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Social Philosophy

Spacial-Temporal Continuum of Civilization and Man

Iouri M. Pavlov and Alexander I. Smirnov
Moscow State University

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ABSTRACT: Space and time are considered as attributive features of matter's social form movement that allow to incorporate structure into the world political processes. The notions of wholismatic time and space are established to determine world's entering into planetary interconnected condition. Social space and time are considerate in unity being as coordinates of man and civilization's existence. Methodological approaches to East and West civilization cooperation are defined through varieties of spaces being specified in different types of human activity. Man and civilization interaction is shown in context of future social time as well as choice of development type and modernization of society.

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A tendency of forming of united, whole world was clearly discovered in the late twenties century. Humanity has risen up to the development stage on which local connections between separate societies, nations and civilizations have grown into global interconnection on a planetary scale. Events that happen in any part of the planet have its direct or indirect influence on people's actions on all other continents.

A number of scientists give interpretation that this phenomena is the beginning of new world civilization. Nevertheless, such hypothesis rather seems to be an aspiration for taking what you wish for what actually is. Genuine world civilization is a subject of a distant future. The actual level of social science does not let forecast on what basis it will exist and develop. The fact should be stated on a current stage of social process, that civilization today is not only limited social borderline, or one or several socio-ethnic communities living by themselves, but rather social bodies incorporated into united world process of peoples', states', and their communities' interaction. For purpose of selection of this stage inside of historical process, the terms of "wholismatic time" and "wholismatic space" might be proposed. (Originated from Greek "olos" that means "whole").

This application toward conceptions of time and space is not fortuitous. These allow giving order to complicated picture of changing world. It should be noted here that minded is not a natural time and space (they stay life conditions for man as a biological unit) but display of these attributive features of matter's movement on a social level. Social time and social space are connected with human activity and social relations. They exist in real human life and consequently reflect into people's consciousness.

It looks important to distinguish the actual, perceptual and conceptual meaning of social time and space.

Actual social space and time are social phenomenon, which is obviously connected with temporal and structural factors of society's life.

Perceptual meaning of social space and time is what we understand as existence of ideas about those phenomena on a social-psychological reflection level of social consciousness. For human being time and spatial notions are determined by nature, social and cultural environment that he belongs.

Conceptual meaning of space and time is a special issue.

The category of "time" is used yet at civilization type definition. It's pointed traditionally that Eastern type civilization mentality is characterized by slow time running, mostly cyclical kind of it's development, syncretistic comprehending of the past, present and future, lack of person's possibility to influence social temporal change. Linear and fast time run ideas, strict distinguishing of the past, present and future, understanding of constant development and progress characterize the Western type of civilization mentality. Difference between Western and Eastern mentality can also be shown taking space as an instance. However, cognitive value of such descriptive approach is not great. Such comparison only provides a static model, one-dimensional picture of two civilizations existence, but it does not reflect the process of their interaction in the real life. Such approach to study civilizations was justified under conditions of their localization when no world as a whole, no total planetary interconnection of social life existed.

Today social space and time should be understood as civilization coordinates. It must be pointed that any civilization possesses the time-space definition. It has its temporal beginning, penetrates through stages of formation, golden age and death, i.e. takes quite a special place on a humanity historical scale, and possesses its rhythmic of development and existence.

Social space and social time are tightly connected with each other. This actually means a united space-time continuum. Social space characterizes subject's activity as from the point of extent, connection and disconnection within social relations system. Social time is duration, sequence, and formation of social subjects' activities. Unity of space and time is displayed in misbalance of social development as well. Changes in the world are uneven around in social space. Some social subjects show better activity, others show less, some go ahead, and others lag behind. Historical fate of particular social group is determined by their position in social space and social time. The better is the speed of movement from past to future a social formation provides the better opportunities to extend social space it has. And vice versa, slowing down the changes reduces its social space, allowing more dynamically developing social formations to invade from inside. These processes are also essential for East and West civilization interrelations.

However, this process needs to have structure applied for purpose of analysis of different civilization interaction. Frequently relations between Eastern and Western civilizations are treated as a conflict of whole with whole. Alternatively, another extreme point might be marked that is absolutizing of separate elements of East and West relations.

A concept of variety of social space looks productive. The general criteria separating this or that type of space is various kinds of activities incorporated into a system of civilized relations. Created social spaces are as follows: geographic, ecological, ethnic, religious, cultural, informational.

These social space formations did not appear immediately. They are result of actualizing of human activities and social relations. Moreover, spaces themselves did not change qualitatively. Each of spaces influenced others and felt their influence on itself.

Influence of space on civilization's formation and development is different. Two interconnected questions, considering that. What kind of influence each of spaces exerts upon civilization formation, its vital capacity and which of spaces is determining towards others in particular historical time?

We are quite a distance from idea to deduct some common initial reason of historical movement. These reasons can be different on each stage of social development. Nevertheless, a departure from economic monism did not cancel but, otherwise, intensified the task to study development sources of both particular societies and civilization as whole. Special attention should be paid here to still remaining in shadow space spheres such as religious and ethnic.

Structuring of social space allows separating interaction spheres of particular civilizations. Interaction between East and West occurs in all spaces. Attention should be paid here that interaction of East and West civilization types is not equal in different spaces. It is already an axiom that Western civilization keeps leading in economical and technological spaces making efforts imposing its market approach. However, an opposite tendency is displayed in religious space. Eastern civilization is more active here: Islam conquered huge areas only for last years.

Similar processes can be shown in informational and ethnic spaces as well. First of them indicates Western civilization priority, expansion of mass culture, the second obviously proves success of Eastern type civilization.

Under conditions of mutual dependence, growth the risk of keeping self-identity for civilizations goes up. Essential feature of any civilization is absolutizing of its own value on one hand and denying other civilizations values, sometimes getting to intolerance, on the other hand. Local character of civilizations was the best protection from penetration of alien elements for the given mentality. However, natural hedges that existed in civilizations' space disconnection epoch have fallen down. Civilizations appeared to find themselves under pressure of their historical antagonists. Artificial bordering measurements, various taboo introductions that some social organizations commit are very limited.

Along with aforesaid, historically established type of thinking and consequently actions grounded in unconditional stating of corresponding civilizations values without consideration of other civilizations specific became a dangerous element of aggression and tension under conditions of planetary social life.

Wholismatic time requires wholismatic paradigm of thinking to be incorporated into mentality of any civilization. Today's slogan could be an idea that civilizations' interaction requires a civilized approach. The most no prospects way for the science involved into civilization study is searching advantage of one of them over another. Dialectic of development is such that elimination of one civilization will mean elimination of other. The world cannot exist under mono-development conditions. Monoculture is destined to die. Only forcing the interconnection, elaborating the interaction mechanism strengthens each of civilizations. It must be pointed that above mechanism should be not spontaneous but conscious.

Methodologically the concept of social space and time allows canceling the opposition of formational and civilization approaches to society's development. After all, notions of social time and space are included as categories in both formational and civilization approaches. Moreover, while notion of social time and relevant number of categories have a bigger importance for the formational approach (i.e. recurrence, cycle, phase, formation, etc.), for civilization approach the notion of social space and categories that reveal and add it (i.e. territory, region, border, way of life, etc) is a subject to be pointed on.

Ignoring of formational aspect to be applied onto civilization study has been observed lately. General argument in this matter is that particular mode of production is not a marking point of civilization; moreover the same mode of production can be inherent in various civilizations. However considering the civilization being not in a static position but movement, with a social-time element incorporated, we shall discover quiet a definite formational recurrence. In addition, the certain civilization's unfolding in a social-space sense will allow not reducing the whole of established social relations variety to the mode of production only.

Knowledge of future social time is essential for the man being a conscious existence, who always seeks to look beyond the horizon. The history of philosophical thought has collected a big number of answers to "What is ahead to humanity". Conventionally those could be concentrated around of three ideas that are progress, final, and cycle.

Progressists (Condorce, Gibbon, Didro, Dalamber, Bertlo) proved hardly that humanity makes an eternal evolution, constantly coming to perfection. Various sides of human lives were taken as a criteria: access to the truth, happiness; annihilation of injustice; enlightenment level coming up, as well as morality, freedom; material improvement; scientific development; morality perfection. Contradiction, however, that theoretical statement met within the real life, increasing of number of problems facing humanity (but not reducing of them), still not found common progress criteria have significantly reduced the optimism among above concept's supporters.

The concept of finalism (end of history) is known since ancient times. It has two versions: pessimistic and optimistic. The first one is expressed in social, existential, religious pictures of humanity's end. Second one - in ideas of Kingdom Come, communist paradise on Earth, political prosperity (Plato, Hegel, Marx, Engels, Solovyov, Jaspers, Fukuyama and others). The most serious defect of those concepts is that they evidently or implicitly deny past and present of social life. Playing on man's aspiration towards the light future finalist ideas authors refer to the past as a survival, misunderstanding (though it influences on future actively), and to the present as an alien environment for the being of human, who has to overcome it instead of living a full life.

Cyclist ideas also have ancient roots. However, understanding of it by modern science is something different from that of ancient philosophers. At the dawn of humanity social life itself was comprehended and explained under affection of natural cycles and slow social time run as circle rotation, repeating of the passed by (Regardless to each other this was a conclusion made by two most significant historian of the Antiquity Polibiy and Sym Tzyan). Cyclists of advanced society (Spengler, Pireny, Sorokin, Nortrop, Creber, etc.) do not deny progressive development of society, but fairly point to cycles' presence inside of onward development of social bodies.

The social reality has confirmed correctness of scientific conclusions by Russian thinker N. D. Kondratiev, who has discovered that social development is characterized by waves of so through 65 years long. Annal School and Brodel who is included in it, has discovered " period T" presented in each of these waves within which re-orientation of society in all basic spheres occurs. It is followed by constructive, raised up stage of a new wave.

Man positively does not fell careless what period of political time his life is applied. Evolutionary, more or less balanced social development period form appropriate rhythmic that provides him maximum adaptation to determinative realty. "Period T", stormy, revolutionary time breaks these formatted rhythms causing concerns and troubles.

Society cannot leave aside considerations of Man's adaptation level to social time and space conditions. Successful in development and modernization are those of particular societies, which provide maximum consideration of its ethnos mentality, national thinking paradigm. Reckless application of the newest technologies, mechanical transfer of civilization's values to another ground does not provide a good result.

In this connection, new approach is required to the revivalism theory as well. Revival of traditions that seemed to be survived by modern society has positively influenced on quick raise of peoples making up the Eastern civilization.

All three religions of East - Confucianism, Buddhism, Islam - have firmly proved that values formed by them, i.e. work, family, discipline, diligence, collective reasons priority over personal ones, clear social subordination, urge to avoid opposition combined with latest technologies help the states to reach impressive success.

Described examples of social realty most obviously show importance of philosophical considerations of social time and space for the human being and his social existence.

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