Daniil Andreev. «The Rose of the World»
Book VIII. On the Metahistory of the Tzardom of Moscovy

VIII. Chapter 3. Bridging the Gaps Among Cultures

What impulses were at work creating that gigantic geographical whole, that uncanny conglomerate of deserts, tundras, exceedingly fertile and heavily populated areas, enormous cities, and horizonless taiga that, by and large, overlapped with the boundaries of the Russian suprapeople?

In entertaining these questions, one cannot help but reminisce upon some of the world history’s epochs when a people or suprapeople vacillated between geographical isolation and hurtling expansion. In order to explain this phenomena, historical science proposed an array of witty suppositions on its geographical, socio-political, and, especially, economic reasons. Yet, one may cast into doubt whether it was, for example, only the lack of cultivatable lands that pushed Arabs, who had contented themselves with their agelong sparse and wretched existence on their peninsula, into a dazzlingly rapid unification and lightning-fast, dizzying expansion; an expansion not unlike unwinding of a spring or outpouring of lava from a crater, or a tornado; the expansion that went far beyond conquering affluent and fertile neighbouring countries sweeping, in only fifty years’ time, across the territory from the Guadalquivir to the Indus (rivers, translator’s note).

It is permissible to ask another question: why, after all, it was precisely Western Europe wherein, by the turn of the sixteenth century, the economy had come about so unprecedentedly and prodigiously that, for the first time in human history, two suprapeoples – Roman-Catholic and North-Western –prevailed the ocean, flooded America, pulled Africa into their orbit, discovered and partially brought under their control ancient cultures of the East? Within the framework of purely economic and socio-political motifs, one would only shrug shoulders and throw up hands when answering this simple question: Why did the socio-economic conjuncture that occasioned this expansion only come about once, and in one place, for the whole history of human cultures? If a similar conjuncture had come about elsewhere, say, in China, why wouldn’t it have born the same results? It turns out that it is no crime to reserve a grain of doubt amid the overpowering force of the socio-economic explanations and, given such historical phenomena, even get an inkling of some other factor outside of the historical cause-and-effect mesh – the factor of the irrational.

This doubt and inkling outgrow into an enormous question mark when we seek to come to terms with the eastward Russian expansion at the end of the sixteenth and in the seventeenth centuries. The seventeenth century overall presents quite a few riddles to historical thought, one of the most puzzling ones being as follows: Why, for what end, and guided by what socio-economic rationale was the Russian people – the people so sparsely scattered across the East European Plain – inspired, just in the space of a hundred years and solely through the private efforts of individuals, not the state’s, to flood across the expanse that was three times the size of its motherland, a severe, cold, uninviting, and almost uninhabited land, rich only in furs and fish, and, in the next century, to make a further stride as far as California in crossing over the Bering Strait? Of course, the intensifying exploitation of the serfs pushed thousands of people to the eastern uninhabited outskirts where they had to make a livelihood. However, weren’t the Ural and Siberia spacious enough to accommodate and feed the populace vastly greater than the Cossack squads that had passed over the Ural Mountains under the reign of Ivan Terrible, Boris Godunov, and Alexei Mikhailovich? Why weren’t these peasants (the overwhelming majority of Cossacks came from peasantry) given to their habitual labor on the new generous lands, but, rather, took to hunting and thus fell into heavy dependence on the traders and the state for selling their produce? – Were people running from the landowners’ oppression? Yes, they were. Why couldn’t they nicely settle down on the Ob, Irtysh, or Angara (rivers, t/n) that had never seen any landowners whatsoever? Instead, they ran farther and farther away, not from some non-existent pursuers, but from God knows whom and to God knows where, into some wakeless backwater, across gargantuan rivers and impassible taiga, through areas inhabited by foreigners who offered resistance, and, finally, having reached the shores of the Pacific Ocean – they did not settle down even there, and vaulted over to America.

Russian Cossacks – so they say – were lured by the abundance of wild beast and riches of fish in the Far East. True, lured they were. Yet, not only Russians knew that fish tastes great; not only Russians wore and traded furs. Strangely enough, these very riches did not attract, for example, the Chinese who lived in much closer proximity to them and, undoubtedly, stood higher than Russians in terms of culture as of the seventeenth century. Besides, they suffered from overpopulation. Why not the Chinese then?

All these questions arise spontaneously as early as when sitting on a school bench. However, they cannot elicit an adequate response, as the factors, to which modern science deigns, are inexplicable; the factor that could elucidate the matter in question remains beyond science’s scope. This selfsame factor, as deliberately simplified and scornfully cringed at as it is, is usually referred to as “psychological”. Without taking it into account, the whole of history turns not only into a dead schemata but an outright sham of science – a sham that shrouds its inability to answer the simplest of questions either with dogmatic verbiage, or with a feigned disregard of them.

Let us not be timid with words. Indeed: the excess of bodily powers and maturation of the national spirit, in which inner integrity is not too fully lost in order for a wanderlust to become enkindled, are, psychologically, a manifestation of the irrational factor in the epoch that we are dwelling on. What is that call enticing the path-breakers farther and farther? What is this mysterious instinct (let us use this obscure term, even more enigmatic than “ether” in the physics of the recent past)?

There is no need to envisage the demiurge’s involtation only as a head-spinning epiphany or an in-streaming of resplendent images. On the contrary: this form of involtation – or inspiration – is quite rare. It presupposes a developed personality, even a particular giftedness similar to artistic but not identical to it; rather, it is a type of religious aptitude. As for the demiurgic involtation of “a person from the masses”, it knows other ways. In such a soul, the demiurge does not rage like a storm; to such a mind, he inspires no grandiose ideas; to such a soul, no cosmic panoramas or ethical horizons are swung open by him. He does something else: he rises from the depths of the soul as a wordless, forbidding, and authoritative call of the Unconscious.

Through the summons of the Unconscious, other hierarchies, too, communicate with a person from the masses: karossa, witzraor, the Collective Soul of the people, even Velga. To differentiate across them is only possible by way of the feelings and deeds inspired. As for the deeds impressed upon the path-breakers, they can be reduced to one and only one, yet great undertaking: with the aid of just a few hundred warriors, to seize and stake the immense spatial reserves for the Russian suprapeople – all the empty territory amid the massifs of now existing cultures. Not a single Cossack, none of the heroes of the Siberian conquests, of course, had even an inkling of that. None of them could see the overarching historical purpose, but only a small, individual, and concrete end: to struggle for existence by going east for weasel, squirrel, and sable. All these were bountiful in the already conquered areas; yet, for reasons unbeknownst, they forged on. They could not stop, for wild scents from the mysterious wastelands of the East tickled their nostrils and intoxicated them like wine. They could not stop, lured by the clang of cranes and trumpet-like calls of deer – intense, passionate, and free voices of the animal world. They could not stop because of the bluish haze over the horizon that deep forests merged into in the east. They could not resist sleepovers out in the open, bonfires, the faces and stories of companions, songs, and adventurous life. It was as though even the sun quietly showed them the path and the goal while rising over the mysterious eastern expanses. The most irresistible yet, was the call of their own blood teaching them to understand voices of the wind and the sun, beasts and birds, precisely that way – the blood that was buzzing in their veins with its authoritative “yonder!” call, with its irrational and providential intoxication of vagrancy. “What kind of psychology is that? It is poetry!” somebody could say. Well, does historical science stand higher than poetry, so as to snub it? Provided that they are equal, if they are to fertilize each other, then not only the history of poetry has a bearing, but so does the poetry of history. In particular, ridiculing the poetic component of history does not pertain to those who, without resorting to this component, could answer the raised question only by beating about the bush or blushingly keeping their quiet.

Tellingly, the demon of Russian statehood had long stayed aloof from the path-breakers’ movement. One can sense that in the nonchalance of the Russian state as it watched Russian people claim immense areas in the east. When this movement had started, the First Zhrugr was engrossed with something else: he had forfeited the demiurge’s sanction, and the very existence of the witzraor was drawing to a close. Therefore, he took no interest in Siberia. Over all three centuries of his existence, the Second Zhrugr saw the Asian expanses only as a penultimate source for the state’s enrichment. Astoundingly, up until the twentieth century he could not understand why, after all, history and his own people had shouldered Siberia and the Far East upon him. And when fur trade ceased to be a major item of the state’s income, Siberia turned into a place of exile, and the Russian America was sold. What would Peter the Great (a Russian king, t/n), this great fleet builder and sea lover, have to say, had he known that in two centuries, by 1925, his successors would have neither navy, nor, by and large, a civil fleet on the Pacific Ocean? Unconsciously, Peter understood more than the demon of statehood did. He understood, for example, that, for some reason (as obscure as it was), he had to carry out such a grandiose undertaking as the Great Northern Expedition. None of the European monarchs embarked on anything similar to this in the seventeenth, eighteenth, or even nineteenth centuries. There is no way to ascertain that Peter clearly realized the significance, as well as the purpose of this undertaking. Be that as it may, the colossal expenses this required could not be recouped with some meager economic gains, even if Russian ships had plowed through the Arctic Ocean to India. Yet, Peter did not fancy wasting money on anything that did not reap state benefits. The matter is that Peter the Great, as I attempt to show in the next chapter, was not only a conductor of the demon of statehood’s designs: the demiurge, more than through all other Russian rulers of the new time, willed through him. If we refuse to see the fruits of his inspiration in a host of Peter’s doings, we will understand nothing about the last few centuries of Russian history.

So, the demiurge’s concerns were reflected in Russians’ having taken claim of the North Asian territories, vast and almost uninhabited. Why did he expedite this process though? So as others would not grab hold of the lands ahead of Russians? But who? China? Up until the twentieth century, China could not even properly hold sway over Manchuria. England? But Siberia was of no interest to it, either before, or after. Japan? The United States? But the expansion of these states began only at the turn of the twentieth century.

This is beyond us to reconcile: For the avoidance of what evil was the demiurge expediting his suprapeople’s claim of those lands? Did he foresee a possibility of their occupation by some foreign invaders? Or, did there loom a possibility of formation of an independent state in Siberia, a powerful one capable of defence and offence, which would entail a series of unwarranted hardships, victims, and bloodshed? All these are only suppositions having no metahistorical bearing, hence lacking in any value.

It is quite obvious, however, that Russia’s transformation from a peripheral Eastern European country into a great Eurasian power that filled in all the empty space among the North West, Roman-Catholic, Muslim, Indian, and Far East cultures (that is, among all currently existing cultures) bore a great significance for Yarosvet. One may conjecture that it had to do with the global mission of Russia, and those spatial reserves were to become an arena for the suprapeople’s creative works in the twenty-first or twenty-second centuries. A culture destined to outgrow into an interculture can fulfil its mission only by closely interacting with all other cultures, which it is to assimilate, unify, and transform into the planetwide whole. If a suprapeople is meant to become a catalyst transforming itself, as well as all suprapeoples of the world into a single Humankind, the territories given to its disposal have to correspond to the scale of its struggle, its ideas, and works of creativity.

to the next part: 8.4. Kin-guardian Peter and the Demonic Distortion of his Mission
to the previous part: 8.2. The Egregor of Orthodoxy and Infraphysical Fear
to the beginning: «The Rose of the World». Table of contents
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