An apology of ideology or Antidogmatics
(society and authorities non-zero sum game)
‘-And what do we need so that
it would turn out not as always
but at last as we want it to?’
‘-We lack ideology!’
A conversation between two students in the metro
Kind of Introduction
G.P. Shedrovitski wrote in his introductory note to «Pedagogy and logic»: «Now the education and upbringing of the younger generations are already becoming and will finally become in the coming decades the main branch of social production; this branch will take significant part of the efforts and resources of any nation; tens of millions of people will be directly employed in it and in its service areas. The production of training and education facilities will constitute a significant part of the total industrial production.
But not only does the expenditure of grass-roots efforts determine the significance and “weight” of this sphere of social production. Even more substantial is that the future of every state, its destiny, largely depends on the quality of the education system, on the level and intensity of education and upbringing. First of all, the contribution to the culture of humanity that every nation will make in the future depends on it.
At the same time, there is no other sphere of social activities that would be archaic, unorganized and imperfect as the education and upbringing. Until now, it is built on traditions and habits witch are 250 years old…”
It seems that this was written not in 1968, but today, you just need to change the “250 years old” can easily be changed to “300 years old”.
Moreover, the modern and the forthcoming redistribution of intellectual functions between the human and artificial intelligence, the mass closure of existing professions and jobs and creation of new ones requiring other competencies, radically aggravates the situation and calls for new, additional issues raising.
For example, is it possible for robots to have an ideology or in other words is it possible that robots while performing operation and procedures way better then people could be guide by ideas but not algorithms packed in the programs code?
Is it possible for robots to invent, i.e. come up with ideas, or write something like “ the forest is crimson with its purple dress”
Is it possible for them to slander and write squeals against people and against each other?
How to teach the younger generation (after all, a robot is “born” already grow-up), or teach furiously fighting against it grown-up people all over again, how to keep up with changes if the speed of the emergence of new robot models with amazing “competencies” in now through the roof?
What if suddenly, God forbid, it will “come to robot’s mind” to transform the socio-cultural situation and organize the processes of social change, horrible to say, development? As a matter of fact, people are in a hurry to project social systemx, despite mean abilities and disregard towards the natural-historical process.
In this case, what should poor “homo sapiens” do with his five senses that are non-reactive to radiation and radio waves, do not see ultraviolet rays, do not hear infrasound, and in general are inferior in all respects to robot’s sensors and chips? What should he do with his weak health, frail memory, unstable mind, bad habits, the need to eat, sleep and many more other things that robots do not need and still being capable of working in 24 per 365 mode?
Is it even possible for robots to possess understanding, reflection, ability to think, thought communication. It is clear that robots can “prosthetise” the mental activity with their “algorithmic-action” and “homo sapiens’” originals. But this is only one of the five intellectual functions, meaningless without the other four, and impossible in isolation from them.
And is it possible for robots to develop technique of intellectual work and transfer them into methods?
There are many other issues that we decided to take out to the broader communication space, and we are deeply grateful to the “independent newspaper” team for the professional design of our article, especially for illustrating thoughts and the text publication.
But since the whole text did not fit the printed layout of the newspaper and the electronic version is shorter than the printed one for about a quarter, we publish the full text on the Foundation’s website, counting on the response of a narrower audience, which has deeper understanding of the methods of working with ideas.
People driven by ideas shape the future
The experience of being in charge of considerable objects, such as economy and finance of the country as a whole, branches of industry, districts, cities, life supporting systems such as housing and communal services, healthcare, education, has led us to a conclusion, that even with a great effort and occasionally effective actions; all undertakings begin to simplify and falter. To explain that the reason for this lies in the mentality, the level of education (we, ourselves, have been engaged in the training for the managers for years), the lack of a proper cultural upbringing etc. is not satisfactory for us anymore. Practice shows — one cause is missing: a set of ideas that drive thoughts, actions and deeds (i.e. ideology). Part of the trouble is that it is accepted that not ideas allow progress, but economic conditions, social institutes, money and motivation. When in fact without an ideology, nothing can be set in motion and the spirit of simplism and acquisitiveness prevails. It is natural for human consciousness to be looking for easier paths, while the mind of the manager requires constant pressure towards along with analysis and actions appropriate for certain situations and objects. A popular opinion that managers require more information for better work is superficially naive. Information is not an idea.
Management works with ideas in its own specific way. Notions and representations, that are being used by the managers, are created according to a specific scheme of abstraction: the volume of notion has to increase, whilst the content has to become simpler and conceptually more understandable as far as situation or the structure of the object gets more complex. Let’s make an example.
Working with apple, pear and plum trees, requires a gardener to have detailed knowledge of them. However, the term ‘tree’ associates them together, while its content is a lot simpler than of any of them, highlighting the characteristics that are inherent to them all. Same can be said about raspberry, gooseberry, buckthorn and blackberry, by associating them into one category — ‘bush’. Also mint. parsley, dill and rucola as ‘weed’. Moreover, such terms as ‘tree’, ‘bush’, ‘weed’ fall into category ‘plants’, which is a more generalised term, yet is conceptually more understandable. Humans. animals, fish and mollusk do not fit in that category. Which requires a different form of abstraction — ‘organisms’. Once again it is a more generalised term, however it is less difficult to obtain. The ultimate level of abstraction is idea of categories formed by Aristotle. The thought does not go anywhere farther than its categorial definition. When a man is trying to move a refrigerator, he does not need to consider the systematic functions, the category of ‘object—options’ is more than enough. We can even argue that in this case the category is unnecessary, the characteristics of the weight, size and also transportation rules. However, in case of actual designing of the fridge, it is impossible to get results without taking the ‘system’ category into consideration. Without a rather systematic thinking nothing can be done, basic knowledge would not be enough. Knowledge — is what allows us to act without mistakes, although in a situation where someone lacks knowledge there is no way but act through trial and error and to complete the remaining knowledge gap. Designing is the act of thinking about creating something that does not yet exist. If there is a knowledge, why design? One should act according to it.
One cannot identify managing profession with maintaining the stable functioning. It is possible to manage the changes, the progress, the progression; a motionless machine cannot be managed. Designing — is an essential element of management.
The singularity of our country is that such complex intellectual activity as “management” is not considered worthy of its own “system” defined by an academic degree. The country has no Doctors or Candidates of management, everyone who is writing a thesis on management earns a degree either in economics or sciences. Vladimir Dal has a word — ‘primak’, which means ‘a son-in-law has been accepted by his father-in-law’, that is to say a man who for some reason was not capable of creating his own home and household. In our country management is a “primak” of economic and technical thoughts.
Perhaps it is due to the fact that managing thought is based on the methods and approaches rather than on information and knowledge, and operates with notions and knowledge through them filling in some gaps. Another way is a non-object activities, which unlike the economy and technology, use only methods and approaches to solve practical problems. For notions of method and approach see Annex 1.
Understanding the way and method
In the beginning let us introduce the difference between simple (standard) and rational way of action. Users who have their own practice and take thought-through purposeful actions need this difference, while it will be excessive for simple curious readers. Laws, orders, instructions, directives, social indicators and limitations, traditions, motivation, forced decisions etc. are not enough for successful rational actions. Practical purposeful actions require provision of thought: reference points and landmarks from the world of ideas. These are categories, languages, notions, knowledge, schemes, drafts, texts etc.
A user, unlike a reader understands that: «It is impossible to extract anything out of a text. People extract only out of themselves,and in the same way it is impossible to extract anything out of objects of nature but rather it is possible to extract out of your actions with these objects; the same works for texts. In order to extract logic out of any text you have to implement this text into your own practice and, therefore tie it with understanding, application of resources, solving problems which lean on this text. After this you can extract something out of this application». (G.P. Shedrovitski, seminar report MMK 06.10.1969).
In order to differentiate between habitual and rational ways let us use the «fable» method, allowing us to introduce a scheme of the discussion:
1786, a German town of Braunschweig. Math teacher Buttner gives his children an assignment which will keep them busy for half an hour or more so he can rest. He asks them to add up all the numbers from 1 to 100 and hand in the result. Having done that Buttner sat down at his desk, but after few minutes a new student, nine year old Carl Gauss came up to him and gave him a plank with the number 5050.
— «What is this?»
— «The answer»
The surprised teacher invented the problem out of thin air and did not know the answer himself, so he started calculating the result. The boys in the class dropped their counting immediately and were obviously amazed by the way the teacher has been fooled! This Gauss boy will get his beating after the herr teacher spends some time calculating and gets the correct answer, finally figuring out that Carl simply gave him a random number in order to make him do the counting instead of the students, no doubt about that. They were very surprised, however, when the teacher received the same number 5050 in the end of his calculations and asked Gauss: — «How did you do that?».
— «I was too lazy to add up all the numbers one by one because it would take too long so after thinking a little bit I realized, that if instead of adding them up one by one but rather from both ends, then to each addendum from one side number 1 will be added and subtracted from the addendum from the other side. Therefore, the sum of the two last numbers will always be a constant 1+100=101, 2+99=101, 3+98=101 etc. In this row there are 50 pairs of numbers so I multiplied 101 by 50 and quickly got the required result.
Buttner immediately realized that the boy in front of him was a genius, who, instead of going the easy way and using normal procedures which he has been taught or procedures, producing the result in the most obvious way aspired to create his own way of action. In order to do that he had to rationalize the required operations and procedures for receiving the needed result, in this case replacing 99 procedures of addition by just three:
- identify the sum of last numbers of the row;
- identify the number of pairs in the row;
- multiply the number of pairs by the sum of the last numbers.
To do this, however, he had to first think through and create a new way of action.
If you are also able to fix the new way in a format, allowing you to repeat the same set of procedures in the future and transfer it to others, it means you have transmuted a way of doing something into a method format. It is understandable that the way invented by Gauss does not need to be transmuted into a method, because this problem is not practical, but singular and will never happen in life again and nobody needs a method for solving it. We can speculate, however, that formulae for short division, for example, such as many other things have been invented in a similar fashion: while solving a practical problem someone invents a way of doing it, then someone else resolves it into a method which everyone can easily employ hereinafter.
Similar work of transmuting a way of doing something into a method easily applied by everyone, this time for artists rather than mathematicians, has been done by Giotto (Giotto di Bondone) in the beginning of XIV century. Back in the days artists did not know how to create an illusion of space on a plane surface. Following the advice given by Roger Bacon, who said that artists should study the works of Evklid as copiously as they study the works of church fathers, Giotto discovered that light rays in Evkild’s «Optics» converge at the surface of the eye in a cone and therefore drawings of objects on a surface are abiding by strict geometrical laws. It is not known how much time it took Giotto to create this way but the work he did in del Arena baptistry in Padua, ordered by Enrico Scrovegni signifies a crucial turn in European painting. The turn meant an appearance of a space effect on flat paintings — all parallel lines on his frescoes in the baptistry unite in one point and he placed this point on different frescos in different places, controlling the perception of viewers. This way was so revolutionary that even Giotto did not use it afterwards and it was described, transmuted into a method and employed by all painters only in XV century. Today, it is taught to children in school in drawing classes.
All areas of human activity can be traced back to the cycle of «practical problem — idea — understanding — way — knowledge — method».
Ways of working with ideas have a long and intricate history, starting with Plato. The first person to set out to create a method for operations and procedures in working with ideas was Antoine Destutt de Tracy.
«Ideology — is a science of idea formation,… it is a theory of theories».
«Method — is an art of positioning your ideas in an order, most suitable for finding out the truth and expressing it». (Antoine Destutt de Tracy «Elements of Ideology» (Éléments d’Idéologie, 1801).
End of Annex 1.
Moreover, management as an activity is evolving a lot faster than others in line with a thesis by Empedocles: ‘The moving force of change, evolves faster on its own.’ Management is above all a thinking profession, i.e a technical work with ideas, presented in different forms. Ideas have their own life cycle, their own expiration date. Many ‘thinkers’ were able to understand that. For example, Leo Tolstoy used to categorise ideas as follows:
‘And, therefore, every man and every homogeneous group of men, on whatever level they may stand , having behind them the worn-out remembrances of the past, and before them the ideals of the future, are always in a state of struggle between the moribund ideas of the present and the ideas of the future that are coming to life. It usually happens that when an idea which has been useful and even necessary in the past becomes superfluous, that idea, after a more or less prolonged struggle, yields its place to a new idea which was till then an ideal, but which thus becomes a present idea.’ (article ‘Government and patriotism’, 1900).
Such assertions regarding the life cycle of ideas are common among those who was looking for an answer to the questions: ‘Where do ideas come from? How are they formed? How do they live? Act? How do they leave and die?’. For example, according to Mannheim in his ‘Ideology and Utopia’: “Thoughts constitute the criticism of that which is and yet is not as it should be. Throughout their development the ideas form new life conditions and harden themselves into accord with custom, conservatism, and obstinacy, new criticism is demanded, and thus on and on.”
Let’s attempt to sort out the functions and ways of working with those ideas of the managing profession.
A ‘heretic’ concept of an ideology
Ideas have their own cycle of life — they are born as heresy and they die as prejudice. In a problematic situation, when no one understands how to act, the work of understanding, introspection and thought generates ideas, which are then expressed through concepts. For everyone with a rather conservative approach such concepts are heresy.
Ioan Zlatoust believed that Jesus passed on more through his apostle Paul that through his teachings on Earth (humanity has obtained only few controversial facts about Jesus’s first 12 and the last 3.5 years of life). Paul was one of the most literate men of his time, in Jesus’s team he was the only representative of the intellectuals. Others were manual workers. He joined the team later after the death and rebirth. He did not know him personally (except Jesus’s appearance to Savle on the way to Damask, after which not only he turned to faith, he also switched the avatar to Paul). In his first epistle to the Corinthians Paul declared: ‘For there must be also heresies among you, that they which are approved may be made manifest among you.’ Corinth is Greece and the word ‘manifest’ is derived from the Greek writings, where it says ‘αἵρεσις’, which means heresy, choice, opinion and sense of direction.
Raphael «St. Paul preaching in Athens.» 1515 (Victoria and Albert Museum, Great Britain)
If a group of skilled thinkers, with the use of will and judgement, does not put enough effort to overcome a natural flow in a problematic case, the issue will be eventually simplified and flattened. Human consciousness undertakes the simplification automatically. Without a tense, sensible work towards an analysis of the situation, a projection of the outcome and an outline of the perspectives, ways and methods; without a ‘brainstorm’ (ref. to Alexander Zinoviev) the problem cannot be solved, it would only get worse. The simplification entails the attempts to solve the problem with obvious and easy methods, which only increases problematic metastasises and inevitably results in power forcing of simple decisions for rather difficult cases, with all tragic and catastrophic consequences.
In Russia, historically, the relationship between the elements of the public structures are like a zero sum game (ref. John Von Neumann, Oscar Morgenstern ‘Theory of games and economic behaviour’), where one player’s success is always a loss of the other(s).
Throughout centuries this structure has been fairly simple thus stable and supported at all cost. Rarely was it disrupted by revolutions, turmoils, protests and reforms. Stability — is an autocratic power, a simple social structure with a supporting social class; security and military forces subordinate to the autocracy and cleansing all the deviations to differentiation and structural complication; a never independent servile spiritual ‘department’ averting such deviations at the very source and appropriate education. In his day Michael Speransky established: ‘In Russia there are two states of being: the slaves of the government and the slaves of the landowners. The first are only called free in relation to the second. Essentially, there are no free people in Russia, except for the beggars and philosophers.’
The reflective understanding of the historic experience never happened, any attempts were followed by persecution. Petr Chaadaev opened a long series of mad heretics who were declared as such by the government due to their attempt to understand Russia’s history. Prior to that, and after, the people who took alternative paths were treated in a similar manner by the political parties (e.g. Novikov, Radishev). If there is no personal ‘thinking design’, then there cannot be any experience. Therefore there cannot be a critical mass of skilled philosophers and dilettantes, equipped with professional understanding and ready for independent decisions, which consequently build our country’s foundation.
Till this day, Russia has not found a solution to resolve the lack of a skilled critical ‘mass’ in the sphere of management, engineering and business. Even more so the problem is not even on the agenda yet. The quantity of amateurs and the forms of organisations of their professions do not reach the level, that allows the excess of initiatives that could potentially provide with an opportunity to prioritise the paths of development, as opposed to always being in the state of emergency. This means always ‘catching up’, that requires mobilisation instead of normal functioning, forced redistribution of resources instead of market one.
So happened historically, that we did not get out own Francis Bacon or cardinal Richelieu: ‘Every country has its own vices, yet the cleverest people seek for what has not been given to them by nature. It is difficult to be establishing rules of good will, yet it is more difficult to actually fulfil them, which at times can be impossible. There is no such society, where there are more kind people, than wicked. An entrusted case is hopeless, hence people relying on each other, and the decisions that are being granted by the society are rarely within reason. Because despite the great presence of kind and intellectual people, there are always the ignorant and the wicked’ — (Richelieu ‘Political testament’). Only the beginning XIX century witnessed the pursuits of Speransky, who virtually had failed to accomplish his historical mission.
No reform in Russia, except for Speransky’s, had a particular goal. They were rather forceful actions initiated by governing elite within its own ideological dogmatics. Dogmatics, essential not to explain the goals of your actions and to involve skilled workers, but for self-sacralisation in a total resistance and rejection of change. Ivan the Terrible attempted to divide the country into ‘zemshchina’ and ‘oprichnina’. We are all well aware of the consequences and so was he 10 years later when he abolished ‘oprichnina’.
It was a vicious circle where disagreement was not allowed by the highest authorities. Catherine II Supposedly said that Radishchev was a rebel worse than Pugachev. Local problems were neither identified nor resolved (continuously, everywhere, gradually and painlessly as in the Kaizen ideology) by a critical number of people well qualified for that. It is quite natural that problems accumulated and were calling for large-scale and strong actions towards to remove them from the top of the autocratic vertical of power. Strong Western- inspired actions (ideas were not generated locally) were forced and, on one hand, increased the gap between the authorities and their non-free subjects, and on the other hand, nurtured a ‘non-systemic’ opposition. The latter believed in its sacred duty to fight the authorities but ignored ‘the unity and struggle of opposites’ or cooperation and ‘called to raise the hatchets’ (ref. Change of Landmarks collection of essays). This collection of essays distinguishes between the ‘veracity’ or ‘fairness’ of the common people and the ‘truth’ of the ‘intelligentsia’ which was later mocked in the Little Golden Calf’s accountant Berlaga’s reasoning his betrayal of Sardinevich: “I did it not in the interest of veracity but in the interest of truth”. People’s mistrust and subdued hatred fed on such actions. Pushkin’s protagonist Boris Godunov has formulated it in his line “The mob detests the living power”. This distrust in the governance system has paradoxically transformed into the belief that the ‘tzar is good but the boyards are bad’. The authorities’ natural reaction to the consequences of their own actions was cementing and defending dogmatism instead of developing a fast response ideology. Only the law enforcement were fast to respond. The cock and bull story went on and on, the circle has closed.
Ideology is reproduced by self-seeding
The West has found a different way. As a result of special efforts towards analysis of ideas and methods of interpretation of these ideas and, subsequently reflexive understanding leading to comprehension of their history, they learned to complexify their social structure in line with changing situations. Moreover, both authorities and society have mastered transformation. As a result of reflections on religious wars, Reformation, bloody revolutions, civil wars, destructive wars between nations and alliances of nations including two World Wars, the West gradually learned how to bring the authorities and society’s games to win-win solutions where one side’s gain not necessary means another side’s loss.
Neither a material situation according to Marx played a key role in this transformation, nor ideological dogmatics like “Autocracy – Orthodoxy – Nationalism’ or ‘Scientific Communism’, but ideology. It was the ideology, live, volatile and controversial, produced and consumed by everybody at the same time, possessing an incredible assimilation ability, able to absorb both private initiatives and élans, even the protest ones. This ideology is spread all over the channels of influence on human consciousness; it is developed and maintained by attention concentration experts through interest rather than forceful indoctrination; it is omnipresent yet ‘invisible’; it seems inexistent…
And – quite amazing for our consciousness – it does not have any control centre; it lives like the Internet does, without a boss, and long before he came to be. Consonance of statements and actions of various Western public figures keeps us suspecting such centre exists. However, it does not. (ref. М.Weber’s “The Protestant Ethic and Spirit of Capitalism”, К.Mannheim’s “Ideology and Utopia”, M.MacLuhan’s “Gutenberg’s Galaxy: The Making of Typographic Man”, A.A.Zinoviev’s “The West: Phenomenon of Westernism” as well as works by other intellectuals + loads of web-publications).
Ideology cannot die; it is self-reproducing and cannot be destroyed, just like the Internet. Unlike dogmas of any kind which natural death or killing (euthanasia) and its disastrous consequences for societies that used to be based on them we witness here and there in the history. As well as downsizing of dogmas to their due place in the social structure when a dogmatic part of an idea is fixed in education (both for the youth discovering the world of thinking and action and for the full-fledged adults). It would be a mistake to assert while engaging in education we can ignore the system of governance and the situation of adult population. The system of governance and education are two related items; governance prepares (or vice versa, closes) jobs for those entering the active phase of life and educators themselves.
The golden triad Authorities – Education – Logos perhaps is the perfect state government model.
The governance in this triad is functioning in the ideological but not in the dogmatic framework. The movement of “Ideologists’ in the late 18th – early 19th centuries in France led by Antoine Destutt de Tracy, who coined the idea and the term ‘ideology”, was virtually combined with the system of governance and education and, thus, was perhaps the most advanced (but not reflecting upon it) power structure in the history of mankind (the closest to the Logos, the history, the arts…).
We cannot imagine Hegel or Kant as ministers in a German government. What would they do with their theoretical rationale? Unlike the French version of Renaissance and “Ideologists” who concluded it, the German philosophy can be considered as a way of channeling intellectuals out and keeping them off the power levers. Or even worse, as a way to separate power and intellect. Europeans still read Marx since his activities resembled what the Ideologists were doing in France. The Marx ideas have conquered the world (the power structures), however not in the ‘ideology’ form but in that of a dogmatics since he discarded ideology (in its good sense).
However, dogmatization of ideology leads to degeneration. Dogmatization of such an idea as democracy for example has led the humankind to its today’s state which gives raises concerns among intellectuals as well as with people with common sense. While the democracy concept used to be an ideal, i.e. something to aspire for, the things went in a more or less constructive way.
The society that raises and educates its own citizens, where one governance system can be easily replaced with another without any bloodshed (even in a case of a counter-course or an opposite doctrine), without revolutions, was not a universal reality but a mere hope and objective. The idea of democracy won over great masses of people, great social changes took place. However, once democracy won and became an everyday banality (ref. F.Fukuyama’s “End of History”), the idea of equality, the idea of paramount interests of minorities and of subsequent tolerance (a dumb but very electorally strong idea) has become dominant and has been reduced to an absurdity.
CPSU as a result
Today a main personnage in the so-called society is not a responsible citizen but a creature belonging to an ethnic minoritiy, an orphan, a cripple, of course with a non-traditional sexual orientation (homosexuality, pedophilia, necrophilia…) and suffering from AIDS.
Ideas of equality, homogenization of all and sundry, of tolerance to whatever the ‘tolerant’ need at a particular time are most destructive for the human society. To protect their ideal cripple they bombed Yugoslavia, Libya and other countries and at the same time killed and maimed a huge number of potential citizens. Democracy beside its positive ideas for a long time has been used as a dogma and an instrument in the hands of players ruling the word, an instrument not enforced by power but a legitimate and a recognized one. “Democracy means simply the bludgeoning of the people by the people for the people.” (Oscar Wilde).
The West’s arsenal also includes an expertise in such means of guiding people’s actions through their consciousness as politics. Politics as a contest of programs built upon various sets of ideas and artificially clustering big numbers of people, parties around these ideas. In older times these were within the countries’ borders, these days they come cross-border. Russia has practically no experience in politics: “Whatever party we intend to form we end up with the CPSU” (Victor Chernomyrdin). The political format of guiding people’s actions is losing its role and weight, it is the global trend today, which is obvious from the universal drop in voters’ turnout. Refocusing of governance towards ideological format is underway. This tendency gets ever stronger in the conditions of digital transformation of communication space and turning the knowledge into a universally accessible substance online.
Propaganda (enforced) methods of influence on consciousness still work but inefficiently, unreliably and for a limited time only. It only works on uneducated, uncultured strata, on those who were not educated to wilfully control their consciousness; on those who don’t know how to learn and improve, who live by customs, traditions, cliché of propaganda; who use ‘secondhand’ knowledge and believe that only violence can bring victory but do not understand that for a self-conquest requires strength of will…
There was an Ideology Department at the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, it was doing tremendous work both within and outside the country; the world considered USSR the most ideology-driven nation, but there was no ideology. Instead, there was an ideological dogma that worked for tactical but not for strategic objectives. By the way, the Third Reich’s Ministry of Propaganda and Education has also failed its objective. Ideology as a guiding system for ideas and views that determines, without direct orders by superiors, thoughts and actions of people of various social strata did not exist in Germany, nor in the USSR unlike “the rotten democracies” as they used to be labeled before 22nd June 1941 in the Soviet and German mass media. The Reich was overthrown by force after just 13 years of existence while the Soviet system that for 70 years survived purges, overloads, overstrains and tremendous external pressure, somehow fell apart too easily as a result of a soft ideological impact. No one stood up to its defense, therefore, the ideas that had been implanted for so many years never got to the people, who adopted totally different ideas.
While Vladimir Vysotsky’s songs that have been ignored and suppressed might be categorized as an ideological phenomenon, they inspire similar emotions and thoughts, cause statements and actions and unite people of various strata – from sophisticated intellectuals to homeless, whether those statements were pro or contra, encouraged or banned at the time. They have had their ideological effect no matter what.
During the Perestroyka the functional place of Scientific Communism as a guiding dogma got vacant, but the authorities did not start building a hybrid ideology as in China where the communist and the free market ideas coexist and well cooperate; they did not establsih priorities and new objectives of building a new ideology, they not even prepared new dogmatics.
As usual the authorities have borrowed readymade ideas from outside. Including a strange idea of deideologization of society understood as public life without any ideas which is quite difficult to imagine. The idea of a lack of ideology (ref. D.Bell, J. Galbraith, Z.Brzezinski et al “The end of Ideology”, F.Fukuyama “The End of History and the Last Man”) is a part of highly ideologized Western society and works well for its stability. However, it does not mean a public life without any ideas but a life without a dogmatized limited set of ideas, a life with constantly changing ideas. In Russia the idea of deideologization had a destructive effect. The point “we have no ideology, we are just up to practical work” played its role (it was voiced by Boris Gryzlov just like another one repeated thousands times but not as destructive: “the State Duma is not a place for discussions”). The task of developing (building and implementation) dominating ideas in the society, researching the processes of their appearance, evolvement and replacement as well as refining of methods of this work has never been organised at best moment for that.
Who wrote those millions of squeals?
In Russia not only the authorities failed to do that but the society that always enthusiastically welcomed the ideas from overseas as well. Moreover, the society demanded the power structure to reform but was not willing to reform itself, obviously believing that the authorities were always to blame but not the society, warm and fuzzy. Therefore, the authorities are to reform themselves and give the society the same thing that the CPSU used to promise but somehow failed to deliver. Sergey Dovlatov asked the right question “We keep on blaming comrade Stalin – for good reason, of course. Still I would like to ask: who wrote those four million squeals?”
Society shifted from the communist ideas, earlier borrowed from the same West and imposed on the public, just to be easily disposed of later (Zhvanetsky: “Somehow all the communists have too suddenly converted to Orthodoxy”), to free market, democracy, private property. The work began — a strange work on dogmatic cloning of all this stuff with neither foundation nor ideology or a new dogma at least. Manual operation of the world of ideas fell short of expectations, and the objectives of building networks to provide targeted actions with intellectual and educational basis – hot practical tasks – were never set.
Although the history shows that numerous attempts to found reasonable human society on appropriate education have failed, not only in Russia; it doesn’t mean that we have to sit on our hands. The today’s digital reality gives us another chance to succeув in meeting the future. It means joining the global intellectual mainstream and maybe even launching the authority-society game not with a nonzero but increasing score. This opportunity is easy to miss yet another time, but sooner or later it has to be done.
It is quite natural that other dogmatists started fighting over the spot vacated by the Scientific Communism (a holy place is never empty) and in the XXI century religion and patriotism have got a firm hold of it. Despite the fact that Russia is a secular state, the church is separated from the government. It was the same very Church that in 1901 has published the Holy Governing Synod’s “Pronouncement on Count Leo Tolstoy” which officially declared:”The Church does not count him Her member and will not be able to do so unless he repents and resumes his communications with Her. Today we witness of the same to the entire Church.” Not only Tolstoy’s heretic views but also his views on patriotism led to such decision. He included in his “Circle of reading” the Samuel Johnson’s adage: “Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel” and in 1900 published an article “Patriotism and Government”. Presbyter John of Kronstadt wrote in 1902: “How did Tolstoy even dare to say such a malicious calumny about Russia and her government! He is nothing but insolent downright atheist similar to Judas the traitor… Tolstoy distorted his own moral self to the extent of monstrosity, to abhorrence…”.
Let us quote a fragment of Tolstoy’s “distortion of his moral self” which was partly quoted earlier: “There are always, both for an individual and for a group of people, ideas of the past, outdated and having become alien, the ideas which people cannot return to, for our Christian world these are the ideas of cannibalism, mass pillage, abduction of wives etc. of which we barely remember; there are ideas of the present instilled in the people by education, example and all the actions of the environment, the ideas ruling the lives of today like the ideas of property, power structure, trade, utilizing domestic animals etc. There are also the ideas of the future, some of them are already close to be implemented and make people change their lives and fight the outdated forms like, for example in our world the ideas of workers’ liberation, women’s equality, giving up eating meat and other ideas, although already perceived by the people but still not in the struggle with the past forms of life. Such are the ideas that today are called ideals: abolition of violence, institution of common property, common religion and the global fraternity of people”.
“That is why any person and any homogenous group of people, on whatever stage they are now, having behind them obsolete reminiscences of the past and the ideals of the future in ahead of them, will always be in a process of struggle between the ideas of the present becoming obsolete and the ideas of the future coming into life. This is what usually happens when an idea that used to be useful and even essential in the past becomes redundant and, after a more or less long struggle, gives way to a new idea which previously was an ideal and now is becoming an idea of the present.”
“However, it also happens that an obsolete idea — already replaced by another superior idea in the people’s minds – is such that it is in the interests of certain people having big influence on the society. It is then that such an obsolete idea despite its stark contrast to the changed lifestyle continues to influence the people and guide their actions. Such preservation of obsolete ideas has always been and still is in the religions sphere. The reason is that the priests whose profitable situation depends on such obsolete ideas use their power and deliberately keep the people under the influence of such obsolete ideas.
The same goes on for the same reasons in the governmental sphere in regards to the idea of patriotism upon which any statehood is built. The people in whose interests it is to maintain this idea — void of any sense or use – keep on maintaining it artificially. Having powerful means of influencing people they are always able to do so.
To me this is an explanation of this strange contradiction of the obsolete idea of patriotism with all the corpus of ideas already incorporated today in the Christian world’s way of thinking.”
“People have to understand that patriotism is a vulgar, harmful and evil emotion, but first of all – immoral. It is vulgar because it is common with the people on the lowest stage of morality, expecting from other nations same violence which they would be ready to inflict themselves; it is harmful because it harms beneficial and peaceful relations with other nations and, most important, produces the power structure where the worst ones may and always do come to power; it is shameful because it turns a person not only into a slave but also into a fighting cock, a bull, a gladiator who wastes his energy and live for the purposes not his own but his government’s; it is an immoral emotion because instead of considering himself a son of God according to the Christian teachings or at least a free man relying on his intellect, any person affected by patriotism considers himself a son of his Fatherland, a slave of his government and commits actions contrary to his intellect and consciousness.”
People’s attitude to the idea of patriotism differs depending on which ground a person stands – that of reason (reflect and challenge everything) or that of a dogma (credo quia absurdum). It is normal, there should be “differences of opinions among us” after all.
For a long period of time the place of the religious dogmatics belonged to the scientific dogmatics. It was shaped up to the designs and patterns of ideology during the period of struggle with the total realm of the religious dogmatics; however having won, it became dogmatized itself (ref. P. Feyerabend “Against Method”).
Alexander Zinoviev: “Science and ideology are different in purposes, methods and practical appliances. Science has a purpose of understanding the world, obtaining knowledge of it. It seeks the truth. While ideology’s purpose is to form people’s consciousness and manipulate their behavior through affecting their thoughts but not in reaching an objective truth”. He was an eternal ‘contrarist’, a heretic with a steady understanding and thinking; but he differentiated and counterposed science and ideology and took the side of science. Given all that he believed the West unlike Russia to be a deeply ideoligized society having no prospects and leading the mankind into a dead end, he even wrote its own “Ideology for a new type of party” for Russia.
If we give it a deeper thought and replace ‘manipulating’ with ‘governance’ and refer to Thomas Aquinas who believed that secular authorities govern people’s bodies but not their souls we come up with quite a heretic idea in regards to Zinoviev himself: “Ideology has its purpose in formation of people’s consciousness and governing their behavior through affecting their thoughts but not in reaching an objective truth”.
Zinoviev believed (and probably was absolutely right) that the number of people who are guided in their decisions and actions by the objective or scientific truth is negligibly small in any kind of human societies (“human ant-hills’ to Zinoviev). In reality people’s actions are determined to a greater extent by systems of notions and concepts formed and encapsulated in their memories and consciousness rather than by scientific theories however objective, pure and honest.
Reality is something one cannot ignore; ‘human ant-hills’ with ideology have historically proven to be much more sustainable and able to develop than those with dogmatics of any kind: religious or scientific, economic or ideological. Certainly we could keep to the notion of ideology as delusory consciousness detached from the real social life and generating ideas of zero practical value. We can follow K.Marx and the entire XIX and XX centuries that kept to this idea of scientific dogmatics and cite hundreds of quotations like “Ideology is a collective unconscious thinking of particular groups concealing the actual situation of the society both from themselves and the others” (Karl Mannheim), “Ideology is a system of prejudices and delusions” (Max Scheller), “Ideology is a thought that lost its track” (Werner Stark) and so on and on.
Ideology’s trials and tribulations in the natural and historical process could make a mystery novel. But we are going to limit ourselves to substantially-genetic reconstruction of the very notion of ‘ideology’ (ref. Annex 2 in the end of the text).
Speransky against the Decembrists
In the history of Russia there has been a case (a popular term now) of launching ideological synthesis of Logos, education and power. Peculiar as it may seem, it coincided with the French “Ideologists” activities. It’s tempting to assume that de Tracy’s contemporary Mikhail Speransky was not simply an amazed bystander of the significant events that took place in France at the time but actively analyzed and enthusiastically followed the evolution of underlying reflexive-cognitive rationale of those events. He could not miss the ‘Ideologists’ place and role in ideological groundwork of the development of social changes (above mass movements, bloodshed by means of the guillotine, heated debates in the Convent, coups, wars etc.). He was to resolve a similar task and surely was monitoring and analyzing the way his ideas affected the social changes in Russia. However, he tried to resolve the task in a different, non-violent way, implementing the means of ideologization and trying to combine in a single cooperative bundle the power represented by Emperor Alexander and the Logos in his own person. Speransky ideologically opposed any revolutions and, by the way, he later presided at the Court judging the Decembrists.
Ideologists’ activities in France and those of Speransky’s, an ‘ideology secretary’ so to say in the Russian ‘central committee’ of the time in the person of Alexander I and the members of the Private Committee not only coincided in time but often followed similar patterns. De Tracy, however, immediately got himself involved in establishing an education system, while Speransky — who did not care much of his co-citizens – came up with an idea that the power and the Logos could be intertwined by means of education as soon as he realized that there was no hope for success of his reforms in Russia. He faced Alexander’s strange reluctance when it came to reforms and yet reckless eagerness to get into the war with Napoleon not in the least disconcerted even by the Austerlitz defeat. The ruling elites, too, showed intense opposition to his reforms. At first both Ideologists in France and Speransky in Russia were atop of the power (in 1810 Speransky was appointed the Secretary of the State Council – the second person in the Empire) and took active part in implementation of their reforms instead of merely designing and theoretically substantiating them, thus demonstrating their highest level of intellectual fitness for the matters of a kind. When Napoleon first met Speransky in Erfurt he immediately grasped the man’s potential and offered Alexander to swap Speransky for any European kingdom of Alexander’s choice. Obviously this joke offer didn’t look a joke enough for some, as those ‘In greedy crowd standing by the throne, the foes of Freedom, Genius, and Repute’ (Mikhail Lermontov) enraged by the newly introduced taxes on the nobility estates and ranking exams, have labeled him foreign agent (French) and forced Alexander to send him to the 4-years exile where Speransky had plenty of time to reflect on his doings.
Objectives and interests of reformers and those in power have diverged in both countries. Napoleon shut down the department of moral and politics of the National Institute and de Tracy’s section of analysis of senses, ideas and signs ceased to exist in 1803; the objective of formation of a citizen was withdrawn from the projected reforms of the French education. De Tracy though continued writing and publishing his books on ideology, became a senator and remained an intellectual leader of France until his death. Napoleon’s defeat to which Russia made a significant contribution closed an opportunity for France and the Europe as a whole for a potential development through special targeted efforts aimed at formation of conscious and reflecting citizens. Quite naturally since then the priority in the long run was given to the organized thought based on practice, preferred empirics to rationality etc. And here the English were second to none.
The victory over Napoleon gave the go-ahead to obscurantist ideas both in Europe and Russia some of which, for example, resulted in a secret circular “On downsizing of gymnasium education” issued by the Russian Ministry of Education which became notorious as the “Circular on cooks’ children” and in its turn later inspired Lenin for his concept of “a cook that has mastered the statecraft’. One of the fragments of the circular provoked society’s utter indignation: “The headmasters of gymnasiums and progymnasiums have to be instructed to admit only those children who are in custody of the persons able to present sufficient assurance of a proper domestic supervision. By strictly following this rule gymnasiums and progymnasiums would become free to deny admission to children of coachmen, footmen, cooks, laundresses, small merchants and the alike, whose children, with the exception for those brilliantly gifted, should not aspire for high or university education”.
How some of crown princes of Russian Empire were brought up?
As a matter of fact, everything could have turned out differently in Russia, and the ideology line could have been further developed. Mikhail Speransky’s and, later, Konstantine D. Ushinsky’s activities might have tied up the golden triad of Logos – Education – Power.
Speransky came up with a project of education-generation cycles for Russia’s development where a natural cycle of the Empire’s governance system would be one single term of reign. He advocated constitutional monarchy, believed in a possibility of educating a ‘fair Ceasar’, thought that within the current reign a power structure for the successor should be developed.
On the 1st December 1808 Speransky read to Emperor Alexander his memorandum “On improvement of public education” and submitted for HM’s consideration the “Draft rules for the special Lyceum” which outlined principles of teaching and education in the future Lyceum of Tsarskoe Selo. Initially the Lyceum was meant for educating Alexander I’s younger brothers Nicholas and Mikhail along with fifteen other best boys of various strata of Russia and was to prepare the top governing structure for the next emperorship. Speransky as anyone of the Court knew that Constantine was not disposed for becoming a Tzar, he understood that childless Constantine who was only sixteen months younger than his brother Alexander, is only a nominal heir to the throne. Nicholas, 17 years younger than Constantine, could be a real heir (Alexander I had no sons and both of his daughters had died at an early age which he considered God’s punishment for his patricide). Speransky hoped to ideologize the future power elite from the early age to make them carriers of particular ideology.
However the Empress-mother (who gave Paul I 10 children) refused to send her youngest sons to the Lyceum and educated them herself mindful of Catherine the Great having taken away the oldest ones.
Alexander did not insist on the original idea, the Lyceum was expanded to admit 30 students and played its significant role in the history, although the original project by Speransky was radically modified.
An excerpt from Alexander’s address on the occasion of the Lyceum’s opening: “Today shall be opened the new Temple of Science! We have decided to preordain a certain number of the youth distinguished for their talents and moral qualities for especially important parts in the civil service, and with the purpose of shaping up their talents we have brought them to this Temple; they have been summoned here by sciences and fine arts most appropriate to the mission of the youth to be educated here. As a pledge of Our benevolence We grant it the title of the Imperial Lyceum”.
Speransky undertook his next attempt during the reign of Nicholas I (who unfortunately was not educated at the Lyceum of Tsarskoe Selo). Few people ever wondered how such father as Nicholas I could bring up such a son as Alexander II, considering Nicholas’s total autocratic control over all the matters in Russia, even much less important than an heir’s education.
Empress insisted that Vasily A.Zhukovsky was put in charge of education of Crown Prince Alexander. The education program was developed by Zhukovsky alongside Speransky, in addition Speransky was giving the heir lectures on law. By that time he had already completed his herculean task of compiling the “Code of the Laws of the Russian Empire” – a 15- volume official publication of all the legislature of the Russian Empire in the subject order. The heir’s teachers were the most prominent scientists and statesmen of Russia: Academician K.I.Arsenyev (statistics and history), E.D.Collins (physics and mathematics), K.B.Trinius (natural history), G.H.Hess (technology and chemistry), ministers and diplomats E.F.Kankrine (finances), F.I.Brunnov (foreign policy). Now teaching the heir together with his future administrative circle at the Lyceum was not possible anymore, Speransky would not able to realize this idea in any case. Nevertheless, in retrospective we can see the results of individual education of the state’s No. 1 person under such system .
The same system was implemented in education of Crown Prince Nicholas, the elder son of Alexander II. Here again the crucial role was played by the heir’s mother. Until Nicholas, Nicks to the family, reached 16 years his education lacked any system. However, the Empress who adored her elder son turned to Konstintine D. Ushinsky for help. She knew him from the Nicholaevsky Orphans Institute in Gatchina and from his directorship at the Smolny Institute. Ushinsky wrote the Empress four personal letters in which he outlined his ideas of education. The letters werewritten by Ushinsky in 1859, addressed directly to Maria Alexandrovna and published only in 1908. Here are some of the excerpts from Ushinsky’s “Letters on educating an heir to the Russian Throne”:
“Knowing details and components of a science is necessary either for those who are willing to make the science their mission in life or for technicians or operators. For the future ruler and legislator, though, such minuscule details are hardly useful. He needs to understand what is going on around him and to be able to set directions, to assess performance since performers galore. That is why we cannot give too much importance to certain flaws in factual information and Lord forbids us to burden a young mind with them while it is hungry for for ideas, emotions, inspiration”.
“Until now we have been using foreign convictions; however, we used to easily change them so that they had no chance to take roots with us and were of little use. At the present though the Western Europe has taught us a horrible lesson: its thousands of convictions have clashed and turned to dust. Now we have nothing to imitate, for better or for worse, where is that foreign land where we could find a conviction to adopt as our own? Certainly not in France where the government is based on the lack of firm convictions in the society while the society is happy with the government for this very reason, because it has no convictions. Neither in Germany where the metaphysical state philosophy has deteriorated into most horrible utopias, which absurdity and inapplicability have been brilliantly proven.”
“It is essential to move forward, not only because for a state organism moving backward means its destruction but also because back there in the history of Russia there is nothing worth coming back to. At present everyone is eagerly demanding improvements and reforms in all the spheres. There is no doubt that these demands will only increase with time. Of course it is possible to hush them down for a while but it means decay for the state and the people. Therefore, in my opinion it is quite obvious that Russia’s prosperity and subsequently Her monarch’s happiness is not in halting Her development and not in imitating Western transformations but in independent development of the state and people’s organism resulting from understanding the real needs of the people and not from a childish whim to catch up with the West. ”.
“The Russian government’s task gets harder each year. Today it is not possible to continue what was started by Peter the Great — simply adopting anything that comes from abroad because it seems those arrangements cannot do any good. Now we have to find our own way, cast away any foreign instructions. In order to find a right way we have to turn to our own people more than ever, to find their material and spiritual needs”.
“An heir’s education should combine spiritual and esthetic components. I would call it ideal if this word hadn’t a meaning of something false and insubstantial. I will try to convey my idea more clearly. Everything in the world has its form and substance, however form seldom reflect the substance and sometimes it so happens that a magnificent form has no substance whatsoever and vice versa, an apparently modest form contains an infinitely deep substance. In a poor and simple man’s life forms are so ugly and unattractive that, should development supersede the body such man would despite himself prefer a rich and magnificent thought and idea and a deep inner emotion to meager, often dirty shapes surrounding him. But the higher up in the society, the finer and more attractive the surrounding shapes, the easier it is for him to get fascinated by these shapes and miss the substance. That is why the higher up is a man’s position in the society the more it is the education’s duty to try and attract him by the beauty and depth of thought and ideas; the deeper should be rooted in his soul convictions that any splendor is but a glitz that costs a lot of efforts, time and money but is devoid of any significance for the history, for the people’s wellbeing, even for himself. The history often plays bitter jokes with the splendor that disguises pettiness and, vice versa from the most insignificant, pathetic shapes derives inexhaustible rivers of history. The image of the three crucified men on a small hill outside Jerusalem wall had nothing splendid or majestic to it. Peter the Great feasting with the Dutch skippers would also hardly catch anyone’s eye used to luxury. Roman emperors’ palaces, Roman wealthy men chambers or Bourbon dynasty’s palaces were the most luxurious at the times when around and below them there were thousands of woes and perils, when they hardly possessed enough vigour to survive another year, when under all the gold and glitter there was utter spiritual poverty and not a single live idea which could give rise to anything viable. An educator while revealing to the noble pupil both historical events and contemporary situation should permanently engrain in Him the concept that an idea is most important in the life of a single man and in the history and such idea cannot be replaced by any luxurious environment.”
“I am writing to you and only you, that is why I dared to spill out all this indignation which would be fruitlessly bitter for others. But this feeling is so scathing and injurious that I cannot help but express it in the scathing and injurious manner.”
Not all that was proposed by Ushinsky has been implemented, however, at the age of 16 Nicks’s education has been entrusted with K.D.Kavelin, philologists F.I.Buslayev and I.A.Andreyevsky, historians S.M.Soloviov and M.M.Stasyulevich, statistician and economist I.K.Babst, economist A.I.Chivilev, Professor in finance law N.H.Bunge, experts in economics K.P.Pobedonostsev and B.N.Chicherin, philosophy historian Kudryavtsev, Chancellor A.M.Gorchakov. The warfare science was taught by General E.I.Totleben, General A.S.Platov, Colonel M.I.Dragomirov.
The teaching process was organized and supervised by Count S.G.Stroganov. These names are well known in the Russian history. For the next five years in Russia and abroad rumours spread of the heir’s extraordinary talents, some predicted his future outstanding role in the global history. But to-be Nicholas II passed away at the age of 22 in Nice; the entire program of education-generation cycles for development a government system for Russia was closed (one of the monocracy’s hazards). Alexander III became the heir and the Emperor; the next generation gave us another Nicholas II who was unfit for his monarchal duty.
Konstantine D.Ushinsky who died at the age of 46 managed to contribute to the above program his fundamental work ‘The Human As a Subject of Education: Pedagogical Anthropology’ but this contribution has never been properly used other than touched upon in pedagogical universities soon to be forgotten. This book might take its due place among the most outstanding works on teaching and education. Were it studied along with Locke, Condillac and de Tracy for practical use it could yield remarkable results in the contemporary situation (“in order to find logic in a text one should incorporate such texts in one’s own activities and, therefore, connect them with understanding, using the means, resolving of issues based on these texts)”.
In Russia, after the centennial gap, Alexander Zinoviev and Georgy Shchedrovitsky have set themselves a task to master techniques of working with ideas (ref. Shchedrovitsky G.P. “I always was an idealist”), while Shchedrovitsky dedicated his life to shaping up the techniques elaborated by the mankind over centuries into usable methods, he founded and led the movement of methodologists until his last day.
Setting a practical task to form the sustainable development in the digital reality
If we decide to continue the cause of de Tracy, Speransky and Ushinsky we should reincarnate the cycle of ideology’s life as interrupted in the XIX century. We will have to develop a draft roadmap of ideas that regulate thoughts, communications and interaction of independent agents of development. It is essential for ideological management of a multifocal, multi-aspect, continuous objects such as education or city development. In the conditions of the digital revolution it means:
- Setting up a test-bench to refine ideology as an environment and a tool for managing complex socio-cultural objects; its methods and instruments are different from administrative management, project management, activities and politics programming. Developing a ‘responsive’ and ‘self-sharpening’ tool based not only on the existing institutions but also on the movements, networks and other non-institutional and newly emerging forms of social actions;
- Refining the results of ideological management of thoughts and actions of active and independent agents of development, obtained at the ‘socio-cultural’ design bureau with its test-benches and ‘pilot production’ up to the methods and technologies adapted for serial use.
We have discovered that working with a series of objects without understanding ideology and, therefore, without methods and instruments that give such understanding to a manager, is impossible.
Having analyzed our 25-years experience we have come to the conclusion that lack of such instruments practically takes away an opportunity for a successful work with urban, regional, political matters and significantly complicates our work in the sphere of education. These days we are introducing certain corrections to our programs and respective actions taking into consideration the above mentioned facts and conditions; we are going to conduct ‘performance trials’ and upgrade the draft ideology scheme we developed. The ideology scheme’s structure is like a draft roadmap of ideas, notions, categories, cognitive structures, schemes, knowledge, diagrams etc. that regulate thoughts and interaction of the development management system and independent development agents; nowadays it consists of five points connecting the symbolic forms of these ideas:
- The Point “Logos” is essential to correlate examples of breakthroughs on the frontiers of human intelligence with the operations and procedures of our own local practices and reflections within the framework of resolving practical issues.
The results of work of the Methodological School of Management (MSM) on this matter are presented in the collection ‘Technology of systematic thinking”. It enables us to see and understand and, therefore, organize several different processes on the same material by means of functional structure of the points of connection of ideas, structures and knowledge that manage these processes.
- The Point “History” is crucial to understand and design the ways and actions ещ embed innovations into the historical process (ref. F. Fukuyama “The End of History and the Last Man”), in order to keep up with the global trend of replacing the natural historical process with the artificial and technological making of history.
- The Point “Private property. Business” is necessary for independent agents to understand the ways and methods of creating material conditions and resources for further development. So far the mankind has not invented anything better than entrepreneurship and business and, therefore, private property, to produce excessive wealth and “idleness as mother of wisdom”. It can coexist with any ideological dogmatics, even the strictest ones (ref. China’s example).
- The Point “Faith” (do not confuse with religion) cannot be removed from the ideology’s functional structure for one simple reason. People would be unable to communicate with each other and understand each other without any faith (world view), but in no case it should be one and only true faith; however. Even though they are able to talk and fight even without any faith or even over their faiths. S.Paul’s definition of belief (Epistle to the Hebrews, 11) was: “ Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, and the sign that the things not seen are true. ”
Faith is not a knowledge which needs to be checked and challenged, it is a point of connecting ideas which a person is certain. As Goethe has put it: “Faith is not a beginning but the end of any wisdom”, and, concluding the long line: ‘Credo quia absurdum’ (Believe because it is absurd) by Tertullian (155-220), — ‘Credo ut intelligam’ (Believe to understand) by Augustine Aurelius (354—430), — ‘Understand to believe’ by Pierre Abélard (1079-1142), — ‘I want to feel regret, not to know its definition’ by Thomas à Kempis (1379 – 1471).
And It doesn’t not matter would it be Lord’s Revelation or the Big Bang theory (those who believe in it would never ask themselves what actually has banged and where it had come from), Logos, Supreme Intelligence, artificial (abiotic) intellect or maybe aliens.
Faith in humans and their intelligence is also a faith. The answer to the question ‘whether man invented god or vice versa’ is not so simple (Kant asked this himself before postulating his sixth proof).
It is important that there should be such a point in the ideology structure, while the matter of faith is a private one. A person may convert to another faith, it happens, but Must do it by himself. Personal as well as pragmatic, professional and social self-identification is an existential act that makes us human. There are certain Russian specifics that take their roots from ancient historical and cultural reasons of differences between Catholic and Orthodox churches.
- The Point “Culture and arts” is essential in the ideology scheme as a point that repreents ideas of how a person who still cannot identify himself gets into the world of thinking and acting, how they can enter this world by developing appropriate abilities. Formation of abilities and mastering a described cultural norm is an aquisition of the best modus operandi that the mankind has elaborated so far. A self-identified person has an opportunity, by means of this functional point in the ideology structure, to revise their usual way of doing things and procedures through correlating them with the best known examples. The arts make the grey world brighter and make us human.
The global process of digital transformation changes the society structure and makes it more complex way too fast for inertial mentality of people.
Emergence of the “e-government’ for example, restructures the usual separation of powers. New unusual formats of people’s associations (human ‘ant-hills’ according to Zinoviev) emerge and evolve very fast; in particular the social media’s abilities are still not very well understood. Society gets more and more differentiated. Financial technologies (FinTech) make payments, loans and investments without any banks in their usual centuries-long sense possible. New forms of organization of social activism emerge (flash mobs, ‘colored’ revolutions…) etc.
Technologization of activities, first and foremost of intellectual ones (engineering, management etc.) has changed the scope and speed of these changes, in fact it eliminated the dilemma of ‘stability or changes’ and created a new one: ‘changes or even faster changes’.
Also, technologization and digital transformation cleanse jobs in the transformed sectors and transfer human functions to artificial abiotic intellect. It suggests that the world has come very close to or is already standing on the threshold of the era of socio-cultural projects, both local and global. We would like to enter this era well-equipped and there is no other option of non-administrative management of thoughts and actions but to reincarnate the ideology.
If we touch upon the problem of management, which we have been addressing for many years, the top of Logos requires the transfer of technologies of managerial thinking into the practical sphere. Otherwise, we would find ourselves out of the global context of technologization and digitalization of managerial activities and subsequently, would lag far behind the global development.
We decided it was necessary to publish this text for our colleagues and students. It contains the results of extensive work on reflexive analysis of our own experience in management and managing education, reinforced by references from historical experience highlighting Russian originality, as we understand it. . We do not claim to have the final solution, but rather to “spark off” thoughts, discussions and future joint practical actions.
The meaningfully-genetical reconstruction of the ideology notion.
The notion «Eidos» has become a common consciousness fact in Europe almost 2500 years ago. Plato differentiated the world of ideas (an idea is something which is forever identical to itself, all ideas are already present) and the world of shadows or things (reality is always a transformed, distorted version of an eternal idea) (look «Government»). This difference still captures the European minds, as well as his «technology of remembrance» of ideas. If all ideas already exist, the question is how to «remember» them (look «Menon», the talk between Socrates and a slave-boy). Aristotle carried the work with ideas to constructing syllogism (look First analysis), staying within practical frames of informative apparatus.
Vitruvius made the next step in creating ways of working with ideas and corresponding instruments in his «De architectura libri decem», differentiating «thinking», which allows to capture a whole action (in his case it was a whole engineering project) and «invention» of mind, which allows the creation of solutions for frequent questions and breakthroughs into the unknown: «All of this begins with thinking and invention. Thinking is hard work full of effort, diligence and vigilance leading to a desired fulfillment of an enterprise, while invention is a resolution of dark questions and a mindful rationale of a new subject invented by live savvy». In essence «Ten books about architecture» is the first known attempt to pack the ways of mental work in engineering, where the necessity to separate idea from the actual process of its execution or realization is fixed in order to be able to control the whole process of realization of initial intent. Vitruvius discusses the necessity of creating plans as a form of fixating ideas. However, a way of creating massive plans was only created in XVII century.
Equipping engineering, household, management, cognition and even military with thinking ways and instruments was going at a very slow rate and required centuries in order for innovations to take root. Karl Marx pointed it out in «Capital»: «The making of ideas, apprehensions and consciousness is fundamentally woven into material activity and material human interactions, in the language of real life».
During the scholastic period connection between thought and practice was forgotten and people started implementing formal rules of logic, in essence, rules of presenting ideas without mistakes, rather than rules of «remembering» (production of ideas). Here we could give a whole constellation of names, including the Pope and a huge list of works. There were also no attempts to systematize rational ways of mental provision of actions in engineering before XVII century.
Petrus Ramus, however, doubts that syllogism is suitable as an instrument for creating ideas: «Everything that Aristotle said is a lie». This would have been fine if not for his project of reforming Sorbonne, which he introduced to the King claiming it necessary because those, who teach have no method based upon cognition of the human spirit and basically teach too much. This angried professors and they killed him on the quiet Barthelemew’s night. The project was executed , by the way, and the rows of professors were very much trimmed — an idea, once produced and expressed seeks to realize the imbedded potential until the end.
Bacon, Descartes and others continued Pierre Ramee’s work. John Locke followed Descartes and Hobbes and problematized the existence of ideas apriori. He spent 20 years of his life only to create a new conception: ideas are created by humans (more precisely by souls, look «Human understanding experience») and appear from an external (sensation) and internal (reflexion) experience, having gone through several transformations. Complexes of feelings which we receive from our senses create simple and abstract ideas. Simple ideas with the help of reflexing (the ability of the mind to notice the ways of its own activity) are worked through and assembled into more complicated ones, where the cycle «complex of feelings — reflexing — idea» assembles a single perception out of many and, thus, the experience is created. He then translated all of this into practical terms creating corresponding principles for a system of upbringing (look «Thoughts about upbringing»). It is interesting, what role did the English education play in making the English a global language and Anglo-Saxons rule the world (which was not the case during Locke’s life)? It is tied, of course, with the fact that the country is an island, case law, Magna Charta Libertatum and other factors.
Condillac was not satisfied with the fact that reflexion transformed complexes of feelings into thoughts using the black box principle and wanted a more operational description of this process. He introduced new notions:
- system (systems of knowledge);
- sign (as a necessary element of notions and knowledge);
- language (as an order of ideas): «All conscious mental actions require signs, but the action of analysis, by which the mind learns about itself suggests the use of the whole language rather than separate signs i.e. the whole set of assembled ideas, actualized during discourse and analyzed in the same way.» (Condillac E. The tongue of calculations.)
While awaiting his sentence and later execution in prison, the now forgotten Antoine Destutt de Tracy was reading Locke’s and Condillac’s works and having very sharp understanding and very little time «wrote a short summary of truths to which they have opened my eyes». He was sentenced to be executed on the 14th Thermidor (august the 1st 1794), however, the turnover on the 9th of Thermidor, which happened 5 days prior to that sent Robespierre and company on the guillotine instead. He and Jean Fourier who was also sentenced to death were luckier than Lavoisier, whose execution created the famous: «Revolution does not require genius», who poisoned himself after the arrest of Condorcet and many others from the thinking brotherhood. By the way, Joséphine de Beauharnais was also saved by the turnover on the 9th of Thermidor, and it even arranged her destiny, as her husband Alexander had already been executed and she became free and intoxicated a young general.
Tracy is elected the head of the analysis of feelings, ideas and signs (!) workshop in a class dedicated to morally-political science created in 1795 in the National institute of science and art instead of the closed king’s Academies. On June 20th 1796 he writes a report called «Project ideology», which was the first time this word was ever used in the world history, in 1798 he publishes «Memoir about the ability to think», which became a programmed fixation of ideas and later turned into the foundation of the intellectual movement of «ideologists», which is how they called themselves. His workshop conducts contests on such topics as «The influence of signs on idea creation», «The influence of habit on the ability to think» and others. De Tracy publishes «Thoughts about the polygraphs project» continuing the route of Descartes, John Wilkins and Leibniz and is so immersed into solving the practical problem of creating effective methods of thinking and action as a way to transform society that after two days reflection declines the offer made by general Bonaparte to take part in the Egyptian crusade as a brigade general.
He wants to solve the problem of upbringing a new citizen and give him a way of thinking that, first of all, makes him aware of his own nature and actions; secondly, captures the whole body of positive knowledge and, therefore, keeps that knowledge alive and, thirdly, creates a space for ideas proportionate to the individual consciousness. He also wanted to stop the ideas becoming dogmatic, in other words, set in stone and a dead letter. On the contrary, ideas should always be reproduced into thoughts of the new generation while keeping the original sharpness of experiencing the truth. In de Tracy’s ideology for the first time a sign becomes its own structural element of any apprehension and it is required not only and not so much for expressing thought but rather for its creation and future evolution.
Without any hopes of changing the thought patterns of adults he writes a textbook for children between 12 and 14 years old called «Project [module] of elements of ideology for central schools of the French Republic». The book was simply called «Elements of ideology» (Eléments d’idéologie) in the next editions and was being written between 1801 and 1815. In the first part of this work, «Ideology as it is» (Idéologie proprement dite, 1801), ideology is looked at as a science of ideas. The science of ideology is an analysis of human abilities based on the Condillac conception. Destutt de Tracy highlights four human capabilities that help form an idea: feelings, memory, judgement ability and will. In the second part of this work («General grammar» (Grammaire générale, 1803) he talks about signs that help express an idea. The third part «Logic» (Logique, 1805) is dedicated to analytical and synthetic methods of cognition. Moral problems, the origin of human desires and their correspondence or discrepancy to true life goals are discussed in «The treatise of will and its influence» (Traité de la volonté et de ses effets, 1815).
Tracy notes in the introduction: «My intention is not to give you final solutions in this book but to encourage you to notice everything that happens in your mind when you think, talk and discourse. Because having ideas, expressing them with words and connecting them during discourse are three different but tightly bound things».
«Our only goal is to look very closely at what we do when we think in order to come to a conclusion, what exactly we should be doing to think correctly».
«A human first takes action, then thinks about what he has done and in doing so learns how to do it better. He receives the original knowledge about something and then thinks it through; finally, he corrects this knowledge, upgrades it and then, building on it, moves forward».
De Tracy steps after Condillac, whom he considered to be his mentor along with Condorcet, and creates a system of school training that develops specific human faculties which play a part in «generating» ideas. The last thing he published in regards to this topic was «Principles of logic or a collection of facts concerning the human mind» (Principes logiques ou Recueil de faits relatifs à l’intelligence humaine, 1817 г.).
Engineering was also going through some radical changes. Gaspard Monge created a system of thought for engineers twenty years before the revolution. Ecole Politechnique came to life thanks to Monge and Carnot after the revolution in 1794, his «Descriptive geometry» was published only in 1799. Until then this method of preparing French engineers built as a graphic language for engineering was kept a secret for two decades and was first adopted in Mezieres instead of Paris. The contribution of French engineers and managers into Republic’s and Empire’s victory was huge. Monge, for example, was a Navy Minister of France and provided technical readiness and fire power of the fleet which was ineptly sunk by Villeneuve in Aboukir and Trafalgar. Villeneuve’s maneuvering during a battle was no comparison to Nelson’s methods. By the way, engineering in French — «ingénierie» is derived from Latin word «ingenium» — «skillfulness» and «ingeniare» — «to contrive, develop», «invent». Hopefully, English word «engineering» does not originate from the word «engine».
Antoine Destutt de Tracy was arguably the number one intellectual in France during his time and this was among such people as Pierre-Simon de Laplace, Antoine Lavoisier, Claude Berthollet, Antoine Fourcroy, Lazare Carnot, Philippe Pinel, Pierre Cabanis, Jean Cuvier, Jean-Baptiste Lamarck, Andre-Marie Ampere, Gaspard Monge, Joseph Lagrange, Jean Fourier, Louis Poinsot, Adrien Legendre, Augustin Cauchy, Constantin Volney, Jean Antoine Condorcet and many others… These were all forefathers, founders, inventors and authors of new ideas who were getting their intellectual results to large extent by applying the methods and instruments, described in de Tracy’s «Elements of ideology» and were also contributing greatly to the «ideologists» movement, as Napoleon called them in 1800 for the first time. He held each of them in high esteem, promoting and rewarding them, but strongly opposed their consolidation and objected their influence on the minds of the French people. He did not need understanding people, he needed few thinkers and many followers. Napoleon closed the workshop of morally-political science in the National institute and all of its sections. As a result of that de Tracy moved to a new class of French language and literature. On various occasions Napoleon took other actions and many times spoke harshly about «ideologists’s» activity. Stendhal speaks in «Napoleon’s Life» of such an event that took place in 1808, during the election of de Tracy in the reestablished Academy: «The Monarch assigned de Segur to eradicate philosophy in the Academy on the day when Count de Tracy became one of its members. It was amusing to hear the chief chamberlain judging poor philosophy in such grandiloquent expressions». Napoleon who left his army and promptly came back to Paris after general Malet’s rebellion, who made de Tracy and two other «ideologists» Ministers of France, declared during a Government council meeting on December 21st 1812: «Ideology is to blame for all of the French misfortunes. It is disguised in the theory of hypersensitivity, which, while very artily digging up the source, in fact wants to set a foundation for peoples’ legislation, instead of changing the laws in accordance to the knowledge of the human heart and history lessons».
The conflict with Napoleon, however, did not interrupt de Tracy’s primary work, but Napoleon’s defeat simply ended it. Herzen wrote in his «Lapsed and Thought» this observation: «I simply can not pass by the engraving showing the meeting between Wellington and Blucher the minute of Waterloo victory. Every time I stare at it for a while and every time coldness and fear raise inside me… They have just plunged great history into mud so deep, that which will take more than half a century to dig it out… It was dawn … Europe was still sleeping and had no idea that its destiny had changed.
The development of ways and instruments of thinking — integral and practical directions of philosophical work that was moved ahead by the «ideologists» was shut down. Napoleon’s victors did not need either understanding or thinking people. Kings and Emperors turned philosophy into an academic discipline, detached from both science and practice, and very much to the liking of philosophers — unavailable to the uninitiated . As a result of that it lost to various science disciplines in ways and methods of sophisticated thinking and was replaced by positivism.
Karl Marx considered de Tracy to be a highlight of a limited bourgeois freethinking and turned «ideology» into a denominative word by creating a «transmutation of consciousness form» and opposing it to a science form. By doing so he helped ideology no more than Wellington and Blucher did. Since then everyone in XIX, so in XX and in XXI centuries did just that. In the main works on ideology there is always a connection between ideology and thinking, but ideology is always given a retrograde or reactionary function. It is enough to recite «Ideology and utopia» by Karl Mannheim, for example: «… human activity can easily become disobedient when beyond rational control and criticism for long enough. That is why there is nothing abnormal in the fact that those methods of thinking that help us make our most important decisions, try to understand and direct our social and political destiny were left unknown and out of reach of rational control and criticism. This anomaly will become even more monstrous if we are to remind that much more depends today on the ability to make the right judgement and assessment of a situation than in the past».
“It is basically wrong to say that an individual thinks at all. It is much more correct to consider that he only takes part in the process of thinking which existed long before him. He finds himself in an inherited situation possessing inherited and corresponding to this situation models of thinking and is trying to elaborate inherited types of answers or replace them with others in order to adequately react to the new challenges which came as an effect of transformation of the current situation…»
«Specific existing forms of thinking do not break out of the context of the collective activity by which we spiritually discover the world». And immediately Mannheim introduces two types of ideology, particular and total: «The notion of particular ideology describes a phenomena which lies between a simple lie and a theoretically incorrect opinion (total ideology)».
Alexander Zinoviev: «On 20th June 1796 an event happened in Paris which had a negligible effect on the course of history and left a barely noticeable mark in the memory of humanity, even though it should be considered one of the most distinctive phenomenons in the making of Westernism. On this day A. Destutt de Tracy, the leader of a group of philosophers called ideologists, presented a paper in the National institute of science and art in the section of moral and political sciences. Cabanis and Condorcet were the most prominent members of that group. Destutt de Tracy’s report was called «Project ideology». The reporter offered to summarize and systematize the teachings of such brilliant thinkers as F. Bacon, Locke, Condillac, Helvetius and others in a from of a special «theory of theories» or a science of ideas — ideology. He later developed his project in a book called «Elements of ideology». He did not claim that he had created a complete ideological teaching. He considered it just a rough draft. Thoughts about improving the social structure using ideology held a prominent place in his project. After a very short and quiet success, «ideologists'» influence came to a naught. Napoleon named them demagogues and chatterboxes. Karl Marx named Destutt de Tracy a bourgeois doctrinaire. By a twist of fate, Napoleon was shaped by the ideas of Western ideology’s forefathers (Voltaire, Montesquieu, Helvetius, Rousseau, Mably, Volney and others) and Marx became a doctrinaire himself, only an anti-bourgeois.
«I will also note that Destutt de Tracy anticipated not only the teachings of the communist countries of the XX century, but even the fashionable meta-theories, meta-sciences and meta-languages of the mid-XX century.»
«It is difficult to say, whether there will ever be anyone to revitalize Destutt de Tracy’s idea and create a summarized, general and systematized teaching… Most likely not». (A. Zinoviev Western Phenomenon of Westernism.) …