European project: between tradition and (after)modernity [Google translation]

Sviatoslav Vyshynsky
The National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine H.S. Skovoroda Institute of Philosophy

In the beginning. XXI century. we can assume several options for the development of the socio-political and spiritual situation in Europe and in the West as a whole. It is already becoming obvious today that the liberal project, which has found its reflection, in particular, in modern postmodern philosophy and culture, as well as in attempts to establish a tolerant dialogue between various groups of the population, deprives Europe of its European future: the practically unregulated simultaneous emancipation of both individuals and and ethno-religious groups only leads to aggravation of conflicts of interest, as well as to the demand for subsequent mutual concessions, which, in turn, inflicts a direct blow on identity-as-distinction. In essence, all attempts to reconcile the warring parties cannot but be crowned with defeat, since the root of mutual distrust is only strengthened by the liberal paradigm of thinking, erecting on it its key ideals that justify its very existence. In this context, the ideas of restoring certain universalist projects, such as "communicative action" in Western Europe or neo-Eurasian integration in the post-Soviet space, are completely utopian, since under the current conditions they play not so much into the hands of their initiators as close-knit communities that use equal rules with obviously unequal alignment of forces. All such attempts to cement the structure of Western or post-Soviet society and suspend disintegration processes in no way cure civilizational disease, only prolonging the decay and weakening the impact of destructive factors. At the same time, the refusal to take drastic measures works to weaken the "ward" himself, allowing his illness to progress and capture new areas: “... it will rot to such an extent that it will infect us too, spoil all the fresh forces that can still be counted on ... ”[4, p. 383].

In practice, this is expressed by the desire to keep the gates of migration open, registering it, acting as an arbiter in the endless disputes of minorities, pulling back the most aggressive ones, for the sake of maintaining political positions and economic gains to draw new partners into circulation, yielding to each a small piece of the pie. Maintaining a satisfactory status quo is undoubtedly more important than strategic planning, and in this sense the ideology of multiculturalism in Europe leads to the same consequences as Eurasianism in the CIS countries, while short-term political and economic dividends entail the subsequent surrender of sovereignty. It should be understood that such a game is started by forces whose sovereignty is no longer measured by state borders and national bureaucracies, in view of which a certain racial, political and cultural heritage is sacrificed in order to strengthen the power resources of a small supranational elite. One way or another, even naive idealists like Jurgen Habermas [14], who are seriously frightened by the collapse of democracy in the Western world, realize this, although their responses to modern challenges are also far from reality. On the issue of a possible de-Europeanization of the West and a civilizational conflict within the EU itself, the German philosopher, like most liberal thinkers, continues to insist on “pill treatment”: “... The European Union, like any individual state that is part of it, is obliged to observe ideological neutrality in relation to the rapidly growing number of non-believers and non-Christian citizens ”[17]. Something similar, however, only within the framework of traditional religions, characterizes the Eurasian discourse [5], with theoretical reliance on Genonian traditionalism, which widely embraces Islam in Russia.

Speaking of spirituality, we at the same time mean other factors, such as political, economic, demographic: in the conditions of a general recession in modern Russia, any attempts to strengthen the system with the help of "new blood" are fraught with the same as the barbarization of the Roman Empire on the eve of it falls - sooner or later younger, but more active partners will lead the launched processes, and there is practically no reason to believe that the preservation of the common imperial facade after that will coincide with someone's private interests. A desperate attempt to prolong domination at the expense of other people's resources is always a sign of the approaching end, and the pessimistic forecasts of some experts about the "museum" future of the West [9] with some delay are also true with respect to the post-Soviet "colossus" - standing on its feet of clay as never before. Sacrificing themselves to the empire, the people building it sooner or later dissolve in their own creation, and when the demiurge's blood dries up, the structure collapses, going brick by brick to the builders of future buildings. We can note the same in relation to the European Union, the ethnic situation in which does not indicate any majestic prospects of the European spirit itself, whose decline is also indicated by the crisis of culture into which the West is plunging with ever greater swiftness. It is not surprising that against its background the positions of militant Islam are increasingly being strengthened - and by no means only at the expense of migrants from the Middle East and North Africa, but also through active proselytism, which is growing almost exponentially [13] - in particular, among educated the middle class, not finding support in the sinking Christianity.

Is it possible under such circumstances a new Reformation or a return to the overthrown idols? Undoubtedly, the position of Ernst Jünger that requires consideration on the need to maintain church authority in the face of the onset of nihilism [12, p. 47], which resonates with Jurgen Habermas's thoughts on protecting institutions that preserve the shaky moral frame of modern capitalism [17], nevertheless, does not hide a nihilistic future that follows what should fall. It is impossible to seriously talk about the possibility of a Christian reconquista even in Eastern Europe and Russia, where the majority of the population associates itself with the confession, often only demonstratively, as a tribute to an abstract identity that does not go beyond words that are in conflict with real life principles and secular views on issues of social and cultural life. In this respect, it can be argued that while still retaining certain institutional features, Christianity in Europe already exists more as a ghostly form without content, a part of the historical heritage, but by no means the present. If we connect the European future with some kind of integral religious project, then it will not be Christian at all - and therefore, actually European, which raises an edge on the question of preserving the Western heritage and the authentic appearance of Western civilization, which, most likely, in the near future will fundamentally will change. The reasons for the de-Christianization process are not only the degradation of church institutions or their inadequacy to the challenges of the time, the extinction of Christian passionarity, but also the active introduction of secular principles in the social and cultural life of the West, in the beginning. XXI century. reached its climax. The contradictions between multicultural liberalism and traditional Europe are growing more and more, and we see no ways to positively resolve the problem without eliminating or finally transforming one of the parties - the orientation of the Catholic Church towards a sluggish dialogue with the secular world, one way or another, already today points to a loser.

Against this background, there is no need to talk about the prospects of an adequate theological response to postmodern liberalism, in view of which we must seriously approach the issue of new secularism as a possible way to preserve European continuity. It is quite clear that the old tradition will not return, and the continuation in the liberal spirit will ultimately finalize the very existence of the Western world, bringing it to the brink of self-destruction and loss of historical subjectivity. A possible option for resolving the crisis may, however, be the reanimation of philosophical modernity in its secular edition, since the theological is no longer possible without “new”, non-European “blood”. In the short term, a rehabilitated modernity (probably in combination with right-wing political ideologies) will partially solve European problems by closing the gaps and, at least temporarily, isolating the West from the rapid waves from the East and curbing the heterogeneous migrant masses that have already settled in Europe. In the long term, this does not contradict the potential acquisition of a new religiosity, however, here and now, a new philosophical doctrine based on voluntarism (“will to power”), rationalism (“will to know”) and transcendentalism (“will to the Other »), Setting the coordinates of the supermodern narrative. The philosophy of the future will somehow absorb the unrealized potential of the teachings of Georg Hegel, Friedrich Nietzsche, a number of conservative revolutionaries and existentialists, asserting new absolute goals and values ??in the synthesis of rational and volitional principles. The necessity and general features of this project are already outlined today under various names ("supermodern" by Sergei Kurginyan [6], "new idealism" by Heydar Dzhemal [3], etc.), but it is worth noting its clear metaphysical continuity with the titanic ideals of modernity with all the ensuing consequences - both positive (emancipation of the individual through cognition) and negative (his unification in the technical organization), analyzed in sufficient detail in the works of the German philosopher Friedrich Jünger [10, p. 121-126] [11, p. 234-247].

A complex series of concepts "modern" (West until the middle of the XX century), "postmodern" (the West since the second half of the XX century), "quasi-modern" (national states of the Third World), "archeomodern" (controversial transitional reality of the post-Soviet space ), “Countermodernity” (the onset of religious fundamentalism in the Third World and in the West) and “supermodernity” (a response project that hypothetically integrates the secular ideals of the modern era; eschatological religious basis, partly involved in the structures of quasi and countermodernity; and network forms of organization postmodern) - in the perspective of this review, they are not so much an analysis of possible theoretical combinations, but rather proceed from the empirical realities of our time, characterized by deepening energy and raw materials, demographic and environmental crises, which in turn exacerbate the crisis of individual and social identity. In this sense, the notorious end of the philosophy of postmodernism means, however, the beginning of the reality of postmodernism as an embodied idea - and brings it to the first place among the technologies of social engineering, which, in turn, re-actualizes alternative plans of civilizational construction, in view of which the speculative need for a new modernity replaced by a practical appeal to the rethought ideals of modernism. The latter is ultimately supported by all social and political groups focused on values, which we can call the "discourse of justice" and shared participation - therefore, all forces that rely on history as a project of an open future, competition and establishment some transcendental ideals. Francis Fukuyama's forecast about the possible "end of history" [8, p. 9], therefore, can be perceived only as a warning from the elites about the imminent expulsion of grassroots initiatives from complicity in world construction and depriving the latter of the status of autonomous historical subjects, dotting the i's in the “only correct” direction of the human development path. Equally instruments and a response to the policy of the "New Middle Ages" in a similar perspective are various versions of the latest modernism, which should include not only its primordially European versions (anarcho-individualistic and secular-collectivist), but also, at first glance, close to traditionalism theological (first of all, Islamic Salafism), brought to the West by the migration wave of the second sex. XX century.

Collisions between different ways of Europe's remodeling are inevitable, since they reflect not only a certain ideological competition, but also a stake on different modernization subjects, the most important of which are already established, but rapidly losing structural strength, Western nation-states, socially oriented towards the middle class so far the still white majority - and aggressive communities that unite the "street" of the East and West on a single protest platform of radical Islam, focused on the lower strata of the non-white minority. The transition of political initiative to organized immigrants from Arab countries is not only likely, but in a number of Western European states is inevitable ("... Schoolchildren for whom Norwegian is their native language will be a minority by 2021" [16]) - a change in cultural conditions entails the transformation of both intellectual practices and social reality, in connection with which it is worth deceiving about the prospects of the primordially European philosophical tradition? Rejecting any naivety and soberly taking into account the actual state of affairs and seemingly irreversible tendencies, we should talk about the true approach of the conservative-revolutionary "New Middle Ages" anticipated by Nikolai Berdyaev - however not as a romanticized European past, but as an objective eastern future in the very heart of the West , about which in the beginning. XX century no one, except for the most radical European rightists, could have even conceived [7, p. 467-468].

A careful analysis of the described processes once again proves the truth of the fortitude as the absolute engine of history, its subject and the ultimate beneficiary - after all, it is precisely eschatological aspirations and spiritual anguish, the readiness to sacrifice oneself (and, most importantly, others) for the sake of the highest ideal (God, faith, justice ) turn out to be sources of strength capable of breaking objective reality and all kinds of rational constructions over the knee. This only means that any proper European project is impossible without a coherent picture of the future - a comprehensive trans-historical panel, comparable in scale with the great theological narratives of Judeo-Christianity and Islam. We do not exclude its formally secular nature as an organic variant for modern Westerners who have strayed too far from the Christian tradition, but we consider it necessary to emphasize the inevitably metaphysical nature of the new European thinking - how it can still restore the lost positions. Otherwise, only the most spontaneously organized and passionate force will be capable of a sharp turn in the wheel of history - and in this sense, the experience of the Bolshevik revolution of 1917 seems more relevant than ever. Ultimately, it is eschatological [1, p. 593], the essentially idealistic (sic) program of building a new world and establishing a new man in the realities of the economic and political turmoil of the post-war period was the decisive factor in the victory of the Bolsheviks over the more inertial left and conservative-oriented forces. An important key to success was also the stake on the most "violent" stratum of the lower classes, which in our time in Russia and Europe corresponds not to the working proletariat or the dying white trash, but to the unemployed masses of immigrants from the predominantly Muslim countries of the Third World. All these factors point to the need to search for a new paradigm of European thinking - and European goal-setting - as an adequate response to the challenges of Western civilization, played by the elites as waste material.

In a situation of lack of resources, the reduction in consumption and the forced return of most of the planet to the archaic in the light of the collapse of the conventionally democratic national regimes in North Africa and the Middle East is by no means a fantastic scenario, but a completely natural consequence of the deepening energy crisis associated with a drop in oil production [18] and the possible curtailment of civilian nuclear programs with the growing shortage of uranium fuel [15]. One way or another, the dumping of "superfluous billions" has already begun - and this process will affect not only developing countries, but also Europe itself, which is rapidly becoming impoverished and lumpenizing, since it was initiated by supranational strata that had long been liberated - or had never at all tied themselves by racial, cultural ties. or confessional solidarity, which, nevertheless, means for them only the prolongation of the resolution of future problems: “Shvonder ... does not understand that Sharikov is a more formidable danger for him than for me. ... Now he is trying in every possible way to set him on me, not realizing that if someone, in turn, sets Sharikov on Shvonder himself, then only horns and legs will remain of him ”[2, p. 213]. In such conditions, only a new philosophical and political theory can become an instrument of social criticism - regardless of its left or right, secular or theological origin, which asserts the newest modernist discourse as a challenge to an equally neoconservative and postmodern reality.


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The article examines the problems of preserving European identity in the context of postmodern reality and its possible newest alternatives in philosophy, culture and political thought. Based on the factual material, the author identifies the main points of civilizational collisions and defines the theoretical foundations of the new modern European project.

Key words:

Europe, globalization, Christianity, Islam, tradition, modernity, postmodernity.


The article deals with the problems of preserving European identity in the context of postmodern action and new modern alternatives in philosophy, culture and political thought. On the basis of factual material, the author finds the main points of civilization colossus and the surrounding theoretical ambush of a new modern European project.

Key words:

Europe, globalization, Christianity, Islam, tradition, modernity, postmodernity.


Vyshynskyi S. European project: between tradition and (after) modernity. The article deals with the problem of preservation of European identity in the context of postmodern reality and its newest possible alternatives in philosophy, culture and political thought. Basing on the facts the author reveals main points of civilizations ’collisions and defines theoretical footing for the new-modern European project.

Key words:

Europe, globalization, Christianity, Islam, tradition, modernity, postmodernity.


Vyshinsky S. European project: between tradition and (after) modernity / Svyatoslav Vyshinsky // Science newsletter of the Chernivetsky University. Philosophy. Collection of Science Works. - 2014. - VIP. 706-707. - S. 134-138.


Vishinsky S. European project: in the tradition and (painting) modern / Svyatoslav Vishinsky // Science notes. Series "Culturology". Materials of the VI International Science Conference "Culture in the horizon of steel and plinny identities" (12-13 April 2013, ostrog metro station). - 2013. - VIP. 11. - Part 1. - P. 52-61.

Vishinsky S. European project: in the tradition and (painting) modern / Svyatoslav Vishinsky // Quasi! Bukovynian social and cultural chasopis. - 2014. - No. 1. - P. 4-15.

© 2013

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