Benedictus de Spinoza: the deification of Nature

Spinoza

This philosopher conclusively “diluted” God in Nature. Thereby, he summarized the philosophical and scientific thought, which could be traced back to Nicholas of Cusa, taken up by N. Kopernicus and J. Kepler, continued by G. Bruno and G. Galilei, and also by T. Hobbes, F. Bacon, and R. Descartes. He may be called a classic of the philosophy of New Times, which replaced Medieval philosophy.

Baruch de Spinoza was born on the 24th of November, 1632, in Amsterdam, then the largest city of the Dutch Republic, into a sephardic family of Portuguese immigrants. Accordingly, Baruch’s mother tongue was Ladino. His father was a successful trader. His mother died of tuberculosis, when he was 6. At that same age, he started attending an Orthodox Jewish school. There he studied Hebrew and learned to interpret the Torah, the Talmud, and other holy books of the Jews. Among the required subjects in the curriculum, there was also philosophy proper. Certainly, it was, again, Jewish philosophy. Yet, it did not always come to substantiating the tenets of Judaism, but would often urge one to an unbiased search for Truth. Many of the authors studied there had been imbibers of the ideas of antique philosophers, in particular, Plato and Aristotle, and had been noted for their educatedness, breadth of views, and versatility of interests. Besides, among the school’s teachers there were those touched by the spirit of freethinking, which was blowing in Europe’s most advanced country of its time.

After his elder brother’s death in 1649, the 17 year-old Baruch interrupted his education for a while to concentrate on the family business. In 1653, when he was 20, he resumed his studies, but not at a Jewish school, but at a secular private college. There, he perfected himself in Latin and changed his first mane into Benedictus. Also, he studied Ancient Greek, Antique and Medieval philosophy. He studied works of contemporary philosophers as well, including T. Hobbes, P. Gassendi, N. Machiavelli, G. Bruno, and R. Descartes. Besides, he studied there natural sciences and got trained in drawing. Finally, he mastered a handicraft, that is, optical lens grinding. While studying, Benedict chummed up to the college’s owner, Franciscus van den Enden, an ardent republican, who would be subsequently executed in France for preparing a plot against Louis 14th. Simultaneously, Spinoza taught Hebrew at the college.

In 1654, his father died. Benedict inherited the family business, but kept on studying and teaching at the college.

During that period of time, a circle was formed among the students, where philosophical and religious issues were discussed. Many of the participants in the circle were representatives of a Protestant Christian sect, the Collegians. Those discussions prompted Spinoza to develop his own philosophical and religious teaching.

In 1660, Spinoza was excommunicated from Amsterdam’s Jewish community for freethinking and even expelled from the city as a person “threating piety and morality”. Thus, history had a second go. In 399 B. C. Socrates was accused of “blasphemy and corrupting the youth”.  Human the Cognizing, ripening in the bosom of Human the Primeval, is always born in pain. Rejecting the anthropomorphism of What Truly Exists, the transition from conventional religion to the deification of Nature is always painful.

Although one of Spinoza’s nearest predecessor, Giordano Bruno, had been burned at the stake, Spinoza himself got off with nothing but comparatively minor troubles (except for an event when one of his former brothers in faith rushed at him with a knife, screaming “you apostate”. Spinoza relinquished his family business in favour of his younger brother and retreated to the suburbs of the city of Leiden, where he was given shelter by his Collegian friends. There, he made a living by grinding lenses and wrote his early works, which were strongly influenced by Descartes.

Spinoza could not but admire Descartes, who was his older contemporary. Thanks to the efforts of this clear Gallic intellect, philosophy returned to itself the privilege of cognizing Truth after being treated for many centuries as a handmaiden of theology. Certainly, it was, first of all, the famous Cartesian “doubt” as the starting point for philosophizing, which implied putting everything to doubt. Is there anything trustworthy that is going to be left after such a doubt?  Yes, it is Doubt itself! “I am doubting”. that is, “I am thinking”, and there can be no doubt about it. This is where a return to Socrates’ elementary “I know” occurs. This is how philosophy returns to the position of the most natural Weltanschauung for Human, subjective idealism, to the recognition of the only foolproof Reality, the Cognizing Subject.

Spinoza would take part in gatherings arranged by the Collegians, where Leiden University students and professors would also turn up. At about that time, Spinoza was introduced to the secretary of the Royal Society of London, Henry Oldenburg, and they became lasting friends. Simultaneously, Spinoza began writing his fundamental work, “The Ethics”, in which he became free from Descartes’ influence and set forth his own doctrine. He wrote in Latin, the way it was accepted in scientific circles, and also to avoid excessive attention to his works from the censors.       

Initially, Human would be so amazed by Nature opening up before Him that He literally forgets Himself. He would omit Human’s primary unconscious activity of self-objectification, of self-externalization, of projecting Himself outwards, and leave for Himself only the “cognition” of His Own Product. Spinoza, too, falls into this historical error of “being charmed” and estranges his subjectivity in favour of Nature. As a result, the Latter finds Itself posited as existing “by Itself”, while the true, human Subject turns out to be imbedded in It as the Natura Naturans (the Generating Nature). That is why, Spinoza posits as What Truly Exists not the Cognizing Subject, not the “I,” but the Object of His cognition, the “Not-I,” i. e. Nature. It was precisely Nature, Which he believed to be God and Which he called “Substance”. Here, history, again, is repeating itself: taking the place of generally accepted religious beliefs there comes the religion of Nature, which philosophy proper essentially is.

Thus, Spinoza determines his Substance as the “Cause of Itself”. It is infinite and indivisible. Certain fundamental properties are inherent in It. At least, two of these, “extension” and “thought”, are known to us. And each object of Nature represents an inseparable unity of those properties. While recognizing the presence of Mind and Body in Nature, Spinoza fails to single out Soul as Its fundamental property (this deficiency would be made up in due time by Schelling). Still, he admits the animateness of all objects of Nature “to various degrees”.

Spinoza’s main work is titled “The Ethics”, not “Metaphysics”. It means that the purpose of his research was not to answer the question of “How the Universe is arranged?” but, rather, “How to live?” How then should the one who has grasped What Truly Exists as “Substance” live? What should you do, if you have perceived Substance being part of you, and yourself being part of Substance? According to Spinoza, all our feelings and passions are not at all the manifestation of our freedom, but, in reality, they are caused by “natural necessity”. The only thing that is truly free is Substance Itself. Therefore, one should not give way to one’s feelings and indulge one’s passions. Instead, one should try to be like Substance and perceive whatever happens “from the viewpoint of eternity”. Thus, Man’s supreme virtue is supposed to be the “cognitive love for God”. 

So, Man is left alone with Nature, and cognition is His lot. This implies discovering in the infinite Substance of ever new properties and new facets. In Spinoza’s teaching, the precept given by the initiator of the philosophy of New Times, Nicholas of Cusa, was executed: “A sound and free intellect, striving insatiably, by virtue of the quest inherent in it, to comprehend Truth, is bound to cognize It, embracing It tightly and affectionately”. Now we know that Truth is Substance, It is the deified Nature, and It is the deified Object of Human cognition.

In 1663, Spinoza moved to Hague’s suburb, and in 1670, settled in the city itself. During that time, he managed to publish some of his works, including “The Theological-Political Treatise”. In it, he criticizes the “God-inspiredness” of the Old Testament, as well as Jewish “chosenness”; he repudiates God’s interference the natural course of events. He criticized the Old Testament’s ideas of Truth and emphasized philosophy’s privilege of Its cognition. In this connection, he upheld the freedom of philosophizing and the freedom of thought in general as a condition of the spiritual development of personality and a sign of the well-being of the state. In doing so, Spinoza strongly opposed any interference of church with the affairs of the state. At the same time, Spinoza sees the supreme expression of the state in the person of the Ruler. According to Spinoza, citizens have to obey the laws, although they may not consider them to be correct. It is only the Ruler, who is entitled to change the laws, or else the state will be wrecked. In essence, Spinoza advocates enlightened monarchy, provided there are reliable mechanisms preventing it from degenerating into tyranny.

In 1672, Spinoza’s patron, head of the Dutch Republic, Johan de Witt was killed by an angry mob. The philosopher deeply deplored the death of a man, from whom he had painted the image of the ideal ruler. Besides, the allowance awarded to him was cancelled, the official press mounted attacks against him, and his “Theological-Political Treatise” was included in the list of banned books.

As for the rest, Spinoza’s unhurried daily routines virtually did not change. He continued working on his “Ethics” and wrote a number of miner pieces. His friends and like-minded people rendered him financial support. Besides, he kept on grinding optical lenses for eyeglasses, microscopes and telescopes, which were much in demand and noted for high quality. The latter, in particular, was estimated at its true worth by an eminent mechanician and astronomer, C. Huygens.

In 1673, Spinoza received an invitation to teach philosophy at the University of Heidelberg in Germany. However, he politely declined the invitation out of fear of losing the above-mentioned “freedom of philosophizing”.

In 1676, Spinoza met another eminent philosopher, G. W. Leibniz. Although they failed to make friends with each other, Leibniz took up Spinoza’s idea of Substance. In doing so, he decided to emphasize the moment of distinction in this Arche and put forward the idea of the multiplicity of Substances. For all that, he did not add to Spinoza’s teaching anything crucially new: he did not yet know that “quantity is a determinateness which is indifferent to being”.    

Spinoza passed away on February 21st, 1677, at the age of 44, from ancestral tuberculosis, aggravated by inhaling glass dust while grinding lenses and insufficient diet (he would spend the bulk of his money on books). He was buried in a church cemetery in the centre of Hague.

Spinoza’s teaching had a great impact on subsequent philosophical thought, as well as on the entire European culture. The young Goethe would find consolation in Spinoza’s reflections. Albert Einstein openly declared his faith in “Spinoza’s God”. Verily, Nature for a scientist is the only God.

Yet, Spinoza’s philosophy had larger-scale consequences. Freethinking, preached by Spinoza, strictly speaking, referred only to conventional religious beliefs, but not to “Substance”. The faceless Substance proved to be a no less redoubtable God than the anthropomorphous God of Christianity.

Spinoza posits Nature as some oneness Which is only determined as the Cause of Itself and in Which only discernible are the “Generating Nature” and the “Generated Nature”, respectively. As to Nature’s Mind and Nature’s Body, They are only outlined in Spinoza’s teaching, while Nature’s Soul, as Such, is not yet isolated into an individual “Attribute”.

God, having become aware of Himself as “Nature”, will, nevertheless, be yearning for incarnation. On the other end, deification of Nature shows in the deification of secular power: Its kingdom is exactly “of this world”. At that historical stage, these processes resulted in turning of the state, as Hobbes put it, into a “single person”. All this showed as a parade of absolute monarchies, which put an end to Roman Catholic popes’ claims to secular power in Europe. Further development meant further differentiation of the triune divine Nature, entailing more clear-cut isolation and elaboration of Its Parts.

By then, Christianity had almost completely degenerated into primitive heathenism, directed by dexterous and grasping priests. At attempt of Protestantism to revive Christianity as a religion of the true God enjoyed but temporary success. The Renaissance epoch heralded that the history of mankind was having its second go, and Spinoza’s teaching of Substance afforded the needed philosophical evidence thereto. It resolutely finalized the history of “Christian civilization” and simultaneously became the starting point of a new cycle in the European (World) history.

Human truly is a stage in the development of the Divine Person, Nature being only Human’s Projection. Spinoza separates Human from His Projection and posits It as existing by Itself. Consequently, he believes the Cause of Nature to lie not in Human, but in Nature Itself (Natura Naturans), thereby provoking the question of Its Arche. On the other hand, Human immediately encounters nothing, except Nature. Therefore, Spinozism, i. e. deification of Nature will always accompany Human; It is going to be His eternal Truth and eternal temptation.

The above ambiguity of Nature was once rather successfully expressed by the poet Fyodor Tyutchev:

  • Nature’s a Sphinx. And her ordeal
    Is all the more destructive to mankind
    Because, perhaps, she has no riddle.
    Nor did she ever have one.
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W. F. J. Schelling: at the crossroads

In this philosopher’s works practically all the basic trends in the further development of European philosophy were outlined.

Wilhelm Friedrich Joseph Schelling (later, von Schelling) was born on January 27th, 1775, in a small town near Stuttgart in the Duchy of Württemberg within the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation. His father was a protestant theologian specializing in Oriental studies. Initially, the philosopher-to-be attended a cloistral school, where his father taught. The boy’s outstanding progress made him eligible to enter at the age of 15 a theological seminary in the city of Tübingen, which was, in fact, one of the faculties at the University of Tübingen.

In Tübingen, his closest friends were his colleague-to-be, G. F. W. Hegel, and the poet J. C. F. Hölderlin. At the university, as is the custom, a circle was formed among the students, where the burning issues of politics, philosophy and religion would be discussed. Surely, the French Revolution, started in 1789, became the predominant theme of the discussions. It seemed to the youths to be the implementation of the ideas of “reason and enlightenment,” first of all, of those suggested by J.-J. Rousseau. Nearly all the students felt united by a common impulse of passion against the power of feudal lords, against monarchy, for the republic, for freedom, equality, and brotherhood. The overall enthusiasm was crowned by the planting of the “Tree of Freedom” in Tübingen’s main square, while Schelling translated the “Marseillaise” into German.

News about the Tübingen students’ escapades reached the chief feudal lord, the Duke of Württemberg. He came to the city in person, so as to sort things out on-site. The students were called to his office one by one. When Schelling came in, the duke asked him outright: “Is it you who translated this gangster song?” Schelling’s answer was not at all insolent, but quite conciliatory: “You see, Your Highness, we all sometimes err…” The duke, too, decided not to dramatize matters. Certainly, he was a feudal lord. Still, he was not a cannibal. Moreover, he remembered that he, too, had been a bit of a revolutionary in his youth. All in all, none of the students were accused of “undermining the foundations of the state”, neither were they sent to prison or exiled. The boys were just admonished, and they went on with their studies at the university.

Schelling was specializing in interpreting Christian holy books. But he had no faith in him, neither had he any intention to conceal his unbelief. Accordingly, in his biblical interpretation an “historical approach” was predominant (which would subsequently find expression in the notorious book by D. F. Strauss “The Life of Jesus”). Gradually, Schelling altogether lost interest in religion and became increasingly focused on philosophy. To start with, it was antique philosophy. Eventually, he familiarized himself with contemporary philosophical doctrines, in particular, with I. Kant’s “critical philosophy” and with the development of such in J. G. Fichte’s works.

In 1795, Schelling graduated from the University of Tübingen, after which he worked as a tutor with an aristocratic family for some time. In the course of his tutorship, he visited Leipzig, where he listened to the lectures on natural sciences and familiarized himself with their latest advances. Also, he visited Dresden, where he admired the Saxon Electors’ collection of art.

Certainly, he continued his philosophical studies: here, he was almost wholly under the influence of Fichte’s doctrine of Absolute Subject. However, Schelling was not in a hurry with further specification of the Latter. As yet, he would rather speak of the equal status of the 2 philosophical approaches, “dogmatic” and “critical” ones. In the former case, Object is posited as primary, from Which Subject is to be inferred. In the latter case, it is Subject that is posited as primary, Object being inferred therefrom. Moreover, it seemed to Schelling that Fichte, while restoring Subject’s rights, had paid too little attention to Object, the “not-I”, or Nature. Therefore, he, encouraged by the latest scientific discoveries, decided, to try to look at Nature the way It is by Itself, separately from Subject, as it were.

It should be noted that Fichte’s Subject had been still a full-scale counterweight to Nature, being the unity of all Its essential properties, that is, of Mind, Soul, and Body. In other words, It had been still basically Human, although, ultimately, It did not differ in any way from B. Spinoza’s Substance any longer. Schelling, however, embarking on his study into Object, in effect, studies not Object as opposed to Subject, but Matter (corporeality) as opposed to Spirit (thinking). Thus, Schelling’s Object and Subject, in reality, stay within the limits of Nature. Strictly speaking, They appear as the “attributes” of Spinoza’s Substance, or the true Object, whereas the true Subject, again, slips away.

Schelling can be considered the founder of both philosophical idealism and philosophical materialism of Modern Times. He virtually formulated what subsequently would be termed in dialectical materialism as the “fundamental question of philosophy”. As for Schelling himself, he did not seem to show preference to any of these trends and would treat both with equal diligence. Proceeding from the primacy of Matter, he posited It as a self-developing entity and tried to trace all the stages of Its development, including the emergence of Life and Consciousness.

The development of Matter, according to Schelling, is caused by certain inner contradictions, or the “opposed forces”, for example, attraction and repulsion, expansion and compression. At a higher level, these are positive and negative magnetic poles, the respective electric charges, the opposition of acid and alkalies. Organic Matter emerges from inorganic Matter through “galvanism”. At this point, living Matter is already a short way off, where “irritability” comes into play, and where nutrition and oxidation are basic processes. At last, at the level of Consciousness, the major opposition is between “Subject” and “Object”.

Schelling’s ideas of Nature originating from a single corporeal Arche driven by Its own inner contradictory forces, or “dialectical materialism”, as it would be termed later (“higher physics”, as Schelling termed it then) provoked tremendous interest, and not only among the scientific community. In 1798, the poet J. W. von Goethe, who, in fact, headed the government of the Duchy of Saxe-Weimar, also became keen on Schelling’s ideas and invited the 23-year old philosopher to lecture at the University of Jena.

In Jena, Schelling came under the influence of the Jena romantics. It could not be managed without a feedback effect, though. Most of all, Schelling influenced the wife of the main theoretician of German Romanticism and the hostess of literary salons Caroline Schlegel, who became his ardent admirer and then (again, with Goethe’s assistance) his lawful wife. In 1803, the newly-weds moved from Jena to Würzburg, and in 1806, to Munich.

In the meantime, Schelling continued to develop his teaching. Having explored Object, i. e., having posited It as Developing Matter and having “inferred” Consciousness from It, Schelling now tried to approach the problem from the other end. This time, he took Subject as the starting point, with Nature appearing before It in due course as Its representation. Here, Schelling, in general, recreated the same scheme as Fichte had earlier put forward. The only difference was that by Subject, by the “I”, Schelling meant not quite the integral Human, but, rather a purely ideal entity, namely, “Consciousness”.

Also in Jena, Schelling started publishing “The Journal of Speculative Physics”. However, when he focused on Subject, the periodical was renamed into “The Critical Philosophical Journal”. The latter was published jointly with Hegel, with whom Schelling was still marching in step. Soon, however, their ways would part, too.

Schelling did justice both to materialism and idealism. He would emphasize in every possible way the inner affinity of Spirit and Matter (“Nature”), he would reiterate Spinoza’s idea of “the order and connection of things being exactly the same as the order and connection of thoughts”, and he would call Matter (“Nature”) the visible Spirit, and Spirit, the invisible Matter (“Nature”). And yet, he regarded either trend as insufficient and one-sided. He wanted to create a teaching, which would be a synthesis of both. So, he embarked on developing the “philosophy of identity”.

Schelling puts forward the “true” Arche of all that exists, Which is neither Spirit nor Matter, and Which he calls the “Absolute”. According to Schelling, Nature emanates from the Absolute as the expression of Its inscrutable will. In his view, the Identity of “Object” and “Subject” lies in the fact that the “emanation” of Nature from the “Absolute” comes about exactly the same way as the creation by the artist of a work of art. Schelling tends to think that it is not purely rational cognition, but preeminently art that is the ultimate expression of Truth. Of all the arts, he rated most highly music, which he called “the voice of the innermost essence of the Universe”.

Following Fichte, Schelling emphasized the significance of art, which, in the end, came out for him as the supreme mode of comprehending Truth. Certainly, he is broadly right. And still, it is not quite correct to resort to the artist’s job as a visual aid to demonstrate the creation of the Universe. The point is that creating a work of art by the Artist is not the creation of Nature, but exactly the transformation of It, aimed at disclosing Its being essentially Human. On the other hand, only such “assimilation” of Nature can release Man from the endless circle of the “Subject-Object,” which He finds Himself in.

Caroline’s sudden death in 1809 crushed Schelling down. Earlier, he had broken up with his spiritual parent, Fichte, and his best friend and initially like-minded fellow, Hegel. To prevent him from falling into depression, Goethe selected a suitable mistress for him, who really became his faithful companion to the end of his days. And yet, Schelling could never fully recover from those blows. Thereafter, he failed to publish any of his works and devoted himself exclusively to lecturing. However, his effort was appreciated at its true value: in 1827, he was elected president of the Academy of Sciences of the Kingdom of Bavaria.

Schelling’s emotional turmoil was accompanied by the perturbed state of his mind. The “Absolute” Which had taken so much effort to erect and Which crowned his “philosophy of identity” failed to become the long-awaited, universal Truth and, in the last analysis, turned out to be the very same World Soul, Which he had casually mentioned in his works on “higher physics” and Which had been known to European mankind, at least, from the times of Plato as the 3d, “medial” Arche of Nature. This could suit him in no way, and this is where he experienced, perhaps, the deepest disappointment of his life: his quest for Truth, in fact, resulted in nothing.

Schelling could never give preference either to Object in the impersonality of Nature, or to Subject in the person of Human, as well as to either of Human’s essential properties, estranged from Him and posited in the foundation of Nature. Something suggested to him that he would never find what could be recognized as What Truly Exists within the narrow confines of “Human–Nature” available to him, Which he proved unable to outstep. He no more treated philosophy as the appropriate means of comprehending Truth. Schelling laid out routes for new revelations of God, but he would not wait until they come. He did not see any other way out except returning to the bosom of traditional faith; now he felt like seeking peace of mind in the already accomplished Revelation.

Now, Schelling posits God proper as What Truly Exists, and the fundamental question for him becomes that of how He reveals Himself to Man. Consequently, if philosophy exists, it can only be justified as “the philosophy of revelation”. Here, Schelling did not try to invent any new God or create a religion of his own, as, say, Leo Tolstoy would do. He turned to the true God of a religion, which was most available to him, Christianity, and tended to interpret Him in quite a conservative spirit. Thus, in his declining years, Schelling returned to the once terminated theological studies of his youth, the only difference being that the approach employed by him now was not at all critical, but fairly “dogmatic”. Actually, he was becoming a Christian religious philosopher, while philosophy itself was being returned its “honorary” title of the “maidservant of theology”.

No wonder that Schelling’s lectures on the “philosophy of revelation” provoked bewilderment in many of those attending them. The bewilderment was also aggravated by the fact that those lectures were being delivered in the University of Berlin, where the genius of absolute idealism, Hegel, had reigned not so long ago. So, Schelling was expected to produce something, if not in the same spirit, then, at least, at the same level. However, he failed to live up to many people’s expectations. Negative opinions of his lectures would come from advocates of diverse philosophical trends. From the viewpoint of the Danish religious thinker S. Kierkegaard, Schelling talked “quite insufferable nonsense”. A materialist-to-be, F. Engels, called the late-period Schelling “spiritually dead”, while an anarchist-to-be, M. Bakunin, characterized Schelling’s Berlin lectures as a “reactionary attempt on philosophy”.

There were positive opinions, though. For example, his “conservative” Russian friend Alexander Turgenev (incidentally, brother of a Decembrist and theoretician of Russian political liberalism, Nikolay Turgenev) characterized Schelling as a “Christian genius, who has returned to the path of Truth and is now propagating Christ in higher philosophy”.

Schelling’s Berlin lectures turned out badly for him also in terms of sheer everydayness. They were published without his knowledge or consent. This prompted him to start lengthy litigations, which he lost in the end.

He died on August 20th, 1854, in Switzerland. Soon after his death, his son, K. F. A. Schelling, published his father’s works. Shortly before the philosopher’s death, the King Maximilian II of Bavaria, who also was Schelling’s pupil, dedicated to him a sonnet, the final lines of which read:

  • Thou darest to step over chasms
    For which sages could find no bridges,
    And which have always sowed discord
    Between thinkers and believers.

The king’s feelings of gratitude were quite understandable. Still, Maximilian indulged in wishful thinking. Actually, there were hardly many to be found, whom Schelling had brought together, while there were a great number, whom he had effectively put at loggerheads. By the way, Maximilian II also went against the stream in his policies. He was one of the few German rulers to come out against the unification of Germany.

Hegel: the deification of Mind

hegel

Fichte’s attempt to deify Subject (Human) to counterbalance Substance (Nature) had proved a failure. Philosophy was returning to although not quite trustworthy, but still more habitual for it ground of Nature. Now it was, in essence, that same Spinozan “Substance”, but somewhat modified. It was still the “Cause of Itself,” but as Its Cause now there appeared not just “It Itself”, but one of Its attributes, namely, “Mind”. Hegel himself did not believe he was returning to Nature. He was sure he kept on exploring Subject, the only difference being that now in the capacity of the Latter there appeared not Human, but Mind.

The greatest of the philosophers of Modern Times, Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, was born on 27th of August, 1770, in Stuttgart, Germany. His father was a court official. Wilhelm (as the philosopher-to-be was called in the family) started his studies very early, with his mother as his first teacher. His Latin classes began when he was five.

In 1776, Wilhelm entered a gymnasium. During those years, he read voraciously and kept a diary. Especially he liked the poet F. G. Klopstock (incidentally, J. G. Fichte’s father-in-law) and writers associated with the German Enlightenment, in particular, G. E. Lessing.

In 1781, Wilhelm’s mother died, presumably from typhoid. He was 11 then. The boy and his father also caught the disease, but survived.

In 1788 Wilhelm Hegel entered the faculty of theology at Tübingen University. There, he made friends with two fellow students, the poet J. C. F. Hölderlin and another philosopher to be, F. W. J. Schelling. This friendship greatly influenced the three’s personality formation. They watched the unfolding of the French Revolution with shared enthusiasm. As a sign of their commitment to its ideals, the friends planted the “Tree of Freedom” in Tübingen’s central square.

In 1793, having graduated from the university, Hegel worked as a house tutor for several years. His manuscripts of that period largely dealt with the study of Christianity.

In 1801, Hegel submitted a thesis on the orbits of the planets at the University of Jena and became a lecturer there in logic and metaphysics. Soon his first book appeared entitled “The difference between Fichte’s and Schelling’s systems of philosophy”. In parallel, Hegel and Schelling founded “The Critical Journal of Philosophy”. Interestingly, the great poet J. W. von Goethe was the minister of culture and higher education in the duchy of Saxony-Weimar, when Jena then belonged.

In 1806, Napoleon entered Jena. Hegel welcomed this event, regarding the French emperor as an “extraordinary man, whom it is impossible not to admire”. Moreover, Hegel seemed to recognize in Napoleon his “godson”, the incarnation of Absolute Spirit. In a letter to one of his friends, Hegel wrote: “I saw the Emperor, this Wold-Soul, riding out of the city on reconnaissance; it is indeed a wonderful sensation to see such an individual, who concentrated here at a single point, astride a horse, reaches out over the world and masters it” (subsequently, the “Wold-Soul” would be quite rightfully changed by commentators into the “World Spirit”, or “World Mind”). By the way, Wilhelm’s younger brother was killed in Napoleon’s Russian campaign of 1812.

On the 14th of October, 1806, the Battle of Jena took place near the city, in which Prussia suffered a crushing defeat. From the devastated Jena Hegel moved to Bamberg, then to Nuremberg. There, he was employed as a headmaster of a gymnasium.

In 1807, Hegel’s “Phenomenology of Spirit” came out. In this work, he, for the first time, tried to state his philosophical teaching, which he called the “system of absolute idealism”, or the “system of absolute knowledge”. The “Phenomenology” represented his account of the evolution of consciousness from sense-perception to absolute knowledge. In its most coherent form, his teaching was later stated in his “The Science of Logic” (Die Wissenschaft der Logik) published in 1812-1816.

Hegel’s own teaching formed to a large extent as criticism of I. Kant’s teaching, and also as the rethinking of I. G. Fichte’s, and Schelling’s, doctrines. In contrast to Kant, who doubted the capabilities of human cognition, Hegel argued that there was no sufficient reason to doubt the trustworthiness of human knowledge. It was exactly “Absolute Knowledge” (which may also be designated as “Absolute (i. e. objective) Notion” or “Absolute Spirit”) that he put forward as the starting point of his philosophy. Surely, Human Himself cannot be recognized as Absolute Subject. Mind – That’s the only “real” Absolute available to Human.

Certainly, Absolute Knowledge is thoroughly theoretical and even “empty” in the beginning. But this is what cognition exists for – to move from the “abstract” to the “concrete” and from the “known” to the cognized. So, the world is cognizable, since cognition is, in essence, none other than the self-cognition of Absolute Spirit.

Hegel’s teaching has sometimes been characterized as a combination of the Spinozean “Substance” and the Fichtean “I.” He takes up the theme of Absolute Subject suggested and developed by Fichte. But, unlike the latter, Hegel means by Absolute Spirit not the “Rational Will”, but pure Mind, without any hints of anthropomorphism. But what causes Mind to move, if not Will? This question, too, was decided by Hegel purely logically: he evokes Heraclitus’ idea of a contradiction “lying in the foundation of the world that is incomprehensible for human mind”. Hegel names this contradiction, that is, between Being and Nothing, and lays it as the foundation of his teaching. “Contradiction – this is truly what makes the world moving”, – he argues. The Hegelian principle of development implies repudiation of the basic law of classical logic, formulated as early as by Aristotle, the law of non-contradiction. In this way, the term “dialectics” is being reinstated, which formerly designated “controversy”, and now it designates a development based on contradiction. Therefore, Hegel defined Truth as the “unity of contradictory propositions”.

Thus, Hegel’s Absolute Spirit is an acting agent, it is Subject laid as the foundation of Nature, or, as Spinoza would put it, the “Natura Naturans” of Substance. However, in Its activity there can be no willfulness; it is “forced”, so to speak. Absolute Spirit acts by virtue of Its inherent contradictoriness. And Its activity is development.

How, indeed, does development proceed? It proceeds as a successive relay of identities and distinctions. In the beginning, there is absolute identity, or primordial rest. And now, in this primordial rest some unrest arises – in this way a distinction (contradiction) hidden there is being displayed. This distinction manifests itself and reaches its full expression. But, having shown, it retreats and gives way to identity. It looks like the same primordial rest restores. But, in reality, it is not so. The restored identity is another, new identity, not that which was in the beginning (before distinction shows). The new identity is an identity of a higher level, with a new distinction ripening in it, which corresponds to this level. And this new distinction is also due to manifest itself in its own way.

Such is a general scheme of development, according to Hegel. As aforesaid, Hegel lays in the foundation of his dialectics the contradiction between Being and Nothing. In the beginning, this contradiction is purely declarative, as it were, and becomes apparent in no way; it is as much Being, as it is Nothing. Still, there is contraction between Them, and it cannot but manifest itself, either. And it really shows. In this way, the first unrest arises here, Becoming. The Latter, however, is not eternal, either. Having duly manifested Itself, this contradiction is being sublated, or overcome, thanks, again, to the identity of Being and Nothing, which is also cannot but show.

Whereas Plato’s “Ideas” are, in fact, thoughts in the “head” of the Creator God, Hegel completely repudiates the remnants of anthropomorphism in What Truly Exists and puts forward the principle of self-development of the Divine Mind, or Absolute Spirit. Verily, Hegel’s philosophy represents God’s becoming aware of Himself as Reason.

In the course of Its development, Hegel’s “Absolute Spirit” goes through three major stages. At first, It develops in Its purity, in the sphere of logic. Having displayed and overcome necessary distinctions in Itself, It estranges Itself into Nature. At this stage, being in the form of Nature, Absolute Spirit abides “away from Itself”, so to speak. Here, It also goes through a series of identities and distinctions specific of this, “natural”, stage of development. Finally, Absolute Spirit is born again in human consciousness. It reaches Its full expression in art, religion, and philosophy. And It completely returns to Itself in Hegel’s teaching of Absolute Spirit.

In 1816, Hegel moved to Heidelberg, and in 1818, to Berlin. It was at Berlin University that his lecturing activity reached its climax. His lectures were attended by many people from all over Germany and also from abroad, including Russia. It should be noted that the extremely lofty matters dealt with by the lecturer did not result in any “wall” appearing between him and the students. Hegel always remained accessible, and in personal communication he showed himself to be an exceptionally modest and responsive man, which, too, might be indicative of genuine greatness.

Hegel was also keen on music. In 1829, he attended a celebrated concert, arranged by F. Mendelssohn, where J. S. Bach’s “Matthew Passion” was performed after nearly a century of oblivion. Subsequently, he called Bach “a great and true Protestant”. Hegel would often visit the Mendelssohns’ house, where an intellectual and creative atmosphere reigned, inherited from Felix’s grandfather, Moses Mendelssohn, who had initiated the Jewish Enlightenment and who would be otherwise known as the “German Socrates”.

In 1830, Hegel became rector of Berlin University. But his rectorship did not last long. Soon he fell ill with a severe gastric abdominal infection (possibly, cholera), and on the 14th of November, 1831, the great philosopher left this world. He had wished to be buried beside J. G. Fichte, which was fulfilled.

Many people would admire Hegel’s teaching of the development of Absolute Spirit. And yet, a doubt would creep in: whether it was really Spirit? The Russian revolutionary A. I. Herzen, for one, was leaning to its “corporeal” interpretation (to Marxism, in the end) and perceived Hegel’s “Logic” as the “algebra of revolution”. A breakthrough interpretation of the Hegelian dialectics was undertaken by the Russian writer and thinker L. N. Tolstoy: he attempted to apply the idea of absolute development to the development of the Person.

Hegel’s teaching had a tremendous impact not only on the further development of philosophy proper, but on the entire European culture, including the Russian culture. As Dmitry Chizhevsky mentions in his book “Hegel in Russia”, the influence of Hegel’s philosophy was the “culmination of the German influence in Russia”.

The pre-revolutionary Russia saw a real craze for Hegel. Ivan Kireyevsky, one of the founders of the Slavophile movement, wrote: “There is no youth here in Russia, who would not reflect on Hegel”. Leo Tolstoy noted that in Russia “those who wanted to cognize Truth, studied Hegel”. Among those Russians who were keen on Hegel there were: the poet V.A. Zhukovsky, literary critic V. G. Belinsky, writers N. V. Gogol and I. S. Turgenev, composers M. P. Musorgsky and A. N. Serov, revolutionaries A. I. Herzen and M. A. Bakunin. Such a prominent figure in the Russian culture as K. C. Aksakov was convinced that the “Russian people are advantageously, compared to all others, destined to comprehend Hegel”.

Maybe, it is not by chance that the first attempt at interpreting the Hegelian dialectics – with regard to the development of Personality – was undertaken precisely in Russia. It was done in the trilogy “Childhood, Adolescence, Youth” by Leo Tolstoy, added by his idea of “comprehensive self-improvement”. It should be noted here, too, that is was not the last attempt to interpret Hegel’s dialectics in Russia.

Наполеон: вочеловеченный Разум

Гегель, приняв эстафету от «века разума и просвещения», создал философскую систему «объективного идеализма». При этом он полагал, что на этом дело кончится, и обожествлённый им Разум Природы воплотится лишь в его философии, а прусская конституционная монархия останется воплощённым идеалом общественного устройства. Правда, он как-то назвал Наполеона «Абсолютным Духом на коне», но это было, скорее, «фигурой речи». Будучи объективным идеалистом, Гегель не мог предположить, что высшим выражением Разума станет не его философское учение, и не прусская конституционная монархия, а именно конкретный Человек. Ведь Бог – это Личность, жаждущая не только осознать Себя, но и вочеловечиться. Так что дело здесь не могло ограничиться появлением «Логики» Гегеля, равно как и разумного государственного устройства. Вочеловечение имеет свою логику, которая, в данном случае, проявилась в попытке насадить религиозный культ Разума, а, в конечном счёте, привела к обожествлению отдельного человека. Этого человека звали Наполеон Бонапарт.

Наполеоне Буонапарте (так его звали на местном диалекте итальянского языка) родился 15 августа 1769 года в многодетной дворянской семье на средиземноморском острове Корсика, который в ту пору фактически был независимым государством. Отец его был адвокатом и дипломатом, а также вторым человеком во власти на этом острове-государстве. В год рождения Наполеона Корсика была завоёвана французами.

Однако отец Наполеона быстро вошёл в доверие новой власти, благодаря чему ему удалось направить двух своих старших сыновей на обучение во Францию. Причём Наполеону сразу же была определена военная карьера, в то время как его брат должен был учиться на священника.

В военном училище Наполеон был замкнут и необщителен: ведь французов он считал захватчиками своей родины. Его соученикам так же не нравилась заносчивость этого иноземца. Математика и баллистика давались ему гораздо легче, чем науки гуманитарные.

Как бы там ни было, Наполеон с детства много читал. С овладением им французским языком, круг чтения его значительно расширился. Более всего его увлекали книги о путешествиях, а также книги по истории. Этот юноша недолго думал о том, делать жизнь с кого. Его кумирами всегда были Александр Македонский и Юлий Цезарь. Возможно, именно равнение на этих великих людей пробудило у него также интерес к философии. По крайней мере, он узнал, кто был воспитателем Александра, и кто был убийцей Цезаря (имеются в виду соответственно ученик Платона – Аристотель и приверженец стоицизма – Брут).

Успехи юного Наполеона были столь впечатляющими, что он, выиграв надлежащий конкурс, был зачислен в Королевскую кадетскую школу в Париже. Любовь к чтению у него не ослабевает: теперь он не просто читает, но подробно конспектирует прочитанное.

В 1785 году умирает его отец. Наполеон заканчивает досрочно кадетскую школу, причём высокий уровень его знаний на выпускных экзаменах удостоверяет выдающийся французский математик, физик и астроном П.-С. Лаплас. В том же году Наполеон начинает военную службу в чине лейтенанта. Внушительную долю своего жалования он посылает матери. Кроме того, он берёт на воспитание своего 11-летнего брата. В это нелёгкое для него время его любимыми авторами становятся французские просветители Вольтер и Руссо, а также драматург Корнель. Но наиболее сильное впечатление на него произвёл роман Гёте «Страдания молодого Вертера», который Наполеон прочёл много раз.

В 1788 году произошёл эпизод, который мог бы изменить ход мировой истории. Во время очередной русско-турецкой войны Наполеон попытался поступить на службу в русскую армию. Однако, согласно тогдашним правилам, иностранцы, принимаемые в русскую армию, понижались в чине. Это не могло устроить честолюбивого Наполеона.

Он безоговорочно поддержал Французскую революцию, разразившуюся в 1789 году. В то время он находился на его родной Корсике. Выступая на стороне революционной Франции, он разошёлся с местным руководством, которое вновь настаивало на независимости острова. Под давлением сепаратистов он, вместе с семьёй, покидает Корсику. Так проявилась широта взглядов Наполеона, который пренебрёг своими детскими, местническими представлениями ради высоких идеалов свободы, равенства и братства. Не только честолюбие двигало им.

В 1793 году вверенные Наполеону войска одержали блестящую победу над британцами, воевавшими на стороне роялистов. Ловким манёвром они были выбиты из города Тулона, за что 24-летний Наполеон получил звание бригадного генерала.

Тем временем во Франции открылась истинная причина Революции: там была провозглашена новая религия – «культ Разума». Это уже был не просто «философский идеализм», и здесь Бог уже не довольствовался лишь осознанием Себя как Разума Природы. Но даже этот вполне развитый религиозный культ был ещё слишком отвлечённым воплощением Божества. Требовался ещё некий Человек, Который бы стал олицетворением этого культа.

После термидорианского переворота Наполеон впал в немилость из-за своих связей с якобинцами. Однако вскоре он был вновь призван для подавления мятежа роялистов в Париже. Блестяще справившись с этой задачей, он был произведён в дивизионные генералы и назначен командующим войсками тыла.

В 1796 году Наполеон женится на дочери генерала, казнённого во время якобинской диктатуры.

Тогда же он был направлен в Италию. Французские войска под командованием Наполеона, освободили значительную часть этой страны от австрийского господства. Причём французы часто не превосходили противника ни численностью, ни вооружением, и победы их в Италии во многом объясняются их боевым революционным духом. Но, более всего, они объясняются полководческим даром Наполеона.

Популярность Наполеона стала вызвать озабоченность у французских властей. Им хотелось отправить Наполеона защищать интересы Франции куда-нибудь подальше. На очереди стояла задача «разобраться» с Англией. Для ослабления последней было решено захватить Египет, куда и направляется Наполеон.

Однако в Египте Наполеон воевал недолго. Его насторожили тревожные донесения с других фронтов, а также обострившаяся обстановка в самой Франции. В то же время, поддержка со стороны армии была ему обеспечена. Посему он решил, что настало ему время перейти свой Рубикон. В 1799 году он неожиданно появился в Париже, разогнал «недееспособные» органы государственной власти и стал фактическим правителем страны. В исторической науке это событие обычно считается концом Французской революции. В действительности же революция сама по себе – это лишь ступень в очередной попытке вочеловечения Бога. Всякая великая революция завершается обожествлением вождя, что сопряжено с внутренней диктатурой, а также с внешней экспансией.

В 1804 году Наполеон провозглашает себя императором. Этот шаг отпугнул от него некоторых его почитателей, которые не ощутили религиозной подоплёки происходящих событий: они считали Наполеона лишь выдающимся человеком, который должен претворить в жизнь высокие идеалы «разума и просвещения» (так, в частности, считал Бетховен). Поэтому, провозгласив себя императором, Наполеон поступил даже скромно. Поистине Он был, хотя и «исторически ограниченным», но вполне действительным воплощением Бога, а именно, обожествлённого Разума Природы.

Диктатура Наполеона не была властью ради власти. Прежде всего, она была направлена на достижение политической и экономической стабильности страны. Но главным смыслом этой власти было сохранение завоеваний Революции. После беззакония, присущего абсолютной монархии, отношения между людьми отныне выстраивались на основе «естественного права». Новый правовой порядок был закреплён в наполеоновском «Гражданском кодексе».

Затем Наполеон продолжил Свои зарубежные походы, поделиться с другими народами идеалами свободы, равенства и братства, восторжествовавшими на французской земле. Конечно, в глубине души, Его не могло не смущать, что Сам Он по сути оставался абсолютным монархом, к тому же узурпатором, а по отношению к «освобождаемым» народам – захватчиком. При случае Он не гнушался и чисто феодальными способами захвата чужих земель, как например, с помощью «династических браков». В частности, он дважды предлагал руку и сердце российским августейшим особам женского пола, но оба раза получал отказ (кстати, такой фокус Наполеону удался в отношении австрийской принцессы). В то же время, указанная «неразборчивость» Наполеона в средствах, опять же, не была самоцелью: как говорится, «для пользы дела». Впрочем, истинная миссия Его оставалась для Него столь же непостижимой, как и непостижимо всё, происходящее в этом мире, не будучи рассмотрено sub specie Dei.

К 1811 году большая часть Европы «наслаждалось свободой» в рамках единой Французской империи. Однако, достигнув своего зенита, звезда Наполеона стала клониться к закату. Возможно, в глубине души, Наполеон это ощущал. Но, как всякий правитель, задержавшийся у власти, Наполеон потерял чувство реальности. Он стал предпринимать отчаянные шаги, чтобы увековечить свою власть (впрочем, шаги эти не выходили за рамки осуществления Наполеоном Своей миссии). В 1810 году, чтобы обзавестись наследником, он разводится со своей неплодной 1-й женой и сочетается браком с дочерью австрийского императора. Однако брак этот был без восторга воспринят во Франции, а судьба наследника, рождённого в этом браке, оказалась незавидной. Русская кампания 1912 года стала для Наполеона роковой. Измотанные остатки его войск, разбавленные необстрелянным пополнением, потерпели сокрушительное поражение в «Битве народов» под Лейпцигом в 1813 году.

Посрамлённый Наполеон попытался совершить самоубийство. Однако яд, который Он долго носил собой, не возымел ожидаемого действия, и Наполеон остался жив. Он отрёкся от французского престола и был выслан на средиземноморский остров Эльба. Впрочем, эта ссылка отнюдь не была равносильна тюремному заключению. Остров был передан Ему в собственность, за ним был сохранён титул императора (в рамках острова) и даже придано небольшое войско в качестве «личной охраны».

Большую часть времени Он пребывал в глубокой задумчивости. Понемногу Наполеон стал заниматься  благоустройством своей мини-империи: принимал местных «ходоков», пытался провести какие-то реформы, в частности, улучшения в сельском хозяйстве. Его навещали его друзья и родственники, в частности, его мать, а также, пожалуй, единственная женщина, которая осталась верной ему до конца – польская графиня Мария Валевска. Но, отрекшись от звания императора Великой Франции, Он по-прежнему оставался в ранге воплощённого Бога, откуда Его не в силах был кто-либо разжаловать.

Периферическим зрением Наполеон не переставал следить за событиями на большой земле. Между тем, события там принимали дурной оборот. На троне была восстановлена династия Бурбонов. С ними же вернулись феодалы, лишившиеся имущества и привилегий в ходе Революции. Наполеон не мог равнодушно взирать на то, как  дело его жизни оборачивается прахом. В 1815 году он с небольшим отрядом высаживается на побережье Франции. Войска, посланные, чтобы остановить его, перешли на Его сторону. Через несколько дней Он уже был в Париже, встреченный ликующей толпой.

В отличие от французов, остальная Европа восприняла «2-е пришествие» Наполеона без восторга. Главы государств, собравшиеся на Венском Конгрессе, объявили непокорного корсиканца «вне закона» и стали собирать войска для решающего сражения. Вскоре состоялась битва при Ватерлоо, которую Наполеон проиграл.

Тем не менее, поражение Наполеона было далеко не разгромным, причём не только в плане военном. Принципы философского идеализма, догматы религии Разума, которые олицетворял Наполеон, достаточно глубоко укоренились в европейской общественной жизни, а затем разошлись по всему миру. Так заявило о себе мощное мировоззрение, имя которому «либерализм». Это была сила, с которой уже нельзя было не считаться, и которая, при случае, уже вполне могла защитить себя. Вернувшиеся на французский трон Бурбоны уже не могли править страной безраздельно.

Сам же Наполеон сдался на милость британских властей и был выслан на отдалённый остров Святой Елены в Атлантическом океане. Он получил статус не политического беженца, а военнопленного, и условия его содержания были, по образному выражению самого Наполеона, «хуже, чем в клетке Тамерлана». Однако Он старался сохранять присутствие духа. Поверженный Кумир вновь обращается к литературному творчеству, которому Он отдал дань в молодые годы (ведь Наполеон был автором романов, политических памфлетов, и даже философского трактата «Диалог о любви»). На острове он диктует свои «Мемуары».

Почитатели Наполеона не оставляли попыток вызволить венценосного узника из заточения и воссоздать «наполеоновскую империю» то в Африке, то в Америке. Но охрана Наполеона на сей раз была непроницаемой, и все такие попытки успешно пресекались.

Образ Наполеона всё более идеализируется: Он наделяется чертами романтического героя, с которым связываются такие мотивы, как «непонятость», одиночество, бунтарство, изгнание, бегство и т. п. Его участь стала источником вдохновения для таких поэтов как Лермонтов и Байрон. Даже у классика-Пушкина созерцание свободной стихии моря пробудило воспоминание о Байроне и Наполеоне как двух гениях, после ухода которых «мир опустел».

Наполеон ушёл из жизни 5 мая 1821 года. Он завещал похоронить себя на берегах Сены. Но британские власти постановили похоронить Его на острове. Лишь в 1840 году останки Наполеона было разрешено перевести во Францию. В конечном счёте, Его гробница была установлена в некрополе парижского Дома инвалидов, причём материал для гробницы был предоставлен российским императором Николаем 1-м (по всей видимости, облачение рассадника «вольнодумства» в карельский порфир позволяло тирану чувствовать себя в большей безопасности).

Какие же выводы можно сделать из обожествления Разума Природы и последующего Его вочеловечения? Какия новыя черты добавляет эта Попытка к живописуемому Образу Божию? По всей видимости, Она выявляет «просвещённость», «образованность» и «предпочтение Закона своеволию» как неотъемлемые свойства божественной Личности.

Napoleon: the incarnated Mind

Hegel, having picked up the baton from the “age of reason and enlightenment”, created the philosophical system of “objective idealism”. In doing so, he believed that was the end of it, and Nature’s deified Mind would only be embodied in his philosophy, and the Prussian constitutional monarchy would remain the implemented ideal social order. True, he once called Napoleon the “World Spirit on horseback”, but that was rather a “figure of speech”. Being an objective idealist, Hegel could not imagine that the supreme expression of “Spirit” was going to by neither his philosophical teaching, nor the Prussian constitutional monarchy, but exactly a specific human being. The point is that God is basically a person, who yearns not only to become aware of Himself, but, ultimately, to incarnate Himself. So, the matter here could not limit itself to the emergence of Hegel’s “Logic”, as well as a rational state structure. Incarnation has its own logic, which, in this particular case, showed in an attempt to assert the religious cult of Reason, and, ultimately, resulted in the deification of an individual person. This person’s name was Napoleon Bonaparte.

Napoleone Buonaparte (this is how he was called in the local dialect of the Italian language) was born on August 15th , 1769, into a large noble family in the Mediterranean island of Corsica, which was actually an independent state at the time. His father was a lawyer and diplomat, and, in general, the second-ranking man in the island. However, Corsica was conquered by the French later that same year.

Napoleon’s father promptly insinuated himself into the new authorities’ confidence, thanks to which he managed to send his two elder sons to France for education. Moreover, Napoleon was right away intended for a military career, while his brother was supposed to be a priest.

At a military college, Napoleon carried himself independently, was unsociable and avoidant, as he considered the French the occupants of His homeland. His fellow students had no special liking for the arrogant outlander, either. Mathematics and ballistics came easier to him, than humanities.

Anyway, Napoleon read heavily since childhood. Mastering French enabled him to hugely expand his reading. Travel and history books carried Him away. This youth did not ponder long over whose pattern to build his life upon. Alexander the Great and Julius Cesar had always been His idols. Following their example may well have awakened his interest in philosophy. At least, he was bound to know who Alexander’s educator and who Cesar’s assassin had been (meaning respectively Plato’s pupil Aristotle and the stoic Brutus).

The young Napoleon’s advances were so impressive that he, having won the relevant contest, matriculated at the Royal Cadet School in Paris. His love of reading did not show any sign of abating: now he would not only read, but take detailed notes while reading.

In 1785, his father died. Napoleon graduated from the Cadet School before the appointed time. At the final examinations, his high level of knowledge was certified, in particular, by an outstanding French mathematician, physicist, and astronomer, P.-S. Laplace. That same year, Napoleon started his military service as a lieutenant. A huge share of His salary would be sent to His mother. Besides, He had to take care of His 11 year-old brother. In those hard times of his life, French enlighteners Voltaire and Rousseau, and also tragic dramatist Corneille became His favourite authors. But the most profound impact was made on him by Goethe’s novel “The Sorrows of Young Werther”, which Napoleon read over and over again.

In 1788, an episode took place, which could have changed the course of world history. During just another Russo-Turkish war, Napoleon attempted to enlist in the Russian army. However, according to the then-existing rules, foreigners accepted into the Russian armed forces had to be lowered in rank. This could not suit an ambitious Napoleon.

He unreservedly welcomed the French Revolution that broke out in 1789. He was in his native Corsica, when the news reached him. Siding with the revolutionary France, He fell into disagreement with the local authorities, who, again, insisted on the island’s independence. Pressurized by the separatists, he, together with the family, left the island. This is how Napoleon’s width of views showed: He discarded his childish, parochial fancies for the sake of the lofty ideals of freedom, equality, and brotherhood. It was not only ambition that he was guided by.

In 1793, troops led by Napoleon gained a splendid victory over the British forces, which fought on the Royalist side. By a clever manoeuvre, they were dislodged from the city of Toulon. For this victory, Napoleon was promoted to brigadier general. He was 24 then.

In the meantime, the Revolution’s hidden motive was laid bare in France. A new religion was proclaimed there, “the cult of Reason”. That was a more serious bid, than just “philosophical idealism,” showing that God was no more content with only becoming conscious of Himself as the Mind of Nature. And even this rather full-fledged religious cult was still a too remote embodiment of the Deity. A certain Human Being was needed, Who would become the personification of this cult.

After the Thermidorian coup, Napoleon fell into disgrace because of his connections with the Jakobins. Yet, he was soon called up again to suppress a royalist rebellion in Paris. Having brilliantly coped with the task, Napoleon was promoted to general of division and appointed Commander of the Interior.

In 1796, Napoleon got married to a daughter of a general executed during the Jacobin dictatorship.

That same year, he was sent to Italy. French troops under the command of Napoleon freed a considerable part of this country from Austrian rule. The French would rarely outnumber the enemy in manpower or arms, and their victories in Italy could largely be accounted for by their martial, revolutionary spirit, but, most of all, by Napoleon’s generalship.

Napoleon’s popularity started to worry the French authorities. They would like him to protect French interests somewhere further away. Then, sorting Great Britain out was on the agenda. To weaken the enemy, it was decided to capture Egypt. And this is where Napoleon was sent to.

But Napoleon did not fight long in Egypt. He was made uneasy by the alarming dispatches from other fronts, as well as by the exacerbated situation in France itself. Support from the army had already been secured for him by then, so he decided it was time for him to “cross the Rubicon”. In 1799, he suddenly turned up in Paris, dispersed the “incapable” state government bodies, and became the country’s de-facto ruler. In historical science, this event has commonly been interpreted as the end of the French Revolution. In reality, however, the Revolution, in Itself, is only a stage in God’s attempt to incarnate Himself. Each great revolution is crowned with the deification of the leader, which is always fraught both with internal dictatorship and external expansion.

In 1804, Napoleon declared himself emperor. This move scared some of his admirers away from him – they failed to conceive the religious background of what was going on. They would tend to think of Napoleon as just an outstanding person, who was supposed to implement the lofty ideals of “reason and enlightenment” (for example, such was Beethoven’s attitude). Therefore, having declared himself emperor, Napoleon acted even modestly. Verily, He was although “historically limited”, but still the actual embodiment of God, that is, of the deified Mind of Nature.

Napoleon’s dictatorship was not power for power’s sake. First of all, it was aimed at gaining political and economic stability in the country. But its innermost purport was to preserve the achievements of the Revolution. After lawlessness inherent in absolute monarchy, relationships between people were now built on the basis of Natural Law. The new legal order was enshrined in the Napoleonic “Civil Code”.

Then Napoleon continued his campaigns abroad to share with other nations the ideals of freedom, equality, and brotherhood, which had prevailed on the French soil. Certainly, somewhere deep inside he could not but feel some discomfort, because, for all that, he remained an absolute monarch, a usurper at that, and, in relation to other peoples, an occupant. On occasion, he had no aversion towards using purely feudalistic methods of capturing foreign lands, for example, by “dynastic marriage”. In particular, he twice made a proposal of marriage to Russian female august personages, but was refused both times (incidentally, the same trick worked with an Austrian princess). At the same time, Napoleon’s above-noted unscrupulousness in the methods employed was, again, not an end in itself, but, as the saying goes, “for the good of the cause”. However, his true mission remained for him as incomprehensible, as is everything in this world, until being viewed “sub specie Dei”.

By 1811, the bulk of Europe was “enjoying freedom” within a single French Empire. Yet, Napoleon’s star, having reached its zenith, began to decline. Possibly, at bottom, Napoleon could feel it. But, like any ruler who has stayed in power for too long, he lost the sense of reality. He started making desperate moves to perpetuate his power (these moves, however, did not go beyond Napoleon’s fulfillment of his mission). In 1810, in order to provide Himself with a successor, he divorced with his 1st, infertile wife, and contracted matrimony with the Austrian emperor’s daughter. This marriage, however, was received in France without enthusiasm, and the fate of “the Eaglet” born of this marriage would be unenviable. The campaign of 1812 in Russia proved fatal for Napoleon. The worn-out remainder of his troops, diluted with unseasoned reinforcements, suffered a crushing defeat in the “Battle of the Nations” near Leipzig in 1813.

The disgraced Napoleon attempted to commit a suicide. But the poison, which he had long been carrying with him, did not take effect, and Napoleon kept alive. He abdicated the French crown and was exiled to the Mediterranean island of Elba. Still, this exile was far from being tantamount to imprisonment. The island was transferred to his possession, and he retained the title of emperor (within the island’s limits). Moreover, he was allowed to have a miniature army as his “lifeguard”.

Most of the time, he would be absorbed in deep reflection. Little by little, he got engaged in beautifying his mini-empire. He would receive local peasant petitioners and tried to carry out some reforms, in particular, to improve agricultural practices. He would be visited by his friends, relatives, notably, by his mother, and also, perhaps, the only woman, who would stay true to Him to the end, the Polish countess Marie Walewska. Having abdicated as the emperor of the Great France, he still remained a living personification of Nature’s Reason, from which rank nobody could demote Him. With peripheral vision, Napoleon kept on following the developments on the mainland.

In the meantime, the things on the mainland were taking a turn for the worse. The Bourbon dynasty was restored to the French throne. Along with them, feudal lords were returning, who had been deprived of property and privileges during the Revolution. Napoleon could not just look on how His life’s work was going to rack and ruin. In 1815, Napoleon, accompanied by a small detachment, landed on the French coast. Government forces, sent to stop him, went over to his side. In a few days, he was already in Paris, welcomed by rapturous crowds.

In contrast to the French, the rest of Europe was not so happy about Napoleon’s “Second Coming”. The heads of state gathered at the Congress of Vienna declared the recalcitrant Corsican an outlaw and started mustering forces for a decisive battle. Soon, the Battle of Waterloo took place, which Napoleon lost.

Nevertheless, Napoleon’s defeat was far from devastating, and not only in purely military terms. The principles of philosophical idealism, the tenets of the religion of Reason, which Napoleon personified, had already been deep-rooted in the European social life and were set to spread all over the world. This is how a powerful new ideology asserted itself, namely, “liberalism”. That was a force to be reckoned with, and which could protect itself, when necessary. The Bourbons, restored to the French throne, could be no more the sole rulers of the country.

As to Napoleon, He surrendered to the discretion of the British authorities and was exiled to the remote island of Saint Helena in the Atlantic Ocean. He was given prisoner of war status, not that of political refugee, and His incarceration conditions were, as Napoleon put it, “worse than in the cage of Tamerlane”. However, He tried to retain His presence of mind. The fallen Idol, again, turned to writing, which He would find time for in his early years (after all, Napoleon was the author of novels, pamphlets, and even of the philosophical treatise “The Dialogue on Love”). At St. Helena, he dictated his “Memoires”.

Napoleon’s admirers did not abandon attempts to set the kingly prisoner free and recreate the “Napoleonic Empire” now in Africa, now in America. But this time, Napoleon’s guard was impenetrable, and all those attempts proved unsuccessful.

In the meantime, the Image of Napoleon was being increasingly idealized. It was being endowed with the characteristics of a romantic hero. Being associated with it, there were such motifs as: loneliness, not being understood, rebelliousness, expulsion, escape, etc. Napoleon’s fate became a source of inspiration for such poets as Byron and Lermontov. Even for the classical Pushkin, watching the unharnessed element of the sea awakened the memories of both Byron and Napoleon, as the two men of genius, after the departure of whom “the world grew empty”.

Napoleon passed away on May 5th, 1821. He had wanted to be buried on the banks of the Seine. But the British authorities decided to bury him at St. Helena. It was not until 1840 that Napoleon’s remains were allowed to be taken to France. In the end, his tomb was placed at Paris’s Les Invalides. It is noteworthy that the material for the tomb was provided by the Russian emperor Nicolas I. Apparently, robing the propagator of freethinking in Karelian porphyry made the tyrant feel safer.

So, what conclusions can one draw from the deification of Nature’s Mind and Its subsequent incarnation? What new features does this Attempt add to the Image of God being painted? Apparently, It reveals “enlightenment”, “educatedness”, and “preferring Law to willfulness” in the Divine Person.

Карл Маркс: обожествление Материи

С этим пророком философско-религиозного материализма Нового времени связано обожествление Тела Природы.

Учение Маркса возникло, прежде всего, как критика гегелевского понимания Субъекта как Разума. Конечно, Маркс, как и многие его современники, был впечатлён грандиозной и в то же время изящной картиной развития Разума, нарисованной Гегелем, и по содержанию этого развития у него почти не было возражений. Только вот Разум ли это развивается? Возможность толкования Субъекта как Тела показал Шеллинг, но он, как говорили советские философы, «колебался» между материализмом и идеализмом. Маркс же без колебаний подхватил материалистическую линию Шеллинга и распространил действие диалектических законов развития, открытых Гегелем, на Человеческое Общество.

Карл родился в 1818 году в старейшем городе Германии – Трире, называемом также «Северным Римом», в еврейской семье. Отец его был преуспевающим адвокатом. Он был человек передовых взглядов, поклонник Вольтера, принявший активное участие в политических реформах, проводимых в Прусском королевстве по манию просвещённого монарха. Мать Карла была всего лишь образцовой домохозяйкой, хотя впоследствии она оказалась двоюродной бабушкой основоположника транснациональной компании «Филипс». Вскоре после рождения Карла отец его принял лютеранство.

Сначала маленький Карл получал домашнее образование. С 12 лет он посещал гимназию, директор которой был другом его отца, с которым он разделял идеи свободомыслия. В возрасте 17 лет Карл поступил в Боннский университет, а вскоре перевёлся в Берлинский университет. По настоянию отца, Карл усиленно изучал право. Но собственные интересы юноши-Маркса всё более сосредоточивались в области истории, а затем философии. В свои студенческие годы он также пытался сочинять стихи, романы и даже пьесы. Кроме того, он изучал языки, в том числе, английский и итальянский.

В 1841 году, на окончание университета, Маркс представил диссертацию на тему «Различие между натурфилософией Демокрита и натурфилософией Эпикура». Это свидетельствует о тогдашнем увлечении Маркса античными материалистами. И это не случайно: ведь ему было суждено продолжить материалистическую линию философии, но уже на новом уровне.

В Берлинском университете ещё свежи были воспоминания о том, как там царил «абсолютный идеалист» Гегель. Молодой Маркс также не избежал влияния великого философа. Он стал гегельянцем, точнее «младо-гегельянцем»: он примкнул к тем, кто пытался  наполнить «Логику» Гегеля «реальным содержанием», т. е. истолковать её не как развитие Духа, но как развитие Материи.

После окончания университета Маркс собирался заняться научной работой. Но вскоре он понял, что не может открыто высказывать свои откровенно атеистические взгляды в академическом сообществе в условиях «реакционного» политического режима. На какое-то время он становится журналистом и редактором газеты «Райнише Цайтунг». Параллельно он продолжает свои философские изыскания.

Между тем, старший коллега Маркса по философскому цеху – Л. Фейербах – уже «разоблачил» сущность религии. Оказалось, что Бог – это «отчуждённая родовая сущность Человека», а философский идеализм – «утончённая форма религии». Маркс восторженно воспринял эти «открытия» и задался целью вернуть Человеку Его утраченную сущность, «освободить» Его от религии, а заодно и покончить с философским идеализмом, обожествляющим человеческий разум.

Итак, «на самом деле», никакого Бога, как нет и Сознания, существующего отдельно от Человека. Есть лишь Природа, а в Ней – Человек, или, точнее Человеческий Род. Почему же Человек отчуждает от Себя и обожествляет свою сущность? Среди причин такого отчуждения Фейербах упоминал неустроенность «земного» человеческого бытия. И всё же, согласно Фейербаху, основная причина состоит в том, что Человеческое Сознание развивается, и религия  возникает как первое, косвенное самосознание Человека. Развитие же Человеческого Духа состоит в преодолении этого отчуждения, после чего на Земле должна воцариться «истинная» религия – «Человек Человеку Бог». Ведь Человек – высшее проявление Природы, так что, кроме Человека, здесь более некого обожествлять.

Маркс решительно критикует «непоследовательность» фейербаховского, как ему казалось, «материализма» (а по сути, попытку толкования Субъекта как Человека). Причину вышеуказанного отчуждения Человеком Своей Сущности он усматривает именно в неустроенности, превратности «земного» человеческого бытия. Стало быть, задача состоит в том, чтобы устранить эту неустроенность. Маркс сосредоточивается на «материальной» стороне жизни людей: он пытается найти решение основных вопросов бытия и его осознания в области экономики. Прежде всего, он уточняет понятие Человека. Маркс приходит к выводу, что Человек – это на самом деле Сообщество Людей, скрепляемое материальными, т. е. экономическими – прежде всего производственными – отношениями.

Корни «отчуждения» Человека от Его Сущности Маркс усматривает прежде всего в производственной сфере, когда производимый людьми продукт отнимается от них и господствует над ними в виде денег, и когда сами люди (вернее, их рабочая сила) становятся «товаром». Логика развития такого товарного производства приводит к тому, что подавляющее большинство людей фактически оказываются пролетариями, работающими на кучку собственников средств производства. Изменить такой порядок вещей может лишь революция: «оружие критики не может заменить критики оружием».

Попутно уточняется смысл и значение философии: «Подобно тому, как философия находит в пролетариате своё материальное оружие, так и пролетариат находит в философии своё духовное оружие», – утверждает Маркс. Таким образом, «истинная» философия, в отличие от религии и философского идеализма, – это философия материалистическая, которая, в конечном счёте, есть не что иное, как мировоззрение самого обделённого общественного класса – Пролетариата, равно как и осознание Им необходимости насильственного захвата политической власти.

В 1843 году «Райнише Цайтунг» закрыли. Вскоре Маркс женится на дочери одного из своих высокопоставленных друзей, с которой он был помолвлен уже несколько лет, и переезжает с ней в Париж. Там он основывает другую газету – «Немецко-французские ежегодники», в которой сотрудничают многие выдающиеся люди того времени, в том числе, немецкий поэт Г. Гейне, российский революционер М. А. Бакунин, а также коммерсант и журналист Ф. Энгельс, с которым у Маркса завязалась многолетняя и плодотворная дружба.

Немецко-французские ежегодники» просуществовали всего год. В 1845 году Маркса высылают из Парижа. Его принимают в Брюсселе с условием, что он не будет публиковать материалов по текущей политике. Там, совместно с Энгельсом, была написана работа «Немецкая идеология», в которой они, на основе критики новейшей немецкой философии, конкретизируют свою концепцию материалистического понимания истории. Они вновь сосредоточиваются на критике «непоследовательности» материализма Фейербаха, который считал мышление главной деятельностью Человека. Возражая Фейербаху, Маркс и Энгельс главной для Человека считают именно «материальную», или «чувственную-предметную деятельность», которая так или иначе осознаётся.

Кстати, знаменитые «Тезисы о Фейербахе» были написаны Марксом в качестве наброска к «Немецкой идеологии». В них он вновь пытается разъяснить, что истинным Абсолютным Субъектом является не Разум, а развивающаяся Материя. Стало быть, на той ступени Ея развития, когда появляется Человеческое Общество, главным должно признаваться не мышление, а человеческая чувственная деятельность, практика. Поэтому истинность мышления доказывается именно на практике. Поэтому истинной деятельностью для Человека следует признать практически-критическую, революционную деятельность по преобразованию как Природы, так Своих, общественных отношений.

Достигнув ступени Человеческого Общества, Материя продолжает развиваться по преимуществу как «борьба классов». Основным здесь становится противоречие между уровнем развития производительных сил и формой собственности на них. Это противоречие каждый раз разрешается революцией, направленной против господствующего класса собственников. Своего высшего выражения это противоречие достигает на ступени «буржуазного» способа производства, когда общество раскалывается на подавляющее неимущее большинство и меньшинство собственников средств производства. Тогда совершается коммунистическая революция, которая не заменяет один господствующий класс другим, но приводит к уничтожению каких бы то ни было классов. Возникающее бесклассовое общество представляет собой возвращение к первобытному, до-классовому обществу на новом уровне.

В 1847 году Маркс и Энгельс вступили в тайное общество – «Союз справедливых», после чего оно стало называться более определённо: «Союз коммунистов». Для этой организации в 1848 году друзья написали «Манифест коммунистической партии», который вышел в Лондоне. В «Манифесте» уже предлагается вполне конкретный план действий, осуществляемых Пролетариатом после захвата Им политической власти. Эти «мероприятия» включают в себя, среди прочего, отъём собственности у «буржуазии» и «одинаковую обязательность труда для всех». Кто бы мог подумать, что признание философского Субъекта как Материи (т. е. Тела Природы) будет чревато такими потрясениями для человечества! Пробуждённая Марксом Материя обернётся новой религией, которая мало чем будет отличаться как от исторически сложившегося христианства, так и прогремевшей по Европе религии Разума.

Благодаря каскаду демократических революций 1848 года в Европе, Маркс возвращается в Париж, а затем едет в Германию. Там, в Кёльне он основывает ежедневную газету «Нойе Райнише Цайтунг», которая стала органом вышеупомянутого «Союза коммунистов». В 1849 году, после спадания революционной волны, газету закрыли, и Маркс, в конченом счёте, оказывается в Лондоне, где и  проводит остаток своих дней.

В Лондоне семья Марксов жила в относительной бедности, перебиваясь случайными заработками, и во многом благодаря материальной поддержке со стороны Энгельса. Большую часть времени Маркс проводит в библиотеке Британского музея, работая над своим «Капиталом». В этом произведении Маркс сосредоточивается, опять же, на экономической стороне жизни человеческого общества, в частности, на процессе превращения денег в капитал, а рабочей силы – в товар. Основная мысль Маркса заключается в том, что работник, работая на собственника средств производства, производит товаров на сумму гораздо большую, чем его зарплата. Прибавочную стоимость, которая получается в результате такой «эксплуатации», собственник средств производства далеко не всегда тратит на «развитие» или на «общее благо», но, чаще всего, на личное обогащение. Это приводит к обнищанию наёмных рабочих, разорению мелких собственников, к пролетаризации основной массы населения и сосредоточению всех богатств в руках немногих.

Согласно Марксу, беспомощность Человека перед лицом этих стихийных процессов выражается в религии, а стремление кучки имущих увековечить своё господство – в философском идеализме. Лишь материалистический подход к человеческой истории, «правильное» осознание вышеуказанных процессов, с точки зрения Маркса, позволяет обуздать стихию товарного производства, совершить коммунистическую революцию и направить накопленные и создаваемые богатства на благо всего общества.

Живя в Лондоне, Маркс дополняет свои теоретические изыскания организационной работой. В 1864 году, он создаёт международное товарищество рабочих – Первый Интернационал.

В 1871 году Маркс стал свидетелем попытки коммунистического переустройства общества во Франции. Он увидел в Парижской Коммуне первый опыт диктатуры пролетариата и прообраз государства нового типа.

Интересовался он и событиями в России. Учитывая своеобразие исторического пути этой страны, он не исключал возможности использования соответствующих особенностей российской крестьянской общины для переустройства страны и высоко оценивал деятельность Народничества. Переживший своего друга Энгельс уже не питал особых иллюзий относительно российской крестьянской общины, которая к тому времени уже поддалась буржуазному разложению. Отдавая дань Народничеству, он всё же связывал свои основные надежды с марксистской Группой «Освобождение труда», созданной Г. В. Плехановым.

Карл Маркс умер в Лондоне 14 марта 1883 года в возрасте 64-х лет.

Итак, философский материализм Нового времени в своей теоретической части достиг в учении К. Маркса и Ф. Энгельса своей абсолютной вершины и, по сути, стал религией. Они пренебрегли предостережением Канта о «субъективности» Природы и вновь признали Природу Истинно Сущим. Впрочем, они считали, что они переосмысливают «Абсолютный Субъект», выдвинутый Фихте, переосмысленный Гегелем как «Разум», и Которому Фейербах попытался вернуть человеческий облик.

В качестве «Абсолютного Субъекта» Маркс и Энгельс выдвинули «Материю», т. е. из 3-х составных Частей Природы они признали первичным Ея Тело. Конечно же, они столкнулись трудностями при объяснении возникновения Жизни и, затем, Разума. Но они вышли из положения тем, что объявили Их ступенями развития Тела, что выглядело более «естественным», чем выведения всей тотальности Природы из «Разума» или из «Души» (Воли-к-Жизни).

Сначала Тело развивается «вслепую», в силу Своих «внутренних противоречий». С появлением сознания Тело Природы начинает осознавать своё бытие, т. е. свои «внутренние противоречия». На этой ступени своего развития Материя предстаёт как Человеческое Общество. Таким образом, всё, что происходит в действительности, можно кратко охарактеризовать как «материальный процесс жизни», который «осознаётся».

Но ведь можно правильно осознавать своё бытие, а можно неправильно. Например, правильное познание законов Природы позволяет Человеку использовать Её в своих целях. В Человеческом Обществе также действуют свои законы, которые можно познавать правильно, а можно и ошибаться. Например, возникновение идеи Бога или Богов, или Абсолютного Разума – это ошибочные идеи, хотя и вполне объяснимые с исторической точки зрения. Источник происхождения таких ошибочных представлений – это, прежде всего, ещё не познанные явления Природы. Но, более всего, они появляются в силу «неправильного» осознания того, что «на самом деле» происходит в Человеческом Обществе.

А «на самом деле» в Человеческом Обществе происходит то, что можно обозначить как «производство»: сюда входит и воспроизведение рода, а также производство вещей, необходимых для выживания (еда, одежда и т. п.). Развитие производства приводит к общественному неравенству. Средства для производства (орудия труда, земля и т. д.) указанных вещей однажды оказываются собственностью некоей группы людей. Они уже не работают – они лишь владеют средствами производства. Работают же другие, которые пользуются этими средствами производства, причём последние им не принадлежат. Соответственно, работникам не принадлежит и продукт, ими произведённый. Они за свой труд получают деньги, на которые они уже могут (или не могут) купить произведённый ими же продукт. В результате Человеческое Общество оказывается разделённым на «классы», основные из которых это “собственники средств производства” и “трудящиеся”.

Соответственно, философский идеализм возникает как мировоззрение, обслуживающее собственников средств производства, которые хотят сохранить за собой эту собственность. Они вполне довольствуются «чистым мышлением» и всякими чисто мыслительными конструкциями. Философский материализм возникает как мировоззрение людей, выражающих интересы неимущих, которые недовольны существующими производственными отношениями и стремятся их изменить. Религия же (вера в Бога или Богов) возникает как мировоззрение самих неимущих, выражающее их беспомощность перед сложившимися производственными отношениями. Обычная революция приводит лишь к смене форм собственности. Пролетарская же революция приводит к исчезновению классов и полному обобществлению средств производства.

Таким, приблизительно, был ход мыслей Маркса. Неискушённому уму материализм может показаться более «естественным» философским учением, чем идеализм или «философия жизни». Однако естественность эта – мнимая. Будучи отображением Человека, Природа поистине есть нераздельное единство Разума, Души, и Тела. И всякия попытки обожествить какое-нибудь одно Начало и вывести из Него Оба Другие обречены на неудачу. И всё же, эти три попытки обожествления являются необходимыми попытками Бога, обретающегося в Человеке, определить Себя, исходя из открывшейся Ему триединой Природы. В этом смысле, Фейербах, стремясь обожествить Человека, был, пожалуй, ближе к Истине. Но он ошибался, считая Человека природным существом, а не ступенью в развитии Божественной Личности. Маркс же, в отличие от Фейербаха, исходил не из «Природы вообще», а из «Материи», что, соответственно, вело к обожествлению не «Человека вообще», а «Пролетариата».

Сеющий ветер пожнёт бурю. Философский материализм, т. е. фактическое обожествление Тела Природы, с неизбежностью приведёт к попытке вочеловечения этого Тела, вызывая небывалые общественные потрясения, и найдёт своё высшее выражение в культе Вождя. Тогда действительно не будет ни традиционной религии, ни философского идеализма, ни даже «философии жизни». Но их не будет не потому, что их «не будет», а потому, что они будут запрещены, а их идеологи – уничтожены.

Karl Marx: the deification of Matter

This prophet of the philosophical and religious materialism of Modern Times deified Nature’s Body.

Marx’s teaching emerged, first of all, as a criticism of the Hegelian interpretation of Subject as Mind. Certainly, Marx, like many of his contemporaries, was impressed by a grandiose and, at the same time, elegant picture of Mind’s development, painted by Hegel, and he had nearly no objections as to the content of this development. Only… is it Mind that really develops? For Marx, in the capacity of What Truly Exists there can only be some developing Body, Which only at a certain stage of Its development becomes rational. An attempt at interpreting Subject as Body had been demonstrated by Schelling, but he, as Soviet philosophers would put it, was “hesitating” between materialism and idealism. Marx, however, in collaboration with Engels, unhesitatingly continued Schelling’s materialistic line and extended the action of materialistically interpreted dialectical laws of development to Human Society.

Karl was born on May 5th, 1818, in Germany’s oldest city, Trier, also known as the “Rome of the North”, into a Jewish family. His father was a well-to-do lawyer and also a progressive-minded man, an admirer of Voltaire, who had taken an active part in political reforms brought about in the Kingdom of Prussia under the patronage of an enlightened autocrat. Karl’s mother was only a model house-wife, although she later turned out to be a grand aunt of the founder of a transnational corporation, Philips Electronics. Soon after Karl’s birth, his father was baptized as a Lutheran.

Initially, the little Karl received home education. At the age of 12, he began to attend a gymnasium, the headmaster of which was his father’s friend, with whom he shared the ideas of freedom of thought. At 17, Karl entered the University of Bonn, but soon transferred to the University of Berlin. At his father’s insistence, he intensively studied law. However, the youth Marx’s own interests were concentrated in the field of history, then philosophy. During his university years, he also tried to compose poems, novels, and even plays. Besides, he learned languages, including English and Italian.

In 1841, he presented his graduate thesis titled “The difference between Democritean and Epicurean philosophy of nature”. This testifies to Marx’s ardour for spontaneous materialism at the time. And it is no mere chance: he was destined to take up the materialistic line in philosophy, but at a new level.

At the University of Berlin, the memories were still fresh of the “absolute idealist” Hegel who had reigned there just over a decade ago. Sure enough, the young Marx could not escape the great philosopher’s influence. He became a Hegelian, more precisely, “Young Hegelian”; he joined those who tried to fill Hegel’s “Logic” with a “real content”, that is, interpret it not as the development of Spirit, but as the development of Matter.

After graduating from university, Marx initially planned to engage himself in scientific research. But soon he realized that he could not openly express his atheistic views in the academic community under a “reactionary” political regime. For some time, he became a journalist and the editor of the “Rheinische Zeitung” newspaper. In parallel, he continued his philosophical quest.

In the meantime, Marx’s older fellow-philosopher, L. Feuerbach, had already “disclosed” the essence of religion. God had turned out to be an “alienated generic essence of Man”, whereas philosophical idealism had appeared as a “refined form of religion”. Marx enthusiastically welcomed those “discoveries” and set himself the task of the returning to Man of His lost essence, to “liberate” Him from religion and, at the same time, do away with philosophical idealism which “deified Man’s mind”.

So, “in reality” there is no God whatsoever, just as well as there is no Consciousness existing separately from Man. There is only Man, or, more precisely, Humankind. Why then does Man alienate Himself and deify His essence? Among the causes of such alienation, Feuerbach cites the misery of “man’s earthly existence”. And yet, the main cause, according to Feuerbach, is that Human Consciousness develops, and religion arises in the process as the early, oblique, self-consciousness of Man. In the course of Its development, Human Consciousness overcomes this alienation, after which the true religion will reign on earth, guided by the principle “Homo Homini Deus Est”. For Man is the supreme manifestation of Nature, so there is nobody to deify here, except Man.

Marx decisively rejects the last remnants of idealism and religion in Feuerbachian “materialism” (actually, it was not materialism, but rather an attempt at interpreting Subject as Human). Marx saw the causes of the above alienation of Man of His own essence exactly in the misery of “man’s earthly existence”. Thus, the point was to eliminate this misery. Marx focuses on studying the “material” side of people’s life and tries to find the decision to the basic problems of existence in the field of economics. First of all, he specified the concept of Man. He comes to the conclusion that Man, in real terms, is a community of people brought together by material, that is, economic relations (the relations of production, in the first place).

Marx sees the roots of the alienation of Man from His essence exactly in the sphere of production, when a thing produced by people is taken away from them and rules over them in the form of money, and when people themselves become a “commodity”. The logic of such a mode of production’s development results in a situation when the overwhelming majority of people, in fact, find themselves proletarians working for a handful of the owners of the means of production. Such an order of things can only be changed by a revolution: “the weapon of criticism cannot be replaced by the criticism by weapons”.

So, that’s what philosophy is turning out to be all about: “Just as well as philosophy finds its material weapon in the proletariat, so the proletariat finds its spiritual weapon in philosophy”, – declares Marx. It means that “true” philosophy, compared to religion and philosophical idealism, is materialist philosophy, which, ultimately, is none other than the self-consciousness of the Proletariat and no less than Its awareness of the necessity to forcibly seize political power.

In 1843, the “Rheinische Zeitung” was closed by the authorities. Soon Marx married one of his high-ranking friends’ daughter with whom he had been engaged for many years, and moved with her to Paris. There, he established another newspaper, “The German-French Yearbooks”, contributing to which there were many eminent people of the time, among them the German poet H. Heine, the Russian revolutionary M. A. Bakunin, and also the merchant and journalist F. Engels, with whom Marx forged a life-long and fruitful friendship.

“The German-French Yearbooks” existed for as little as about a year. In 1845, Marx was expelled from Paris. He was allowed to move to Brussels provided that he should not publish materials in response to the latest political events. There, together with Engels, he wrote the work “The German ideology”, in which they, proceeding from the criticism of the newest German philosophy, formulated an integral concept of the materialist interpretation of history. They again concentrated on criticizing the inconsistency of Feuerbachian “materialism”, in which thinking had still been considered man’s basic activity. For Marx and Engels, however, man’s primary activity was precisely “material”, or “sensuous-and-objective” activity, which became being conscious of, in one way or another.

Incidentally, the famous “Theses on Feuerbach” were written by Marx as an outline for “The German ideology”. In them, he again tries to make it clear that the true Absolute Subject is not Mind, but Developing Matter. Hence, at the stage of Its development, when Human Society emerges, as primary should be recognized not thinking, but sensuous human activity, that is, “practice”. So, the proof of thinking is in practice. Ultimately, as the true human activity should be recognized the practical-and-critical, that is, revolutionary activity of transforming Nature, including Human Society.

Having reached the stage of Human Society, Matter keeps on developing basically as a “class struggle”. The main contradiction here is the one between the level of the production forces’ development and the form of their ownership. This contradiction is every time solved by a revolution directed against the ruling class of owners. This contradiction reaches its climax at the stage of “bourgeois” mode of production, when Society becomes split into the overwhelming indigent majority and a handful of the owners of the means of production. Then a communist revolution is brought about, which does not replace one ruling class by another, but results in the elimination of any social classes. A classless society that now emerges represents a certain return to primitive, pre-class society, but at a new level.

In 1847, Marx and Engels joined a secret society, “The League of the Just”, after which it came to be called more specifically, “The Communist League”. It was for this association that the friends wrote in 1848 “The Communist Manifesto”, which came out in London. In the manifesto, concrete measures were listed to be taken by the Proletariat after It had seized political power. These measures include, among other things, expropriating the “bourgeoisie” and introducing compulsory labour for all. Who could ever think that as little as the recognition of Nature as True Being and giving primacy to Its Body would be fraught with such upheavals for the mankind! Matter, wakened up by Marx, would give rise to a new religion which would be little different from both the historical Christianity and the religion of Reason that had swept through Europe.

Thanks to a cascade of 1848 democratic revolutions in Europe, Marx returned to Paris, and then went to Germany. There in Cologne, he started publishing the “Neue Rheinische Zeitung” daily, which became the press organ of the above “Communist League”. The next year, after the revolution wave had subsided, the newspaper was closed by the authorities, and Marx eventually found himself in London, where he spent the rest of his days.

In London, the Marx family lived in relative poverty, getting by with much help from Engels. Marx spent most of his time at the British Museum libraries, working on his “Das Kapital”. In it, Marx explored the “material” side of human society’s life, in particular, on the transformation of money into capital, and of labour power, into a commodity. Marx’s main idea is that a wage labourer, when working for the owner of the means of production, produces commodities costing much higher than his wage. The surplus value that ensues as a result of such “exploitation” will be spent by the owner not on development or for the common good, but mostly for his own enrichment. This leads to wage labourers being impoverished, small owners, going bankrupt, mainstream population being proletarized, and all the riches being concentrated in the hands of the few.

According to Marx, man’s helplessness in the face of these elemental processes finds expression in religion, while striving of the propertied few to perpetuate their rule, in philosophical idealism. It is only a materialistic approach to human history and the “correct” awareness of the above processes, for Marx, enables one to curb the element of commodity production, bring about a communist revolution, and direct all the riches, whether stored or being produced, to the benefit of the entire society.

When in London, Marx would supplement his theoretical work with organizational activity. In 1864, he set up an international workers’ association, the First International.

In 1871, Marx evidenced a communist reformation attempt in France. He perceived the Paris Commune as the first experience of proletarian dictatorship and a prototype of a new-type state.

Marx also kept an eye on the processes going on in Russia. Considering the peculiarity of the country’s historical path, he did not rule out using certain features of its peasant community for the country’s communist reformation and thought highly of Russia’s Populist movement. Engels, who outlived his friend, had no more illusions about the Russian peasant community, which had already yielded to bourgeois decomposition by then. Giving the Populist movement its due, he, however, pinned his best hopes on the Marxist “Liberation of Labour” group set up by G. V. Plekhanov.

Karl Marx died in London on March 14th 1883, when he was 64.

Thus, the philosophical materialism of Modern Times, in its theoretical section, reached with K. Marx’s and F. Engels’ works its absolute climax and, actually, became a religion. They neglected Kant’s warning about Nature’s “subjectivity” and again recognized It as What Truly Exists. In doing so, they sincerely believed that they were reinterpreting the “Absolute Subject”, put forward by Fichte, reinterpreted by Hegel as “Mind”, and Which Feuerbach tried to revert to human appearance.

Marx and Engels put forward “Matter” in the capacity of “Absolute Subject,” i. e., out of Nature’s 3 Components they recognized Its Body as primary. Sure enough, they faced problems in explaining the emergence of Life and then Rationality. They found a way out by declaring Them to be stages in Body’s development, which seemed more “natural”, than inferring all the totality of Nature from Mind or Soul (Will-to-Life).

Originally, Body develops “groping in the dark”, driven by Its “inner contradictions”. The emergence of Consciousness means that Nature’s Body becomes conscious of Its being, that is to say, It becomes conscious of Its inner contradictions. At this stage, Matter appears as Human Society. Thus, all that happens in reality can be concisely characterized as the “material process of life”, which becomes “aware of itself”.

But you can be conscious of your existence “rightly” or “wrongly”. E. g., the right knowledge of the laws of Nature enables Man to use It to suit His own ends. In Human Society, too, certain laws are operating, which can be cognized “rightly” or “wrongly”. For example, the emergence of the idea of God or Gods, or of Absolute Mind are erroneous ideas, although quite explicable historically. Such erroneous ideas originate, first of all, from natural phenomena that are not yet cognized. But, most of all, they originate from the “wrong” awareness of what “really” goes on in Human Society.

What “really” goes on in Human Society can be designated as “production”, including human reproduction and also the production of things needed for survival (food, clothing, etc.). The development of production results in social inequality. Eventually, the means of production (tools, land, etc.) find themselves in the hands of some group of people, who do not work, but only own the means of production. Working are other people, who use those means of production, which they do not possess. Respectively, the labourers do not possess the product they have produced. They just get money for their labour, with which they can (or cannot) buy that product. As a result, Human Society finds Itself divided into “classes”, of which fundamental are the “owners of the means of production” and the “labourers”.

Respectively, philosophical idealism arises as a world outlook, servicing the owners of the means of production, who want to retain their property. They are quite content with “pure reason” or any purely theoretical constructions. Philosophical materialism, however, emerges as a world outlook of people, who express the interests of the indigent, who are not content with the existing relations of production and seek to change them. As for religion (faith in God or Gods), it appears as a world outlook of the poor themselves, expressing their helplessness in the face of the established relations of production. A “common” revolution only results in the change in the existing property relations. The proletarian revolution, however, leads to the complete socialization of the means of production and to the disappearance of social classes.

Such was roughly Marx’s train of thought. Materialism seems to be more “natural” philosophical teaching than idealism or the “philosophy of life”. But this “naturalness” is perceived rather than real. Being Human’s projection, Nature truly is an undivided unity of Mind, Soul, and Body. And any attempt to deify one of those Principles and infer the Other Two from It will be doomed to failure. And yet, all these three deification endeavours are necessary attempts by God, Who abides in Human, to define Himself, proceeding from a triune Nature that has revealed Herself to Him. In this sense, Feuerbach, who had tried to deify Human, was, perhaps, closer to truth. But he was mistaken, considering Human to be a natural being, and not a stage in the development of the Divine Person. Marx, however, while “correcting” Feuerbach, actually proposed to deify not just “Human”, but “Proletariat”.

Sow the wind and reap the whirlwind. Philosophical materialism, i. e. the effective deification of Nature’s Body would inevitably result in an attempt of this Body’s incarnation, causing unprecedented social upheavals and find its supreme expression in the cult of the Leader. Then there will really be neither traditional religion, nor philosophical idealism, nor even the philosophy of life. But there will be no such things not due to natural causes, but because they will be banned, and their ideologists, crushed.