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UN Global Compact Russia

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Fazil Iscander. Economy without conscience is a menagerie with open cells.

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The main mistake of our new, democratic state, from which all its other mistakes flow, in my opinion, is that the authorities, without noticing it, repeat the mistake of Marxism: economy is the basis, and everything else is a superstructure.

The main mistake of our new, democratic state, fr om which all its other mistakes flow, in my opinion, is that the authorities, without noticing it, repeat the mistake of Marxism: economy is the basis, and everything else is a superstructure. A state that lives under this law is doomed to ruin, it already carries the death larva in itself. The Soviet state is precisely why it perished. It could have happened a little bit earlier or a little bit later, but it had to happen. We were lucky in the sense that the death of the Soviet state did without the bloodshed of civil war. We can say that it was a natural death. Although it can be said that his agony is still ongoing. It depends on which side to look at what is being done here.

It is comparatively easy to prove that economy is not the basis of human society. First of all, the humankind of the millennium lived when there was no economic science at all and it did not occur to anyone to declare the economic side of life to be the basis. Secondly, all the great religions claim, and our personal experience confirms this, the most important thing in a person is conscience. That is the main thing both for human society and for the state.

The paradox is that the state in which the economy is the basis, first of all, doomed to perish economically. In such state, the economy is not governed by professional economists, but by ideologists fr om the economy. And these are completely different people who may not understand anything in the economy. Thus, in the ideological state, an agronomist on a collective farm was chosen not on the basis of his good faith and knowledge of the case, but on the basis of his ideological chatter, wh ere economics is the basis. So, without understanding anything in literature, Zhdanov tried to control the literary process. And so over the years, for decades in the state, negative selection has taken place, when thousands and thousands of people mentally and morally weak find themselves in command places. Such state was doomed to die. This is what was originally led to a wrong understanding of human nature: economy is the basis.

The basis of man and human society is the conscience, and the economy is one of the most important superstructures. At the same time, the economy can work well with a more or less healthy state of the basis - human conscience. An economy without a basis — conscience — is a menagerie with open cells.

One economist told me: economics is half-science and half-art. I think this definition is correct. Economic laws seem to work under favorable conditions of contact with a person. For seventy years of Soviet power, the conscience was not only systematically exterminated from above, but also our man, in order to survive, destroyed it in himself. Most often this was done unconsciously. Under the terrible pressure of the dictatorship, the molecules of fear in the human soul were transformed into the formula of love.

Now we are waiting for the great economist, as in his time the people were waiting for the good king. Economics before our eyes turns into a kind of mysticism, which supposedly will save the country. Everything saves and everything can not save. Of course, we need cultural, talented economists. But such people are needed in all areas of our life. However, tragic failures await us, until we realize that the basis, the foundation of human life and the whole state, is conscience.

Awakened conscience - the most ambitious source of human energy. But how to wake her up? As the famous physicist said, you need to set yourself a reasonably insane task so that it turns out to be quite realistic. When asked what we are building, we must have the courage to answer: we are building a conscientious state, we are building a state of conscience. And democracy and a market economy are only levers of this unprecedented state in the world.

The conscientious state today sounds somewhat ridiculous, like an elephant crying at the sound of the music of Mozart. But tomorrow it can be a natural and joyful beginning of a new life, and the elephant will cry. The most cannibalistic states that stifled conscience never theoretically denied it, but simply distorted it in their favor. Even they were mystically afraid to deny it directly and loudly.

An interesting dialogue in this regard was with our famous priest-surgeon Voino-Yasenevsky with Stalin. "What are you saying - soul, soul. She is not real. No one saw her", - Stalin told him. "Nobody saw the conscience either", - the famous priest-surgeon retorted, "but you will not deny that it exists". And Stalin kept silent. I did not dare to say that there is no conscience either. This is the great, invincible mystery of conscience.

Today, Russia is at the center of the crisis of world conscience. The whole twentieth century is a crisis of world conscience, caused by the utopia of progress. But this is a separate issue. We will be the first to start, and so-called prosperous states will follow us, whose well-being is relatively relative. To survive in the twenty-first century, humanity must change the classic policy of cunning to the policy of conscientiousness, that is, the policy of the absence of politics. All states must assimilate one trait of true genius — simplicity.

The trouble is a country wh ere too many people think about politics. Honest people, thinking too much about politics, are unwittingly dismissed from creation, and since they suffer while thinking about politics, they do not feel guilty about the lack of creation. It turns out to be a bitter paradox: to suffer is easier than to create. All Russia is Hamlet drinker.

Only one way out. Want to break out of suffering - create! There is no other medicine, nor will there be. Even Sisyphean labor frees us from useless arguments about the uselessness of Sisyphean labor. No one in European and Russian history has ever tried to make conscience the main instrument of controlling people. I do not say the only thing, I say - mainly.

If we had the opportunity to ask God: "Is it possible to control people with the help of conscience?" He would answer: “I suggested this to people through my son, but none of the sovereigns tried.” So let's try? If we achieve absolute purity at least at the top of the government, and it is visible from all sides, this will be the first step towards a normal, fairly harmonious life.


First published: State and conscience // Novaya Gazeta, 1998. - January 19-25. - №2. - p. 5.

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