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)
What path did the Latin version of Christianity travel? During the third through fifth centuries A.D. Western Europe was still a wild place even though it had been traversed by mass migrations. Only Italy remained a more or less civilized place although even it was overrun by barbarians and subjected to a barbarian leader. But Rome survived, the Pope continued to be based there, and even the Senate and other institutions of the republic of Rome remained. Monasteries also survived throughout Europe, and these preserved the Latin writings.
The great period of Roman expansion during the first century B.C. and the first century A.D. weakened the pagan Roman Spirit and the Italian people. Only intermingling with the more developed Greeks and their new “invention” Christianity allowed the Western Roman Empire to be revived during the third-fourth centuries and then be transformed into an invisible “empire” of monks.
On what main values was Roman society based after the reincarnation of the national Spirit during the third century? These were the values of the church, the church hierarchy. But instead of simple personal freedom (freedom found in the human personality, in human reason, or in philosophy) a purely Roman idea (perhaps Aryan?) of civil freedom dominated (the freedom to choose and control the authorities, the freedom of citizens to gather and discuss social issues, and freedom based on respect for the authority of Roman law). In place of the value of autocracy the value of political balance arose, whether it was a balance between the power of the emperor and the senate, the balance between the eastern and western empires, the balance between the barbarians and Rome, or the balance between Christ and God the Father, or better yet, with the Holy Spirit, or the balance between the human and divine natures of Christ, etc. This value could also be called the value of tolerance of different faiths, or just tolerance. Tolerance should be understood not as something forced, but tolerance as a positive value to which we would strive if we saw someone threatening to usurp all power over society. This is the great and creative value created by the Italian Community God during the third century A.D. It became a powerful stimulus in preserving the cultural treasures created by the peoples of the Empire during previous centuries. Possibly, this was a kind of legal sense of balance of interests, but was somehow broader, including this sense.
The idea of purgatory (a purely western idea), also reflects the idea of balance. Man is given to understand that even the gravest sinner has a chance. Of course he will need to make amends with God, but not all is lost, and the path to heaven is still open. The Romans used purgatory to balance the extremes of a sickeningly sweet heaven and hell, terrible to the point of indifference.
Perhaps the Achaean culture transported by the Greek colonists to Italian soil took root in the Roman civic community and took revenge for its defeat in Greece, having turned into the Latin version of Christianity by the third century A.D. In other words, the history of the West should be considered as the history of the struggle between Achaeism and the Aryan Spirit. This is quite a theory.
Since there were no imperial values among the Latin values, the center of the Empire quickly moved east, to Byzantium, where the emperors felt more comfortable. Despite the development of Christianity and its dissemination, individualism and the civil aspect flourished, and when the barbarians arrived (and they didn’t come all at once), almost all of the fifth century was a century that saw the decline of the Western Empire, and the former cultural forms drowned in the ocean of the great migration of peoples, new values helped islands of Latin culture adapt to this reality as well, and a barely noticeable creative effort to turn the barbarian peoples into Catholic Christians got underway.
During the Dark Ages of the sixth-tenth centuries there were no new ideas in the West and practically no new great names for Christianity or philosophy, and this was not necessary. The cultural revolution at that time was sinking in roots, but rather expanding, and the great struggle to bring Christian literacy to the population was on, although it did flag somewhat during the tenth century, a century of heavy frosts of the “great Roman winter,” a century of perverted popes and Catholic priests.
During the eleventh century (the end of the “great Roman winter”) work on Latinizing (Catholicizing) Europe was completed. Now a new period was underway. What were the values espoused by the Catholic Church and Italy?
The value of the Christian hierarchy as a hierarchy of church life that in some way replaced and not only complemented the idea of the state hierarchy, was transformed into a value not of a simple church spiritual organization, but into a value of the theocratic state, the Holy Empire. The value of civil freedom remained immutable, but the value of tolerance (patience) and the sense of balance it produced, that made it possible to walk the tightrope of outward contradictions, were lost: the Catholic world became strong enough to expend more effort not on creatively transforming the environment but on less energy-consuming expansion.
Since the idea of the theocratic state was separate from the idea of the church, the leftover idea of the Christian community was transformed into the value of the Catholic order, i.e. a certain kind of societal-communal institution with its own ideology and program that represented not merely the ideal of Catholicism and also had its own hierarchy and authorities and, as a rule, its own property. The order relied on its monasteries, maintained close relations with the papacy and also had an international character. This was in fact a state within a state. The order appeared from below, but obtained the patronage of the Pope and became part of the Catholic hierarchy. This was the veritable basis of the theocratic state conjured by the papacy, but was not limited to this, having in its foundation both the living Christian community and the ideology uniting individuals considerably more than the power of the Pope had managed to do. So the third value not of early Catholicism but of “middle” Catholicism was the value of the “order.” Despite its synthetic nature, the order took much from the party united by common ideas, i.e. the idea of moving from the individual to society, and not from the community to the individual, then to society.
To a certain extent the rise of the orders was conditioned by the striving of the papacy to counteract rising nation states such as the French, German and British states. They needed to be controlled by the Pope of Rome. But, as usually happens, an idea that initially was intended to defend and protect, after successful application was later turned into an aggressive idea. Soon the Catholic orders would become the main instrument of eastward expansion.
As a result of the further interaction of Catholicism and the orders with the spirits of nascent national cultures of the main Western European peoples, and also as a result of the new status of Catholicism as a community, as well as individualism in the image of God the Father and God the Son, a very rich and dynamic, internally contrasting and internally dictated Western European culture arose. This culture provided impetus to the development of all the main forms of both material and “material,” i.e. concretely spiritual (in political, economic and social systems) culture, but was marked by the triumph of scholasticism, the development of extreme forms of individualism that broke people down into separate units and led to great centrifugal tendencies in society itself. In contrast to Orthodoxy, which had created a spiritual and dynamic but socially static harmony, Catholicism created a flourishing and at times passion-dominated society; a society of freedom both for great and small; a society for which a lull in activity is equal to death; a society that at times would channel all its activity toward crusades or to fend off encroaching Turks, or to subdue the continents of America, Africa and India and finding itself in economic expansion. But in order to give birth to the “economic man” Catholicism had to be subjected to the Reformation. It was the English and German nations that reformed the Church in the sixteenth century that would in later centuries become the engines of economic development.
At about the same time (during the sixteenth century) another important historical event occurred: the Latin Spirit virtually lost its global mission just as a century earlier the Greek Genius had lost its mission. It was precisely at this time that the Bible was translated into national languages. In the Protestant countries Latin was quickly pushed out of church life. Now Italy was faced with developing as an average country and not as a Messianic nation. The papacy came to resemble the royal rule in England and the main source of its power became not the living Communal God, but the authority of tradition. Perhaps I’m wrong and this question demands further investigation.
The Holy Roman Empire was a reality for 800 years (perhaps its co-termination with a “long cycle” is no accident). The fall of the Empire, which occurred after the Latin language lost its role in the European church and after the rise of Protestantism, ended during the early seventeenth century with the brutal Thirty Years’ War that cut away two thirds of the German population, and the population of Western Europe as a whole was reduced by one third.
Starting with the seventeenth century there is no reason to speak of the Latin Spirit as a unifying European spirit. At this time European culture began to develop in polyphonic interaction of national spirits of the main European nations that found themselves at various stages of a “long cycle.”
But we are interested in the consequences of the next values revolution in the cradle of Western European culture, Italy. The “long winter” here ended at the close of the eighteenth century and at the dawn of the nineteenth century. The former values of the theocratic empire, civil freedoms and the orders underwent considerable change.
In the new cycle of Italian history and up to the present we have seen only a “spring” that has brought Italy a revolutionary movement that ended with the liberation and unification of Italy, one of the most interesting points of which was the Carbonari movement. Italy also went through the birth and fiasco of fascism, the elder brother of German national socialism, not to mention the attempt to create a great European-African empire, the spread of influence of criminal Italian clans throughout the world, promising economic successes of family-run and small Italian business, the less successful experience of major corporations prone, like the state, to serious corruption; the success and influence of the communists and the Christian democrats; the papal reforms of the 1960s and the increased moral authority of the Pope.
What is the meaning of these processes? Has Italian Catholicism perished in terms of its international (or at least European-American) mission or has it, as after the fall of the Western Roman Empire “recalled” the value of patience and again become a subtle tool for calmly transforming modern reality, which is a mixture of technocratic paganism and extreme individualism? According to our theory, communal reason is wiser and more clever, richer and more prone to be right than individual reason, thus it is necessary to constantly refer individual reason to the reason of the community, but in order to do this we must maintain a constant and productive dialogue with God that is impossible outside of the religious ritual of large groups of people. The flesh of God is also the minds of men who have gathered for group prayer in a church or other public place. All other forms of being of God the Father are inadequate and lacking and must be considered more a kind of preparation for joint ritual, a means of keeping in shape, but not a means of healing (revelation).
Protestantism, which is oriented more toward preaching and personal prayer united ritually, providing the individual with the initiative in his perception and “confession” seems to keep God the Father in a “black body.” Catholicism, on the other hand, without suppressing individualism, allows God full-fledged existence. Perhaps Catholicism gives individuals more power and freedom than they need. In this case, Orthodoxy is ideal, but this is “more than necessary” from the point of view of the egotistic God the Father who imagines himself a kind of primitive community. The God of the nation, however, cannot influence the world outside of the individual reason, and he is not always right in the conflict with individual reason, which has mastered the huge super-individual apparatus of modern science and he is, of course, mortal.
Since Catholicism is a unique alloy of culture that ensures free existence of the communal and individual I, since there has already been a period in its history when the key value was patience, which consisted in actively maintaining the balance between forces of this world and at the same time walking the tightrope of this balance to affirm the Catholic world view, then we can suppose that modern Italians also display the value of patience and are moving toward reviving Catholic ritual and Catholic forms of life as more complete and multi-faceted than Protestant values.
Perhaps the Italians have returned not only to the value of patience, but also to the value of the church, i.e. a recognition of the authority of the formal Church hierarchy of local church congregations. The Pope continues to stand at the head of this hierarchy according to ancient tradition, and he can be good or bad, but he is simply the “vicar” of God Himself. After all, an average father can be good or bad, but children must respect their father nevertheless. The church congregation and the closely integrated familial community (clan) are a living (informal) basis in the existence of most Italians. The age of Austrian domination, which occurred during the second half of the Italian “winter” and was related to the French revolutionary spirit, brought a rich harvest on Italian soil in the form of secret societies and criminal clans. The value of the church, which remained an active part of the values of the theocratic state and order system apparently changed at the end of the eighteenth century into the value of the Christian clan community.
After becoming a province of the Austrian Empire, Italy lost the value of citizenship, and this ancient civic idea seemed to self-destruct. The value of the orders, which strives for the victory of Catholicism over the world, even after being compromised by the Crusades and the practice of the Inquisition, partially transformed itself into the value of clan organization. But what is the third basic value of the Italians starting in the nineteenth century, aside from tolerance and clan orientation? Tolerance for what? In the name of reinforcing clan foundations of society? But the clan foundations reject individualism, and their victory means in essence the national victory of one of the most simple forms of communal organization, the family community. This means that the third basic value should defend the elements of individuals? It is interesting to note that these basic values also do not include a clearly state-oriented idea that would consolidate society, i.e. a political idea. Thus the third basic value must contain some political content. Perhaps this is the idea of the secret state: the Masonic state, or the Mafia as the state? Perhaps this is the idea of the corporate fascist state, and this idea unites not individuals and communities, but class societies and social communalities. Perhaps the idea of the corporate state is the third basic value of the new Italian Spirit? It does contain both a state idea and an individualistic idea, and the state orientation is obvious (we saw how this idea motivated the fascists in Italy and the Nazis in Germany), and individualism relies on the fact that the community is countered by communalities, i.e. the conscious union of individuals according to particular traits. In a party state these traits are ideology and ideas, and in the corporate state they are recognized interests of social and economic groups which also take on the form of ideologies, but these ideologies (please forgive the tautology) are not “ideological” but closed-minded, for example “this is my interest, my land, my truth, and I’ll kill you if you try to encroach on my rights (disturb my class, my family, my nation).”
The idea of the corporate body was part of medieval European culture (the guild of masters, for example), but at that time it played a secondary role, primarily economic in nature. In the fascist state it became the central economic, social and political idea, and for the first time became the foundation of a concrete social-economic-political formation. Fascism became a formation, and corporativism was a basic value, the third basic value of the Italians, which also became one of the founding ideas of fascism. What next?
In the twenty-first and twenty-second centuries the traditional state forms will weaken under the weight of unprecedented freedom of movement and freedom of information, accompanied by a growth in organized crime. This is a paradox that has not yet been recognized by society: Russia with her nuclear arsenal capable of destroying the entire world several times over, is powerless before the small fanatic republic of Chechnya, and if she is powerless, then it is in part due to this nuclear power on which the best national material and intellectual potential continues to be spent. Victory in the information battle will be a decisive factor in winning any war.
And this is only the start of the decay of traditional states throughout the world. The state in the twenty-first and twenty-second centuries cannot remain a modern form of statehood, i.e. a form demanding not the entire person, but a part: “if you’ve done your job, take a rest and forget about me for now.” The state of the twenty-first and twenty-second centuries will become totalitarian, but not the same merciless and rude totalitarian state of the twentieth century, for example, the communist, fascist, francoist or Nazi state, but a state that is more organic and—please forgive my heretical leanings—a spiritually totalitarian state. It is possible that there will be an effect of the transitional, “virtual” state, because the inhabitants of this state will not live on the same territory, and the very idea of territory will lose its state-forming meaning. Groups of people united by “their state” will travel around the world like Gypsies, stopping for a month outside of London while another group heads for the Congo, and yet a third group camps out in Armenia, etc. In order to disseminate information, the distance factor has already been lifted (the Internet). Now it’s time for the physical migration of large groups of people. If movement is made even more affordable and made more convenient, for example, through the construction of high-speed magnetic railways that are not affected by the weather or anything but an ideally computerized, robot-controlled and highly secure technical system and the corporation that maintains it. So people will be able to get into a train in Moscow at seven in the morning and arrive in Cairo or Madrid at eight thirty (like a late twenty-first century Metro!). During the second half of the twenty-first century there will be a great migration revolution. And all of this will be a reality thanks to the latest achievements of science and technology. All we need is for energy to become more affordable and for chips to be made even smaller than they are today. “Transitional states” and primarily the criminal empires of the end of the twenty-first century will become a strong catalyst for corporate processes, nationalization and religious revival, i.e. they will give rise to a powerful reaction.
But why, despite all this freedom, will totalitarianism prevail? Because two many demons will be let loose. Man will simply be lost, but not with his own freedom. No, he will be forced to face the gaping abyss. The customary ties binding men to a certain place, to the family, to the state or a particular organization in which he studies or works will all begin to shift. There will be a breakout of disharmony, for example, masses of people will migrate in search of warm weather and, as a result, cities will be empty during the winter and teeming with people during the summer.
It is clear that there will be a reaction to all this chaos, a reaction that will bring order and unification. The reaction will not be primitive, in the spirit of the Luddites who used to sabotage industrial machines. The reaction will most likely be in the form of the incorporation of states, in creating a smooth system and hierarchy of professional and social groups that will create highly complex systems of regulation for individuals. It is in this total control over observance of rules and limitations that the totalitarianism so frightening to modern liberals will arise, but the rules and limitations will already have been established, and not just forced on people. The highest form of punishment will not be execution or even prison, but exile from the corporation. Anyone exiled from the corporation will have to renounce his many privileges and he will hardly be accepted into another corporation because belonging to the corporation must be earned and be in accordance to personal abilities and knowledge. Any person exiled from the corporation can lead the life of a hermit, an average family man, the member of a clan or church congregation, or he can write poems or books in the hopes that people will recognize his talent, if he has any. This is the kind of revolution the future will bring, but of course not to us or our children, but to our grandchildren and great-grandchildren during the latter half of the twenty-first century.
But what does the new victory of Catholicism have to do with this? The new mission of Catholicism lies in the fact that neither the corporate state nor clan relations as such will be able to rise to the challenge of the great freedom of movement revolution if mass faith in the Christian God is not revived as faith in Allah rose during the twentieth century. Otherwise the corporations will split up the world in such a way that sooner or later there will be a total war, and the clans will turn into a criminal machine that will consume people. This is why religion and the sense of Christian unity will give Westerners a real unifying basis in conditions of blurred national boundaries, corporate merging and breakup and the growth of the cancer of clan crime. Protestantism, which is oriented toward cultivating the “economic individual” will not be powerful enough to understand or spiritually master the new Middle Ages. Orthodoxy will be more appropriate, but its reaction will come 100 years later than that of Catholicism.
Let’s accept the fact that the basic Italian value is not the clan idea, but collegiality as a substitute for the idea of the theocratic monarchy. The Pope will turn into an international speaker instead of a universal monarch. Here is a more adequate formula for the new Italian spirit: collegiality—corporation—tolerance (balance). But commonality could be questioned.