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Sep 15, 2021
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We live in the era of “red books”

On August 12, 2021, within the framework of the volunteer project “Bratina”, a zoom conference “Let’s Preserve Cultural Heritage” was held, in which employees of museums and libraries of the Moscow Region took part. A permanent member of the Izborsk club, chairman of the Orenburg regional branch of the Izborsk club, secretary of the Union of Writers of Russia Mikhail Kildyashov spoke at the event.

We live in the era of “red books”. And these “red books” are not only about endangered animal species. There are “red books” of culture, where decaying architectural monuments, disappearing trades and crafts, dilapidated icons, paintings and sculptures are inscribed – everything that was previously visible, tangible, had a preserved appearance. But even more frightening are the “red books” of ideas – philosophical, cultural. There are big losses today in this area. The reasons for the losses are very different: we simply do not know something from our heritage; into something, “lazy and unloved”, we do not plunge to the proper depth; for other ideas we do not have enough minds equal in size to those that lived in bygone epochs. Because of all this, the connection of times disintegrates, and historical time, historical forces go into the shattered abyss.

But many losses are still recoverable, bridges can still be built over many abysses. I will give specific examples. Recently, I have been trying to delve into the life and work of the scientist, philosopher and theologian Pavel Florensky as deeply as possible. His legacy is a storehouse of forgotten, undeveloped, not picked up by descendants of ideas. One of these is the formation of a “pneumatosphere” – “a special part of the substance involved in the circulation of culture or, more precisely, the circulation of the spirit”: art. This makes one suspect the existence of a corresponding special sphere of matter in space. ” The idea and the term sounded in 1929 in correspondence with Vernadsky and arose by analogy with his “noosphere” – the sphere of reason. Vernadsky assumed that in his “sphere” there would certainly be enough space for creativity and inspiration. But Florensky meant more: works of art not as a result of the search for an artist, but as an embodiment of the spirit; art as prayer and prayer as art. Today, when Vernadsky’s noosphere in philosophy is often too rationalized, narrowed, reduced to the technosphere, the idea of ​​the pneumatosphere becomes even more relevant. If both of these spheres were thought of literally as the shells of the Earth, then breaks and voids in them should not be allowed. If we do not create a pneumatosphere, develop the idea of ​​a pneumatosphere, an “amartiosphere” – “a sphere of sin” will appear. It has been thickening over us for a long time, becoming denser, does not let us breathe.

The second extremely important idea of ​​Florensky is a living museum. Florensky did not like classical museums, he believed that each such museum is a collection of objects torn from the natural environment of existence. The thought is probably offensive for museum workers, but one must understand that it sounded at the time when Florensky fought for the preservation of the Trinity-Sergius Lavra as a monastery, as a prayer, liturgical space. “Leave the Lavra to the monks,” Florensky insisted. Only then could it be preserved without heavy losses and as a cultural heritage. It is valuable to project such an ardent desire for a “living museum”, for “modern antiquity” on the museum business as a whole. It is gratifying today to see more and more often not “mummified” museums filled with life, where the very pneumatosphere appears. Manor museums, where nature is not cramped, where it does not turn into a “landscape”, “landscape”, but breathes, blooms, “splendidly fades” in due time and blooms again. It is gratifying to see apartment museums that are open not only for excursions, but also for creative meetings and philosophical gatherings.

The third idea is “Symbolarium” – a dictionary of symbols. Florensky and a group of like-minded people tried to accomplish the seemingly impossible: to organize the whole world, the entire history of mankind in a dictionary, identifying the basic principles of symbolism and key elements of symbols: point, line, triangle, circle, square, spiral … was formed into a detailed study, about the size of a thick journal. The first entry in the dictionary, devoted to the point, turned out to be, unfortunately, the last. The hard times did not allow the work to continue. But a century later, the linguist and culturologist Vyach Vs. Ivanov returned to the idea of ​​a dictionary and set out to continue it, updating new symbolic research of mankind: from psychoanalysis to artificial programming languages. But with the death of Vyach. Ivanov in 2017, work stopped again. So “Symbolarium” is waiting for a new successor, a man of grandiose mind and immense knowledge.

All these ideas did not arise out of nowhere: this is the result of Florensky’s involvement in world knowledge. For continuity, we need the same inclusiveness today, but the main thing is the need for reflection, for philosophizing. If we are only researchers and interpreters of the “blessed inheritance”, then very soon we will reach a dead end, degenerate into civilization in the nostalgic, dying phase of our existence. The named ideas are not Eurydice, which we, like Orpheus, yearn to look back at, but a springboard to the future, but only if we understand philosophy as a form of creativity, do not completely exchange it for sociology and political science, offer our philosophical insights and concepts.

For too long and persistently we were told that the world is a “system of things.” Now we have seen the light and saw that the imposed system has turned into a “faculty of unnecessary things.” Our system is a system of ideas, our world is a world of ideas, a world of meanings.

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