The Cultural Levels
By Emil Páleš
The cultural levels that humanity goes through as a whole are in fact consecration levels that each individual goes through in his or her own spiritual development. The individual that in his inside separated himself from the masses, from the awareness attributed to the age he lives in and stepped forward on his spiritual journey, goes through the same experience and tests in his inside, he struggles with the same temptations and tasks as humanity will face in the next few cultural eras. He practically explores the new spiritual spaces as a pioneer, whose footsteps will be followed by the whole civilization. This way each human being can know the future of the human race in its most important features from his own experience.
The present Anglo-Saxon culture has brought humanity to the birth of the free individuality at the cost of loss of human connection to the spiritual world. This development in its rough features was necessary, because if the human being had not escaped the guard of gods and spiritual beings that used to lead him on his way in his early childhood, he would have never become free, he would have never become a personality, which is in fact the condition of real love and spirituality on a higher level. The human being would have remained a group or a mass being.
However, no evolution whether in society or nature, continues or can continue in accordance with one impulse all the time, because it would lead to unilateralism and deformations which would not be able to survive. And so, each impulse is after some time replaced by another one. The present development marked by individuality and unbounded, external freedom would lead to an infinite gradation of egoism and finally to a war of everyone against everyone.
However, one of the secrets of existence is the fact, that everything essential has an existing polarity; each culture has its opposition. In the times, when one culture emerges, its counter-culture is already being founded somewhere else in the world, a different culture that has the ability to perform a subsidiary, compensatory, or a healing function.
Nowadays it’s already becoming clear, that the present trend will some day have to face its boundaries, behind which the global challenge that humanity will face won’t be solved by inventing any other new technology or any other legislative mechanism which would agglutinate the amount of egoistical and inconsiderate will into one meaningful whole any longer. Some day the existence of human culture won’t be possible without the self-denial and the ability to sacrifice one’s lower egoism to morally higher values. These parts of the world whose driving force remains only the personal materialistic benefit, will end up with wrecked souls unable of further spiritual development. The egoism, that at one stage was the driving force and dragged humans out of the passivity of the vegetative way of life and motivated to the development of only certain spiritual abilities, will become an obstacle at the beginning of another cultural level. For these times when the Anglo-American and Germanic nations won’t be able to lead humanity with their own force any longer, a new circle of nations is preparing to take over - the one that has this power of sacrifice and a sense of fellowship deeply rooted as a motivation in their sub-consciousness - the Balto-Slavic nations. Baltic and Slavic nations are predestined to create the sixth Post-Atlantic culture.
The nations of the Balto-Slavic linguistic circle are the last large group of Indo-European nations, that has not been in bloom yet, that has not reached its cultural peak yet but soon will. The old nations have a certain shaped and finished character; everything internal has already reached its external cultural form.
In comparison with these the Slavic nations show youth features, certain plasticity, formability, incompleteness and the ability to develop itself as a young person does. The Slavs are not burdened by any successful past; they still have to show who they really are.
While Hegel limits himself to the remark that the Slavic element in the progression of spiritual development “hasn’t risen yet”, Johan Gottfried Herder (1744-1803) predicts a great future for the Slavs in his “Thoughts on philosophy of the history of mankind”. Encouraged by Herder - Kollar, the Štúr group and the Slavophiles in other countries spread ideas about the future mission of the Slavs in the world. Oswald Spengler saw an unborn culture of the future in Austria that should replace the “Faustian” culture of the West. Altogether many writers world-wide agree that the Slavs have not spoken their words in the history of mankind yet. The Slavic soul has not revealed its content yet and so it remains a mystery to many thinkers.
The future mission of the Slavs can be anticipated in the powers hidden in the depth of the Slavic soul, which have remained a potential but can be understood as commitment for the future.
Valentin Tomberg has demonstrated in his excellent essay “The Eastern European Understanding of Suffering” how contradictory the American and the Russian concept of suffering are. Maybe nowhere else but in the concept of suffering it becomes clear how contradictory Americanism and Slavism are. Tomberg illustrates an example of American media that opened up a competition on gathering true life stories. The criterion however was, they had to have a happy ending. This demonstrates the American relationship to suffering. The American audience cannot handle a story that is maybe true but does not have a happy ending. Suffering in the minds of Americans is something, that does not have the right to exist, that should be excluded from life. And even if it exists, there will be a time when the progress of civilization will extinguish all suffering. Everyone will get rid of pain with the help of anesthetics, genetics etc. Namely, the presence of suffering does not have any importance, it is scandalous and shameless. This deeply rooted motivation of Americans is well elaborated in the work of the American author Prentice Mulford. Mulford sees the possibility of extinguishing pain and death in a strong concentration upon „the positive” and in a complete ignoring of suffering or any kind of misery.
And as much as suffering is being denied in America, it is being acknowledged in Russia. Fyodor Michaylovich Dostoyevsky (1821-1881) described and pointed out the understanding of the “philosophy of suffering” hidden in the depths of the Russian folk soul in his novels. The suffering has a value, everyone who suffers, will gain something from his suffering. In “Brothers Karamaz” the old man Zosima kneels down in front of Dimitry in the moment when he realises what sufferings await Dimitry. On the top of that, the suffering is not only a personal problem of the individual. The whole mankind is sick and this common disease results in the crises in certain individuals. Everyone who is suffering is suffering for the others, too. And on the contrary: more people are to be blamed for the bad luck of a single person. They become meaningful through the voluntarily acceptance of suffering or punishment. Each kind of suffering or punishment can be transformed into sacrifice, the pain of the higher human being born. The strength that can make each suffering holy and fertile is Jesus. The freely accepted suffering brings man closer to God, it purifies and elevates him.
And as Mulford’s relationship to suffering (as to something meaningless) is characteristic of America, so is Dostoevsky’s relationship to it characteristic of Russia. Dostoevsky’s works don’t end with a happy ending, but through the dark skies of sufferings and passions, that surround his characters, the light in the being shines through and he is that is the key to the hidden mystery of the meaning of suffering and the birth of the higher human in the inside.
One day the Slavs stall discover and realize this secret that the human personality is kenotic - able to love up to self-sacrifice. And as self-realization is the driving force of the Anglo-Saxon civilization, in the Slavs this driving force is the ability of self-denial and the sense for fellowship. The greatest latent power in the Slav is their sacrificial strength. In the Štúr group for example we see the “moral heroism” as their characteristic feature - the ability to renounce all personal for the moral ideal that morally overcomes all similar national leaders in the West. The loss of self-sacrifice is also what Štúr criticizes about the West: The West has lost its self-sacrifice - the basis of religion.
Many foreigners have long ago pointed out the sense for fellowship in the Slavs. Meanwhile the Western man believes that he can reach his happiness on his own; there is a strong idea present in the Slavs that everyone can reach their personal happiness with the others. The Slavic consciousness that everyone is responsible for everyone is the opposite of individuality. Solovyov and Florensky go as far as to claim that this separateness, lack of unity and the inability to leave one’s own mind and failure to identify oneself with something wider than myself is the definition of Evil.
The genius of Slavism faces a task that can be logically realized only as soon as the higher spiritual self is born in man. The nut Slavs have to crack is the question: How can you be organized in society and not endanger the dignity of man? This is only possible through love. Between free individuals the only unifying principle can be love.
Štúr describes how Polish and other knights always fell into disintegration or in the end did not agree at all because they were not able to adopt the German principle of obedience and build unity, but they wanted to fully respect the will of every man. The Russian soul has been swinging between two extremes - the anarchism, the awareness that the state is the evil that suppresses the value of the individual and his emotions on one hand - and on the other the strong need for organizing society and unity. The fellowship and the endless value of personality - those are the two essentials key points that have to be tied together.
But how to organize a society without violence? The answer of the Slavic thinkers aims to the inside: the training of moral attitudes rather than bureaucratic formulas and rules. It’s all about creating an “inner sense for responsibility” first and then other external reforms.
The Russian idea of “sobornost“ that has been introduced by Slavophiles is in its basis the ideal of fellowship based on inner love of complete freedom that does not need any other external guarantee or a authority. It is basically a vision of society on the level of the spiritual self where the moral part is internal in each member. A famous Orthodox theoretician Chomyakov expressed the ideal of relationship of the Russian soul with the hierarchy of the church with these words: “The Church is no authority, and neither are God or Jesus, because authority is a concept that has an external meaning”. The Slavophiles have blamed the Roman Catholic authoritarian legalism and the Protestant individualism without unity.
Meanwhile the West attempted to fully separate the Church from the state to gain space for the personal freedom of the individual. Religion in Slavs will some day become the power which creates the state again, but only after people recognize the content of religion on their own, freely, through their inside. In the Russian awareness, the folk is the society identified with the Church. The words farmer and Christian sound the same.
The Slavs are struggling with a completely different concept of freedom than the West: the internal, not the external. The true freedom lies in the freedom from being enslaved by your passions, not in the external opportunities to satisfy these passions. The particularity of Slavs will be the “moral technology” that will once be accepted, it will adopt a dramatic dominance than the one the Western Europe used to have against the rest of the world. Those who oppose the spiritual format of man, those who like calling themselves realists will have to awaken from their dream - as the Chinese emperor has.
The orientation of Eastern Slavs to their future is also evident in the fact that there exist two types of national myths: the myths of origin and the myths of goal. The myths of goal are prevailing in most nations. In Russians myths of goal prevail. The Russian awareness is eschatological, apocalyptic, concentrates upon the final things. The baptism of the old Russia was understood as the predestination of the “worker of the final hour”. (Mat 20:12).
Meanwhile with the Anglo-Saxons we speak of triumphalism, with Russians we speak of messianism. Messianism is the predestination of a certain nation to favor other nations too. Such was the dream of each Russian thinker. It is the opposite of nationalism that stresses separateness and self-realization of a single nation at the expense of others. However, while we speak about the sixth culture as of the Slavic culture, that is a term that at the same time expresses nationality, it is important to know that in the sixth culture the notions of nationalism and race will be completely deified. They will cease to be connected to physicality; they will express a cultural type, the type of the spiritual sense in man. Everyone disregarding their blood and origin, in whose soul the word “Slovo - Logos” comes to life will become a Slav. The Slavic nations will only be the seed for this universal culture that will transcend everything that is consanguineous in man.
The world-wide predestination of Slavic nations is unifying, they want to bring the world an ideal of “all-unity”. The biblical Apocalypse mentions this predestination. The seven assemblies, to which in the apparition of John the letters are addressed, stand for the seven Post-Atlantic cultures. Seven is the number of time; the laws of time in the universe are realized in seven rhythms. The seven assemblies, such as the seven seals, postures and times of apocalypse evoke through their number that they are not only local assemblies, but also periods of time. The name of the sixth assembly is Philadelphia (Gr. love of brothers). The sixth assembly in the Apocalypse symbolizes the sixth Post-Atlantic culture, and “the angel of the assembly in Philadelphia“ is no other than the genius of Slavism.
The universal brotherhood, whose realization is the task of Slavs, is spiritually and substantially tied with the transformation of the astral body, the overcoming of egoism the body has been infected with since the fall, with the spiritualization of gender and also with the victory over death. The ideal of the gradual spiritualization of the emotional relationship between man and woman, inseparable from the Slavic task, has found its best demonstration in Russian philologists, especially in Solovyov’s reflections about love. The virginal purity is an organ of the soul, through which only you can see Sophia. Sophia becomes the virginal soul in which Jesus is born. The purification of passions to pure emotions, from the astral body the immortal is born, the higher self. The Slavic human will resemble a flower, which is chaste, because it does not have any personal, passionate astrality like animals.
This transformation of the human naturality that Slavs will realize in their first phase is also a gate to the higher level of consciousness, to the first level of super-consciousness, the imaginative consciousness that is in fact an angel, the emotional soul, in which the powers of imagination and the spiritual eye reside, the organ of imaginative perception. The icon is so important in the Orthodox religion, because it is nurturing for the Slavic sensitive soul, it ennobles the powers of imagery, that otherwise would have been overthrown, in such a way that it attracts them to the beauty of the concrete prototype of the spiritual mankind, free of sensuality.
And so as to the old Babylonians and Egyptians the consciousness of the dream shined into their wake daily consciousness, out of which they created their myths, the first stage of super-consciousness and the imagination of the spiritual world and the idea of angels will shine into the normal consciousness of Slavic people. The Slavs will learn to view the world through the eyes of their higher self or their angel. And out of this the true Slavic culture will be born. Because like the fathers of the church say, the state of chastity is an angelic one, because it is free of passions, and without chastity, without purity no one can see God.
Looking at the human life, this moment approximately equals the 49th year of life when the astrality that connected with the body in the 14th year of life, tries to unleash itself again and the passions become weaker. Or maybe there is at least an opportunity in this moment of development. Because as in the second half of a person’s life in contrast to the first one, nothing happens automatically, everything is contingent on the energetic personal effort, the strong and free movement of the will, not even the Slavic culture can be expected as some kind of automatic product of evolution of society. Philadelphia will be created by those who can give up their mercenarineness on earth, of their lower ego and those who will be ready to die in faith with Jesus that they will be reborn in the Spirit. And exactly this decision to follow or not to follow Christ causes that the two ways of human evolution will part in two different directions - the Apocalypse.
The immediate task of Slavs, that is now up-to-date, is first to adopt the aware soul from the Anglo-Saxons and the Germans. And as the Germanic nations developed in the lap of the Roman Empire and learnt from it, but in their inside there was a predisposition that made them wiser than their teachers, so the Slavism is now developing under the influence of Germanism and the Anglo-Americanism. But at the bottom of its soul, it is keeping its powers with which it will transcend these cultures and exceed them. Michaylovsky started the Slavic question when he said that “Russia has a civilization of a higher type, but on a lower level”.
The effort to skip evolution and directly accept the sixth culture sooner than the Slavic human will develop his free, autonomous, independent and active earthly individuality can only result in terror and catastrophe. The latent powers of Slavic nations were abused with communism of the 20th century; it was a nightmare, some kind of early, evil birth in a despiritualised, violent and deformed shape. Russia however is heading towards some kind of Christian communism.
¼udovít Štúr knew that each nation and race have their superior spiritual being. That’s why he said that “each nation has its star“ or that “the genius of Slavism is sitting and crying tears in sorrow (due to the quarrels between the Slavs) as Isis crying over the scattered bones of Osiris“. But he also knew that everything happens at its right time and that the up rise of the nations in history is linked to their world-wide predestination, which follows one another in a logical way. In his book “Slavism and the World of the Future” he addresses the replacement of the Germanic culture through the Slavic one “The life of our tribes was less strong and less just where it got into proximity of a more just life hiding in itself the world-wide predestination and it had to succumb to it and adapt itself to it. Namely: in the previous times there was no time suitable for our life. Not everything grows as fast and not everything in nature blooms at the same time, each creature and each nation has its own time under the sun of God and the lime-tree is in bloom as soon as the oak-tree has lost blossoms“.