In order to find out whether a single world or European civilization is possible, it is necessary, first, to compare the three most important concepts in human life: civilization, formation, and culture.
The concept of civilization is closely associated with the concept of culture, not only in a negative sense but also in a positive way, i.e. it is opposed to culture as material, technical to spiritual, as standard and inhuman to unique and humane. O. Spengler considered civilization as a decline of culture: “Civilization is the inevitable fate of culture … a logical consequence, the end, and outcome of culture”. But such opposition is not an adequate reflection of the contradictions of the modern world. Civilization is a socio-cultural education, and in this way, it differs from the formation surrounding the system of social relations without regard to culture. Hence the very possibility of using the concept of civilization to characterize specific spatially limited societies with their unique culture. In other words, there is not one in the world, but many local civilizations capable of preserving their typical features in various social formations.
The juxtaposition of civilization and culture is rooted in the deep contradictions of the development of civilization, which in its development causes violence, war, the destruction and destruction of cultures, alienation and exploitation, the wealth of some and the poverty of others. And yet, the opposition of culture and civilization is theoretically illegal, because, without culture, the existence of civilization is unthinkable, because then it loses its subject – a person capable of reproducing the conditions of civilization and developing it.
The diversity of cultures within the framework of civilization does not exclude the presence of common points, common problems, common principles, for example, the principles of humanism, – firstly, and interaction, interpenetration and mutual enrichment of cultures – secondly. The fact that these processes are not without contradictions does not negate their significance for the progress of civilization. After all, various social formations – each in its own way – contribute to the development of civilization. Formation and civilization are different environments in the development of society as an integrated system. It is impossible to know the mechanism of development of any society, exploring only the basic factors and lowering superstructures, so it is impossible to understand the secrets of managing social development, focusing either on the formational or only on the civilizational aspect in its dynamics. A formation is a socioeconomic category, civilization is a sociocultural one.
The concept of formation matters as the system-forming principle of the entire socio-economic and political system of a given society. Formations differ in the dominant forms of ownership. The transition from one formation to another is due to a change in the form of ownership of the main means of production, which occurs under the influence of the progress of the productive forces, which opens up new material possibilities for human activity and for the formation of social relations.
The concept of “civilization” unites the social and cultural aspects of the life of society, civilization is a stage of history, beginning with the emergence of history from the natural ie Primitive, condition and developing further on the basis of the prerequisites created by him, that she characterizes continuity in the development of society. At the same time, the idea was persistently asserted that, in fact, there were various civilizations in history, so-called “formational”: capitalist civilization, communist civilization, etc. As a result, the civilizational approach lost its relative independence and was subordinated to the formational one, and the concept of civilization became auxiliary, necessary only to fulfill certain aspects of the socio-economic formation. If the theory of formations is focused on identifying patterns inherent in society at different stages of history, as well as its structures at each of these stages, then the civilizational approach solves completely different cognitive tasks. Two of them are major.
The first is an analysis of the social mechanisms of the activities of people, which ensure the very possibility of the existence of society on this civilized level, saving him from decay and savagery. These mechanisms are constantly being developed, improved or eliminated. If this or that mechanism is eliminated, then the degradation of the social structures associated with it begins. Each subsequent formation is also a step forward in the development of civilization, and not an encroachment on its foundations. The death of certain civilizations in the past did not stop the historical movement, because these were local catastrophes. The progress of civilization, for all its contradictions, is nevertheless associated with the development and improvement of its social mechanisms. These mechanisms provide for the development of modern society the development of productive forces, technology, science, and support the corresponding dynamics of social relations.
The second task, which is solved by a civilized approach to history, identifying its human dimension, the mechanisms for forming the personality of a civilized person, and analyzing culture as a measure of a person’s development and his or her ability to work.
The concept of “civilization” is broader than the concept of formation, but this dimension cannot be simplified: we cannot say, say, civilization is a formation plus the cultural sphere of a given society. The differences between these categories are due to the still inadequate structural links between phenomena and processes.
So, such concepts as civilization, formation, and culture cannot be equalized, but at the same time, they are closely linked.
By deepening into the concrete, the essential in history is cognized, at the heart of which lies the universal mind, the divine law – the Logos. The truth appears in the dialogue of humanity with him, or rather, in response to his challenge.
The historical origins of the Answers to the Challenges is most fully revealed in the phenomenon of civilizations – closed societies characterized by a set of defining features that allow them to be classified. The movement of history is determined by the fullness and intensity of the Answer to the Call, by the power of the Rush, directed towards the divine Invocation. The scale of criteria for Toynbee is very mobile, although two of them remain stable – this is religion and the forms of its organization, as well as “the degree of remoteness from this place where this society originally originated.” An attempt to classify according to the criterion of religion has built the following line: “Firstly, societies that are in no way connected with subsequent or previous societies; secondly, societies that are not connected with previous ones, but associated with subsequent societies; thirdly, societies associated with previous, but less direct, less intimate communication than a sonship, through the universal church, a connection due to the movement of the tribes; fourthly, societies connected through the universal church with the preceding society filial ties; Fifth, societies associated with previous connections deeper than the paternal-filial, namely through the organized religion of the ruling minority. Within a group of related societies, two subgroups can be distinguished depending on whether the source of creative power belongs to the internal proletariat of the parent society that created the universal church, or this source is of foreign origin.
“Toynbee builds his classification of societies by a genetic trait. The Orthodox civilization is included in it in the category of “filial related” (in relation to the Hellenic), for which the “church of alien origin” played the role of the pupa of a new butterfly. At the same time, the Orthodox civilization falls into two independent — the Orthodox proper (the Byzantine Empire and its limitrophes) and the Russian Orthodox, whose location does not coincide with the boundaries of the “mother” society. The isolation (and being itself) of any system is due to the fact that the connections between its elements are more significant and expressed than all other connections. This implies the notion of “external environment”, the area to which the influence of the system, although applicable, is less significant than the connection between its elements.
Having anticipated time as the space of historical life, Toynbee seems to be timid in front of this thought. History is the path, history is life, and consequently, the truth of history, it splits into local (in the most immediate sense of this term) civilization, society, thereby falling into disunity with the object of knowledge, making it impossible that he himself proclaimed as the main the goals are to comprehend the mystery of world history, becoming a prisoner of the rationalistic abstraction condemned by it and ontologizing their own epistemological models. Local civilizations are milestones of time, not islands of self-contained history. Open History is an analog of an open Universe. It is open to ever-expanding and deepening insight. In this regard, Toynbee develops the concept of “intelligent field” of historical knowledge.
Every society goes through the stages of genesis, growth, fracture, and decay, the rise and fall of universal states, universal churches, heroic eras; contacts between civilizations in time and space. The viability of civilization is determined by the possibility of consistently mastering the living environment and the development of the spiritual principle in all types of human activity, the transfer of Challenges and Answers from the external environment into society. And since the Challenges and Answers to them are of a different nature, since civilizations turn out to be different from each other, but the main Answer to the Challenge of the Logos defines the essence of a single human civilization.
The genesis of civilizations is the result of the search for adequate Answers to the Questions presented by people or by nature – incentives of the “barren land” and “new land”, or by the human surroundings – incentives of “impact” and “pressure”. First, a new civilization can emerge directly from a primitive society by qualitatively changing its structure, isolating some creative minority (elite) from the mass, taking on the formation of the Answer and developing new methods and directions of social activity using mimesis mechanisms. Mimesis – social imitation, “the introduction through imitation of social values”. Ya. G. Shemyakin interprets this concept expansively, considering mimesis, in particular, the intensive borrowing of an element of Western culture in Russia today (Toynbee himself used this term only in relation to intra-, not inter-civilizational relations.
The second possible variant is the emergence of a civilization that uses achievements (for example, standard sets of social actions or especially effective methods of implementing mimesis) of a previous civilization. As noted by Toynbee, as a custodian and transmitter of information, Religious institutions especially often advocate: the church could “during a dangerous interregnum, when a dying social body replaced the dying social body, become a life-giving center, the core of a new society.” In all likelihood, the second way of civilization took place in Russia, This means that many of its aspects should be explained through the characteristic features of maternal civilizations (Christian in general and Byzantine-Orthodox in particular).
If the unity of Western civilization was almost always ensured by the activity of the Catholic Church and its very existence (even after the Reformation, European culture and mentality played the role of a civilizing factor, while the Catholic Church was formed), then the solidarity of the Russian civilization was provided by much more durable state structures. The Catholic Church, despite all the political ambitions of the papacy, nevertheless remained fundamentally above the state and supranational institutions. The Russian history, in the words of N. Berdyaev, “revealed a completely exceptional spectacle – the complete nationalization of the Church of Christ, which defines itself as universal.”
The transformation of the state into a universal Toynbee often uses, although it defines it very vaguely. As a rule, we mean a state that seeks to include in its composition the entire civilization that gave birth to it (if not the entire visible circle of lands), thus trying to prevent itself from disintegration. The globality of such a goal gives rise to the state’s claims to be something more than just a socio-political unit and to acquire some spiritual significance. On the basis of this spiritual significance, formulated by the dominant minority, the state mobilizes all the various resources of society for the storage of civilization and thus often achieves success: “And after the natural period of death has come, the universal state has a chance to continue its existence.”
Toynbee considers the concepts “universal state” and “empire” synonymous. Indeed, despite the lack of clarity in modern science, the problems of an empire as a type of state and society are difficult to challenge the thesis put forward by Sh. N. Eisenstadt: “… Although empires were usually based on traditional legitimation, they often used some broader, potentially universal political and cultural orientations that went beyond the bounds of any of the parts of an empire. ” And in this sense, the empire also turns out to be a universal state. According to Toynbee, Byzantine Orthodoxy, faced with a whole range of problems, made an attempt to revive the Roman Empire (a vivid example of a universal state), thus using the experience of maternal civilization.
Just as Byzantium used the experience of Rome, so Russia turned to the models of maternal civilization (Byzantium itself), also being a universal state. One way or another, there is a rather unusual coincidence in one phenomenon of the phenomena of civilizations, of a universal and national state.
Toynbee emphasizes: “First, a universal state arises after, and not before, the breakdown of civilizations. This is not the summer of society, but its Indian summer is the last burst of heat in front of the dampness of autumn and the cold of winter. Secondly, the universal state is a product of the dominant minorities, that is, those social groups that once had creative power, but then lost it. ” The breakdown of civilization is the moment when the creative elite ceases to find adequate Answers, the confidence of the masses accordingly falls, and the previously voluntary mimesis has to be supported by quite tough methods.
The universal state is precisely the ultimate variant of the violent realization of social mimesis: “Universal states are the symptoms of social disintegration; however, it is also an attempt to take control, to prevent falling into the abyss ”. However, the universal state that once appeared in Russia withstood the most dangerous zigzags of history and inevitably reanimated even after such periods of general chaos as the Time of Troubles or the Civil War, such strong blows from the outside as the invasion of Napoleon and two world wars. Moreover, even now it is still impossible to speak with complete certainty about his demise – the further destinies of a country can be quite different.
Russia’s high inertia smoothed out many shocks that would have been fatal for another civilization. Usually, the forceful maintenance of social mimesis still does not save the dominant minority or the civilization led by it, because each wrong Answer entails an avalanche of new challenges that the elite do not have time to do and cannot. Another civilization, another state, such total “rotations” of the ruling elite would be subjected to a severe crisis. Russia didn’t have time to react.
Is the Toynbee concept capable of claiming the role of a holistic model that allows an adequate description of all aspects of the Russian phenomenon to be given? Even to her apologist, it is obvious that many features of the Russian experience are not taken into account in it – in particular, the simultaneous belonging of Russia to classes of both civilizations and universal states (and this should very seriously modify its civilization characteristics).
Further concrete analysis of Russian history from the point of view of a civilizational approach, its categories such as social mimesis, “methods” of resolving previous (“mother”) civilizations, also seems very productive; as the role of the imperial and universal components in the Russian statehood.
Questions about the content of the very concept of “Russia”, about its place in the world and, in particular, about the relationship between the concept of “Russia” and the polar opposition “West” and “East”, again sharply faced public thought. The controversy on this subject has a long history and is complicated by the lack of clarity of even key terms – for example, in 1922 P. Bicilli noted: “The concepts of East and West are among the most frequently used concepts, and, moreover, with the least degree of criticism.
The opposite of East and West is a walking formula from the time of Herodotus ”. If it was revealed with sufficient certainty in the course of the controversy, it is the impossibility of identifying Russia with one of the belts “between which the world is swinging” (in the words of G. Hesse). The uniqueness of the Russian experience, the uniqueness of the spiritual and historical path of Russia was often declared and declared on the basis of subjective, purely ideological motives. It is quite obvious that the “Eurasian position” of Russia, which is not confined to a purely geographical interpretation, “does not allow us to evaluate its history from the point of view of either European social progress or partial and slow modernization of Asia.
In Russia itself, the western and eastern parts of it (as, incidentally, the northern and southern ones) have always represented different worlds, including areas that were at different levels of development. Hence it is clear that Russia could never be fully associated with the East, or with the West. ”
Thus, problems arise not just around the peculiarities of Russia as a country and a state — Russia must be considered as a separate civilization, independent and original, the analysis of which requires a special methodological and conceptual apparatus.
The concept of a “European idea” has become key in understanding the modern process of European integration; in the broad sense of the word, this is the idea of a European community, embodying the diversity of peoples and cultures.
European civilization is considered as a cultural and historical whole, based on common origins, historical destiny, and heritage. Europe is above all integrity, formed by the unique heritage of Greek philosophy, Roman law, and Christian traditions. Among the factors that determined the European consciousness, we will also name opposition to an external threat, primarily a Muslim one.
Christianity absorbed the values of ancient Greece and Rome and transferred them to the emerging European nations. Through the concept of a human person, free and responsible, it laid the foundation for the teaching of human rights; consistently distinguishing between secular and spiritual authorities, created the prerequisites for the formation of civil society and individual freedom. In the zone of medieval Christianity formed the most important forms of European civilization. The earliest European unification projects date back to the 15th century: for example, in the second half of the 15th century. King of Bohemia, Jiri Podebrad, proposed his own draft of a federation of parliament, and the 1960s reprinted in Prague.
Along with the factors of unity in Europe, the factors of “polarity” also acted: contradictions between church and state, nation and empire, Catholicism and Protestantism, theory and philosophy, science and faith. By the way, many scientists believe that the Middle Ages of European civilization would be more correctly considered a period of barbarism, cruelty, and violence, and not the dawn of European civilization. Yes, and the modern division of Europe itself, many researchers are inclined to consider as a manifestation of European “polarity”, since the ideological foundations of the Soviet empire (Marxism, socialism) are of European origin.
The phenomenon of “polarization” of the intellectual and socio-political life of European society, especially characteristic of the New Age, at the same time, reveals a tendency not to irreconcilable opposition, but to dialogue. It was repeatedly noted that the European mentality is dualistic, dichotomous, based on the presence of heterogeneous elements. In all confrontations – religious, secular, interethnic – there was a certain edge between the state and civil society, which should not be overstepped, a moving equilibrium point, which guaranteed the preservation of different points of view, which did not allow the extermination of the dissident.
Totalitarianism, known in Europe in two versions – Nazi and Stalinist, has to be recognized as a product of European culture. Both of these varieties can be viewed not only in sociopolitical terms but also as the result of a painful deformation, one-sided development of both branches of European culture, split between the conservative tradition and the reckless faith in progress, into revolutionary renewal.
“Totalitarian disease” Europe was able to oppose liberal democracy, together with the possibility of its transformation into a social democracy, and on the way of reforming, rather than a radical forcible coup. Through the historical confrontations and cataclysms of the last centuries, the “European idea” made its way.
Politically, the European idea throughout history has fluctuated between two models of a solution. The first, “hegemonic”, was that for two thousand years one or another nation — Greece, Rome, Turkey, Spain, Germany, Russia, Austria, France — sought to achieve a leading position in Europe. However, regardless of the contribution of each of them to the common European heritage, this model demonstrated that the hegemony of a separate national culture is the opposite of the European idea.
The second model is medieval Europe, politically fragmented, but open to trade, cultural influences, and the movement of people. At that time, Christianity and its institutions — the papacy, monasteries, and universities with a common language for religion — Latin — were the universal unifying beginnings for it. This model retains its attractiveness, serving as the historical guarantee of the current European unity. However, today it is unrealistic due to the weakening of the influence of the church and the cruelty of national-political structures.
The national idea, the idea of own cultural identity overshadowed the religious. Among the many identities – group, regional, ethnic, national identity is predominant. Its strength is in the common historical memory, myths and symbols, to which each new generation joins thanks to their reproduction in the educational system. Nevertheless, it is the second, conditionally speaking, the medieval model that turned out to be in the center of attention of the federalists – the most influential champions of the European idea in our century.
In the evolution of the European idea after World War II, there are two stages. The integration processes of the 1950s – 1960s led to the emergence of the first pan-European institutions. The distinctive features of this stage were the restriction of the Community to a strictly European framework within which there was a struggle between supporters of “national Europe”, who were also called “atlantists” (J. Monnet, R. Schumann, J. Bido) and followers of de Gaulle, who advocated “Europe of the Fathers and Nations”, extending “from the Atlantic to the Urals” (or further).
The latter sought to prevent the involvement of France, as well as Western Europe as a whole, in the “Atlantic system” under the auspices of the United States and NATO as a security structure. By “European Europe”, General de Gaulle meant it to pursue an independent policy aimed at agreeing and cooperating with Eastern European countries, which responded to the “true interests of the people of the other half by the accidentally divided Europe”.
Today, the collapse of the communist regimes in Eastern Europe and the territory of the former USSR once again raises the question that Europe cannot be divided in two: on the contrary, the vocation of European civilization is to involve Eastern European countries in the circle of universal human values. The question of the borders of Europe, which has never been purely geographical, but rather valuable, civilizational, today requires a new understanding.
If Eurocentrism was characteristic of the era of the rise of liberalism, the modern neo-conservative thought put forward the concept of European civilization, understanding it as a community based primarily on historical and cultural, and then on economic and political realities.
The contradictory processes taking place in Europe are also expressed in the interaction of regional and common European traditions. The well-known West German philosopher H. Lübbe sees in the very dynamics of the modernization process an incentive motivating Europeans to preserve national characteristics and regional cultures. The assimilating effect of modernization processes awakens attitudes toward culture as “compensating for the pace of change”. The threat of cultural identity contributes to the revitalization of conservative trends, and not only in Europe.
Regional movements in Europe focus on preserving cultural diversity with the minimum necessary level of European unity. “Where the desire to preserve the local dialect turns against the literary language, where the extremist Neo-Kelts or Neo-Germans flaunt their anti-Roman style, there the cultural program turns into an isolation slogan,” says Lübbe. Under the conditions of the onset of a global technical civilization, it is important to show the common European culture. Awareness of this does not happen automatically: an increasing number of researchers agree with the need for “cultural European politics, which should be aimed at the realization of“ European identity ”. “Identity,” writes Lübbe, “is the answer to the question of who we are, and this answer at the end is always dressed in the form of history.
European identity is thus nothing but the unity of the origin of Europe from a common past. ” The notion of Europe as a cultural value is present in the speeches of almost all political figures and in discussions about relations within the EU and with the states of Eastern Europe. At the same time, state and political leaders defined the EU as a “community of values and culture,” and culture as “the strongest link uniting Europe.”
Therefore, it is not surprising that, in a number of parameters, contact with the liberal idea of the Federalists at its core did occur, first of all, in terms of European civilization and ethnocultural regionalism. So a conservative adjustment of liberal constructions, which happened more than once in the course of history and their interaction, once again played its constructive role, this time on a pan-European scale.
So, a single European civilization already exists, firstly, because of the cultural single heritage, and secondly, because of the unity of the European idea. Also, the creation of a single European civilization was promoted by the formation of the EU, the EEC, and the UN, trying to solve all kinds of problems and conflicts. The UN also has its own peacekeeping troops to resolve all sorts of military conflicts.
World civilization is possible, but, it seems to me, in the distant future, although the beginnings for its formation have already been laid. Here are several reasons why world civilization is impossible in the near future: first, there are too many different, in their views, political movements (parties) conflicting with each other. secondly, the political situation and relations between neighboring countries are unstable, and states are striving to create their own leading position. In the beginning, the leading position was achieved by increasing the military potential of their country, but recently there have been agreements between countries on general disarmament and the elimination of nuclear weapons.
The country’s economic potential is increasingly valued. It should be borne in mind that there are very few similar civilizations in the world, many countries simply do not understand the policies pursued by their neighbors. Still, unfortunately, there are countries – the aggressors, who want to seize superiority over others. Each country is trying to impose its rules on everyone else, especially the backward. There are too many backward countries in the world that need the help of more developed neighbors. There is also the problem of religion: many countries do not accept others other than their faith and religion. Special zeal, in my opinion, Muslims are different. The UN, to some extent, is the basis for future world civilization.
Of course, the UN is able to solve some of the problems listed above, and successfully solves them, but things are not yet within their reach, because not all the reasons were listed. In general, there is still a lot to be understood and achieved by all of us in order to achieve perfection and equality.