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Перспективы человека: предпосылки понимания

русская версия

Опубликовано на портале: 23-11-2006
Тематический раздел:
The Prospects for Man: Premises of Understanding (by Yuri Levada). The issue of the "far away" prospects has always been urgent not only for official Soviet world outlook but also for different branches of protest and post-Soviet ideologems, for Russian national consciousness in general. They usually combined the linear view of the history with short-sighted pragmatism, that is with binding the social action to its immediate result: freedom, order, progress and well-being had always been demanded in the position of "immediately". The result is the unhealthy impatience and unwarranted expectations, and then the same unhealthy disappointment with the absence or ambiguity of the outcome achieved.
Recent time studies show, on the first sight, a strange picture of the mutually exclusive trends in the Russian public opinion. Any position in different contexts may appear to be "the opinion of the majority" and have different practical interpretation. The principle task is to reveal the mechanism of interrelation of the positions that seem to be polarly opposed.
While analyzing the possible prospects it is necessary to overcome the temptation of the "easiest" versions — for example, of extrapolating the present pattern to the far future, of constructing the desirable (Utopian) social-anthropological type, of rational process of improving the available human material, of reproducing in native conditions the stages and forms of development that had been passed earlier by other social systems, and also of different versions of revercive (backward) or cyclic transformations. Late or "catching up" modernization has never and nowhere in the 20th century reminded smooth evolutional process of assimilating the achievements of the world progress for the profit of population of new or renovated states. Another important feature of "catching up" societies is unevenness, time gap between technical, economical, social, political and moral processes. The result is paradoxical combinations of structures of different orders. Russia has experienced, got used to and has not yet overcome all these "turbulences" of the progress. One of the very important peculiarities of Russian history is the accretion of social, socio-cultural social-political structures of different times. The result is the complexity, extension in all directions — "far away" and "deep into" — of the social and human material, that experience the influence of transforming and destroying factors. That is why, in particular, effective changes "from above" have never been possible in Russia and opposition to any changes (independently of their purposefulness) has always relied first of all on this sluggishness of social and human stuff.
Imperial consciousness, world outlook, more precisely, is the essential constructive element of Russian state and mass mentality. The complex of undeserved defeat, humiliation that appeared after the crash of "grand" Soviet empire in 1991 makes up not only the basis for mass nostalgia but also a source of expectations for restoration of imperial grandeur at least in "narrowed" frames. The experience of the last decade shows that civilized exit from imperial deadlock in Russia has not yet been found and is practically imperceptible in mass consciousness of the country. The failure of warlike opposition to the "West" and the fall of the "iron curtain" have really brought Russia closer to the rest part of the world but at the same time have shown its present real position as an outlying area of European civilization.
Moreover, the development of situation in the countries of the former "third world" has shown that Russia appeared to be in the outlying area of Asia as well, since the complex relations of Asia with the West are developing apart from Russia. As a result Russia reproduces the cataclysms of imperial and post-imperial types on its territory, but fails to find the civilized ways of overcoming them. Russian society today (on all its stages including public opinion) is much closer to the least civilized versions of overcoming the post-imperial situation.
The lost illusions of "Perestroyka" and later years of para-reforms convulsions represent not only mass disappointment in democratic ideas and slogans but an indicator of the failure of that elite bureaucratic structure that had played a role of motive power of social changes. Most likely, new shocks and turns of the "course" (of the history, not of the power...), impulses of mobilizations and the intervals of prevalence of liberalization trendns are awaiting a man of the 21st century in Russia. "Homo Sovieticus" in post-Soviet conditions is guided not only by the aspiration to survive, to be preserved, to adapt to the decreased level of living. This is also a "homo humiliated" possessed by the complexes of social, state, national inferiority, inclined to see intrigues of the enemies behind all the failures and to search for those to blame in the broken idols. A human today doesn't desire the deeds, doesn't value them and therefore is ready to see an idol in an unimportant official in the position of responsibility.
The history of "progressive" time doesn't know straight ways — nor in the advanced, nor in the catching-up, neither in the imitating these or those countries. Crises, conflicts, cataclysms, convulsions, disasters of all scales (some of them are often regarded as revolutions) remain the form of social movement. Mass consciousness (public opinion) seems to have its own "logic" or its own set of "logics", ways of evaluating the social phenomena and selecting the way of acting. The motive power at that more often appears to be not the rational calculation but the complexes "stocked up", fixed in the deep strata of this consciousness. Figuratively speaking, it is not the mind but the complexes that "rule" the world of public opinion. In the 21st century the world, including "ours", will become much more complex but hardly more reasonable.
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