“Picturesque Japan” and “the Yellow Hazard”: on Perception of the Japanese Culture in Russian Symbolism (Fedor Sologub vs. Valery Bryusov)
Tyryshkina Elena
DOI: 10.17212/2075-0862-2019-11.1.2-378-394
Abstract:

The study deals with the mechanisms of perception of the Japanese culture in the works of Russian symbolists, Valery Bryusov and Fyodor Sologub. The Japanese culture came to Russia at the turn of the 20th century not directly but by mediation of the European culture; the visual code and the modeled image of Japan were formed as a paradise lost/found, as a country populated by the “artist folk” due to fusion of arts and crafts and to the idea of artistic skills acquired not as an elitist but mass phenomenon. This mythological model was built basing on the mechanism of substitution, when the Japanese culture was compared to the culture of ancient Greece, to the medieval and Renaissance art. In Russian symbolism, creating the image of Japan as new Hellas became the main principle, including transformation of the concept of Dionysism. In their works and in critique as well, Valery Bryusov and Fyodor Sologub included Japan into the framework of the symbolist myth. In this regard, materials from “Vesy” (the Scales) literary magazine, the “Contemporaneity” cycle of poems by Bryusov, letters, essays, and articles by Sologub, and a fragment from his novel “The Petty Demon” are considered. For Sologub, the concept of the “natural man” raised in the spirit of antiquity and the cult of the beautiful human body were dominant. His attitude was integral and did not change during the Russo-Japanese War of 1904-1905, which was a rare phenomenon in the society. The attitude of Bryusov was ambivalent, and the aesthetic and political realia generated a certain antithesis in his thinking: the nation of “sophisticated aesthetes” turned into a nation of barbarians threatening the European civilization. According to Bryusov, Russia had a messianic role, and it was destined to rescue Europe from the “yellow hazard”. In his understanding, Russia itself was like a new Roman Empire. It is evident that in the early 20th century the Japanese culture assimilated with the existing mythological models in the symbolist milieu, and the yearning for an ideal became embodied in the creation of an existent /non-existent topos of a miraculous country according to the images of the past cultures. The alien was perceived as the beautiful, to be soon replaced by the contraposition of the dangerous/demonic. This antithesis is archetypal. At that time in Russia, the Japanese studies were in the initial phase of knowledge, and comprehensive cultural dialogue, not implying ready-made answers and clichés, was unfathomable.

Social Construction of the Normality in Psychiatry and Science Fiction
Kosilova Elena
DOI: 10.17212/2075-0862-2019-11.1.1-34-44
Abstract:

The problem of normality in psychiatry has not been solved yet. Therefore, a philosophical understanding of the notion of the norm and abnormality becomes particularly important. These two concepts should be discussed together. To solve the problem the author uses the method of analysis of norm and abnormality in psychiatry and fiction. In psychiatry there are only disorders. Their classification was historically developed by means of social construction. The conceptions of normality are different in three kinds of psychiatry. In the state psychiatry it is the absence of social complaints to the person, in commercial psychiatry it is the patient’s mental comfort, in the scientific psychiatry the statistical criterion takes place. Science fiction is a kind of literature where the normality is specially questioned. The author shows that the statistical criterion does not work in defining the norm. We can distinguish the following criteria of normality: 1) normality as a possibility of communication. In the psychiatric situation the communication of the doctor and the patient is also possible. For this, the psychiatrist must carefully and delicately grasp the biased vector of patient’s senses. When the patient turns off, the doctor’s task is to carefully go round and avoid the defense, without breaking it. 2) Normality as a possibility of mutual interaction. For a patient, the interaction with the members of the family is important, as well as with the big society in the process of inclusion. 3) Normality as an adequacy. It is an adequate person who has a non-rigid personal basis, which allows him/her to open himself/herself to a new experience. The psychiatrist must constantly increase the patient’s adequacy with the same accurate ways, as in communication with him. The novelty of the approach is, first of all, to exclude the statistical criterion of the norm and to introduce the criterion of mutual understanding and interaction. The notion of adequacy is also introduced, based on the attitude to the world, openness to it and willingness to interact with it. Fantastic worlds are a model of abnormality, and the subjects of fantastic works are a mental laboratory for understanding and overcoming the mutual abnormality of different cultures and minds.

Age Identity in Contemporary Japan Social Philosophy Aspect
Novikova Olga
DOI: 10.17212/2075-0862-2018-4.2-207-218
Abstract:

In this article, the analysis of the age identity is used as a method to indicate the change in the relationships between generations in modern Japan. The age identity is understood as an element of the level model of the identity developed by the author. Perceiving the age identity as a level within which a person, belonging to a certain age, shares or does not share the values and attitudes of his/her generation, and based on the understanding that values and attitudes can change following the time trends, which are especially noticeable in a modern, dynamically changing world, the author analyzes this level and comes to the conclusion whether the values and attitudes of young, elderly and middle-aged people in modern Japan are similar. The socio-philosophical aspect is manifested in the fact that in this study the age level of identity is considered not in a psychological manner, which is quite typical for research of this level, but in terms of the impact, these changes in the consciousness and perception of the world among representatives of different generations have on the society. Characteristics of modern Japanese society are depopulation of the aging society, a decrease in the birth rate and changes in the labor market. The economic difficulties: difficulties with getting a secure job and low income levels lead to the fact that the Japanese start their families later or do not marry at all, and thus the family institution is being transformed. The changes in the family institution are also affected by changes on the gender level, as more and more women want or are forced to work after getting married and birth of children, and government supports them. Norms and values of the older people comply with the traditional understanding of marriage, children and work. However, the socio-economic realities of the modern world determine the change in norms and values for the middle-aged and young people. And this change does not create an acute conflict of generations, due to the continuing traditionalism and conservatism of the Japanese society.

Yoko Tawada ─ a “Boundary” Person and Writer
Simyan Tigran
DOI: 10.17212/2075-0862-2018-4.2-193-206
Abstract:

The subject of analysis of this article is the habitus of a German writer of Japanese origin Yoko Tawada as well as the hybrid nature of her works. The main thesis of this study is that the "boundary" person (Tawada) with hybrid identity generates transnational texts, the topic of which is the problems of the language border at the denotative and connotative levels. The article especially focuses on the analysis of the problem of sexual and gender identity on the example of the story “The Bridegroom Was a Dog” The methodological foundations of this article are semiotics, the typology of culture, and the theoretical concepts of Mikhail Bakhtin, Yuri Lotman, and Homi Bhabha. The empirical analysis of Tawada’s novel and her several essays ("U.S. + S.R. Eine Sauna in Fernosteuropa", "Living in Japan", "Suspicious Passengers of Your Night Trains") makes evident that, in the Tawada’s understanding, at present there is no clear geographic or axiological boundary between East and West. The digital era, the Internet, global trade, and transnational corporations have played a key role in the delimitation of these value boundaries. The author analyzes gender transitions and the problem of sexual identity on the example of the story “The Bridegroom Was a Dog” and the novel “Suspect on the Night Train”. In the story “The Bridegroom Was a Dog” Y Tawada describes the transitions of artistic images from heterosexuality to lesbianism (Mitsuko Kitamura vs. Fukiko), and from heterosexuality (Taro vs. Yoshiko) to bisexuality (Mitsuko Kitamura vs. Tashio Matsubara). In contrast, the novel “Suspect on the Night Train” considers androgyny simultaneously in a woman and in a man. The detailed analysis of different segments of Tawada’s texts shows that the gender identity of her characters is not portrayed as biologically given, as a gift of nature, but is rather a product of search by means of crossing gender boundaries. In addition to the their description of the search for gender, transitional situations like bisexualism, and the final “landing” at the same-sex love (lesbianism, homosexuality), Tawada’s texts also contain manifestations of gender hybridity - hermaphroditism, as the “third” mental construct, after lesbianism and homosexuality.

When the Gods die. Conquest of America in the Light of the Conflict of Rationalities
Burgete Ayala Marina
DOI: 10.17212/2075-0862-2018-4.2-116-138
Abstract:

One of the reasons contributing to the “instant” (according to historical standards) conquest, subjugation and actual destruction of the multimillion civilizations of the New World was the extermination of the rational basis of civilization, understood as a complex of religious, cosmological, philosophical views and educational structures, which provided their maintenance. The most illustrative example is the civilization, traditionally called the Aztec Empire. It was the first on the path of the conquerors and the most “alive”, developed and numerous at that time. Paradoxically, that nowadays we can judge the existence of the Aztecs’ complex system of the world perception and religious-philosophical thinking that united all spheres of human life and society in integrity by texts in the Nahuatl language (common to the population of Central Mexico), which did not have alphabetic script. We have the opportunity to assess the role of the rational worldview in the lives of the peoples who inhabited Central America on the eve of the conquest by testimonies and stories of the conquistadors about the ancient knowledge transmitted by the oral tradition and the pictorial “books” that survived in the first years of the conquest. All these texts were recorded in the Nahuatl language (in the Latin script), or in the Spanish language. The task of this work is to identify the points of conflict between the two civilizations in the rational-philosophical aspect. One of the parties has already stepped on the path of the anthropogenic development, armed with "advanced" weapons and a militant monotheistic religion, with pronounced missionary aspirations. The other is a traditional society characterized by a pronounced "national idea" based on the religious cosmological worldview, a strict social organization, a universal education system, the existence of clear laws regulating all spheres of everyday life and an astronomically verified system of calculating the years and human destinies. It can be concluded that the strength of civilization i.e. its organization and established order, turned out to be a weak link, the destruction of which led to the disintegration of integrity. The destruction of the basis, the loss of the higher meaning, the core of this well-functioning effective mechanism, caused the collapse of the whole system: religious rituals, economic organization, administrative structures, education, upbringing and everyday life.

A Candid Conversation with the Feisty Radical Organizer. Playboy Interview with Saul Alinsky. Part II
DOI: 10.17212/2075-0862-2018-4.1-78-104
Abstract:

This is а translation of the interview with Saul Alinsky published in Playboy in 1972 and reprinted by the New England Review May 27, 2018.  American professional social organizer, he unilaterally created  the new field of social engineering and the new profession of radical-organizer. His two books became handbooks for several generations of organizers. Magazine Playboy sent Eric Norden to interview him. “I accompanied him from the East Coast to the West and into Canada, snatching tape sessions on planes, in cars and at airport…”

Legal Spaces and their Missing Digital Boundaries
Sassin Wolfgang
DOI: 10.17212/2075-0862-2018-4.1-11-25
Abstract:

There is a fundamental difference between the human migration movements of the past and those of the beginning of the 21st century. The latter impose the need for a cultural assimilation of the migrants which they cannot master within one generation. This cultural transformation includes a human densification into a new living space, i.e. the essentially technology-based megapolises, which altogether represent the equivalent of an artificial planet. This new planet does not provide new resources or additional free spaces for an overall growth of material wealth. On the contrary, it asks for a drastic reduction of individual freedoms. The stability, even the survival of these mega centers is at stake without consistent subdivisions of the overall shrinking of spaces needed for all kinds of movements and of a consistent restriction of the exploding communicative interference within and between these mega centers. This essay is aimed at a first-hand analysis of a possible introduction of digital borders without which adequate legal spaces appear infeasible as an indispensable framework of this artificial new planet.

Ethno-Social Potential of the Territory: a Special Case of the Jewish Autonomous Region
Molyarenko O.A.,  Plyusnin Juri,  Chernov M.I.,  Kordonsky S.G.
DOI: 10.17212/2075-0862-2018-4.1-105-135
Abstract:

The paper estimates the modern ethno-social potential of the administrative territory - the Jewish Autonomous Region, highlighting the importance and system-forming role of the Jews. The first introductory article of the cycle presents the author's concept of the ethno-social potential of the territory. Ethno-social potential is an integral part of social and, more broadly, human potential. The concept is defined by the authors as the possibility and ability of representatives of various ethnic groups to use ethnically specific cultural and historical traditions and economic practices as resources for achieving the goals of social development of both individual ethnic groups and the entire local society. The authors describe the methodology of phenomenological social research. The main qualitative methods are immediate observation and interview. The results are based on the empirical materials of field research. The article outlines the historical and socio-political prerequisites of the formation and current state of the ethno-social composition of the Jewish region. The main reasons for the uniqueness of the region are, firstly, in several successive stages of the settlement of the empty areas of the Amur lowland by ethnically diverse populations. Secondly, the unique state status of the Jewish people in this territory does matter. The Jewish national district has been the first nationwide state formation of Jews for two millennia that defines a special nature of the interstate relations between Russia and Israel. The settlement of the territory continues in the post-Soviet period. This is also a unique experience for modern Russia. The constitutional status of the region is being discussed. Autonomous administrative territory is represented by the only subject of the Russian Federation. This provides a unique position of the region in the administrative-territorial system of the Russian Federation. The consequence of this is the impossibility of changing this status of the Jewish Autonomous Region without changing the Russian Constitution. The first co-author of the article (S.G. Kordonsky) proposed the original concept of “multinational Jewish people”, the methodological foundation of which is his “fan matrices theory”.

Oriental Gown of I.I. Oblomov and Metaphysics of "Oblomovism"
Likhomanov Igor
DOI: 10.17212/2075-0862-2018-3.2-152-168
Abstract:

The author substantiates his opinion that I. A. Goncharov's novel "Oblomov" is a philosophical and symbolic literary text. The method of symbolization the characters allows the author to include into the novel a system of philosophical ideas revealing the cultural and historical specificity of Russia. So, for example, the character of Oblomov, according to the author, was formed as a generalizing type of some psychological traits of real Russian people. But gradually it was transformed into a symbol of the Russian "in general". Another character, Andrey Stoltz, symbolically embodies the synthesis of the Russian world and the West. Not only people perform a symbolic function in the novel. Oblomov's gown is a symbol of the Islamic East, which is sharply different from the Indo-Buddhist Far East. Thus, the philosophical depth of the novel is achieved through symbolization of characters, not by a collision of abstract ideas. The philosophical content of the novel is to identify the specificity of Russia (the "Russian soul") in its opposition to "the West" and "the East”. The "West" is treated as the mechanical, moving force, opposed to the fixed, inert "East". At the same time, the Western principles are immanent to the Russian ones, while the Eastern principles are transcendent, and they are connected with the Russian principles only mechanically. The specificity of Russia is in its "spiritualized" impulse towards the transcendental meaning of the existence. The philosophical content of the novel, thus, reproduces the Slavophile complex of ideas. However, unlike the Slavophiles, Goncharov created the novel not about greatness, but about self-destruction of the "Russian soul." The main characters of the novel experience an existential crisis due to the loss of meaning in life. But the feminine part of the "Russian soul", which embodies its dynamic and strong-willed principle, is not capable of transcendence. And the male part of the "Russian soul", which has this transcendence ability, is weak-willed, passive and cannot resist the fatal influence of the "East". Thus, the novel "Oblomov" is considered to be anti-Eurasian and it warns against "the Eurasian temptation".

"That's my job – to make people start asking questions and unsettle the current state of things". Interview with professional rebel Saul Alinsky. Part 1.
DOI: 10.17212/2075-0862-2018-3.1-52-83
Abstract:

This is а translation of the interview with Saul Alinsky published in Playboy in 1972 and reprinted by the New England Review May 27, 2018.  American professional social organizer, he unilaterally created the new field of social engineering and the new profession of radical-organizer. His two books became handbooks for several generations of organizers. Magazine Playboy sent Eric Norden to interview him. “I accompanied him from the East Coast to the West and into Canada, snatching tape sessions on planes, in cars and at airport…”