Interesting social sciences/Philosophy

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Ancient Greek philosophy[edit]

Zeno of Elea

The Ancient Greek philosophy was divided into three parts - physics, dialectics and ethics.

Search of primary substance or element that constitutes all things in the Ancient Greek physics[edit]

Thales of Miletus (years of life: 624 – 546 BC) considered that a primary substance is water: Anaximenes of Miletus (years of life: about 588-525 BC) considered that a primary substance is air. Pherecydes of Syros (6th century BC) considered that everything consists of four primary substances, one of which – the earth.

Heraclitus of Ephesus (years of life: about 544-483 BC) considered that everything consists of fire. According to Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel and Vladimir Lenin, Heraclitus is considered the founder of dialectics as sciences about conflict of opposites:. Heraclitus has begun to hate by people at the end of own life, Heraclitus has left and Heraclitus lived in mountains, eating herbs, because Heraclitus has got sick with dropsy, Heraclitus has returned to the city and Heraclitus has died. Leucippus and Democritus of in Abdera learned that primary substances of Universe are atoms and emptiness:. Atoms fly on the Universe as whirlwind and it generate all complex – fire, water, air, and earth, Atoms aren't subject to influences and atoms are invariable on own hardness.

Empedocles from Sicily considered that four elements – fire, water, earth and air are a primary substance of things. Anaxagoras from Clazomenae considered that the primary substance is homogeneous parts ("similar particles"): as gold consists of so-called gold dust, and everything represents communication of similar small little bodies. Anaximander from Miletus considered that the primary substance is apeiron (on Greek – infinite) and . Anaximander hasn't defined him in any way neither as air nor as water nor as something other. Anaximander learned that parts change, whole remains invariable. Apeiron is infinitely divisible. All ancient authors agree that apeiron is material, but it is difficult to say, what is it.

In my opinion apeiron means infinite divisibility of matter, substance consists of molecules, a molecule consists of atoms, atoms consists of elementary particles, elementary particles, perhaps, consist of quarks and so indefinitely. Thus, Anaksimander was closer to the truth, than other Ancient Greek physicists Neither Ancient Greek physicists, nor modern researchers couldn't find by primary substance because the primary substance doesn't exist in principle. Existence of a primary substance would mean existence of the beginning in development or total absence of development in the physical world. But matter develops progressively without the beginning and endlessly in development therefore the primary substance didn't manage to be found, and this search of primary substance is useless.

Ancient Greek dialectics and formal logic[edit]


The dialectics is an art to disprove the opponent in a dispute and to put him in a difficult situation by means of arguments. If is shorter, then the dialectics is an art of a dispute. Zeno of Elea was the founder of dialectics:. Zeno took big money for training in this art of a dispute.

The method of the proof of Zeno wasn't the direct proof, Zeno proved by contradiction, reducing the point of view of the opponent to absurdity. Four Zeno's paradoxes (aporias) are known: Dichotomy, Achilles and the tortoise, Arrow, The moving rows.

These paradoxes have found application in mathematics. The dichotomy is translated as cutting up in two. The paradox "dichotomy" says that the movement from A to B can't begin since at first the person has to reach a half of a way before to reach the end, but to reach a half of a way, it is necessary to reach at first one quarter and so indefinitely. As a result of people won't be able to move a little. The paradox "Achilles and a tortoise" says that Achilles won't be able to overtake a tortoise because when Achilles comes running in that point where tortoise was at the beginning of a way, tortoise will creep away in the following point and so indefinitely. To disprove Zeno's paradoxes, it was necessary to find a logical mistake in his words. One of opponents of Zeno –Diogenes the Cynic - couldn't disprove by Zeno words and prove that the movement exists therefore Diogenes began to walk silently before Zeno to and fro.

In my opinion, the essence of a logical mistake of Zeno consists that Zeno has applied in the proof the uncertain concept "infinity", and it is forbidden by laws of formal logic. The uncertain concept means that this concept has no definition.


Sophists:is paid teachers to think, to prove and to speak beautifully. This art was necessary to each citizen of the Ancient Greek polic for a performance in people's assembly and in court since then there were no professional politicians and lawyers yet, and the citizenhas been obliged to protect himself in court and to defend the opinion in people's assembly in the conditions of direct democracy and Law court (ancient Athens) .

Protagoras was the most famous sophist in 5 century BC:. Sophists considered that the absolute truth doesn't exist. Sophists could prove one today, and tomorrow – opposite for demonstration of this situation. For example, sophists could prove today that gods exist , and sophists could prove tomorrow that gods don't exist. Once Protagoras demanded a tuition fee from the pupil, but pupil has objected that the teacher hasn't taught by pupil and pupil hasn't carried the case in court yet. Protagoras has answered by pupil that if Protagoras will file the claim to court, then the pupil will pay in both cases, or by a court decision, or under their last contract. That to learn to win against sophists in dispute, to catch by sophists on tricks as swindlers, Aristotle has created new science – formal logic which represents the list of tricks.


The formations or, otherwise, мodes of production[edit]

Karl Marx
Friedrich Engels

The classification of formations          

Formations or, otherwise, мodes of production are the steps or stages of the development for society.  

The main idea of formational approach consists in that the development of society occurs through the steps or stages(through the formations).

Karl Marx have listed in the work “To the сritique of political economy” four мodes of production (formations):    





The scientific discussion was on this question in 1928‐1935 in the USSR, as a result Joseph Stalin have summed up the result of this discussion and Joseph Stalin named five formations:    






Socialism is the first phase of communism.  

Joseph Stalin had compelled to forget about the Asiatic mode of production (formation), since the Asiatic mode of production (formation) resembled socialism greatly. It is obtained so that  such society (Asiatic mode of production) was built in the USSR, as in ancient Egypt. And is this named as progress? Theme “Asian mode of production” had become forbidden theme in the Soviet philosophy.  Karl August Vittfogel wrote in the West on this theme in the work "Oriental Despotism: A Comparative Study of Total Power". Raymond Aron mentioned this theme in the work “Democracy and totalitarianism”. The reason of incompleteness of the discussion about the formations consists to the present day that the philosophers could not find the correct criterion, which distinguishes one formation from another. In the opinion Karl Marx, such criterion is the level of the development of productive forces, but this criterion is too abstract, such criterion is unfit for the comparison of formations. Therefore some researchers have separated four formations, and others researchers have separated five formations. Some researchers considered the Asian mode of production (formation) is different from others formations, but other researchers did not consider like that.

In my opinion, such criterion, which distinguishes one formation from another, is the kind of control in the sphere of the economy:    

primitive‐communal formation is built on the moral control,   

slaveholding formation is built on the armed control,  

feudal formation is built on the administrative control,   

capitalist formation is built on the economic control.    

Karl Marx did not invent new kind of control for the communism and Karl Marx considered even that all forms of social control will be abolished under the communism, but this prognosis is utopia, unrealizable dream, since society cannot exist without the relations of social conflict and social control. The attempts were made to use in the economy ideological stimuluses (red flags, the marks of the Forward of Communist labor, medal of Hero of Socialist Labor, the articles in the newspaper, which glorify of Forwards,   photo on the board of honor, honorable certificates) under socialism.    Miner Aleksey Stakhanov had become the first Forward of Communist labor. But this campaign had ended by complete failure, because workers did not want to work for the flags. Such sanctions acted on people under socialism really, as body’s punishments in the sphere of the prison's labor in Gulag, as threat of the capital punishment for “the wreckers”, as administrative sanctions in the sphere of free labor.

Body’s punishments is the sign of slaveholding in the sphere of the economy, and administrative stimuluses is the sign of feudalism in the sphere of the economy. Therefore socialism is the Asian variety of the feudalism, where there is state’s sector of the slaveholding economy. Slow evolution from the slaveholding to the feudalism went in the Ancient East.  

Thus, in my opinion, four formations existed in the history of society:    





Asiatic formation (mode of production)[edit]

Pyramids in Giza
Great Wall of China
Ziggurat of Ur

   Asiatic formation (mode of production) was invented in Ancient Egypt and Ancient Mesopotamia. Similar societies had arisen in Ancient India and Ancient China. Ancient Mexico, Ancient Peru, Byzantium, tsarist Russia and Soviet Russia later. “Asiatic” and despotic character of tsarist Russia is dictated by external factor, by Tatar‐Mongolian conquest. Karl August Vittfogel wrote that Russia was “the outskirts” of the West before the Mongolian invasion, and after that as Mongolians had brought to Russ the “eastern” orders, borrowed by Mongolians from China, Russ had become “the outskirts” of the East. Arnold J. Toynbee objected to that, Arnold J. Toynbee was confident in the byzantine origin of Russian civilization. According to Arnold J. Toynbee, Karl August Vittfogel attempted to revive the Greek myth of the times of Greek-Persian wars about “bad” Asia” and “good Europe”. Karl August Vittfogel had seen in tsarist Russia clearly the features, typical for “eastern despotisms” (rural community and bureaucracy).

It my opinion, people had invented in Asia irrigation agriculture and cattle‐breeding, people had built in Asia the huge irrigational systems and other global projects (pyramid in Egypt, urban walls and Ziggurats in Mesopotamia, Chinese wall in China). These huge objects became archaeological monument and by the useless frequently method of the spending of human energy, which did not have real benefit.    State servitude, bureaucracy, taxes, hieroglyphic writing, despotism, regular army, law court, prison, police, code of laws, government ownership on the earth, temple economy and economy of the Pharaoh were invented in Asia. Bureaucracy had functions of the collection of taxes and management of the building of global projects. Despotism or, in other words, tyranny was vitally necessary in the countries of the Ancient East, because only despot could force to repair the irrigational systems each year and thus to avoid the hunger. Asian formation had become the Asian variety of slaveholding formation, which had become the Asian variety of the feudalism gradually, bright difference in which was the absence of particular ownership of the means of production. According to Karl August Vittfogel, the society of “Eastern” type is deadlock version of development for society, because the society of “Eastern” type is not capably to pass to capitalism as the higher stage of development for society independently. The absence of free work force leads to the stagnation, and social progress comes to an end with the deadlock. Already one it means that ways of "East" and "West" are different essentially. East society is based not on the property relation, but East society is based on existence of the extra class despotic state and "bureaucracy". Despotic power of the state had become in the East by the insurmountable force: despotic power of state regulates agriculture and use of water, despotic power of state undertakes the large building work, despotic power of state controls craft and trade to a greater or lesser extent. Any opposition is suppressed with help of the system of total terror in the East. Society is divided only into two classes: ruling class and controlled class. The despot and bureaucracy belong to the ruling class. Controlled class is farmers, craftsmen, merchants and slave.

Power of the state fulfills in the East two functions:   

• organizational function (Karl August Vittfogel includes in this function the organization of economy and the organization of armed forces),  

• the function of appropriation for incomes.  

The idolized despotic power is supported by regular army, police and bureaucracy. Absolute submission is characteristic of each citizen. Despotic power strive to prevent that owners have developed in independent political force. With this aim despotic power creates obstacles for the formation of large private fortunes. If people of low origin are capable to something, that there is a possibility of the elevation for this people. Poor person could make the outstanding career In China and this person could become minister even with help of the passing of school examinations.  Despotism had appeared in “hydraulic societies” and despotism had turn out to one of the most infectious diseases of human society. Karl August Vittfogel had attempted to solve the problem of the lagging of the countries of the East from Europe. One of the reasons of the lagging is the absence the needs for the West to expend the forces to the irrigational works. Based on the example of China Karl August Vittfogel have said about regress which has happened when nomads have have conquered farmers. The conqest of Kiev Russia by Tatar‐Mongols had led to the similar regress.     

Ancient Greece and Ancient Rome had become the cradle for the western version of slaveholding. The western version of feudalism arose in the countries of Western Europe after the invasion of Germans and wreck of Ancient Rome. This western version of slaveholding and feudalism differed from the Asiatic version somewhat. The climate was more damp in the West, therefore there was a ploughed agriculture in the West, and there was never system of irrigation agriculture in the West. Therefore it needs not state servitude and despotism in the West. Athens have borrowed from Finicia craft, sea’s trade and alphabet. It were invented in Ancient Greece the private property to the earth and slaves, representative democracy and aristocracy, warship (triera), market competition, sport competition, competition of actors at the theatre. There was serfdom and vassal‐fief system, built on the administrative control only in the West. Capitalism was invented just in the West.  

It is possible to enumerate four great English inventions, which are the basis of capitalism:   

Economic control, award and penalty in sphere of the economy, free work force.   

Inventions in the technics (firearms, machine tool, steam engine and so on).   

Market competition on the basis of the use of free work force.

Representative democracy, multi‐party system, national elections, constitution, political freedoms.  

Capitalism was brought to Asia on the bayonets of West European colonizers.          

Conclusion: in my opinion, Karl August Vittfogel was right partly regarding the reasons for the appearance of despotism in different countries. Karl August Vittfogel concentrated its attention only on one of the reasons for the appearance of despotism (system of irrigation agriculture) and Karl August Vittfogel did not see other reasons. In my opinion, the main reason for the appearance of despotism are the extreme external and internal conditions of life of society. Such conditions can be the threat of the external aggression, large territory and imperial organization of the country, when there is a need for the suppression of separative uprisings. Such conditions can be the need for organizing irrigation agriculture. There was never irrigation agriculture in Russia, but there were threats of the external aggression from the side of numerous aggressive neighbors for Russia always. Russia possessed large territory always and there was a need for suppressing separative uprisings always.  It is no accidental, what Russia has selected the very rigid model of democracy (presidential republic) today, otherwise Civil War could begin against the separatists in Russia or Russia could lose the war in the international arena.

Russian way of development[edit]

Varangian group in Byzantium. Drawing-reconstruction of the end of the 19th century.
Nicholas Roerich: Guests from Overseas (1899)
St. Sophia Cathedral in Constantinople


Russia occupies the middle position between Europe and Asia; therefore Russia had invented almost nothing its, but Russia borrowed the social inventions alternately first of Europe, then from Asia. Generally, very few countries exists, which could make at least one social invention.  

Mongolian horse archer. A medieval miniature.

There were four “country ‐ teachers” for Russia:

Varangians from the West from Sweden, Varangians had become the first teachers for the eastern Slavs, Varangians had brought into Russia power of Grand Princes, trade along the rivers, weapon, laws, the collection of tribute. The Varangian Rurik was the first Russian grand prince   

Byzantium, which had become the second teacher for Russia, Byzantium occupied the middle position between Europe and Asia also, as Russia, Russia were borrowed from Byzantium the Christianity, written language, architecture.    

Tatar‐Mongols and Gold Horde from Asia, which had become the third teacher for Russia. The Tatar‐Mongols and Gold Horde had learned by Russians to collect the taxes with each house and to build despotism, as result the absolute monarchy was invented in the Moscow state, where the throne was transferred by the inheritance to eldest son or to eldest brother.    

Western Europe (first Poland, then Sweden, Holland, England, Germany, France, USA) had become the fourth teacher for Russia in 17 century, and especially under Russian emperor Peter 1. Russia was at war with some of these countries and Russia learned at them alternately). Three English inventions (technical inventions, market competition and economic control) were borrowed by Russia from Western Europe.  Russian emperor Nikolai 2 attempted to introduce the fourth English invention,  Russian emperor Nikolai 2 attempted to build the system of representative democracy,  Nicholas II of Russia had introduced parliament and multi‐party elections, but Nicholas II of Russia could not finish building, Nikolai 2 could not introduce constitution and control of the parliament over government.  

Disruption in the social building occurred as a result of October coup in 1917. Bolsheviks had destroyed the capitalist system and Bolsheviks had built the primitive Asiatic formation on an example of Ancient Egypt.

Bolsheviks were carried out four campaigns on the building of the Asiatic formation:   

War Communism. Vladimir Lenin has constructed oligarchy instead of the monarchy. Vladimir Lenin have cancelled a private property to the earth and to plants, economic control in the sphere of economy, market competition, representative democracy. Vladimir Lenin even attempted to cancel money, religion and code of law vainly. This campaign caused Civil War in Russia, but Bolsheviks could win in this Civil War, although Bolsheviks were forced to go on the temporary concessions to the peasants in the form of the New Economic Policy.    

The New Economic Policy. Bolsheviks removed prohibition to have small and average private property and to employ little work force, to be engaged in small trade within the country, Bolsheviks had introduced convertible currency (Gold Chervonets), but Bolsheviks have kept the prohibition to large private property and particular foreign trade. Such contradictions had led to the crises in the economy of the New Economic Policy, when peasants had rejected to sell the bread on the low prices.

Industrialization. Bolsheviks have organized the large building of the plants of heavy and defense industry, channels and railroads. The sources of funds of these building became the robbery of peasants, unpaid labor of prisoners, the coercion to the purchase of Government bond, the sale of vodka at inflated prices.    

Collectivization. Bolsheviks had driven by peasants into the kolkhozes by force and Bolsheviks    compel by peasants to work    almost free of charge, Bolsheviks    compel by peasants to work  for “marks” in the register of workdays. Peasants fed themselves and peasants paid large taxes from the kitchen garden. Bolsheviks have robbed, have put in GULAG and executed the rich to peasants As a result stimulus for the labor completely disappeared at peasants, and the agricultural branch has come to a condition of full decline.   

Cultural Revolution or “large terror” or “large cleaning”. Vladimir Lenin had built oligarchy, as the power of the privileged minority, this minority was called “Leninist guards”. The fight of fractions for the authority had begun inside this “Leninist guards” in the 20's of 20 century. Joseph Stalin have won in turn in fight behind scene by paralyzed Vladimir Lenin, the faction of Leon Trotsky, faction of Grigory Zinoviev and Lev Kamenev, the faction of Nikolai Bukharin, Alexei Rykov and Mikhail Tomskiy. Joseph Stalin had destroyed physically almost all “Leninist guards” in 1937-1938  and Joseph Stalin had built tyranny instead of oligarchy. Joseph Stalin had created instead of “Leninist guards”the new ruling layer ("Nomenklatura"), which was subordinated to tyrant rigidly. Thus, Asiatic formation was finished building and Asiatic formation was the classical model during Stalin's epoch.

Nikita Khrushchev had destroyed physically new aspirant to tyrant (Lavrentiy Beria).  Nikita Khrushchev had restored oligarchy, with that the gradual destruction of Asiatic formation had begun in Russia. The degeneration of oligarchy had begun during Leonid Brezhnev's epoch. Mikhail Gorbachev had to loosen to the basis by oligarchy. President of Russia Boris Yeltsin had destroyed oligarchy and Asitic formation completely, Boris Yeltsin has built capitalism and system of representative democracy on the western samples. Yegor Gaidar has introduced market competition in Russia in 1991; Anatoly Chubais has introduced private property and economic control in the sphere of economy. Boris Yeltsin has introduced constitution and parliament. Vladimir Putin had directed the order after the period of reforms and Vladimir Putin had strengthened this system.        Asiatic formation was built in other countries of the socialist camp also, where these four campaigns have been conducted on the Soviet samples also. As soon as the Soviet troops have been removed in 1989 from these countries of East Europe, so “velvet” revolutions had occurred in these countries of East Europe and capitalism was restored in this countries. Mao Tszedun had built Asiatic formation in China, Mao Zedong had won in Civil War in China and Mao Zedong had conducted such campaigns as "Great Leap Forward“ (Industrialization), People's communes (Collectivization) and Cultural Revolution. The policy of the New Economic Policy is conducted in China today. Market competition, economic control in the economy and technical inventions are introduced in China today, but power is located in the hands of Communist oligarchy, and the students, who required by democracy on the square Tiananmen, were crushed by tanks. Asitic formation remains in North Korea and in Cuba today.    Conclusion lies in the fact that socialism is regress in comparison with capitalism, and this immense Communist experiment led to the large victims in Russia. Bolsheviks could not find their Russian way of the development of the country and Bolsheviks had led the country by backward Asian way. Bolsheviks can not build anything, except this primitive model of society and today. The repetition of a similar utopian experiment will become the catastrophe for Russia. 

Stages of the development of society[edit]

Marshall McLuhan
Johannes Gutenberg
Printing machine of Johanes Gutenbrg

Besides marxist theory there are other theories about the stages of the development of society.  Walt Rostow had separated five stages of economic increase in the work "The Stages of Economic Growth: A Non-Communist Manifesto", published in 1960.  

Herbert Marshall McLuhan had shared history into four epochs of history in dependence on the replacement of the means of the connection: 

  • Oral tribe culture. The epoch of the tribal person, who possessed the capability to spoken language
  • Manuscript culture. This epoch has come after the invention of writing, hieroglyphs and the alphabet.
  • Gutenberg galaxy. The epoch of the industrial person, who exchanged information with help of the invented by Johannes Guttenberg printing press.
  • Electronic age. The epoch of the new tribal person, who exchanges by information with help of the telephone, the Internet, sputnik’s communication and etc

  Leslie White separate five stages of human development in the dependence on the change of the energy sources in work "The Evolution of Culture: The Development of Civilization to the Fall of Rome"(1959):   

  • People use energy of their own muscles.
  • People use energy of domesticated animals.
  • People use the energy of plants (so White refers to agricultural revolution here).
  • People learn to use the energy of natural resources: coal, oil, gas.
  • People harness nuclear energy.

  In my opinion, these classifications of the steps of the development of society are not completely successful, because these authors selected secondary criterions for the classification of steps.    My criterion for the classification of the steps of the development of society (kind of social control in the sphere of the economy) is more essential.  

Future Shock[edit]

Future Shock is a book written by the futurist Alvin Toffler in 1970. Alvin Toffler defines the term "future shock" in the book, as a certain psychological state of individuals and entire societies. His shortest definition for the term "future shock" is a personal perception of "too much change in too short a period of time".


Alvin Toffler argued that society is undergoing an enormous structural change, a revolution from an industrial society to a "super-industrial society". This change overwhelms people. He believed the accelerated rate of technological and social change left people disconnected and suffering from "shattering stress and disorientation"—future shocked. Toffler stated that the majority of social problems are symptoms of future shock. In his discussion of the components of such shock, he popularized the term "information overload."

Development of society and production[edit]

Alvin Toffler distinguished three stages in development of society and production:

  • agrarian,
  • industrial
  • post-industrial.

The first stage began in the period of the Neolithic Era when people invented agriculture, thereby passing from barbarity to a civilization. The second stage began in England with the Industrial Revolution during which people invented the machine tool and the steam engine. The third stage began in the second half of the 20th century in the West when people invented automatic production, robotics and the computer. The services sector attained great value.

Alvin Toffler proposed one criterion for distinguishing between industrial society and post-industrial society: the share of the population occupied in agriculture versus the share of city labor occupied in the services sector. In a post-industrial society, the share of the people occupied in agriculture does not exceed 15%, and the share of city laborers occupied in the services sector exceeds 50%. Thus, the share of the people occupied with brainwork greatly exceeds the share of the people occupied with physical work in post-industrial society.

Fear of the future[edit]

Midtown Manhattan in New York City, the largest central business district in the United States

Alvin Toffler's main thought consists of the fact that modern man feels shock from rapid changes. For example, Toffler's daughter went to shop in New York City and she couldn't find a shop in its previous location. Thus New York has become a city without a history. The urban population doubles every 11 years. The overall production of goods and services doubles each 50 years in developed countries. Society experiences an increasing number of changes with an increasing rapidity, while people are losing the familiarity that old institutions (religion, family, national identity, profession) once provided. The so-called "brain drain" – the emigration of European scientists to the United States – is both an indicator of the changes in society and also one of their causes.

Features of post-industrial society[edit]

A generic, disposable lighter.
  • Many goods have become disposable because the cost of manual repair or cleaning has become greater than the cost of making new goods due to mass production. Examples of disposable goods include ballpoint pens, lighters, plastic bottles, and paper towels.
  • The design of goods becomes outdated quickly. (And so, for example, a second generation of computers appears before the end of the expected period of usability of the first generation). It is possible to rent almost everything (from a ladder to a wedding dress), thus eliminating the need for ownership.
  • Whole branches of industry die off and new branches of industry arise. This affects unskilled workers who are compelled to change their residence to find new jobs. The constant change in the Market economics also poses a problem for advertisers who must deal with moving targets.
  • People of post-industrial society change their profession and their workplace often. People have to change professions because professions quickly become outdated. People of post-industrial society thus have many careers in a lifetime. The knowledge of an engineer becomes outdated in ten years. People look more and more for temporary jobs.
  • To follow transient jobs, people have become nomads. For example, immigrants from Algeria, Turkey and other countries go to Europe to find work. Transient people are forced to change residence, phone number, school, friends, car license, and contact with family often. As a result, relationships tend to be superficial with a large number of people, instead of being intimate or close relationships that are more stable. Evidence for this is tourist travel and holiday romances.
  • The driver's license, received at age 16, has become the teenager's admission to the world of adults, because it symbolizes the ability to move independently.



The main principles of civilization's approach.[edit]

There are three basic ideas of this approach:   

• Each local civilization has unique originality. Local civilizations are differed from each other to the systems of values, the customs, the culture, the production technology, their morals and philosophy.    

• Each local civilization survives the periods of birth, blossoming, decline, ruin. The cycle of the life of civilization is such.  

• These local civilizations exist near with each other, these local civilizations change each other and fight with each other.  

Researchers separate several local civilizations: Ancient Egypt, the civilization of Babylon and Assyria, Ancient China, Ancient India, the antique civilization of Ancient Greece and Ancient Rome, the civilization of Ancient America, the Moslem civilization of Arab caliphate and Osman empire, West European civilization. There is a discussion about the composition of this list of civilizations. The reason of discussion consists in the fact that this researchers did not find criterion, which distinguishes one civilization from another. In my opinion, such criterion is the list of great social inventions which were made by this civilization. For example, my large doubts cause the attempt to consider Russia by separate civilization. Сontrary to the principles of Russian patriotism, it is difficult to find in the history of Russia the fact of the made great social inventions, which entered into the gold reserves for humanity. Russia, as and the majority of the countries of World, did not invent, but Russia learned at other civilizations. It is desirable to repeat again, that Russia is the transitional country from Asia to Europe, like Byzantium. Civilization is society, built on the specific collection of great social inventions.  One civilization is differed from another civilization with help of the collection of these inventions.       

Giambattista Vico, Oswald Spengler, Arnold J. Toynbee had created the classical and widely known theories within the framework of civilizational approach to the history of society. All these authors were fond of statement of questions of culture and mythology, their style of statement was metaphorical and too verbose.

The law of challenge and response by Arnold J. Toynbee[edit]

Arnold J. Toynbee
Fleet of triremes made up of photographs of the modern full-sized replica Olympias
Roman legion at attack
Minoan civilization. Knossos
Terrace agriculture at monks
Corpus Iuris Civilis, 1583
A lateen-rigged caravel, Caravela Latina
Medieval parliament .
Scythian warriors, drawn after figures on an electrum cup from the Kul-Oba kurgan burial near Kerch, Crimea.
Vasily Surikov "The Conquest of Siberia by Yermak"

   Its main book is “A Study of History” into 12 volumes. The essence of the law of challenge and response consists of the following. Environment proposes the challenge for civilization, elite must find response to this challenge. If there is no response or response is inadequate, then civilization perishes. If the elite manages to find the correct response to a challenge, the elite manages to solve a problem with the help of a new great invention, then this civilization conquers own neighbors and this civilization teaches own neighbors to this new great invention.

Expansion of borders, replenishment of labor and assimilation of neighbors - barbarians – these kinds of activity are characteristic of any civilization.    There are three types of the challenges:    

Unfavorable natural and climatic conditions.  The civilization achieves success not owing to easy conditions of the geographical environment, but in spite of severe climate. The absence of challenges and too good natural conditions, as a rule, encourages the return to nature (“forwardб we come back to the monkeys”) and absence of challenges lead to the cessation of any development of civilization.    

Attacks of foreigners.  

Rotting and the decline of the previous civilizations, the weakness of enemy is challenge also, because the weakness of enemy generates the hope for an easy victory at other enemy.         

Elite is creative minority, which rules at first owning to merits and authority, then elite degenerates inevitably and elite rules by the force of weapon, then elite perishes and elite gives way to the top of power to another elite. The elite must turn sluggish and inert masses to the strong-willed, striving for the new goals satellites. Mass is noncreative majority. Mass is deprived of the ability to create and mass must imitate to elite.bArnold J.Toynbee could not formulate the criterion, which distinguishes one civilization from another. Therefore Arnold J. Toynbee  named too many civilizations  ‐  21 civilization. Moreover, Arnold J. Toynbee had “have drowned” in the information about enormous quantity of historic facts literally and Arnold J. Toynbee could not present its concept clearly, because Arnold J. Toynbee could not formulate the main thing in its concept.       

Examples of the successful responses of the civilizations:[edit]

Hunters of the Sahara.  Unfavorable for the ancient people process of the drying up of Аfro‐Asian steppe had begun after the end of glacial period. Desert the Sahara had arisen on the spot fertile pastures. The process of drying up is challenge for the ancient people. Some tribes of hunters and gatherers had died out simply. Other tribes made two great answers: nomad cattle breeding and irrigation agriculture. Nomads established nomad civilization and nomads had begun to conduct their herds along the seasonal route of migration skillfully, from one oasis to another. The such steppes and climate exist in America and Australia too, but Indians and aborigines of Australia did not know such invention, as cattle breeding. Thus, not all depends from natural conditions. The ancestors of Egyptians and inhabitants of Mesopotamia could master the swamps in the valleys of the river Nile, the Tigris and the Euphrates. Egyptians and inhabitants of Mesopotamia had    established the river’s civilizations, Egyptians and inhabitants of Mesopotamia had built grandiose drainage and irrigating systems, using not iron, but only stone and wooden instruments of labor.

Andes civilization had arisen in the territory of upland.  Challenge for the ancestors of Incas is the small territory of the earth, suitable for the agriculture in the mountains, severe climate and the low fertility of the earth. Response is a terraced agriculture.   

Minos civilization.  Island Crete was the center of this civilization, this civilization had arisen as a result the challenge of sea. Phoenicians lived in the mountains on the coast of sea and Phoenicians had little earth, suitable for the agriculture. Response of Phoenicians is a invention of seagoing ships, sea trade and alphabet. Bronze weapon, glasswares and purple fabrics had become by Phoenician’s goods. Minos civilization perished as a result natural catastrophe, as a result of volcanic eruption in 1 600 years B.C. Phoenicians were extruded from maritime trade routes by their disciples (the ancient Greeks), which have surpassed their teachers in the trade. Alexander the Great has seized the phoenician city Tyre. The last colony of Phoenicians Carthage was destroyed by Ancient Rome. Thus, Phoenicians did not find response to the new challenge of environment  ‐  commercial competition of Greece and the military invasion of Ancient Macedonia and Ancient Rome and Phoenician’s  civilization had perished.    

• Challenges for the antique civilization of Ancient Greece are the small fertility of stony soils and the shortage of food in the conditions of rapid growth of the population. There were three attempts to make an response to this challenge.

The response of Sparta consisted in the fact that it is necessary to conquer the earth of neighbors in Messenia, to convert the conquered inhabitants into the state slaves and to force them to work on the Spartans. Sparta has been forced to create regular army and to militarize the life from top to bottom for performance of this task, but Spartans had no craft and trade, Spartans were backward in all spheres, except war.

The response of Corinth consisted in the fact that it is necessary to establish overseas colonies in Sicily, South Italy and Frakia, where there were much of fertile earth, and it is necessary to bring bread from this colonies.

But Athens had made the most successful and most effective response. inhabitants of Athens has borrowed the invention of Phoenicians (sea’s trade and craft), and inhabitants of Athens have bought the bread to the gained money simply. Athens have surpassed their teachers in the fact that inhabitants of Athens had invented the first in the world warship (triera), but not the trade ship, the new goods  (iron weapon, wine, olive oil, silver adornments), ceramic and and so on. The invasion of Persians to Greece had caused the successful campaign of Alexander the Great to Persia. Ancient Rome have invented the mobile construction of infantry in response to the invasion of Gauls to Rome and Roman law.   

• The constant invasions of nomads had become by the challenge for Russia. Russia is located on the road from Asia to Europe, on which the countless waves of invasions went in Europe from the side of nomads. As a result Byzantium, which was located on this road also, was swept from face of the earth simply, but Austria has managed to stand against Ottoman Empire. The response of Russia consisted in the invention of semi-military estates  ‐ Cossacks, in the use of firearms and boat against the nomads. The firearms have been invented in China, then the firearms have been cardinally improved in England and France during Hundred Years' War, boat (Longship) is Varangians invention, thus, Russians invented nothing, but Russians used the European inventions against the Asiatic nomads successfully. Cossacks were based on the rivers and Cossacks had made by their natural boundaries of defense, then Cossacks had begun to use a boat for the advance into Siberia, thus, Cossacks had conquered the earth of nomads. Cossacks had  crushed this ancient center of aggression against the farmers of Europe and Asia.  

If Toynbee's ideas is developed, then it is possible to name the challenges, which had led to four great English inventions:  

  • The low labor productivity of serf workers has caused the necessity to invent more effective economic stimuluses – an award and a penalty instead of administrative stimuluses.
  • The deficit of supply of goods, especially pepper and spices, had become the challenge, which led to the need of inventing for oceanic trade, ocean‐going ships (Caravels) and market’s relations, with which the deficit cannot exist in principle. If ships were primitive early and it was possible to float on them only along the coast that it would be possible to hide in any bay in the case of storm, then it was possible to float straight through the ocean on the Caravel.   
  • Competition from the side of the Indian weavers, which could manufacture the cloths of the manual work to the very low price and by excellent quality, this competition had caused the need of inventing for mechanical looms and steam engine.  
  • The abuses of tyrants had caused the need of the inventing by the system of representative democracy, which consists from constitution, parliament, system of the separation of authorities, multi ‐ party elections and political freedoms.

  The synthesis by formational and civilization’s approaches                                                    

Some authors opposed unreasonably these approaches under reseach of the history of society. In my opinion, the theoretical synthesis is necessary of these approaches. Who drives mankind up steps of progressive formational development? Some religious philosophers called God’s will in quality of such whip, this God’s will conducts by humanity to the purpose. This explanation does not suit me, because in my opinion, god does not exist. The progress of society occurs not according to the godly plan, but with help of blind search, by method trial and error according to the law of challenge and answer by Arnold J. Toynbee. Local civilizations realize different projects of development, local civilizations fight with each other; as a result the natural selection occurs of these civilizations and their answers with help of the war and the competition on the international market. Сhange of civilizations – leaders on the world scene happens because of this fight of civilizations. War and market competition are lot always, therefore any civilization can't win eternally according to probability theory. Good luck can turn away from earlier successful civilization once, besides degeneration happens of creative elite of this civilization over time, the creative elite loses ability to do inventions. Local civilization is the unit of selection in the human history, like the biological species in the biosphere. Thus, the struggle of local civilizations is the reason for formational development, the struggle of local civilizations is such whip, which drives mankind up steps of progressive formational development, although certain people, nations, organizations, groups, countries and local civilizations develop cyclically through birth, blossoming, decline, ruin. 

Examples of the civilization‐leaders in the world arena, who changed each other, are the Ancient East and Western Europe. Many conquerors of the past  ‐  Alexander the Great, Genghis Khan, Napoleon, Adolf Hitler had attempted to attain by world supremacy, but this idea is utopia, because   embodiment into the life of this idea would lead to the end of rivalry between the civilizations, to stagnation and end of the progress of humanity, that it isn't possible in principle.

The building of the global system of human society, which we observe today, will lead not to the termination, but to the aggravation of economic rivalry between the separate regions of world. For example, the countries of Southeast Asia and China have come out on top on rates of economic development today. Military rivalry of the Russian Federation and the United States of America has escalated today.