August 12 2017 – Fort Russ News –
Op-ed by Padraig Joseph McGrath – “The Irish Crimean”
Peace and friendship – sharing our experience with our friends
Take a look at the concepts of “Θεάνθρωπος” (“theanthropos” or “god-man”) and “θέωση” (“theosis” or “deification”) in Orthodox theology.
In Orthodoxy, the alienation of humanity from the divine principle is resolved insofar as humanity itself is elevated to become part of the godhead. Then look at the Bolsheviks’ conception of culture.
Aristocratic art-forms were not destroyed in the Soviet Union. On the contrary, they were widely encouraged. Classical music and classical literature were widely promoted – tens of millions of ordinary people loved both of them.
The USSR Academy of Sciences translated 2,500 years of world-literature into Russian, and distributed it widely and cheaply.
The ordinary Soviet citizen was encouraged to develop aesthetic tastes similar to those which had been expected of the aristocracy. So the ordinary Soviet citizen became culturally “elevated.”
Peoples of the Soviet Union – to the heights of world culture!
Is there a genealogical connection, or perhaps even a level of homology, between the Orthodox Christian concepts of “Θεάνθρωπος” and “θέωση” and the communist ideal of “новый советский человек” (“the new Soviet man”)?
Then, conversely, take a look at the interpretation of the Calvary narrative in Lutheran philosophical humanism, most particularly in Hegel:
As per this interpretation of Calvary, which is quite different to the Orthodox interpretation, the alienation of humanity from the divine principle is resolved through the annihilation of the transcendental aspect of the divine – implicitly, both the father and the son are thought to die together on the cross. All that remains afterward is the holy spirit, which is understood to exist only in and through the religious community itself.
Hegelians refer to this thematic as “the kenosis of the cross.”
It is on this basis, through a radicalized reading of Hegel’s phenomenology of religion, that Žižek interprets Christianity as crypto-atheistic. The transcendental disappears. God becomes existential through the Calvary-narrative.
Now, take a look at how this possible crypto-atheistic subtext within Protestantism might have a bearing on the capitalist conception of culture. High-art forms have always required subsidization, and always will.
Therefore, there is no place for classical art-forms in a completely free market. In later capitalism, high art-forms seem to disappear somewhat, even if they’re still subsidized to some extent or another. Taste becomes vulgarized.
We must remember that capitalism opposes, not only the political consciousness of the working-classes, but also the aristocratic principle. Capitalism does not oppose privilege as such – it only opposes aristocracy as a basis for privilege. As Žižek puts it, within the capitalist order, “as long as a man is vulgar, then he can make as much money as he likes.”
So, in summation:
Orthodox Christianity – the god-man, elevation of humanity to become part of the godhead.
Soviet communism – the new man, cultural elevation of the ordinary folk.
Philosophical Protestantism – annihilation of the transcendental aspect of God, the “kenosis” or death of God.
Capitalsim – annihilation/death of high culture.
Are these homologies or genealogical connections plausible?
Is there a genealogical connection, or homology, between the Orthodox Christian concepts of “Θεάνθρωπος” and “θέωση” and the communist ideal of “the new Soviet man?”
Padraig McGrath was born in the Republic of Ireland in 1973. He has lived in Britain, Germany and the Czech Republic, and has published journalism and commentary on social and philosophical issues for a number of media for 15 years. He moved to Simferopol, Crimea in December 2013, 3 months before Crimea’s re-unification with Russia, and still lives there.