The Illusion of Progress: An Essay in Historiosophy
In his book, Dr. Gregory S. Kiselev scrutinizes the validity of the ideas of social progress and perspectives on the future of humankind. The author argues that the traditional understanding of what constitutes progress demands a thorough reexamination.
Based on the assumption that human being is first and foremost a free agent, capable of either committing to or abstaining from conscious acts, thus reaching either true being or falling out of it, the author challenges the idea that human existence represents progress. Dr. Kiselev argues that progress is not a continuous development, rather periods of progress are sequenced and interspersed through history. The trajectory of what is called progress is interwoven with stages “illuminated” by consciousness and with episodes remaining emptied or devoid of being.
Dr. Kiselev examines manifold scenarios for the future, in which there is no way of pinpointing what constitutes “the end of history.” One such scenario is the realization of given assumptions of existence, as envisioned in the philosophy of consciousness that can eventually lead to humanistic social reality for mankind. However, according to the author, modern civilization, Western in particular, is moving away from its historical existence, eradicating conditions for such outcome. This is noticeable in spiritual ill-being of the civilization, that is, moral flaws of mass society as well as reluctance and inability of most individuals to comprehend and overcome these imperfections. The ill state of progress is embodied in the negative effects of globalization, failure to dialog, and pending ecological crises. A dire alternative to this is a vicious circle of constant return to the un-lived, un-mastered, senseless movement. Perpetuation of this trend can lead to an anthropological catastrophe in which an individual in the mass society, incapable of conscious life, is inapt to overcome the entropy. This, in turn, raises questions of the role and destiny of the humanity in the process of evolution.
The author scrutinizes alternatives that emerge for Christianity in providing meaning to human existence. These alternatives are conditioned by the so-called anthropocentric turnaround. Without this turnaround it is difficult for Christianity to reveal its verity for a twenty-first century subject. The author asserts that although present in the life a person, Christianity is essentially a problem because an individual life represents a state of being. This view is rooted in Christianity’s unique Trinitarian nature. On the one hand, this peculiar quality allows us to demythologize fundamental Christian ideas and enable a dialogue between Christianity and the modern subject. On the other hand, Trinitarian precepts open up a possibility of their historical transformation into the Kantian religion of reason—a concept that challenges traditional understanding of religion.
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