Ye. Bystrytsky. The Conflict of Cultures and the Philosophy of Tolerance / In.: The Demons of Peace and the Gods of War. Social Conflicts of the Postcommunist Epoch. Kyiv: Political Thought, 1997. P. 132-151; 430-432.

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The Conflict of Cultures and the Philosophy of Tolerance

Yevhen BYSTRYTSKY Doctor of Philosophy, Department Chair, Institute of Philosophy, Ukrainian National Academy of Sciences; President, Ukrainian Philosophical Foundation; Editor for Politics of Culture and Philosophy of Politics, Political Thought (Ukraine).



Two events of global significance, the ruin of communism and end of the tense military confrontation of two social systems, have brought into the language of recent years two equally universal terms: democracy and conflict. Their parallel usage has de facto superseded the organization of political thinking typical of this century which pivoted around the loaded meaning of the paired terms: totalitarianism (imperialism, Nazism, communism) at one pole and, war at the other.

Against this background the notion of tolerance emerged from the philosophical thesaurus of the past. The former stylistics of active intolerance and the language of force is being transformed into the discourse of tolerance. Tolerance becomes the most important condition for the maximally democratic settlement of possible differences, disputes and, collisions. This notion is considered not only the basis for reconciling warring sides in so-called local conflicts. It is employed, when calling for social and ethnic harmony, i.e., non-use of force and violence by ruling social structures in defusing, domestic conflict situations.

But in fact the disappearance of the threat of the total mutual destruction of the two world systems has given way. to numerous real conflicts, including internal bloody clashes, on a vast geopolitical space of the postcommunist world from Afghanistan, Tadjikistan, Armenia, and Azerbaijan to the former Yugoslavia. The emergence of a number of seemingly \133\ democratic political regimes on a territory, which bore the common mark of the communist totalitarian system still keeps us aware of lesser size but no less horrible civil clashes in Nagorno-Karabakh, Transdnistria, in the Russia of 1993, or todays Albania.

All this means that the spread of the discourse of tolerance does not yet allow us to blithely accept it as a decisive ideological victory of the practice of nonviolence. Behind the facade of the revived notion of tolerance lurks a different, perhaps more complex, experience of violence. Behind the contemporary transformations of intolerance, coercion, and war, are hidden changes with multiple meanings in the nature, bases, and preconditions of the policy and practice of using force in interpersonal relationships. This in great measure applies to the relations between postcommunist states, especially those with a long history of the coerced cultural coexistence of their communities.




Changes in the Strategy of Violence and the Situation of Tolerance


As distinct from what could be called the strategies of mutual assured destruction during the nuclear juxtaposition of social systems, the contemporary type of policy of the most brutally expressed military violence has obviously changed. Discourse in terms of conflict indicates that practice is aimed, not at the total destruction (of a system, state, society, or community), but at the limited, localized destruction of military assets and, to a lesser degree, of the enemy itself. The notions of weapons with pinpoint accuracy, weapons of localized destructive capability, rapid deployment forces, etc., bear witness to changes in the policy of using force. With armed forces capable of worldwide operational intervention, the so-called local conflicts are examples of limited military destruction, i.e., of measured and controlled violence.

The very mode of the existence of conflicts as a controlled expression of violence or, at best, an intent to violent \134\ intervention, makes it vital to give a modern definition to the situation of tolerance. Tolerance is regarded as a behavior pattern capable of restraining conflicting sides from actual violence, i.e., as the conscious creation of a situation of tolerance. Let us set out some of its important features.

Primary is the possibility of agreement. Agreement supplants actual armed clash with linguistic communicative (politico-diplomatic or legal) as well as informational and educational actions: to calculate the possible consequences, advantages, and disadvantages of destructive actions, correlate ones own interests with expected actions of the other side, propose a reasonable way out of a situation, etc. The situation of tolerance is a situation of creating, including by means of ideological appeals and the threat of force, a rationally critical and argumentative discourse aimed at reaching a mutually acceptable agreement or contract which would have an effective normative and restraining effect. All this means that it is possible to achieve a situation of tolerance only under conditions of, so to speak, the rational and contractual resolution of conflict, where there is a coercive (restraining and sometimes military force) and informational space (information coverage and aid in formulating ones own position) which make possible a decision to restrict ones own intolerance.

In other words, tolerance as a rule is viewed in light of the above strategy aimed at rationally averting a clash of wills and forces in a conflict.1 Basic to the adoption of a situation of tolerance is the survival of the wish to resolve the conflict on the basis of mutual intellectual effort at self-restraint, including collective rational and volitional self-restraint. This hope is made possible by a necessary assumption worth noting. This is the self-evident awareness of the existence of a general political-juridical institution (traditionally the state, in todays understanding it may be a system of collective security, a military-political bloc, etc.) within the coercive limits of which cultural and political differences or, in the words of John Locke, speculative ideas of and faith in God do not threaten civil peace.2 The classical definition of \135\ tolerance rests on the precondition of a universal coercive basis accumulated in certain state institutions and able to keep the conflict of world views in a state of mutual tolerance.

This is why tolerance as currently defined is not only the subjective ability to tolerate all things alien in the sense of different views and beliefs. Tolerance envisions practical actions to restrain idiosyncrasy toward the alien. Tolerance is always a measure of "permission" and the "permissible deviation from certain standards and norms," i.e., a measure of control over ones own actions.

But all these definitions do not always apply to the current practice of conflicts. Conflicts arise even in situations where tolerance is supported by extraordinarily strong military and informational factors, i.e., in situations where virtually all modern military and technological might is capable of holding a space open to rational and intellectual solutions to the struggle. This is not only an issue of international and interethnic clashes. Domestic civil conflicts, like that in the streets of Moscow in the fall of 1993, arc also able to break out in situations adequately controllable by military force.

Manifestations of violence change form, transformed from direct front-line military clashes, through guerrilla warfare with the active help of the population, into unforeseeable terrorist acts. Conflict exists even under conditions of intensive negotiations, as is evidenced by the examples of Chechen and Israeli-Palestinian conflicts. The situation of tolerance, unlike endless appeals to human tolerance and numerous conferences which analyze the theoretical and practical problems of tolerance, suffers one defeat after another.




The Notion of the Conflict of Cultures


Failures to create situations of tolerance are evidenced by the continuation of conflicts. This is and remains an unpleasant reminder that the causes of failure in reconciliation lie in the very philosophy of reconciliation.

Speaking in terms of conflicts as local, regional, or limited \136\ docs not reveal the entire reality and depth of modern violence. Such a definition of conflict leads to understanding it identical to only limited, restrained and localized the violence we know from previous historical experience, above all the history of wars (class and race wars also) of this century. Indeed, we sec the same, if not much more sophisticated, technical instruments of destruction the same way they were in the last war. In all these cases we encounter the transfer of traditional images to the present. We are de facto told about locality as a limited use of the same practice of total destruction in todays conflicts. This practice, however, remains total by its nature, not by the scale of destruction but rather by its character, by the horrible sense of the practice of violence. Precisely this, consciously or automatically, must be emphasized in using the notion of local conflict.

In conformity with the notion of totalitarianism, we will call this a strategy of total violence, meaning a legalized political strategy aimed at a forcible (mainly physical) destruction of the general conditions for the existence of human beings and human communities, without touching here on the criminal totalitarian practice of destroying people who remained outside the legal limits of publicity both in the USSRs Gulag period and in Nazi Germany. Both the ideology and practice of totalitarianism arc directed at social realities which can in principle be controlled and which are accessible to surveillance and deliberate manipulation. This total violence is aimed above all at specific expressions of human behavior and relationship, that is, at the conditions of societal and life activity as a whole (say, the organisation of industrial infrastructure, architectural stylistics of factories, housing, mass-scale recreation, etc.), the channels, methods and, linguistic forms of public communication (for example, imposing communist ideology and rhetoric). The policy of total control over human behavior and interaction in society aimed at coercive intervention, that is, purposeful violence toward or even destruction if such control and intervention are impossible, is the technical essence of a totalitarian \137\ organization of society, the machinery of totalitarianism.2b Yet, it is local, i.e., personal and collective, as well as ethnic cultural, forms of life that slip through the mesh of all-pervading, leveling violence.

The question of the ultimate limits of violent intervention, within which cultural life preserves its special features cannot be solved by way of rational calculations or theoretical definitions. All that is obvious is that, for example, cultural traditions (local forms of life) offer invisible resistance, preserving their identity in the various totalitarian practices of cultural pursuit and are able to revive rapidly under favorable conditions. In other words, the death of a local form of cultural life, the loss by its bearers of the ability to reproduce it is the deepest and ultimate violence possible. From this viewpoint, total coercion and destruction directed at control over the general conditions of human existence and intercourse is only the tip of the iceberg of totalitarian violence.

Contemporary conflictology should treat the notion of local not only as a territorial limitation, refraining from massannihilation or pinpoint accurate destruction of the enemy. A local conflict is, above all, a clash of local forms of life, a clash of specific cultural worlds.

Post-totalitarian changes in the character of mass violence can be expressed by the formula: from the struggle of social systems to intcrethnic and cthnocultural clashes.

In this context, it is no longer adequate to interpret culture like it was done in earlier modern thought in the humanities and later in official Soviet science. Culture is not only the sphere of humanitys universal spiritual gains, common human values, norms, and knowledge. Culture is first of all a local variety of human existence, the everyday life world created by nature and history, a world which to the maximum extent determines the existential dimension of behavior and social contacts,3 i.e., personal sentiments, understanding the sense of life, fear of death, death, decisiveness, other human virtues, etc.

Local today means above all the existentially specific. \138\ Thus, for example, a universal world religion would appropriate the existential sense of preserving ones own faith, a God who protects this specific people. For this reason, it makes sense to understand a local conflict more deeply, i.e., as a conflict of cultural life worlds, as always specific or even unique ways of being or, in philosophical terms, as a conflict of the ontologies of different cultures.

The post-totalitarian conditions branded very abstractly as "democratic" show how under certain political circumstances existential collective conflicts grow real "wars of the worlds," to borrow from H.G. Wells. Politicians become able to take advantage (and do so with elan) of the license to violence in conflicts, this license being given by the process of the postcommunist legitimation of-power on an ethnonational cultural basis.4 The policy of mass violence is legitimized at the deepest existential level, assuming the forms of individual worry over the "demise of ones own world" and the "need to protect it at any cost," even "ones own life." Although here we are dealing with so-called local conflict rather than total war.

This is why conflicts of cultures mean violence undeterred by its own fear of death, for a person of culture loses his own sense of life with the possible death of his life world. These are contemporary political and geopolitical manifestations of existential violence. These seemingly regional and limited clashes are in fact the manifestations of total violence directed at the forced destruction of the individual forms of a social and ethnocultural identity, which enrages that community. The contemporary strategies of force that show up in conflicts of cultures are, in the strict sense, more total than totalitarian violence, for their goal is not only a coercive transformation (destruction) of the general conditions of existence but also a desire to purposefully lead by means of the most unique ways of human life and the various cultural lives of a community.

All abstract discussion about democracy replacing totalitarian regimes will not provide a real understanding of the postcommunist situation, if it does not take into account the \139\e mergence of this politico-cultural quasi-totalitarianism following totalitarian rule. One of the main distinctions of the postcommunist time lies precisely in the use in political practice of the destructive force of cultural conflicts and the potential for existential violence.




The Methodology of Tolerance


The aforementioned means that to resolve the conflict of cultures, if it arose and exists thanks to, inter alia, various efforts of a political power, requires non-traditional approaches and contemporary interpretation of its essence. The direction of such innovation proceeds from the very necessity to regard the conflict as an existential conflict of communities, a clash of different cultural bases of life. In other words, this conflict is the subject of the newest philosophical search for certain ultimate foundations of human existence, which in fact makes possible the coexistence of human collectives.

But the theme of tolerance does not belong only to the domain of theoretical pursuit. All its true formulations and solutions also require practical experience, which raises the problem of know-how, or the method of tolerance, the knowledge of ways to achieve the situation of tolerance.

Todays frequent return to the topic of tolerance can be explained primarily by the internal practical application of the problems of tolerance, starting with international, interethnic and inter-civilization politico-cultural relationships under current conditions and ending with painful crises of coexistence of the former "fraternal nations" of the socialist camp. These problems are extremely pressing because they often deal directly with the life (family and neighborly ties) of postcommunist man and bring about a situation when almost every scholar, politician, or military expert considers himself capable of offering methodological (psychological, ethic, sociological, historical, political, etc.) advice on how to be tolerant. It may be for this reason why the scientific solution of this problem in most cases assumes the nature of \140\ socio-psychological research and is summarized in methodological recommendations on various, above all psychological and socio-psychological, rules and norms (self-restraint) which have acquired the status of conflictology, a specific positive science. The obvious task of conflictology lies in trying to offer the ways of resolving the existing conflicts and preventing new ones. Conflictology as an aggregate of scholarly expertise is based on a general assumption, which is at the same time its main apologia, that there must exist such a single knowledge, i.e., a system of sociological, political, psychological, and other knowledge, thanks to which formulas on how to avoid or resolve conflict can arise.

In this respect, conflictology hardly differs from the modern new understanding of tolerance as the tolerance of different ideas and faiths. For this understanding of conflictology is based on the idea of preventing a conflict exactly by hypothesizing the various viewpoints and approaches of the conflicting sides. In general, the main task of conflictology is to teach refraining from ones own (local) understanding or prejudice in favor of a more comprehensive interpretation of a conflict situation. Thus the main, truly philosophical, problem of any conflictology and conflict methodology is that of refraining from hitherto existing judgments, especially from psychologically loaded prejudices, including judgments resting on social and historical experience, which is always relative.

In contrast to the classical definition of the problem of tolerance which regards renewal of the latter as the basis for current research and decisions, contemporary philosophy not by accident begins with the methodology of refraining from judgment. The attempt to find an absolute objective experience, the most universal viewpoint on man and the surrounding world or the most rigorous understanding and self-understanding constitutes the task of phenomenology, one of the most significant philosophical schools of the twentieth century. One of its basic methods is the method of epoche or avoiding and putting outside brackets any available knowledge about the object of judgment, as well as reduction to a \141\ maximally rational basis (the thinking ego) of all emotional and psychological conditions standing in the way of our objectivity.

All these objectives of phenomenology were defined most radically by Edmund Husserl in the book whose title contains the idea of the crisis of European culture.5 The author saw the roots of this crisis precisely in the lack of a universal rationality in European culture, which he believed caused the terrible interethnic carnage of World War I. We would not deviate far from the truth if in this case we spoke of a certain political ontology behind the phenomenological analysis of the first global military crisis of in this century.

The main achievement in this respect of the father of phenomenology is that he tried to describe a classical situation of tolerance not only by radical philosophical means. The issue is that, in trying to describe the ultimate foundations of the crisis of European reason and classical rationality, he labeled it a crisis of culture. In other words, any rational attempt to take a position of omniscient tolerance, any intention to methodologically reject prejudices, any rationally controlled restraint in ones actions become fundamentally dependent on the meanings of the culture which is ones life world (Lebenswelt).

It is thanks to phenomenology that the notion of culture as life world became the cornerstone of not only modern philosophy but also sociology, political science, and the humanities in general. And it is precisely the philosophical and methodological failure concerning the cardinal manifestations of the continuity, rationality, and universality of human culture that gave impulse to further inquiry into the deepest bases of human cultural coexistence. In this sense, the entire tradition of the philosophy of cognition or, more precisely, the phenomenological and hermeneutic tradition of our century may be classified as a painstaking search for human understanding.6 All this tradition tries to do is to find ways of overcoming misunderstanding, identify basic methods such as self-restraint, to understand the Other (authors of an alien \142\ action or text) better than oneself, and thus resolve the conflict of differing interpretations. The policy of tolerance is understandable through the regulative ideal of hermeneutic philosophy. In all these cases we deal with attempts to find a common for all truth and method or find a scientifically methodological prescription for creating a classical situation of tolerance.

However, the most recent conflicts of cultures and clashes of cultural worlds provide examples of radical misunderstanding. What kind of understanding can there be in the case of local conflicts as situations of mutual cultural destruction? Where can one find the basis and proportion for conceptual comparison, for rational unification of the sides against the background of the ruined Chechen village of Samashki? In this and all similar cases, agreement solves a different problem: it merely restrains from mutual contact and mutual destruction. Agreement as well as other politico-diplomatic actions during a conflict of cultures performs only one formal function: to state the situation of absolute disengagement by the conflicting sides. It is treated in no other terms than an agreement on the inability to agree. Expectations of a broadened understanding of tolerance as the finding of a common content-laden basis for possible coexistence may be doomed to failure with the emergence of local conflicts of cultures. This brings us to a state of coexistence outside a common truth, outside a single common cultural and, thus social and political basis.

Unlike the problems of religious tolerance, tolerance in this context, under the roof of one political system, is the most urgent problem because it vividly shows the limitations of traditional classical or modern approaches to its understanding and solution. Tolerance radically changes its sense against the background of so-called local conflicts in the time of democracy and postcommunism. Modern tolerance is tolerance in a situation of parallel existence with all differing cultural and social things without any forced likening or identification. Tolerance is, if you like, eternal incompatibility. It \143\ becomes a universal problem by no means because it is capable of becoming a cultural universal, that is, accepted as a single cultural value in different life worlds. Tolerance as a universal notion, idea, and conference topic testifies only that there is no single, common existential foundation except for "no" or "we are different," and also to the rapid disappearance of the place which brought forth expectations of such tolerance, in our case the universalizing strategy of communism.

Tolerance cannot be thought of as the unity of those who interact, i.e., as a universal category or a common mode of existence which coincides with a universal way of thinking.7 Expectations of a communicative rationality as a common value-related basis for such unity in a situation of the conflict of cultures inevitably turn into a real conflict of ontologies, a clash of not so much different outlooks as uniquely different ways of organizing and enduring a common life. Rational and discursive activity, often presented as the common ground of inter-cultural relations in a situation of local conflicts, is potentially fraught with the clash of different worlds which is now described more often than not in terms of criticizing Eurocentrism, logocentrism, and the mass values of Western civilization in general. Attempts to introduce, even with sincerest intentions, the best but existentially common basis opens the way to justifying the policy of total violence on cultural (ethnonational) bases. Together with the destruction of the capability or times of totalitarianism we have come to a situation of sharp distinction. It is this, along with the superfluous nature of good hopes of unity, that the method of tolerance should warn against.

But all this does not at all mean that the coexistence of different cultural worlds is impossible in principle. The method of tolerance lies precisely in refraining from the customary search for a common existential cultural basis and using it to legitimize political (geopolitical) decisions. The approach to resolving the conflicts of cultures requires working out non-traditional notions. While the classical idea of overcoming conflicts is based on the notion of tolerance as a \144\ consciously controlled stepping back, including one under the threat of force and coercion, the situation of a local conflict requires the delimitation of purely formal political relations proper and politico-cultural relations.

This delimitation is worth considering in politics and policies. It makes no sense to apply sanctions on a culture, on the desire of people to live within their own socio-cultural forms of life. The threat of force toward culture in our time turns into a struggle of people to the end. A political consciousness which does not renounce traditional views very often qualifies the will to ones own culture as barbarity or even banditry. Conversely, the regulative ideal of the method of tolerance requires saying "yes" to every culture, any cultural life world, to its desires to exist and assert itself, and to say a resolute "no" to politicians who speculate on the natural immunity of every culture.




The Notion of Culture Politics


Postcommunist local conflicts assume various expressions, degrees, and require different approaches. Yet, it is hardly possible to grasp their present-day meaning without understanding their politico-cultural component.

In contrast to the usual understanding of politics in the field of culture as external efforts of governmental bodies to support the ministries, agencies, and facilities of culture (the life of official and "high" culture from folklore groups to cultivating the classic art of music, theater, artistic associations, etc.), it is worthwhile to speak today about a peculiar merging of culture and politics. We are going to use the term culture politics in this sense.8

Postcommunist states quickly grasped the universal significance of and practical profit from culture politics when, at the very outset, they turned to the ethnonational forms of life and national ideas (Russian and Ukrainian) as in fact the sole basis of their legitimacy. Starting with Yeltsin on a tank under the Russian tricolor and ending with Ukraines first \145\ president whose rhetoric repeated the perestroika era slogans of Rukh, his former adversary, they interpreted culture-political actions as the only possible road to self-legitimation.9

It could not have been otherwise, and this amply explains the radical transformation of the notion of culture towards understanding culture as a life world. Obviously, both the new political elite and the people badly, needed to find the system of other, preferably unshakable and traditional, values after consciously rejecting the old ideology. A reasonable and in human terms significant life is simply not possible. It is on this basis that the geopolitically accented image of culture comes to prominence.

Outside an understanding of culture as a culture-political factor, that is, the recognition of culture as one of the decisive conditions for legitimizing postcommunist power and its attaining sovereignty in international affairs, it would be hardly possible to interpret correctly the conflict of cultural disengagement and relations as well as to make further efforts to establishing a full-fledged international dialogue between Ukraine and Russia.

Moreover, the territorial and political split of the Soviet quasi-empirc also allows us to speak about geocultural, in terms of political impact, consequences: motherlands of independent culture politics break away from the former Soviet Union. The breakdown of geocultural worlds makes it possible to look into the abyss of tectonic movements in cultural life and beam light into this, if you like, Dionesian darkness so much glorified by romantic nationalists.




The Culture-Politics-Laden History and Geocultural Prejudices


The problem of the legitimation of postcommunist power is only the reverse side of the no less important problem of self-identification for a sizable part of the former USSR population which found itself in new state entities and living conditions. Both problems reflect interacting processes. In \146\ one case, power seeks grounds for recognition of the social significance of its own actions; in the other, people try to find the social and collective sense of their personal life activity. In both cases, cthnonational forms of life and cultural (collective) traditions assume a justifying and legitimizing meaning. Cultural and historical awareness, and thus written academic history, assume non-critical substantiality or cultural fundamentalism.

On the crest of amazing success in building independence in the new state entities, Russia included, materializing out of the cultural fissure of worlds were "observers" and "politicians," an "intelligentsia" and "proletariat" as, so to speak, independently acting bearers of the very basis of the legitimation and identification of the new states. They are easy to identify by their rhetoric and political behavior: they are the missionaries of the collective (tribal) identity and its uncompromising champions to the end. They speak out in the name of the very basis of collective ethnic life, remaining at the same time moralizers and completely preemptory concerning cultural identity, i.e., they are fundamentalists.

Due to their efforts cultural history changes its meanings, sometimes in a diametrically opposite way. The main objective of their efforts is to reproduce their own history and, if you like, to appropriate it by an act of will and create "our historical narrative. History is privatized and appropriated on foundations other than the simple scientific and rational understanding of facts. This loads historical interpretations culturally and politically, whereby any given fact of cultural history becomes understood as relative. These very facts of seemingly common existence sometimes take on absolutely different historical interpretations.10

Historical interpretations laden with culture politics is an indispensable condition for the legitimation of new power and a vital (existential) self-assertion of the ethnic community. Although there is the ardent desire to demonstrate objectivity, possible universality "for everybody," of their understanding of historical facts, it seems to me that there is not \147\ and cannot be a "third," universal and absolute position from the perspective of culture politics and the representatives of various cultural identities. How, then, can the former "common" communist cultural world be divided up? How, in general, arc different cultural worlds?

In a political and geocultural sense, the collapse of the USSR is evidently being endured asymmetrically. Contemporary Russias succession to the USSRs political heritage gives formal reason to speak about living through this process in terms of breaking-away from the Russian world of independent, self-contained cultural words and their apparent loss. The same is happening from the perspective of the cultural self-determination of the new Russia and its citizens: inevitable appeals to traditional (precommunist) identity always run into the memory of the imperial unity of peoples. In other words, Russia, both its establishment and population, sometimes regard the process of the new political regimes consolidation as a dramatically contradictory.

For all the possible legitimation based on rehabilitating "ones own" cultural and historical tradition (take the examples of the national flag and great seal) inevitably winds up in narratives of the historically joint cultural world of Russia and the USSR. This is why Russian independence and political self-assertion cannot avoid being based on preserving by all possible means the integrity of the cultural world (or its imagined idea) the renewal of whose value-related continuity gives fundamental sense to the political actions of Russian democrats in the disintegration of the USSR and consequently legitimized their postcommunist power. This is why Russia endured so differently the breaking-away of Ukraine and Belarus, on the one hand, and the Baltic states (which it aquired during the Soviet period of history), on the other. And it is completely unprepared to lose the last bulwark of an integral Russian world with the loss of, say, Chechnya.

The contradiction in the new Russias political self-assertion seems unavoidable from the culture-political point of view. Liberally and democratically oriented actions in politics \148\ are forced to seek legitimation by appealing to culture-imperial traditions and values. Political rhetoric experiences formally logical constraints: on the one hand, take as much independence as you can, and, on the other, you must know the limits which no one can rationally determine and identify.

A similar duality of culture-political attitudes, from a conditional viewpoint "inside Russia," leaves only one acceptable way to resolve the problem of intercultural differences and clashes. This is the vision of culture relations in a single prospect of unification, gathering or, if you like, postcommunist spiritual unity (sobornost'). This kind of postulate can assume various degrees of expression, starting from the radical principle that "all Slav rivers will flow together into a Russian sea" to the weakened desire of a culture-political concordat, that is, dreams of a certain culture-political pact regarding the existence of a historically common cultural world." But all these and similar attempts to seek a common world remain, at best, only the high hopes of intellectuals who traditionally think in universalist categories and unconsciously pave the way to new culture-political violence. For attempt to assert a cultural homogeneity in interethnic relations as politically lawful will inevitably lead to a forcible neglect of local forms of life. Precisely this poses basic obstacles in the form of the objective culture-political prejudices in the communities of the states which have gained independence, including Ukraine.

If applied to the culture-political situation in Ukraine, this analysis gives diametrically opposite conclusions. The problems of the legitimacy of postcommunist power in Ukraine arc being resolved in the context of the voluntary disengagement of ones own cultural tradition and cultural world from other culture-political worlds, especially that of Russia. The first years of independence often abounded in the rhetoric of discarding Russian culture, summarized in the slogan "Away from Moscow!" uttered by the then most active segment of politicians and the public. The geopolitical vector of discarding was "from Russia," while there remained little \149\ East where it pointed. In this perspective of world views, any talk of search for a common cultural, let alone politically united, world is rejected resolutely; what remains behind is insistence on maximum differentiation and even alienncss.

The most serious point in the relationship of our countries is that gaining sovereignty on a culture-political basis arises from the narrow framework interethnic separation and acquires international geopolitical importance. The fact of the political disengagement of two closest Slavic cultures potentially contains a much more radical sense of the break-down of gcopolitically different worlds and their possible conflict. If todays geopolitical discourse revolves around the specific problem of NATOs eastward expansion and therefore around specific instances of Ukraines behavior in a complicated context of relations between the West and Russia, this still docs not mean that the field of culture politics is only confined to tactical matters. Even today the principle of the culturepolitical legitimacy of power is being considered by influential politicians in the global prospect of world cataclysms. The issue here is the revival in Russian and Ukrainian political discourse of the ideology of the Eurasian identity, the Eurasian world outlook, and also of the states self-awareness.

Leaving aside discussion of the particular forms of political exploitation of the latter, let us stress the main thing: their political use is a globalist continuation of the culture-political legitimation of power under postcommunist conditions.

The globalization of culture politics becomes clear in simple terms if we ask what further radical changes arc possible under the regimes which have in one way or another taken root in the postcommunist states. Theoretically, this would demand a new degree of legitimation, especially under conditions of economic problems and crisis. Political legitimation is grounded on appeals to extra-political mass values, i.e., to national and cultural ideas and meanings. A new step in the self-legitimation of power would require ideological reliance on a more universal idea of the self-worth of "our" cultural identity. \150\

The already-existing opposition, primarily to "the West," "America," etc., is an inevitable result of a need for a more universalized system of legitimizing values than that on which the first postcommunist power relied. Such opposition is not only a reflex to the external strong-arm political pressure. Conflicts of culture are intrinsically connected with resolving various complications by political regimes. Opposition to the West is a foreign policy paraphrase of the urgent internal need for a new degree of the culture-political legitimation of postcommunist power. This gives birth to a need not so much for the traditionally framed Russian idea as for a legitimizing desire of a global Eurasian ideology as its extensive continuation. Talk about a Eurasian identity and basic Russian values which draw their ideational boundary between the Protestant, Catholic and individualist Europe, on the one hand, and the communal Russia, on the other, are in this sense a natural assimilation of the Eurasism, worked out by White-Army Emigres, into the parlance of modern politicians.

The consequences for Russo-Ukrainian relations of such globalization of the problem of cultural identity are thus far little felt.

It is sufficient only to begin the search in this direction as a clear-cut system of proven historical knowledge and memory, bases on the existence of historically subversive activity on cither side within the limits of a common cultural existence (See note 10).

The globalization of culture politics, i.e., the merger of culture and power, of politics and culture, is capable of drawing a new gcocultural division and a new system of the conflicts of cultures, which we may already be unable to overcome.




* * *


A politically independent Ukraine stands and falls together with the recognition or denial of her own eternally separated cultural motherland. The cultural breaking off of Russia and Ukraine in this respect should be accepted and \151\ interpreted as a positive fact, as the necessary culture-political condition of independence. This is a methodological postulate of the absolute difference of our cultural worlds, despite all the real historical and actual proximity of their coexistence.

It is worthwhile to outline, on the basis of the above methodology of tolerance, the most promising, in our opinion, way of our ethnic and geopolitical relationship. This is the way of recognizing the breaking off of Ukrainian and Russian cultures, their maximum independence and, if you like, the always extant absolute difference of their cultural worlds in the prospect of civilized mutual cooperation and collaboration. This is the way of adequately rational communication open to all other cultural communities, which can be considered a certain prospect of geocultural democracy. The formulation of this boundary line in the understanding and enduring the culture-political relationship of Ukraine and Russia (as well as other postcommunist states) simultaneously contains the hope of finding positive solutions for politicians, intellectuals, and cultural figures of the two countries.

This does not mean, of course, a call for prejudged mutual clashes, as cultural fundamentalists are prone to set forth as their own independence from culture. It means only the regulatory ideal of completely renouncing claims to any universalist culture politics, including statements of one side or the other concerning their historical commonality, common cultural values, ethnic unity, etc. Only taking as our starting point the perspective of the absolute difference of our cultural worlds will appease those wishing to dominate on behalf of the common cultural values and attainments, those who interpret culture not as a goal but merely as an instrument of their own political assertion and struggle. The methodology of tolerance means only the regulative ideal of accepting the Other as culturally absolutely equal and as a valuable member of the modern world; non-recognition of the Others autonomy holds the specter of the most terrible conflict, a devastating war of the worlds.









Chapter 4.


1 This strategy may be exemplified by a series of books promoted by the Atlantic Alliance such as: The Art of Conflict Prevention, ed. by Werner Bauwens and Luc Reychler, London-New York, 1994, p. 218. Besides being aimed at working out the rational prescriptions of conflict prevention, some of its authors clearly formulate an urgent need of a "conceptual adaptation to a fastchanging strategic landscape and of a well-orchestrated structure to influece flood and turmoil in the world" (p. 193).

2 See: John Locke, "The Experience of Faith Tolerance," J. Locke, Works in 3 Volumes, Vol. 3, Moscow, 1988 p. 67.

2b Hannah Arendts classical work The Origins of Totalitarianism (see: Hannah Arendt. The Origins of Totalitarianism, (New York, London) ) regards as the first step of totalitarianism a conscious policy of destroying the traditional societal links "social, ethnic, professional" through creating "specific conditions for the atomization and individual fragmentation of masses," which unifies society for a probable control: "Having replaced the Leninist revolutionary dictatorship wit an utterly totalitarian rule, Stalin first of all artificially created the same atomized society which was in store for Nazi Germany by force of historical conditions" (Ibid., p. 318).

3 Regarding the philosophical grounding of this thesis, see: Human Existence in Culture: an Experience of Ontological Approach (Kyiv, 1991).

4 For more detail see: Ukrainian Statehood in the Twentieth Century (Kyiv, 1996), Chapter 5.

3 We deal here with the latest major book: Edmund Husserl, The Crisis of European Sciences and the Transcendental Phenomenology (Evanston, 1970), which understands the crisis of science as primarily the crisis of scientifically-oriented outlook of European humankind.

6 According to an established viewpoint, we refer to this tradition the works by V. Dalton, G.G. Gadamer, P. Ricoeur and their followers.

7 This interpretation of tolerance is more often than not typical of scholars who, in conformity with the Hegelian-Marxist approach, always search for a universal category catering, in the last analysis, to contradictions which make up the crux of the matter. The same holds good in the case of tolerance. See: Tolerance as a Cultural Universalia. The Proceedings of the International Conference (Kharkiv, 1996), in Russian. The tradition of the philosophies of dialogue widespread in the former USSR postcommunist region is being interpreted in the same way in the context of searching for a common universal basis. 8 We distinguish the notion of culture politics from that of political culture, first, in the sense of the postcommunist interpretation of the latter which turned one of the most important humanitarian problems of our times the problem of culture/politics relationship into superficial moralizing of self-styled political scientists who appeal at best to the political erudition of the masses and the decorum of the current politicians. Secondly, we distinguish it from the related understanding of politics/culture unity to be found in the in-depth studies of cultural traditions impact on the socio-political organization of a certain society, for example, in the works of Max Weber (The Protestant Ethics and the Spirit of Capitalism), or of the relationship between culture and modern political ideologies (democratic, conservative, neoconservative) in the works of Jürgen Habermas (See, e.g.: J. Habermas, "Neoconservative Cultural Criticism in the United States and West Germany," Jürgen Habermas, The New Conservatism, Cambridge, 1989, pp. 22-47.

9 For more detail see: The Political Analysis of Postcommunism (Kyiv, 1995), pp. 51-54.

10 Let us cite examples of mutually exclusive interpretations from the domain of spiritual and religious histoty. Let us first give the floor to an unswerving champion of Orthodox purity: "... A certain trace of Protestantism came to stay in the Ukrainian national mindset despite a very strong influence of Latinism later on. The most important and dangerous thing was that Russian writers were used to discussing theological and religious questions in their Western interpretation" (The Rev. G. Florovsky, The Ways of Russian Theology (Paris, 1988), p. 37). "There is something unclear in his [Petro Mohylas] very image and all his acts... An alien Latin spirit pervades everything... Mohyla had a plan to embrace the whole region (Southwestern Russia author) with a network of Latino-Polish schools for the Orthodox..." (ibid., p. 45). "That was a pseudomorphosis of the Orthodox thought," ends in a Spenglerian style his assessment of Ukrainian influence on the Orthodox church Father Grigory (ibid., p. 56).

On the other hand, this is how the "common" history of church is interpreted by, e.g., Pavlo Shtepa, a Canadian emigre writer and the ultra-radical Ukrainian critic of "Moscovism as such:" "All European (and hence Ukrainian) churches have never recognized state supremacy... It only the Moscow church that was and still is the slave and servant of the state... Little wonder, when the Ukrainian National (Autocephalous) Church was being revived in the 20s, ALL without any exception Moscow bishops and priests in Ukraine volunteered to serve in Cheka (Soviet Russias secret police author)... to exterminate the separatist traitors" (Pavlo Shtepa, Moscovism, reprint of Canadian edition, 1968, pp. 2021). "Moscows hatred of European culture can be traced continuously from the monk Sawatiy in the 16th century, through the old-faith adepts of the 17th century, the nobility of the 18th, liberals of the 19th, to the socialists of the 20th century" (ibid., p. 105). The examples of absolutely different interpretations of certain facts of the common history can be multiplied to infinity, which becomes a profession in the radical national movements of both Ukraine and Russia.

11 See, eg., a fact-packed article by Aleksandr Gorianin "Good Luck, Ukraine!" (Posev, No 3, 1996, pp. 16-36) in which the author promotes the idea of mutual reconciliation of the two Ukrainian and Russian cultures by concluding a (even political) certain concordat (or entente cordiale; let us not dwell on the religious etimology of the word) between Russia and Ukraine on, so to speak, joint ownership of the cultural heritage dating to the times of joint existence in a single state of the Russian Empire and the USSR.