Moral Principles in the Life of Society, or “Metaphysics of History”
Vladislav Cheshev
DOI: 10.17212/2075-0862-2020-12.4.2-311-329

The article investigates the influence of moral principles on historically developing social relations. The appeal to this problem is based on a conceptual approach to the origin of human morality, which arises in the course of sociogenesis as a set of behavioral principles that provide the intraspecific cultural (non-genetic) solidarity necessary for human societies. It is noted that the moral consciousness of individuals, which regulates interpersonal relationships, is a necessary but insufficient means for transmitting moral principles. Morality is expressed in the relationship between society and an individual. Society solves the problem of reproduction of moral regulators, it brings them into the nature of social relations by necessity. In this regard, attention is drawn to the role of elite groups in solving the aforementioned problem, in particular, it points out the peculiarities of the formation of an elite layer in Russian history. The elite is the bearer of moral images of social behavior, which expresses the attitude to public goals, interests, historical meanings of social life. The task of the elite is the implementation of these principles in the nature of social relations. The egoism of individuals and social groups can impede the solution of such a problem. Overcoming difficulties of this kind can be achieved by an awareness of history, which provides the basis for public consensus. The article focuses on the ethos of the “spirit of capitalism”, which enters into the social environment through the principles of the organization of economic activity. The paper shows the relevance of the problem of interaction of economic ethics and moral foundations of society as a systemic whole.

An Ideal Religion for an Ideal State
Anna Afonasina
DOI: 10.17212/2075-0862-2020-12.4.2-330-350

All of us have an idea of the ideal conditions in which we would like to live. They will vary according to the degree of ambition and level of education. However, people have common wishes since we don’t live in isolation (perhaps with rare exceptions) and we require guarantees from other people that they are willing to accept certain rules and conditions for the best possible coexistence. Plato was the first to look for such general or even necessary requirements to create an ideal social structure. He considers different aspects of social reality – the division of society into classes, the specifics of upbringing and education, even the physical structure of the city and its religion. The article is devoted to the consideration of religious practices, associated cult activities and holidays.

In ancient Greece, religion permeated all areas of human life. It would be more correct to say that religion simply did not exist separately from everyday life. Of course, we can distinguish major religious events in the form of solemn organised processions marking the change of seasons, dedicated to the harvest or some other memorable dates. But more often, religious practices were tightly woven into people’s lives, so that even political and military actions were accompanied by an offering to the gods or consultation with the oracle. Understanding the role that religious activity plays in educating citizens, Plato does not seek to create an entirely new popular religion, but as a philosopher interested in the common good, he begins to interpret the images of traditional Greek gods differently. He focuses most of his attention on Zeus, Dionysus and Aphrodite. By comparing traditional notions of the gods with the way Plato portrays them, we conclude that the philosopher has done serious work to rationalise their images. Zeus ceases to be a famous womanizer and head of Olympus, and acquires the traits of a creator, the only good god who is incapable of any evil or injustice. The raucous fun, dancing and intoxication that used to be the cause of many misfortunes and associated with Dionysus are now being declared useful in terms of testing strength and honesty on the one hand, and, on the other, are understood as a necessary means of getting rid of negative energy and bringing people together. The uncontrolled erotic desire sent by Aphrodite is seen by Plato as behavior that is unacceptable in the citizens of an ideal state, and so he develops the doctrine of the two Aphrodites, heavenly and vulgar, in which the heavenly Aphrodite is declared to be a certain stimulus that leads the soul to the supreme good.  

Vladimir Boyko
DOI: 10.17212/2075-0862-2018-2.1-51-63

The knightly ideal has an essential impact on N.A. Berdyaev's creativity. The Russian philosopher connects updating of Christianity and all sides of public life to the revival of knightly spirit and he opposes the future knightly war for the liberation of a person to false forms of social struggle. In his articles devoted to the First Russian revolution (1905-1907), Berdyaev considers topical problems of the modern world in the context of the Russian reality. He connects the essence of the expected moral transformation of Russian society with the concept of responsibility, underlines that the feeling of private responsibility grows from the moral root identical to the feeling of collective responsibility, responsibility for the destiny of the whole society and people. Berdyaev believes in the great historical mission of Russia – to become a connecting link between the East and the West, to unite into a single whole two streams of world history. For the sake of this mission the Russian society should overcome centuries-old savagery and backwardness, to join the world civilization. The idea of knightly service and the image of the knight are crucially important for the history of personal formation. Russia’s great mission demands qualitative changes of national consciousness and being. The ideal of the responsible creativity, the knightly ideal should be realized in the Russian person.

Evgeny Vodichev
DOI: 10.17212/2075-0862-2018-2.1-28-50

The series of two articles deals with comparative analysis of the most famous novel of the charismatic Soviet and Russian writers, the Strugatsky brothers, “Monday Begins on Saturday”, and mythological history of Akademgorodok, a science town near Novosibirsk in Siberia. According to the author’s views, the Strugatsky novel is one the most interesting literary utopias of the second half of the 20th century, and Akademgorodok is one of its prototypes, although it has never been confirmed by the Strugatsky brothers. Meanwhile, myths and legends based on memoirs, recollections, journalists’ publications and propaganda, which fed official historiography of Akademgorodok, allow presenting it as one of the most interesting social utopias of the Soviet period of Russian history. In the first article, published in the previous issue of this journal, the author showed and analysed correlations and “cross-fertilization” between the literary utopia and the mythology of Akademgorodok that became effective tools of the Soviet propaganda. He articulated historical background of this mythology and explained the nature of its popularity. In the second paper, the mythology of Akademgorodok is compared with real historical processes of the “science town” development. The author touches upon historical prerequisites and reasons for the new scientific complex formation, and its continuity with some national and foreign practices in the organization of science. He believes that such a “template” in the organization of science and socio-cultural phenomenon that is represented by Akademgorodok, was historically specific and could appear only in peculiar historical circumstances of the Khrushchev’s “Thaw”. To an even greater extent this conclusion can be applied to the mythology of Akademgorodok, full of technocratic concepts and covered with the romantic “veils” of the time of hopes and expectations. The author concludes that myths are far from realities, although they are partially based on them, and there are much more in common between the Strugatsky utopia and real Akademgorodok, than between Akademgorodok’s mythology and realities. He also contributes to understanding of the social sense of myths related to the “Republic of Scientists” in Akademgorodok, and substantiating of their popularity and sustainability.

Wolfgang Sassin
DOI: 10.17212/2075-0862-2018-2.1-9-27

The main concepts of our World and of Man, embodied in the idea of the One Humanity, undoubtedly lead to a dead end. They are as closely related to the global reality as ancient legends describing the creation of our world and concepts of an afterlife as the last refuge of the human soul. In reality, planet Earth, overpopulated and partially damaged, is floating in the Universe without any long-term plans for its difficult and painful salvation. Nevertheless Man, not mankind as a kind of meta-organism, but as a totality of living beings with various abilities and characteristics, has a much higher potential than that attributed to it by the Abrahamitic system of beliefs. An unbiased, and, more importantly, an impartial approach to the Individual in all his manifestations and limitations is not only necessary, but is overdue, in order to preserve the future «for humans» in the real world. An new understanding of the very process is needed, which is still mistakenly considered to be a blind experiment and which, implicitly copying the pattern of the archaic story about Adam and Eve and their descendants, is viewed as the final stage of the evolution. In order to adjust life to the rigid planetary limitations, it is important to view the evolution from another standpoint, and, therefore, to revise the history of the Man. In this essay, some relevant comments are presented. They are related to the human language as a filter of reality perception, to formulation and usage of humanistic values as elements of a power game, meant to control human collectives and the consequences of creating «artificial intelligences», which blare the presently existing boundaries among biological species.

Notes on the article by W. Sassin “Images of the World: Ideas of Freedom, Equality, Brotherhood and their transformations”
Sergey Flakh
DOI: 10.17212/2075-0862-2018-1.1-49-56

Wolfgang Sassin’s article "Images of the World: Ideas of Freedom, Equality, Brotherhood and Their Transformation" (“Ideas and Ideals”, No. 4, 2017) forms the first part of his big article (part 2 is published in this volume of the journal). The ideas expressed in the article have evoked great interest of Russian researchers, yet some of his statements have raised serious questions and objections. The author presents a critical analysis of these controversial statements. The goal of this discussion is not just to express objection and the opposite point of view, but to deeper understand extremely important and interesting issues raised by W. Sassin. The idea of the primary atomicity of individuals and the deriving from it the original individual freedom seem to be quite controversial. W. Sassin tries to find the grounds for the key social concepts in the Bible, however he takes the ideas which are not essential for the Bible itself, but have been widely disseminated during the age of Enlightenment that took place under the slogan of struggle against Christianity. This refers to such slogans as "conquer nature" and "liberty, equality, and fraternity". The author's persuasion that the faith in One God makes all people equal before Him, would be fair only if the equality would be understood by him only in a personal sense, but the author imparts it with social meaning. The inference of these values not only from Christianity but also from monotheism in general looks unjustified.

Images of the World: ideas of Freedom, Equality, Brotherhood and their transformations. Part 2
Wolfgang Sassin
DOI: 10.17212/2075-0862-2018-1.1-27-48

The triumphant scientific and technological development of humankind in the 19th century gave rise to the idea of continuous human progress. However, the tragic events of the 20th century and the understanding that the human world is directly confronted with global problems, the problem of energy supply in particular, require new approaches to the comprehension of the future. The article discusses the problem of the survival of society, based upon the ideal of the well-being of an individual, not the community. The ideology of this society is unable to cope with the demographic problems associated with mass migration, leading to the loss of ethno-cultural identity. Therefore, in the twentieth century the main direction of state politics is the transfer of responsibility from the individual to the collectivist state. The specific role in this is played by urban lifestyle, which separates a man from nature and replaces the natural environment by technosphere. Only the vanishingly small part of the population is aware of the problem of long-term survival of the urban civilization and is working on systemic issues arising from a complex interaction of technology, nature, population, and the agreements and values regulating this interaction. Thus, the ideology of the greens contains insoluble and, more importantly, unconscious contradiction between the struggle for global freedom of enterprise with the purpose of permanent exploitation of nature on the one hand, and urban isolation on the other. The article discusses the fact that the biggest flaw of a market economy is that it reduces a man to the level of trade and exchange relations. This, in turn, leads to the profound institutional conflict of interests between protection and the amount of ownership. Therefore, the European ideology based on the pursuit of peace among peoples, which requires payments of the growing debts, has met the same fate as liberalism and socialism. The stable coexistence of different social systems on our planet can only be achieved through the hierarchical division of the world into relatively autonomous regions developing their own forms of civilization

Does Monday always begin on Saturday? Or myths and realities of the Siberian ‘New Atlatis’
Evgeny Vodichev
DOI: 10.17212/2075-0862-2018-1.1-9-26

The paper (the first one in the series of two) deals with comparative analysis of the most famous novel of the charismatic Soviet and Russian writers, the Strugatsky brothers, and mythological history of Akademgorodok, a science city near Novosibirsk in Siberia. According to the author’s views, the Strugatsky’s novel is one the most interesting literary utopias of the second half of the 20th century, and Akademgorodok is one of its prototypes. The research aims at identifying social sense, nature and content of a number of myths about history of Akademgorodok, which are still popular and widespread both in social milieu and in professional literature. These myths and legends based on memoirs, recollections, journalists’ publications and propaganda, which fed up official historiography of Akademgorodok, allow presenting it as one of the most interesting social utopias of the Soviet period of Russian history.

In the first article, the author shows and analyses correlations and cross-fertilization between the literary utopia and the mythology of Akademgorodok, which became effective tools of the Soviet propaganda. He articulates historical background of this mythology and explains the nature of their popularity

I.A. Skalaban,  Lyudmila Osmuk,  Olga Zinevich

A Round table on regional and international studies was held as a part of the annual scientific session of the Novosibirsk State Technical University (NSTU) on 5 March 2015. The Round table brought together the lecturers engaged in the research of Russian society and the regional problems in the field of international relations. The Round table was attended by the lecturers of the Departments of International Relations and Regional Studies, Sociology, Social Work and Social Anthropology. The purpose of the Round table was to discuss the problems of regional studies in the field of theoretical research and applied research. The following issues and topics were discussed: the complexity and interdisciplinarity of regional research, strategies for construction of the Regional Studies subject, the specificity of regional studies and teaching of regional disciplines. In addition to the development of regional studies focused on international relations, comprehensive studies of Russia's regions that meet the needs of a specific region in the new regional modeling systems, implementation of innovative technologies, the examination of the activities of the various organizations, programmes and projects are becoming more noticeable. A number of Roundtable participants clearly showed that the driver of the emergence and development of scientific projects are the needs of the region addressed to "its" University. It was noted that the development of applied research, social forecasting and social diagnosis for the local community at the University is yet another challenge for University regional segment research.