Flight to nowhere
Human race, unlike other living beings, basically carries out its own selection, destroying people, classes, nations and states, as well as social and economic structures. In the most acute and intensive form, these selections occur during transitions of civilisations, states and societies from one technological level and socio-economic stage of development to another.
Human civilisation has made such transitions more than once, and in those times, humanity used to experience anxiety, unrest, but behind all the worries and disturbances, a new hope and confidence in a bright and happy future appeared and grew.
Those transitions were always accompanied by death or waning and diminution of old ideologies and by birth of new ideologies, new visions of the future world, and those new ideologies brought hope for a better life.
The transition to bourgeois society and capitalism gave birth to the ideas of freedom, equality and created ideological foundation for Western democracy based on competition and rivalry, on the right for each human being to fight for his own interests. The competition and rivalry had to be controlled by Christian morality and by laws and regulations begotten as compromises achieved as a result of struggle between people, communities, classes, clans, social groups, nations and states.
The transition to socialism took place during the flowering of communist ideology that declared universal equality, transition from private to public ownership of means of production, absence of exploitation of man by man on the basis of new moral principles. The communist ideology set up a task to create new human beings, who will be physically and morally perfect, having all possibilities to develop their abilities and talents, to think and create freely. Communism meant the creation of a new culture, art and science by a new man in a new society…
Now, the world is probably for the first time found itself in a transition from one technological and economic level to a new one, from one system of state and social organization to another, without an ideology, clear idea, vision of the future and experiencing not so much hope and expectation of happiness as anxiety, concern and fear for the future.
The world does not even understand what kind of transition our civilization is going through. When did it start? Is it a process that began at the end of the XIX century and continues through this day? Or, in the last hundred years, our civilization has passed through several transitions that followed each other? Was that one single transition protracted for some reason, or there was a chain of transitions, some of them being deadlocked and cut short? If this is a single process, then what is the essence and final goal of the new technological, economic and social transformation? What place will artificial intelligence take in the new economic system, social order and human society? How is artificial intelligence and the transition to a new technological order related to the crisis of ideologies? Has humanity entered an era of death of ideologies in the form they existed in previous centuries?
Only recently, the world began to realize that the crisis of ideologies has come long ago, that for more than a century mankind has been deceiving itself by calling “ideologies” the dogmas, fetishes and ideological mummies that it had turned into the ideas that were once flowering and looking into the future.
Throughout the past century, humanity has lived and acted not only without understanding the future, but also pursuing outdated, false ideas and goals, dealing with partners and rivals and building relationships with them according to obsolete standards and false goals. The world’s elites have ruled outdated practices that have hurt and continue to hurt much more than they do good to the world and mankind.
Physics Vs Lyrics. Heyday of sciences and death of ideologies
In the last hundred years, the natural sciences havedeveloped amazingly quickly, increasing their pace, going into the future that ideologists and politicians had difficulties to understand, and one of the main reasons for that conflict between physics and lyrics was that since the end of the 19th century, sciences have focused on studying the interactionsof various forms of matter and elements.
The research for new substances and new forms of matter took place, basically, by construction of new interactions and by using new forms and methods of cognition.
By changing interactions, scientists have learned to change substances, structures and forms of matter.
Scientists have used also the interaction of ideas, teachings, views, methods of cognition in different sciences as a way to explore and understand the world.
Contrary to scientists, ideologists and politicians limited themselves and concentrated on defending the ideas and ideological positions they had taken and believed in and under the banner of which they fought for power.
Ideologists focused on the struggle against the rival ideologies, striving to defeat and prove inconsistency of the ideas and views of their rivals and opponents. Rivalry and ideological battles paved the way for the seizure of political power. Interaction and cooperation in ideological field have become synonymous of betrayal and weakness.
The use of ideologies in the interests of political figures and parties, political and business clans, classes, big industrial monopolies and financial groups became the essence of the ideological and political struggle for power.
Parties began to transform from ideological organisations and alliances created to fight for power in order to implement their ideas and programs, into political containers, tanks and buckets that were used by and filled with individuals and clans striving for power to be used for their own enrichment, ambitions and perverted aspirations.
The experience of the twentieth century and the first twenty years of the nineteenth century has shown that ideologically uncontrolled politicians, parties, governments can effectively rule neither states nor societies. They constantly make mistakes, create chaos and accelerate the process of fragmentation of society and state, turning them into a growing and warring swarm.
Ideologies have become weapons, dogmas, swords, arrows, cannonballs and bullets. For criticism of ideologies, for doubts and search for new ideas, millions were judged, anathematized and killed, wars unleashed, societies and states destroyed.
Politicians became the force that seized power and material values under the banner of certain ideologies. States turned into structures built on the basis of outdated and frozen, mummified ideological dogmas, under the flag of which those clan elites seized or sought to retain the power.
Party and state bureaucrats, formed a new class and tried to frame and freeze ideologies, transforming them in their own interests, striving to create throughout the world state systems that could allow them to manage not only state structures, but also politics and politicians, subordinating parties and public organizations.
On one side, the natural sciences retained a certain freedom of development. On the other side, the social sciences, literature and art were turned into ideological weapons of struggle between political and bureaucratic groups and clans. Philosophy and historical science escaped from the general scientific stream and became «politics overturned into the past. »
For more than a hundred years, the mankind «overturned into the past» has been flying, not knowing where, not knowing what awaits it at the end of this flight …
First attempt to make revolution in ideology
The first signs of the need for a radical change in ideologies became visible at the beginning of the twentieth century. That need for radical changes was caused by transition of civilization to a new technological level that required the conformity of ideologies, as well as forms of organization of society and the state, to the needs of developing science, the driving force that was pushing the economies in the developed countries to a new technological level.
Changes in ideology, society, economy and state systems were to be as revolutionary as the changes that took place in the natural sciences and technologies.
That was the beginning of a new era of industrial, social and ideological revolutions. However, this era of revolutions was slowed down by the revolution in the ideological sphere that was blocked by politicians.
Attempts to revolutionize ideologies were made several times throughout the twentieth century, but each time these attempts were suppressed due to political interests of ruling groups, clans and strata.
(I will dwell on this topic in detail in one of the subsequent parts, but now I want to briefly touch on the first attempt at revolutionary changes in ideology — VM)
Back in 1910, one of those few who saw the growing gap between the natural sciences and ideologies, who understood what was happening, wrote: “In the midst of grandiose technical and scientific upheavals, in the midst of a cruel merciless struggle that is steadily leading mankind to the end of the «prologue of its history», unnoticed by most of our contemporaries, that deepest and most general crisis of ideology, which has nothing like it in the past, is taking place. This is not a simple replacement of old ideological forms with new ones, as was observed in previous crises. No, this is a transformation of the essence of ideology, of its entire life structure, of the laws of its organization. Ideology — not specifically of this or that class, but ideology in general, in its most diverse and opposite manifestations — is not what it was before, and this revolution is perhaps the most striking of all, preparing a new phase of human life. For very, very many, for entire groups and classes, for the majority of today’s humanity, the crisis experienced in its completion is tantamount to the complete destruction of any ideology … «
The author of these words was Alexander Bogdanov, the «grand vizier» of the Bolsheviks, as the Russian Social Democrats called him in 1904-1907. He wrote these words in the book «The Fall of the Great Fetishism» published in 1910, that few years after its publication became the biggest secret in the party that grew up and was created precisely under the ideological leadership of Bogdanov and that under his leadership in 1905-1906, tried to carry out the first revolution in Russia.
This book became a secret because in one of its chapters Bogdanov criticized Vladimir Lenin’s book “Materialism and Empirio-criticism”, arguing that although Lenin understood Marxism and dialectics, he did not know philosophy, did not see what was happening in the natural sciences and used Marxism in politics dogmatically. Lenin turned Marxism into a set of dogmas, and this, according to Bogdanov, could lead Marxism in its Leninist version to early mummification and death.
However, in 1910, Lenin had already become the sole leader of the Bolsheviks, expelling Bogdanov and his main supporters not only from the Central Committee, but also from the Bolshevik party. Since then, Bogdanov went into science, created the organizational science of «tectology», laid the foundations of cybernetics, general theory of systems and genetics, became the first Russian science fiction writer to write about travel in space, created the world’s first blood transfusion institute and influenced the development of Soviet art and culture in the early years after the October Revolution of 1917, when Lenin and his party came to power.
The dogmatic version of Marxism, as Bogdanov called Leninism, dominated Soviet Russia, and the fate of Bogdanov himself, now as a scientist, as well as the fate of his ideas and innovations, were decided. It was the conflict between Lenin and Bogdanov that stood behind the refusal by the leadership of the Communist Party and the USSR for decades to recognize the legacy of Bogdanov: genetics, cybernetics and a number of other areas in science, and those decisions led to disastrous consequences for Soviet economy and society, to socialism itself, slowing down and blocking its development.
I will return to the ideological conflict between Lenin and Bogdanov later, when analysing the reasons for the death of the USSR and its version of communist ideology that was predicted by Bogdanov, and at this point, I would like to emphasize that only a hundred years later, the politicians of the leading world powers began to understand what Bogdanov was trying to convey to his readers in 1910. More, until now, only a small part of what was written in “The Fall of the Great Fetishism” became clear to the modern political leaders.
Of everything that Bogdanov wrote a hundred and ten years ago, the leaders of the modern world have only reached the understanding that the old ideologies do not work, they are outdated and have turned into collections of dogmas. A new leader of the world can only be the one who is able to present a new ideology that provide thinking, moral principles and vision that correspond to the new level of the development of science and technologies in XXI century. This ideology is to be accepted by humanity, first of all, by scientific and intellectual elite.
However, the main idea of Bogdanov remains hidden. He emphasized that
the scientific and technological revolution that mankind is going through required a change in the essence of ideology, its internal structure, in laws of its development, application and functioning. New ideologies will no longer arise, will not begin to function and will not be developed in the same way as the old ideologies of the period of the «prologue of history». An ideological revolution is needed…
Leaders of the modern world still fail to understand this. They are trying to change, to spice up and modernize old ideologies, believing that will be enough to solve problems.
However, this is not as bad as it might seem, because attempts to create new ideologies, albeit from old materials and on the basis of old dogmas, have already begun, which means that we are witnessing another attempt to make the revolution that Bogdanov wrote about, that neither Bogdanov himself nor his followers in Soviet Russia were able to make.
There is hope that the new attempt will bring a positive result, since it was initiated by the leaders of the world’s major centres of power: the United States, China and Russia, and there is a high probability that they will be joined other major powers…
So, let’s take a look at what’s happening on each of the three ideological fronts: the Western, the Chinese and the Russian fronts…
(To be continued)