Theories of local civilizations

Nikolai danilevskim (1822-1885) work “,” Russia and Europe “(1871) has established a local” cultural-historical types “(civilizations) theory.

civilization (cultural-historical types) n.danilevski considered a relatively short historical period, during which people take From the long ethnographic period.The period of civilization is the “period of spending”; everything that has accumulated during the “ethnographic period” is spent.

Danilevsky rejected the idea of ​​the infinite progress of civilizations. In his view, every civilization, like all biological organisms, goes through certain stages of development: growth, weakening, and death.

According to the scientist, a common human civilization has never existed and will not exist. It is nothing but a collection of separate civilizations.

Chronologically, Danilevsky distinguished 10 cultural-historical types (civilization): 1. Egyptian, 2. Chinese, 3. Assyrian-Babylonian-Phoenician, 4. Indian, 5. Iranian, 6. Hebrew, 7. Greek. 8. Roman, 9. Neo-Semitic or Aramaic, 10. German-Roman or European. Here he named two American types – Mexican and Peruvian, who failed to complete development and died a violent death. These cultural-historical types have completely or partially exhausted their capabilities. Danilevsky considered the “Slavic-Russian type” to be a qualitatively new, historically promising type.

Danilevsky classified and evaluated cultural-historical types (civilizations) according to the extent to which there were 4 types of creative activity in them: religious, artistic-cultural, political and socio-economic.

Accordingly, the first cultures (Egyptian, Chinese, Babylonian, Indian, Iranian) were the preparatory, primary cultures: they did not reveal any of the 4 types mentioned above.

Jewish is considered to be one of the cultures (it is based only on religion. In another area “they did not create anything that would be of interest to their contemporaries and heirs”); Greek (basis – artistic-cultural field only) and Roman (developed only political side) cultures. In general, according to Danilevsky, most civilizations are creative in one or more areas. For example, the Greek civilization reached extraordinary peaks in the field of art and culture, the Semitic – in the field of religion, the Roman – in the field of law and political organization, and so on.

Compared to his predecessors, Danilevsky considers the Romano-Germanic (Western European) cultural-historical type, which he considered to be ambiguous, to be much more developed. He saw the foundations of his crisis in religious, philosophical and political anarchy, in the spread of nihilism.

As for the “Slavic-Russian type”, Danilevsky considered him an embryo and indicated his brilliant future prospects. This type “represents for the first time a synthesis of all spheres of cultural activity, in the broadest sense of the word – all aspects of the historical arena developed separately or together by its predecessors. We can hope that the Slavic type will be the first complete four-base cultural-historical type.” – Danilevsky wrote.

According to the researcher, the basic principles of one cultural-historical type do not apply to other cultural-historical types of peoples. Numerous attempts to spread Greek civilization among non-Aryan and Eastern peoples, for example, ended in failure. In our time the British suffered a similar failure when trying to transplant European civilization to India.

But this regularity does not apply to individual elements and signs of civilization that can be passed from one civilization to another. The easiest way is colonization. So the Phoenicians moved their civilization to Carthage, the Greeks to southern Italy and Sicily, and the British to North America and Australia. The second way is to transfer the graft to a foreign tree. The graft remains a foreign body, exploits the tree and gives nothing in return. Hellenistic Alexandria was such a graft on an Egyptian tree. The third way is mutual fertilization, when the values ​​of one civilization are used by another civilization, if they are suitable for it.

N. Danilevsky divides peoples into 3 main classes: 1. Positive creators of history, who created great civilizations, or cultural-historical types; 2. Negative creators of history (Huns, Mongols, Turks) who did not create great civilizations but contributed to the demise of weakened, dying civilizations; 3. Peoples who for some reason stopped at an early stage of development and therefore play neither a negative nor a positive role in history; They are the ethnographic material used by the creative peoples to fertilize and enrich their civilizations.

1918-23 The book “Der Untergang des Abendlandes” by Oswald Spengler (1880-1936) was published, which was followed by a great response and became an event in European culture.

Scholars see the roots of Spengler’s views in ancient thought, j. Vico, f. Nietzsche, i. Burkhardt, a. In the ideas of de Tocqueville and others. According to him, the ideas of Goethe and Nietzsche had the greatest influence on Spengler. As one of the researchers of his creations H.S. Hughes noted that Spengler took the method from Goethe and the art of asking questions from Nietzsche.

Spengler’s worldview was formed within the framework of the “philosophy of life”. Life is the starting point of his writings. The dead, inanimate, inorganic nature is contrasted with organic life, from which spiritual phenomena and the diversity of history are derived.

According to Spengler, there is no unified world history. This story creates a picture of several independent cultures, each with its own destiny. “Instead of a mediocre picture of the world’s linear history, I see a veritable spectacle of many powerful cultures that emerge from the mother-landscape and flourish on it with primitive life. “Desires, feelings, their own end,” wrote Spengler.

World history spanning 6,000 years is a history of 8 isolated, equally important cultures. These are: Chinese, Babylonian, Egyptian, Indian, Ancient, Arabic, Western and Mayan cultures. There are even germ crops that have not developed, failed to mature (e.g., Hittite or Persian cultures).

Spengler introduced the concept of the “spirit of culture.” In his view, every culture has its own spirit, which is realized in numerous individual lives. The spirit of each culture is unique and is not fully expressed by rational means. That is why it is so difficult to access the inner world of people from other cultures, to understand the nature of their symbols, feelings, beliefs. All great cultures are characterized by the mysterious language of worldview, which is fully understood only by those whose souls belong entirely to that culture. The phenomenon of other cultures speaks a different language, there are other truths for other people.

According to Spengler, culture is a symbolic intellectual whole, a system in which the corresponding spirit is realized naturally and through various means.

Spengler distinguished several types of souls: Apollonian, Magical, and Faustian, which are, respectively, the basis of Greek, medieval Arabic, and European cultures.

All cultures are equally important and unique; Everyone has not only their own art, but also their own natural science and even nature itself, because nature is perceived by man through culture. Each culture has its own type of history by which it is directly felt and experienced in general and in particular, world-historical and biographical.

Culture is a living organism that is “born from the mysterious swamp of spiritual life” and goes through all the stages characteristic of a living organism: childhood, maturity, old age and death. Culture dies when its soul realizes all its possibilities in the form of peoples, languages, beliefs, arts, states, sciences. The era of civilization is coming. As soon as the goal is reached, the inner possibilities are exhausted, the culture is petrified, the blood is drained, the effort is exhausted – it becomes a civilization.

Every culture has its own civilization; It follows culture as death – life, petrification – development, spiritual old age and the petrified world city – the domination of the land and the childhood of the soul. “Civilization is the inevitable end, with deep inner necessity all cultures reach this stage,” wrote Spengler. A civilized culture can survive for centuries as a dried-up tree in a dense forest, far removed from its lifeless branches. This is what happened to Egypt, China, India, the Muslim world. Like this Goliath stood the vast ancient civilization of the Empire era – at first glance, full of youthful vigor,

Culture is the stage of life, civilization – the stage of death; Culture is the domination of the soul, civilization – the intellect; At the cultural stage there is the love of God, at the stage of civilization godliness reigns; At the level of culture man is chained to his place of residence, he is a patriot, while at the level of civilization he is a wandering cosmopolitan. At this point people are aspiring to big, ugly cities. At the stage of culture, human energy is directed towards creativity, at the stage of civilization – towards conquest and expansion. The sign of civilization is imperialism, as well as the devaluation of the individual and the subjugation of the masses. People lose value and the core value becomes money. The human takes his place and he is gradually subdued by the machine, which finally takes away all freedom. Culture is an ore-filled deposit, and civilization is like an ore from which all the ore is extracted. Culture and civilization – this is the living body of spirituality and its mummy.

Culture is alive as long as it maintains an intimate connection with the human soul. The spirit of culture exists not in itself but in the souls of people who live by the thoughts and values ​​of that culture. If culture no longer attracts and inspires human souls, it is doomed. This is where the danger of civilization lies. There is nothing wrong with the practical well-being of life, but it completely absorbs man and leaves no spiritual forces for culture, the spiritual fire disappears.

“Every art is mortal – not only individual creations, but also the arts themselves. “The time will come when Rembrandt’s last portrait and Mozart’s last beat of music will cease to exist – although a colored canvas or sheet of paper may remain, but the last eye and the last ear to which their language was accessible will disappear,” Spengler wrote.

It is interesting to see a new understanding of the concept of “simultaneity” / ~ contemporaneity “proposed by Spengler: Usually, simultaneous events in time are considered simultaneous. According to Spengler, historical events are simultaneously important in their own cultures and play the same role. For example, in ancient and Western cultures Pythagoras and Descartes, Plato and Laplace, Archimedes and Gauss are simultaneous, for all cultures there is a simultaneous transition of civilization into civilization: in antiquity it is the era of Philip and Alexander, in the West – the era of revolution and Napoleon. In this respect Socrates, Aristophanes, Isocrates are simultaneously, On the other hand – Voltaire, Rousseau, Mirabeau, Beaumarchais. They are characterized by the same signs as the broadcasters of the fall era. The great creations and forms of religion, art, science, politics appear and disappear in culture at the same time, with internal structures they are perfectly compatible with each other.

Spengler defined the simultaneity of spiritual life, art, and political events according to the time of year. According to him, the spring of Indian culture – the mythical period – in antiquity corresponds to the Olympic myth of Homer, in Western culture – German Catholicism; The summer of Indian culture is represented by the maturity of thought, Brahmanism, and peculiar Reformation; With the cult of Dionysus of antiquity, with the pre-Socrates and Pythagoras, with the separation of the Arab-Monophysites and Muhammad; Western – Protestantism, Galileo, Descartes, Pascal and Puritanism. Autumn is manifested in Indian culture by enlightenment, in antiquity by the belief in the omnipotence of the mind. In Arabic – the cult of nature, in the West – the wise religion. The last stage is winter. The common sign of all cultures in this period is urban civilization, the disappearance of spiritual creative forces, ethical-practical religiosity.

The table of simultaneity of art includes three periods: the primordial, the periods of culture and civilization. There are also three periods in the table of political events: the primary period corresponds to the ethnographic types of peoples, the period of culture – the peoples with political ideas and state, the period of civilization – the world city and cosmopolitanism with the dictatorship of money.

According to Spengler, cultures are characterized by internal hermeticity. They do not understand each other. They only exist in time after each other, but there is no inheritance between them. Each culture retains the ability to express its soul entirely within itself. Nothing remains of a dead culture and nothing moves into a newly created culture, even when there are similarities between them. For example, Western culture considers the achievements of ancient culture as its ideal, imitates it, tries to get closer to it, but in reality the Western world has inherited nothing from antiquity. At first glance, It seems that antiquity has passed on some tradition to Arab culture, but this is not the case. Ancient Aristotle, Arabic Aristotle, and modern-day Aristotle differ from one another. Every culture Aristotle has its own understanding, therefore, has its own Aristotle. Likewise, the ancient man could not inwardly assimilate anything from the Babylonian and Egyptian cultures, although he knew perfectly well the chronology, the calendar, and had a sense of the origin of the momentary reality. Hence, he has his own Aristotle. Likewise, the ancient man could not inwardly assimilate anything from the Babylonian and Egyptian cultures, although he knew perfectly well the chronology, the calendar, and had a sense of the origin of the momentary reality. Hence, he has his own Aristotle. Likewise, the ancient man could not inwardly assimilate anything from the Babylonian and Egyptian cultures, although he knew perfectly well the chronology, the calendar, and had a sense of the origin of the momentary reality.

Thus, according to Spengler, a unified world history is an illusion created by rationalism. Cultures die in a way that transmits nothing to each other, they are absolutely inaccessible.

A number of issues were raised by Spengler that became the object of research for the next generation of scientists.

Continues the line of O. Spengler, though he disagrees in many respects with the famous English historian Arnold Joseph Toynbee (1889-1975), whose thought can be considered the culmination of the theory of local civilizations. A. The result of Toynbee’s 30 years of work is a well-known fundamental work, the multi-volume A Study of History (1934-1961). He also owns many other interesting studies.

Toynbee aimed to separate the field of history study, which would be a unit of independent significance. Thus he considered civilizations – societies that transcend the nation-state in time and space. Civilization is the creation of countless individuals and many generations. It includes smaller communities that share some similarities with each other. For example, Eastern Christian, Western, Muslim or other civilizations include similar societies.

Social life reaches the level of civilization only when the interaction between the human soul and the environment is dominated by the first – the human soul. It does not suppress the environment as in the tropical forests of Central Africa or Brazil, and does not adapt to it as the nomads of the Arabian steppes of Central Asia, but subjugates the environment for its own purposes.

Toynbee distinguishes between civilized and primitive societies. The latter have a relatively short life span, cover a geographically smaller area, and are demographically small. Toynbee identified 650 primitive societies and 21 civilizations: 7 living and 14 dead. Converted into 4 or 5 dead and stillborn civilizations in a separate group.

According to Toynbee, the origin of civilization is explained not by racial factors or geographical environment, but by the existence of a “creative minority” in a given society and an environment that is neither too harsh nor too favorable. Under such conditions, the origin of civilization is thought of as a “challenge-response” interaction.

The growth and development of civilization is the search for a new successful answer to every new challenge by the creative, charismatic, “God-chosen” minority of society. The society of a growing civilization consists of a creative minority and a majority, which Toynbee called the proletariat, and which consists of an “internal” and an “external” proletariat. The latter was made up of barbarous neighbors. The proletariat – the majority – follows in the footsteps of the minority. In such societies there are no irreconcilable conflicts and fratricidal wars.

What causes the decline and destruction of civilization? According to Toynbee, it can not be attributed to cosmic causes, geographical factors, racial degeneration or the invasion of the enemy separately, nor the decline of technology and technology that is the result or symptom of the demise of civilization and not the cause. According to Toynbee, the fall of civilization involves stages of crack emergence, disintegration, and death. Sometimes centuries and even millennia will pass between the first and the last. For example, the Egyptian civilization had a crack in the BC. In the XVI century, but it existed only in A.D. Stopped in the 5th century. Among them was a period of 2000 years of petrified, living-dead existence.

As for the direct fall, it is presented as follows: at a certain stage the creative minority begins to enjoy the achievement, the relative values ​​are elevated to the rank of the absolute. It loses its charismatic appeal, the majority distances itself from it, so more and more often the necessary force is used to control the internal and external proletariat. In the process, the internal and external proletariat created a universal, world-like state – the Roman Empire, created by the dominant Hellenistic minority to preserve itself and its civilization. The same minority starts wars and leads itself and civilization to ruin. The internal proletariat then secedes from it and forms a “universal world church,” such as Christianity or Buddhism, as its own religion. Thus, the hitherto non-creative forces of society carry out the creative act. When the universal state of the dominant minority collapses, the universal church of the internal proletariat, for example, Christianity, acts as a bridge and foundation for a new civilization that is alienated from the former and, at the same time, its successor. The external proletariat organizes and launches an attack on a civilization on the verge of collapse. This is followed by fratricidal wars. At best, Civilization is petrified and in this state it may exist for millennia, or it immediately falls and ceases to exist. According to Toynbee, it is impossible to determine the duration of the existence of civilization.

Toynbee did not share Spengler’s theory of closed cyclicity and did not rule out a legacy between civilizations. For example, he called Western civilization the son of the Hellenic civilization. In his view, the absolute boundary between cultures is an illusion, it only facilitates the task of the researcher, the classifier, but it is an obvious violence against history. Despite the empirical diversity, the historical process must be considered as a whole.

In the last years of his life Toynbee, d. Together with Kaplein, he prepared a one-volume edition of The Study of History, which was published after his death.

Toynbee was one of the first Western scholars to address the common problems facing humanity, despite its adherence to the local-historical approach.

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