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Berdyaev. Midst of the week Society Berdyaev. End of history

Society
Ordering of society. All-oneness
In the works of Vladimir Solovyov

The eternal idea of the absolute organism

The world soul by herself cannot realize herself because she lacks a definite positive form [necessary] for that purpose;she can find it only in the one who eternally contains that form, i.e., in the divine beginning.

The soul of this nascent organism—the soul of the world—at the beginning of the world-process is deprived, in actuality, of that unifying, organizing force which it has only in union with the divine beginning, as [the conductor or medium] receiving and transmitting it into the world; but separated from it, by itself, it is only an indefinite tendency towards the unity of all, an indefinite passive possibility (potentiality) of the all-unity. As an indefinite tendency, which as yet has no definite content, the world soul or nature3 cannot by itself reach that point to which it strives, i.e., all-unity; it is unable to generate it from its own self. In order to bring to unity and accord the disjointed and [mutually] hostile elements, it is necessary to determine for each [element] its specific function, to place it in a definite positive relationship towards all others—in other words, it is necessary not merely to unite everything, but to effect that unification in a definite, positive form. This definite form of all-unity or of the universal organism is contained in Divinity as an eternal idea. In the world, on the other hand—i.e., in the aggregate of the elements (of all that exists) which came out of unity—in this world, or rather, in this chaotic state of the existence of all (which had constituted the primordial fact) the eternal idea of the absolute organism had to be gradually realized; and the effort towards that realization, the striving towards the incarnation of Divinity in the world—this striving is universal, one in all, and therefore transcends the limits of each—it is this striving which, representing the inner life and beginning of movement in all that exists, is the world soul, properly speaking. And if, as it has been stated, the world soul by herself cannot realize herself because she lacks a definite positive form [necessary] for that purpose; then, it is obvious that in her impetus towards the realization [of the striving] she must look for that form in another [one]; and she can find it only in the one who eternally contains that form, i.e., in the divine beginning: which thus appears as the active, formative, and determining principle of the world-process.


3 The Latin word natura (that which is to be bom) is very expressive as a designation of the world soul; for it does not yet exist, in fact, as actual subject of all-oneness; in that capacity it has yet to be born.

The general basis of the world process

The incarnation of the divine idea in the world, which constitutes the goal of the whole world movement, is conditioned by the union of the divine beginning with the world soul.

Thus the incarnation of the divine idea in the world, which constitutes the goal of the whole world movement, is conditioned by the union of the divine beginning with the world soul, in which the first represents the active determining, formative, or fertilizing element, while the world soul appears as the passive force which receives the ideal beginning and endues the received with matter [requisite] for its development, with the encasement [shell, frame] [which it needs] for its complete manifestation. But now a question may arise. Why does not this union of the divine beginning with the world soul, and the resultant birth of the world organism as the incarnated divine idea (the Sophia)—why does not this union and this birth take place at once, in one act of divine creation? Why are these labours and efforts necessary in the life of the world, why must nature experience the pains of birth, and why, before it can generate the perfect and eternal organism, must it produce so many ugly, monstrous broods which are unable to endure the struggle for existence and perish without a trace? Why all these abortions and miscarriages of nature? Why does God leave nature to reach her goal so slowly and by such ill means? Why in general, is the realization of the divine idea in the world a gradual and complex process, and not a single, simple act? The full answer to this question is contained in one word, which expresses something without which neither God nor nature can be conceived; that word is freedom. By a free act of the world soul, the world united by it, fell away from Divinity and fell apart within itself into the multitude of elements warring among themselves; by a long series of free acts that whole rebellious multitude must make peace among themselves and be reconciled with God, and be reborn in the form of the absolute organism. If all that exists (in nature, or in the world soul) must be united with Divinity—and this constitutes the aim [purpose] of all being—then that unity, in order to be actual unity, must, obviously, be reciprocal, i.e., [must] proceed not only from God but also from nature, be nature's own task. But all-unity cannot be achieved in one immediate act by nature, as it is, eternally, in God; in nature, on the contrary, as immediately detaching itself from God, the actual being belongs not to the ideal all-oneness but to the material discord, while the all-unity appears in it as a pure striving, originally quite indefinite and empty; all is in chaos, nothing is yet in unity; consequently, being without unity, all can only pass to unity by virtue of its striving, and do so [only] gradually: because originally the world soul does not know [the idea of] all-unity at all, she strives towards it unconsciously, as a blind force—she strives towards it as towards something 'other'; the content of that 'other' is for her something completely foreign and unknown; and if this content, i.e., all-unity, were suddenly communicated or transmitted to her in its whole fullness, it would have appeared to her only as an external fact, as something fatal and coercive; whereas, in order to have it as a free idea, she must herself assimilate or master it, i.e., [must] pass from its indefiniteness and emptiness to more and more complete determinations of all-unity. Such is the general basis of the world process.

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