothing but intermediaries. Christianity retained individualism, but established for it a condition: complete obedience, mediation, but no independent role. This was the main cultural code that would later develop into multiple forms of material and “material” culture. This code is something like the first fractal which, later, bifurcating severally, gave birth to magnificent cultural forms.
Despite many academic theological deceits, in the mass consciousness and in objective reality the image of Christ as the likeness of man (“truly a man, but without sin”), a man who is not only a believer, but also a thinker, one who speaks and feels, did indeed solidify. It is this image that exonerated man who felt himself an individual and not just a part of the community.
The Holy Spirit, which created along with other spirits the spirit of human commonality, not around an idea, but around God the Word, demanded a philosophy of its own. This philosophy, which laid a rational foundation beneath the revelation, was the neo-Platonic philosophy. Many of the founding fathers of Christianity were both neo-Platonics and believers at the same time. Neo-Platonism paints a picture of the world similar to that of Christianity: there is an inconceivable and impartial God or, in other words, the world of ideas (archetypes, genetypes), there is the Logos, which makes the perception of this world accessible to man and which creates the world man perceives. And there is the world of processes, the unstable and temporary world in which we live. Since that time philosophical thought (and not scientific though) has not created anything more harmonic and all-encompassing.
Later the kernel of Christ’s divinity, like the embodiment of ideal individualism, would spring room in Catholicism with a new rise of individualism all the way to its new freedom during the Renaissance, then to the further freedom of the Reformation. In Catholicism as early as the Dark Ages (500-1000), the “minor” revision of the Main Dogma had already occurred. The world “filioque” had been added. This word means that the Holy Spirit comes from the Son as well. We have already discussed the significance of this step. This meant in practice the complete sovereignty of the “path from below” and opened the road to scholastic theology which, in effect, used sophism to debase belief, which led to the complete and utter perversion of the papacy in the sixteenth century. But this is also the origin of the atmosphere of spiritual quests that led to the rapid growth of lay culture in Western Europe.
Catholicism would also accept the idea of purgatory, thus showing the individual the path to recession and salvation and giving sinners hope. Once again, we see here not so much the heavenly or orthodox nature but the earthly and practical nature of the Western branch of Christianity. Sinners could now obtain the main indulgence and said “Sin, but remember that you will be punished and pay for each sin with suffering.” This taught men to count their sins rather than immersing themselves in sin thinking that there was no road back, or the reverse: leading a saintly life. Rationalism, calculating, inventorying and self discipline all emerge from the idea of purgatory.
Orthodoxy, which during the seventh through ninth centuries underwent strong influence from Islam, became almost completely Islamic during the eighth century, and at one point even rejected icons. By the way, this was the time of Orthodoxy’s “long winter,” the time of its greatest weakness, a time of death or grave illness of the God of the Greek nation. But nevertheless it managed to retain its Christian elements. It is not unfounded that Orthodox theologians consider that Orthodox Christians were the only ones to remain faithful to the commandments of the Church’s founding fathers.
But Orthodoxy could not and did not want to free individualism. On the contrary, having set the conclusions of the early centuries in stone, it banished the spiritual quest of these early centuries. Instead of seeking Christ, whether earthly or divine, Orthodoxy found itself seeking collective and individual paths to God the Father. In this the Church displayed not only its conservatism, but also its creative spirit.
Orthodox Christianity turned Christ into an abstract figure, a double of God the Father, and the Orthodox mass consciousness turned Him into something like a leader for the flock. So in Orthodox theology He lacks His own face. Orthodox iconography is static and divine, but at the same time Western iconography is personal and individualist. In the mass Orthodox mentality, Christ without His divine super-authority became nothing but a reflection and continuation of the super-authority of God the Father. From the depths of Eastern Orthodoxy would later emerge a kind of mystical Christianity that taught that God the Father should be sought directly, like light or energy.
What was so bad about individualism that at the beginning of this era it had to be “saved,” “hidden” and dressed in religious clothing?
Not because at that time individualism was simply weak, then “grew up,” but because the problems and demons it released also grew. Individualism is inherently bad in that it is subjective, i.e. a decision of true and false for any perceived idea is made in the soul of each person, whereas the scientific method of validation has a fairly narrow application, especially to humanities issues (we saw an example of the social experiment not long ago on laboratory animals). Based on the “path from below” and all the achievements of logic and positive (creative) intuition it is impossible to determine who is right and who is not right. Only the authority recognized by all is capable of influencing the decision, but even the latter is often insufficient and there aren’t that many authorities after all.
Only immersion in the community consolidates people around truth and super-authority. Moreover, immersion in the community unites minds in the purely physical sense and fortifies them immensely. Now a real thinking organism is created, and this organism will at some point be studied by science. For now it is only a matter for theology.
Communality and individualism always went hand in hand. Individual experience provided reason with facts and events from life, words and inventions, ideas and ideological maps, and reason gave back in return ready values and revelations, and carried out spiritual (soul) tests and, in essence, synthesized ideologies. But the communal mind itself is cyclical, and this means that it is not ideal, it is not absolute, but rather develops on the basis of its own prediction (“divine providence”) for 600-700 years into the future.
Why 600-700 years? Because a “long cycle” consists of 768 years, but a “long winter” takes up one quarter of this period. Perhaps this is why the number 666 is considered demonic; because it limits the time of activity of the concrete embodiment of the communal I?
During a “long winter” we see decay, impotence and the illness of a particular embodiment of the super-community. Perhaps such a cyclical pattern is an acquired characteristic not known to an organic primitive community? The death of God became the toll for the dynamization of the communal consciousness, for transforming it from a singularly and absolutely conservative element that had for several thousand years resisted the erosion of its primitive communal organization into an element that is more protective than retrograde, into a conservatively dynamic element. But having allowed material life to develop, having dynamized the material basis, God also recognized the fact that He shouldn’t just manage and form things, but also adapt to these new forms, which means regularly passing on only to be born again with new basic values. The death of God also means the victory of the Devil, but the Devil is not just a symbol of death or the weakness of God; the Devil is the death gene of God, something necessary and unavoidable in making sure the evolution of humanity marches on. So it isn’t man who became mortal by tasting of the apple, but the very God of Man who became moral after tasting the forbidden fruit of individualism and progress. The God of Nature forgave him for this but said “Live, then die, otherwise nothing will work.” Death is payment for development. Death (with subsequent rebirth) of the national community is the revenge of the primitive community for the national community’s having unfettered human individuality.
Born at the end of a “long winter,” the new God is embarking on his “spring” expansion. His expansion can be observed primarily in people’s minds. He is aggressive and expansionist, drawing people into wars and forcing them to forget their own lives and their own interests.
During the “summer” his influence is complete and multi-faceted, but by the end of the period he begins to “stall,” isolated mistakes begin to occur and gaps are observed in the material basis.
During the “autumn” God’s mistakes can no longer be concealed, concrete embodiments become inadequate, and this may even end in the temporary ascendancy of the antichrist, as happened with the triumph of communism in Russia. The early part of the period usually sees great spiritual revelations and particularly profound works of art and poetry are created during this time.
During the early “winter” an aging God who can no longer effectively influence the course of history and the behavior of people and communities, makes his people vulnerable and weak and, what is even worse, he practically turns over the initiative to the death gene he bears as a living organism and Satan (the Devil) appears before the people as a messenger of death, the father of all destructive movements. But at the same time, room is made for spiritual quests and new experience is gained. If the people survives, then it is reborn. This is how it usually happens. Human suffering and their life during this period are eased by the influence of “non-winter” peoples.
In what does the truth or untruth of Orthodoxy, or the truth or untruth of Catholicism consist? Orthodoxy more faithfully reflects the actual state of things (like Islam): there is a God-Community and there is man, and in between the two stands the Holy Spirit, who is accessible to humans through grace. God the Son is not a source of the Spirit, but is a conductor of this Spirit, who puts the will and wisdom of God the Father into words. But even here he isn’t necessary. That means that in Orthodoxy God the Son practically loses all signs of His individuality, at least of his heavenly personality with an independent meaning for humans. This means that in the heavens He has been given the anonymous role of a simple translator of the will and wisdom of God the Father, and on Earth people just await His new earthly embodiment and remember the first time he alighted, i.e. see him not as a currently living God, but as a God who once lived and who “at the end of days” will return for His next earthly life.
Is there anything false in this? Yes, there is a small falsehood, a slightly smaller one than that contained in Catholicism. The falsehood exists in the fact that God the Son is considered a personality of the Living God although He is probably not one of His aspects and is not considered as such by the Orthodox consciousness.
But the greatest error of Orthodoxy lies in the fact that, having faithfully reflected Man’s psychological nature, Orthodoxy has unavoidably absolutized this nature (God can do everything, not just in the spirit, but in nature as well) and rejects (but hasn’t rejected once and for all, rather constantly rejects and fights) the correct image of Nature as a broader system than God.
It would seem that all religions see God as an absolute and ascribe an all-encompassing might to him. But here Catholicism appears more complex and appropriate, having absolutized God in form and, in essence, setting up a framework for him. Eastern Orthodoxy, which absolutizes God the Father and practically merges Him with God the Son, artfully and organically, peacefully and sacredly, but in an unstable, developing or degrading world provides only one product in abundance: consolation. So the main value of all Orthodox cultures is the value defined by the words “tolerance,” “adaptation” and “consolation.”
Catholicism is more active. It recognized the autonomy of the personality of God the Son both formally and in practice. God the Son, while emanating the Holy Spirit, communes with His flock directly. This is more likely pure myth contradicting the MainDogma. Herein lies the falsehood, the source of ambiguity and contradiction. But herein also lies the beauty, a beauty not of harmony, but of freedom!
A Catholic, in appealing to the heavenly Christ, appeals to the image of man who has lived on the earth and to his living embodiment, the Catholic Church. Faith is very perceptive and finds God the Father “in heaven” but does not find the face of God the Son as a separate entity. The contradiction goes further when different goals are sought: historical Christ, i.e. Christ the man and the Church as headed by the authoritative Pope.
The falsehood of Catholicism lies in the fact that it has distorted the real image of the Communal God, breaking the image of Christ away from the former as if we were viewing a mortal’s soul as separate from his mind, as two wills. By the way, the difference between Catholicism and Orthodoxy is more subtle because both branches of Christianity profess the single will of the Father and the Son. But there is a difference between what is formal and what is understood. Formally recognizing the single will of the Trinity, in practice (according to their understanding) the Catholics have broken this will into two wills, accepting the modification that the Holy Spirit also emanates from the Son. This is a classic example of how an idea thrown out the door comes back through the window. But it has managed to sneak in, spiritually enriching Catholicism and making it more multi-faceted and less rigorous.
Catholicism distorted the image of God, the image of the Trinity, but did not distort it as life itself distorts the image of the active man, as culture distorts nature and instead of wildly growing foliage gives us pruned shrubs and, in place of wild beasts, house pets.
Catholicism made Christ not a static Absolute and not a harmonious Consoler but, what is more likely, a complex of images allowing for individual choice and thus giving individualism equal status to that of the community. Thus Catholicism achieves not only the true God, as he is, but also recognizes His human images.
Is this good or bad? It is bad if society had remained static or returned to this state, but good for a dynamic society in which no matter how you look at it individualism plays the main moving role. In the end, Catholicism, without destroying the unified image of God, allows for the development of a critical and alien approach, and this means that it allows analysis and free philosophy access to veneration and faith. This is rife with consequences both good and bad.
From the point of view of the Communal God, both as a real being possessing dioceses in our brain and uniting people in a church in religious crowds in the temples and squares, Orthodoxy is a good, correct faith that expresses the fullness of life of the Communal God. The fullness of his life is embodied in the beauty of the Hagia Sophia in Constantinople. It is the beauty of God in the world with Man and hovering over him.
But the real God is also mortal. The Greek God and the Roman God are different living beings, just like the pagan and ritual unity is the flesh of God, and this flesh differs for the Greeks and the Romans.
Since God is not all-embracing even with respect to humanity, then he is also not all-embracing with respect to Nature, being not her Creator, but merely a link in her evolution, in the evolution of both animals and history, then in its love of God Orthodoxy is weaker rather than mighty and, in a broader context, wrong. That’s why God, loving the Orthodox, cannot always help them. Catholicism for the Communal God is a teaching not for a loving and beloved flock, but the teaching of friends, allies and partners who consider God not only with their hearts, but also with their minds and who have subjected God Himself to analysis. God gave them gothic churches that do not tower over men like the Hagia Sophia, but strive for the heavens.