Danilevsky Nikolai: biography, main ideas of the theory, creative activity, scientific works

Table of contents:

Danilevsky Nikolai: biography, main ideas of the theory, creative activity, scientific works
Danilevsky Nikolai: biography, main ideas of the theory, creative activity, scientific works

For people related to sociology, cultural studies, philosophy, the name of Nikolai Danilevsky, a well-known scientist in these fields, is not an empty phrase. This man did a lot for the development of science and deserves that as many people as possible know about his life, basic ideas and works.

Nikolai Yakovlevich Danilevsky: the beginning of life's journey

The future warrior of the pan-Slavic ideology (the idea of uniting all Slavic countries, led by Russia with a tsar on the throne; more on this later) was born in the current Lipetsk region, and then the Oryol province, in one of the ancient villages. This happy event for his family took place on December 10, 1822 (according to the old style - November 28). Little Kolenka's father was a military man (later he even rose to the rank of general), his mother came from an old and rather large noble family; it was on Kolya's mother's estate that he was lucky to be born.

As was customary in families of this kind, the son was given a good education, trying to develop him comprehensively, so that he would be savvy in many areas. It should be noted here that the young Danilevsky himself showed a certain interest in learning, demonstrating great abilities and talents from an early age. Therefore, it is not at all surprising that by the age of fourteen, Nikolai Danilevsky knew three foreign languages and one ancient - Latin. He received knowledge first in several private boarding schools, then in a lyceum, and in 1836, just at the age of fourteen, he entered the Tsarskoye Selo Lyceum (and even personally saw Pushkin there, who attended the anniversary evening of the institution).

Later life

If we talk in detail about the whole life of a scientist, a whole article is not enough, so we will go over the biography of Nikolai Yakovlevich Danilevsky briefly, outlining the main milestones of his path.

After graduating from the Tsarskoye Selo Lyceum (this happened four years later, in 1842), Danilevsky had three university educations at once - philological, legal and historical-philosophical. However, greedy for knowledge, Nikolai was not satisfied with this, but went straight to St. Petersburg University - in pursuit of education in the natural profile, he entered the natural department of the Faculty of Physics and Mathematics. After graduating, he also became a botanist on top of everything and even intended to defend his dissertation, but some events prevented this from happening (let's not get ahead of ourselves just yet).

Fourier teaching

BeingJust as a student, Nikolai Yakovlevich Danilevsky got acquainted with the teachings of the French philosopher Francois Fourier and became very interested in him - so much so that he preached it among his fellow students and like-minded people. In order to understand the reason for this interest, let us briefly describe the essence of the Fourier system.

François Fourier
François Fourier

In short, Fourier was not just a socialist, but a utopian. Even in early childhood, he drew attention to the imperfection of the world and later, as an adult, he developed a model of an ideal future way of life - harmonious for everyone, fully revealing all human capabilities. As the son of a merchant, Fourier was involved in the world of market relations from childhood. He was struck by the deception that prevails in these circles, how some are able to profit from others, and, having a natural tendency to hyperbolize, the emotionally receptive Fourier saw all human relationships exclusively within the framework of buying and selling. That is what he was going to change. The bourgeois system had to give way to a system of harmony in which labor associations - or, according to Fourier, phalanxes - would flourish. For members of these Fourier phalanxes, special places of rest, life and work (three in one) were provided - phalanstery. Fourier believed that if a sponsor was found willing to build a phalanster at his own expense, then such a transformation could be carried out without changing the general political system. However, the rich altruist was never found during the life of Fourier himself, however, there were a lot of followers of the utopian who shared his views and propagated them inmasses. Among them was the then student Nikolai Danilevsky.

A little about Petrashevsky

Let's deviate a little more from the study of the biography of Nikolai Yakovlevich Danilevsky and talk about another person - Mikhail Petrashevsky, who is most directly connected with the scientist of interest to us.

Mikhail Petrashevsky
Mikhail Petrashevsky

Mikhail Vasilyevich Petrashevsky was a fairly well-known and prominent figure of his time. He was only a year older than Danilevsky, but he had a huge influence on the latter. Like Danilevsky, he studied at the Tsarskoye Selo Lyceum, but graduated from it a few years earlier. Then he was educated as a lawyer, worked in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs as an interpreter. Petrashevsky had a huge library, in which there were various kinds of books - including forbidden ones (on the revolutionary movement, for example). Petrashevsky organized so-called meetings of like-minded people at his home, where he expressed his ideas regarding the liberation of the peasants along with the land and the democratization of the socio-political system of tsarist Russia.

It was Petrashevsky, being an ardent supporter of Fourier's teachings, who introduced him to his theory and "infected" Danilevsky with it, who came to a meeting of his circle. It was just a circle, whose members were called, by the name of their leader, Petrashevites. The circle ended its days in 1849, when Petrashevsky and several of his supporters were arrested for preparing a popular uprising, sentenced first to death, and then exiled to hard labor instead of execution.

Danilevskyand Petrashevites

As the biography of Nikolai Danilevsky says, having briefly become acquainted with the teachings of Fourier and turning out to be his true admirer, Nikolai Yakovlevich became very close on this basis with Mikhail Petrashevsky. And having become close, he became, of course, an active member of his circle. At meetings of Petrashevists, as can be seen from the biography of Nikolai Danilevsky, he often made presentations on the teachings and ideas of Fourier, expressed his views on them (of course, positive ones).

When the Petrashevites were arrested in 1849, Danilevsky was also on the list of detainees. At the same time, he was not even in St. Petersburg: just at that time he was heading for scientific practice in the Tula province. However, the practice was not destined to take place - the young man was arrested and escorted back to St. Petersburg.

Like many others, he was charged with supporting Petrashevsky and being a member of his revolutionary group. While the trial was going on, Danilevsky was sitting in the cell. It took a hundred days for the investigation to come to the conclusion that Danilevsky's interpretation of Fourier's ideas was not of a revolutionary nature, therefore, he was not involved in organizing the rebellion. He was released from prison, nevertheless, having imposed a ban on living in St. Petersburg. So, according to the biography of Nikolai Danilevsky, Vologda appeared in his life.

Life in the Volga region

In Vologda, Nikolai Yakovlevich did not stay long - he was soon transferred to Samara. However, this city played a significant role in the life of the philosopher. There are two reasons at once why Vologda, according to the biography of Nikolai Yakovlevich Danilevsky, occupies a special place in his life.place. The first reason was Vera Beklemisheva.

Young people met in 1843. Vera, the widow of a hero of the Napoleonic War, was a friend of Nikolai's sister Elena. Their friendship lasted for six years, and right before his arrest, Nikolai confessed to Vera his feelings and received her consent to marry him. Only three years later, Vera was able to come to Nikolai in Vologda, where they finally got married.

The second reason why Vologda is so important in the biography of Nikolai Danilevsky was his acquaintance with Pavel Mezhakov. This happened after Nikolai Yakovlevich was transferred to Samara for a short time (he stayed there for less than a year). Mezhakov was the provincial leader of the nobility, became interested in Danilevsky's many-sided savvy and erudition and began to invite him to visit him, in the village of Nikolskoye. In this village, on the estate of Mezhakov, there was a huge park with a pond and rare tree species. All this greatly fascinated Danilevsky as a botanist, he gave Mezhakov a lot of valuable advice, sent seeds of trees and plants. Thus was born their friendship, which subsequently gave Danilevsky a new love. But let's not get ahead of ourselves.

In 1853, Nikolai Yakovlevich was transferred to the office of Samara. He arrived in this Volga town with his young wife, not knowing that this arrival would turn into misfortune. It was in Samara that Vera contracted cholera, which claimed her life. Family happiness lasted only nine months - and now he remained a widower.

It is not known how the life of a scientist and philosopher would have developed if he had remained inSamara. However, let's also not forget about his diploma in botany - precisely because of his savvy in the field of natural sciences, some time after the arrival of Danilevsky and the death of Vera, by order of the government, Nikolai Yakovlevich was sent on a fishing expedition. He was given a specific task: to study the state of fisheries on the Volga in general and fish stocks in particular. Several such expeditions were organized - and not only to the Volga, but also to the Caspian and White Seas, as well as to the north of the country. In total, Danilevsky participated in nine such sorties, during which he conducted a thorough study of the entire water composition of the European part of Russia, for which he was awarded: firstly, he received a gold medal from the Russian Geographical Society, and secondly, he became a member of the Council of the Ministry of State Property, where he subsequently took part in the development of laws on the control of Russian fisheries.

Later life and final years

We will now briefly mention further milestones in the biography of Nikolai Yakovlevich Danilevsky and finally move on to his ideas, teachings and philosophical thoughts.

As mentioned above, Danilevsky met Pavel Mezhakov in Vologda. He had a granddaughter, Olga, sixteen years younger than Danilevsky himself. This did not prevent them from getting carried away with each other (of course, not immediately) - and nine years after the death of his first wife, Nikolai Yakovlevich married a second time. In the same year (1862) he first became a father: Olga gave him a daughter, Vera (besides her, Nikolai and Olga had five more children - Grigory,who died at the age of seven, Varvara, Nikolai, Sergey and Ivan).

Mshatka area
Mshatka area

In 1863, the Danilevsky family left for the Crimea, lived in Miskhor, and two years later acquired an estate in Mshatka. The philosopher and scientist who died during his business trip to Lake Gokhcha (Sevan) is buried there. This happened on November 19, 1885. More than a hundred years later, in the spring of 1997, on the grave of Danilevsky, the foundation was laid for the foundation of the Church of St. Nicholas the Wonderworker.

The main ideas of Nikolai Yakovlevich Danilevsky

The biography of the scientist is described above, now nothing prevents us from moving on to the consideration of his scientific, philosophical and other views.

The main ideas of Nikolai Danilevsky are described in his main work - the work "Russia and Europe" (we will return to it later). He argues about the existence of a common human civilization. His thoughts boil down to the fact that there has never been such a thing and cannot be in principle. Instead, there are separate cultural and historical types of civilizations. It is precisely this - these types - that, by and large, is devoted to the theory of Nikolai Danilevsky.

Thus, the scientist believed that a single historical world process is all empty. Instead of universal human development, there are different cultural and historical types based on a biological model - being a botanist, Danilevsky, obviously, could not help but refer to this field of knowledge in any matters. He singled out only eleven different cultural and historical types - we will consider them separately later. For now, let's just say thatthe philosophy of Nikolai Danilevsky was based on pan-Slavism, therefore it is not surprising that it was the Slavic cultural and historical type of development, singled out by himself, that he put at the forefront. Before moving on, it is worth devoting a couple of lines to the analysis of the question of what pan-Slavism is.

Pan-Slavist direction: what's what and why

The idea that all Slavic peoples should unite at the political level on the basis of a linguistic, cultural and ethnic community under the leadership of Russians originated in the early eighteenth century. The reasons for its appearance are understandable - the unity of spirit and nationalism, which grew and grew stronger in ethnic groups, especially after the war with Napoleon. Historians, philologists, other scientists and intellectuals were actively involved in folklore, looking for identical features in the past of peoples, and sought to revive national cultures and languages. And Croatian Yuri Krizhanich became known for his attempt to create a completely new common language for all Slavic peoples. He also wrote a treatise called "Politics", in which he was the first to declare that the Slavic peoples would be freed from a foreign yoke and form their own single state.

Subsequently, the ideas of pan-Slavism acquired two directions: pro-Russian and anti-Russian. The first included those who believed that the Slavs should unite under the banner of Russia (as we remember, the main ideas of Nikolai Yakovlevich Danilevsky also consisted precisely in the domination of the Russians over the rest). To the second - those who were against such a thought. They are usually divided into twocamps - some advocated universal Slavic equality (this direction would later be called neo-Slavism), others advocated the leadership of a revived Poland. An interesting fact, by the way: the colors of the Russian flag are the colors of Pan-Slavism, adopted back in 1848.

Danilevsky and the Slavs

Let's return again to the philosophical direction of Nikolai Danilevsky. So he was a pan-Slavist. What exactly, in his opinion, made it possible for the Slavs in general and the Russians in particular to rule the ball? To be able to talk about this, it is necessary to touch on the main work of Nikolai Danilevsky - in any case, one of them - the work "Russia and Europe".

Russia and Europe through the eyes of Danilevsky

Nikolai Yakovlevich Danilevsky published his voluminous book "Russia and Europe" in 1869-1871 in the magazine "Zarya". It was completed a year earlier, and the scientist worked on it for as many as four years - since 1864. It is in this book that Danilevsky sets out his concept of the existence of eleven cultural-historical types (we will touch on this issue in more detail later), expresses his opinion on the generality of the historical process, and, finally, touches on the topic of Slavophilism and Westernism. We will talk about this further.

The main work of Nikolai Danilevsky
The main work of Nikolai Danilevsky

One of the key ideas of Nikolai Danilevsky in "Russia and Europe" (by the way, this is a shortened version of the title of the work, the full one is twice as long: "Russia and Europe: A look at the cultural and political relations of the Slavic world to the German-Romansky") is the idea that the two states - European and Slavic - have a different origin, and it is on this that the statement about the different essences of Europeans and Slavs, the countries of Europe and the countries of the Slavic peoples is based. However, here lies the first divergence in the views of the Slavophiles (at least the majority) and Danilevsky himself: the latter especially singled out Russia, believing that it has its own, special path of development. By the way, this opinion may contain echoes of the position of Francois Fourier, who also adhered to the point of view that the most powerful countries capable of "absorbing" rivals are Russia and France, and the first is probably even stronger.

Let's return to the analysis of the position of Nikolai Yakovlevich Danilevsky. In "Russia and Europe" he writes about the huge role played in the formation of the state by all kinds of external factors - such as, for example, geographical location, large territorial spaces, different natural and climatic conditions, differences in socio-economic development, and so on. Danilevsky believed that the most important goal of the Russian state is to protect the life, honor and freedom of the people, while he also believed that Russia had a great external danger factor, and therefore it needed strict power.

According to Danilevsky, this danger is not the same throughout the country (meaning here not Russia, but in principle any country) - somewhere it is less, somewhere more; and where there is more, one centralized whole should be created in the political sense; in the same place whereless, it is possible to confine oneself to federated separate parts. As for Russia specifically, since, as was just mentioned, Nikolai Yakovlevich emphasized the significance of the external factor of danger, centralization was vital for her. According to the scientist, only representatives of the Rurik dynasty managed to maintain Russian statehood, and after the termination of their rule, the state collapsed, but as long as the instinct of national self-preservation, so inherent in Russians, is alive, there is also hope for the revival of statehood.

What should be the power, according to Danilevsky? Absolute monarchy is what he believed Russia needed. At the same time, it must be firmly connected with religious traditions and dogmas, since deviation from these norms entails confusion and schism. Neither the constitution nor the parliament are allowed in Russia - this is absurd; what is needed is a beneficial synthesis of protection and liberalism, a successful combination of reforms and strong state policy. Danilevsky vehemently condemned the restriction of any freedom, especially because of the fear of flaring up the revolution. He bitterly noted the spread of Western ideas and the prohibition of Slavophile publications.

Nikolai Danilevsky Russia and Europe
Nikolai Danilevsky Russia and Europe

Retelling all the views of Nikolai Danilevsky would be too long and probably reckless; at the end of our material, we will give a number of the most interesting excerpts from the work of the scientist now being discussed. It would not be out of place for those who are especially keen on this topic to personally familiarize themselves with the work of Danilevsky - perhaps this is not the mostan easy read, but a very interesting one at the same time. Let's just say, summing up the current section, that Nikolai Yakovlevich Danilevsky believed in a good future for Russia, was optimistic, believed that the overthrow of the monarchy and the change in the political system of the country in Russia were impossible. Not the character of the Russian people, not the mentality - but for it to become "that", years and even centuries are needed; the rare unrest that sometimes stirs the population is connected, according to Danilevsky, with the desire to resemble Europe and the penetration of Western ideas into the masses.

Frankly about cultural and historical types

Now consider what, according to Nikolai Danilevsky, those very notorious cultural and historical types. He described them, as we remember, in his work "Russia and Europe". Each nation or nations close in spirit and language, according to the scientist, has its own cultural, psychological, historical and other factors that determine the views and essence of this people. The system of such views, formed under the influence of the above factors, is the cultural-historical type. Danilevsky also calls it "an original civilization".

As we mentioned above, Nikolai Yakovlevich singled out eleven cultural and historical types in total. One of them is Slavic, which will later become a new Slavic civilization. It is followed by the European, or Romano-Germanic type: it was its representatives, according to the scientist's convictions, who developed natural science. The remaining nine cultural-historical types are: Egyptian,Chinese, Indian, Iranian, Assyrian-Babylonian-Phoenician (another name for it is Ancient Semitic or Chaldean), Arabian (which, on the contrary, is New Semitic), Roman, Jewish and Greek. Of these, the last three types are of the greatest interest, since religion was developed thanks to the Jewish cultural-historical type, law thanks to the Roman and, finally, art thanks to the Greek.

All of the above types - so to speak, "live", that is, existing. Two more types, according to Nikolai Yakovlevich Danilevsky, existed earlier, but "rested in the Bose", having completed the path of their development. It's Peruvian and Mexican. In order for a cultural-historical type, each of which, by the way, goes through three stages in its lifetime - growth, flowering and fruiting - to be born, live and function, two external factors are needed: linguistic kinship - one, and political independence - two.

Another interesting point about cultural-historical types is as follows. Danilevsky calls them "positive figures of mankind", highlighting along with them also negative ones, as well as the so-called periphery of cultural-historical types. These are Finns and Celts. Another important fact is that any original civilization is a closed system, that is, no traditions, knowledge or anything else can be transferred from one cultural and historical type to another.

Nikolai Danilevsky
Nikolai Danilevsky

Cultural activity, according to Nikolai Danilevsky, has four foundations. These are religion, politics, proper culture and economics. Each of the cultural-historical types identified by the scientist is based on some of these foundations: some are based on just one, others are based on four at once. Thus, we can speak about the existence of both one-basic, two-basic, three-basic, and four-basic cultural-historical types.

This is how Nikolai Yakovlevich Danilevsky's theory of cultural-historical types looks like in a brief retelling. And now let's move on to the presentation of the main works of the scientist.

List of works by Danilevsky

Danilevsky is probably not right to call a prolific author - he wrote not so much in his entire life. The main works of Nikolai Yakovlevich Danilevsky, in addition to "Russia and Europe", include the work "Darwinism. Critical study". It was started in 1879 and promised to be a qualitative study, but the sudden death of the author prevented bringing the plan to its logical conclusion. Only the first two volumes saw the light of day. The attitude of the scientist to Darwin's theory was critical, he did not agree with it, believing that it simplifies the problem of the diversity of species and forms.

Also, among the works of Nikolai Danilevsky, many works on geology, political economy, and the national economy can be noted. He wrote, for example, about the climate of the Vologda province and about the movement of the Russian population, published a collection of articles on various topics. But voluminous books by Nikolai Danilevsky, except for those mentioned above, did not come out any more.

Curious excerpts

Below for a quick introductionHere are some of the most, in our opinion, interesting quotes from Nikolai Danilevsky from his work on Russia and Europe.

In the example of Little Russia, long separated from the rest of Russia and voluntarily united with it after winning its independence, we see evidence that not one Great Russian tribe, as some people think, is gifted with deep political tact; and therefore we can hope that, on occasion, other Slavs will show the same sense and tact, voluntarily recognizing, after winning their independence, the hegemony of Russia in the union; for, in essence, the circumstances in which Little Russia was in the time of Khmelnitsky and the Western Slavs now are very similar. Popular enthusiasm, a favorable combination of circumstances, the genius of a leader pushed forward by the popular movement, perhaps, can give them independence, as under Khmelnitsky, but its preservation, and most importantly, the preservation of the common Slavic character of life and culture, is impossible without a close mutual connection with Russia …

…Defenders of nationalities are silent, as soon as it comes to protecting the Russian people, utterly oppressed in the western provinces, - just as exactly, however, as in the case of the Bosnians, Bulgarians, Serbs or Montenegrins…

…So, for every Slav: Russian, Czech, Serb, Croat, Slovene, Slovak, Bulgarian (I would like to add a Pole), - after God and His holy Church, - the idea of Slavism should be the highest idea, higher science, higher than freedom, higher than enlightenment, higher than any earthly good, because none of them is unattainable for him without its implementation…

…Destiny of Russia -happy fate: in order to increase its power, it does not have to conquer, not oppress, like all representatives of power that have lived on our land hitherto: Macedonia, Rome, Arabs, Mongols, states of the Germanic-Roman world, but liberate and restore …

…The fight against the West is the only way to heal our Russian cultural ills, and to develop common Slavic sympathies, to absorb petty strife between different Slavic tribes and directions.

Contemporaries about Danilevsky

A follower of Nikolai Yakovlevich, his student and like-minded, faithful friend and ally N. Strakhov spoke of him like this (and I must say that this opinion was shared by many):

But, no matter how beautiful his works, in himself there was even more goodness and light than in his works. No one who knew the deceased could not but feel the purity of his soul, the directness and firmness of his character, the amazing strength and clarity of his mind. Having no pretensions, no desire to stand out, he appeared everywhere, however, as a man in power, as soon as it turned to what he knew and loved. His patriotism was boundless, but vigilant and incorruptible. There was no stain not only on his soul, but also on his very thoughts. His mind combined extraordinary theoretical strength with the ease and accuracy of practical plans. In his legislative works and mental constructions, he never resorted to the help of other people's models, he was completely original. For all those close to him, irreplaceable treasures of the mind and soul descended with him into the grave.

Interesting facts

  1. In Crimea, he was the director of the Nikitsky Botanical Garden.
  2. Such famous philosophers as Spengler and Toynbee drew much inspiration from the thoughts and works of Nikolai Yakovlevich.
  3. I personally knew Leo Tolstoy, who visited him at the Mshat estate and treated the philosopher with respect and sympathy.
  4. The streets in such cities as Y alta and Foros bear the name of Danilevsky, and one of the minor planets got the name of his estate - Mshatka.
  5. There is a prize named after Nikolai Yakovlevich in several areas at once: in the field of journalism, philosophy, natural sciences and art.
  6. In 2018, a collection of little-known journalistic works by Danilevsky saw the light of the day.
Book about Danilevsky
Book about Danilevsky

This is information about the scientist and philosopher Nikolai Danilevsky and his theories.