12 philosophical autobiographies
Autobiography is a specifically Christian genre. Christianity is the religion of the Absolute Person, incarnated, crucified and resurrected for the salvation of personalities. It was in the theology of the Fathers of the Church that the very concept of "personality" first appeared ("hypostat", "face" as opposed to "usia", "nature"). The culture created by Christians is personalistic (“humanism”, “human rights”, etc.). The philosophical autobiography, it seems to me, is particularly interesting: in addition to the usual joys of biography, we are also attached to philosophy here, but on the other hand, the biographical element makes it easier for us to access philosophy. Let us look at 12 examples of autobiographies of Christian thinkers from different eras.
"Confession" of Blessed Augustine is a masterpiece of autobiography in both senses of the word "masterpiece": the first and the outstanding work.
“Confession” describes Augustine’s path to faith in such a way that it becomes a philosophical analysis of a person’s path to God in general (it’s not just the “Confession” of Augustine Aurelius is one of the most widely read Christian books that has become paradigmatic for all Western culture). The "confession" of St. Augustine begins with a description of his infancy and ends with his conversion to Christianity. Augustine, of course, does not write simply “autobiography”: “Confession” is a brilliant philosophy of man. For example, Augustine’s description of his infancy develops into one of the first psychologies of childhood, the philosophy of language. Description of the theft of fruit – in the description of the phenomenon of sin. In the center of thought Augustine is the human presence in the world in front of his Creator. Augustine in Confession reflects on memory, on the unconscious in man, on the radical temporality of our existence. Here Augustine gives a brief sketch of his triadology. In addition to this historical and intellectual interest, Augustine's Confession is brilliant literature.
The Augustinian “Confession” must certainly be read: if not as a great theological book, then as a philosophical masterpiece, if not as a philosophical one, then as the first masterpiece of European (Christian) literature, and if not so, then as simply interesting memoirs. In one of the lectures on. Andrei Kuraev called Confession the best missionary book.
Augustine's lifetime, V century, is similar to ours. Multi-million cities, a life full of troubles – from political to religious. Christianity has already become a permitted religion, but many still remember the persecution and Christians are still in the minority. Augustine himself is the son of a Christian, but for a very long time he is simply not interested in faith: he is a careerist with a restless life and character. Great saint, great theologian, great thinker and writer.
Dante is, of course, not only a great poet, but also a thinker. His “New Life” is one of the most beautiful fruits of Christian culture. Dante met Beatrice with a nine-year-old child; when she died he was twenty-five. “New Life” was written after her death, recounts the story of lovers and includes poems written by Dante in honor of Beatrice. Great memoir prose and great poetry – this is the first thing to say about "New Life". The most exalted attitude towards a woman, the highest ever-described and thought out by a great poet (but also a thinker), is one of the most wonderful colors of Christianity. The philosophy of love (romantic; love) develops into the theology of love. The book ends with a story about the first glimpse of the “Comedy” concept.
“After this sonnet, I had a wonderful vision in which I saw something that made me decide not to talk more about the blessed one, until I could tell about it more worthily. To accomplish this, I am doing my best, of which she truly knows. So, if He deigns Whom everything is alive, so that my life will last for several more years, I hope to say something about her that has never been said about any woman. ”
I think that many will agree with me in assessing Berdyaev's “Self-knowledge” as the best of the existing philosophical autobiographies.
The reader will touch in it not only the personality of Berdyaev, his most interesting life, the history of the formation of his Today, the history of Russia and the West, the 1st floor. XX century, but also to his very philosophy. The genre of philosophical autobiography is the best possible answer for Berdiaev’s understanding of philosophy: existential personal cognition, truth as being, life. In this sense, this book can be recommended as the first to get acquainted with the work of Berdyaev.
About the genre of "Self-knowledge" Berdyaev writes:
“I do not want to write memories about the events of the life of my era, this is not my main goal. It will not be an autobiography in the usual sense of the word, telling about my life in chronological order. If this is the autobiography, then the autobiography is philosophical, history of spirit and self-consciousness. (…) Between the facts of my life and a book about them will be an act of knowledge, which interests me most. (…) In the book, which I wrote about myself, there will be no fiction, but there will be a philosophical knowledge and comprehension of myself and my life. This philosophical knowledge and comprehension is not a memory of the former; it is a creative act performed in the instant of the present. The value of this act is determined by how it rises above time, is attached to the time of the existential, that is, to eternity. The victory over the deadly time has always been the main motive of my life. This book is frankly and consciously egocentric. But egocentrism, in which there is always something repulsive, is redeemed for me by the fact that I make myself my life and destiny the subject of philosophical knowledge. I do not want to expose the soul, I do not want to throw away the raw materials of my soul. This book is intended to philosophical, dedicated to philosophical issues. It is about self-knowledge, the need to understand yourself, to comprehend your type and your fate. (…) My book is written loosely, it is not bound by a systematic plan. It has memories, but this is not the most important thing. In it, the memory of events and people alternates with thinking, and thinking takes more space. I distributed the chapters of the book not strictly chronologically, as in ordinary autobiographies, but by topics and problems that have tormented me all my life. But the sequence in time also has some significance. ”
About his era, one of the most tragic in world history, Berdyaev writes:
“I had to live in an era of catastrophic and for my homeland, and for the whole world. Before my eyes, whole worlds collapsed and new ones appeared. I could observe the extraordinary vicissitudes of human destinies. I saw transformations, adaptations, and betrayals of people, and this, perhaps, was the most difficult thing in life. From the trials that I had to endure, I took the faith that I was kept by a Higher Power and did not allow me to die. Epochs so filled with events and changes are considered to be interesting and significant, but these are unhappy and suffering epochs for individuals, for entire generations. History does not spare the human person and does not even notice it. I survived three wars, two of which can be called world wars, two revolutions in Russia, small and large, survived the spiritual renaissance of the beginning of the XX century, then Russian communism, the crisis of world culture, the coup in Germany, the collapse of France and the occupation by its victors, I survived exile, and my exile is not over. I painfully experienced a terrible war against Russia. And I still do not know how the world turmoil will end. There were too many events for the philosopher: I was in prison four times, twice in the old regime and twice in the new one, I was sent to the north for three years, I had a process that threatened me with eternal settlement in Siberia, I was expelled from my homeland and probably end my life in exile. "
"Autobiographical notes" of Father Sergius Bulgakov – one of the main Russian philosophers, theologians, priests, the pillar of the Russian religious revival, the head of St. Sergius Orthodox Theological Institute. Bulgakov went from “Marxism to idealism”, after the revolution he was expelled from Russia. Was close to sv. Patriarch Tikhon. He was engaged in the philosophical and theological development of Orthodox dogma, paid a lot of attention to social, economic, political issues. The controversy has not subsided around his sophiology. Quote:
“I was born and grew up under the shelter of the church, and this determined my nature forever. This is my “soil” (according to the winged word of L. A. Zander), which imperatively called and after many years called me to the altar. The ordination for me was not an external biographical fact, which could not have been, but an internal necessary disclosure of my very being, the voice of my “Levitical” blood. I am a Levite and more fully aware of my Levitism and cherish it (I am ready to say: I am proud of it). In Russian history, the "spiritual" estate, with all its weaknesses, was, indeed, the most spiritual. The religion of publishing has been for me my element, vocation, attraction, which never left me as my own deepest nature. I have always lived in faith and faith. How could it happen that this faith of mine was unbelief, and I did not live in it for a short period of time, but for many years, a whole part of my life, from about the age of 14–15, from adolescence and early youth to mature age, until about the age of 30. At this time, such events in my life as marriage, birth of the first child, death of my grandfather and brothers fall … How did this departure of the prodigal son from the house of which I always, though unconsciously and then more and more consciously, happened , yearned for? How?
In a strange way, to this question, how this fall was accomplished, which, of course, was for me falling away from faith, I am forced to answer: no way. ”
“Former and Unfulfilled” – memoirs of the outstanding Russian philosopher Fyodor Stepun, dedicated to the Silver Age and the tragedy of the 17th year. By their brilliance of style and breadth of coverage, they are compared with the memoirs of Herzen and Khodasevich, and their philosophical depth corresponds to the spirit of the religious Renaissance of the beginning of the 20th century. and his successors in emigration. In addition to Stepun’s own biography, the reader in the pages of the “Former and Unfulfilled” touches the inexpressibly living image of the pre-revolutionary and revolutionary time, the key figures of the Russian Renaissance of the early 20th century, the military reality. The second volume is fully devoted to the 17th year: Stepun was a direct participant in those events. As an artillery warrant officer, he from the front falls into the thick of the then policy, becoming the head of the political department of the army under the Provisional Government. The last pages of Stepun's memoirs are devoted to attempts to build a normal life in the new Soviet conditions: a theater in hungry Moscow, an agricultural commune … However, the Bolsheviks will expel Stepun from Russia.
Stepun precedes his memoirs in the following words:
"Former and unfulfilled" is not only memories, not only a story about the former, experienced, but also a reflection on what "it could have been conceived and could be, but could not become", the reflection on the unfulfilled. This philosophical, in the broad sense of the word, even the scientific side of my book, seems to me no less important than the narrative. I wrote both as a fiction writer, not alien to lyrical excitement, and as a philosopher, as a sociologist, and even as a politician, not noticing the transitions from one area to another that are quite natural to me.
Close in its philosophical Today of the Slavophilic-Soloviev doctrine of positive unity, as the highest subject of knowledge, I tried to approach it in the method of positive unity of all methods of knowledge. The enemies of my work, with whom I consciously fought, were: ideological narrowness, journalistic arrogance and aesthetic-amorphous approximate writing. (…) In contrast to the vaguely tremulous memories, the blessed memory honors and loves in the past, not that which was in it and died, but only that immortal eternal that did not come true, did not come to life: its testament to future days and generations. In contrast to memories, memory does not argue over time; she does not yearn for his irretrievably departed happiness, since she carries his everlasting truth in herself.
Memories are romance, lyrics. The memory, Plato's anamnesis and the eternal memory of the dirge, are, in philosophical language, ontology, and for religious and church worship is liturgy. ”
Memoirs of the outstanding Russian philosopher Yevgeny Trubetskoy: “Memoirs”, “From the Past” and “From Traveling Notes of a Refugee”. His son writes:
“The real“ Memories ”of my late father, Prince Yevgeny Nikolayevich Trubetskoy, are part of the conceived description of his whole life. The beginning of this work was laid, as stated in the introduction, in the very days of the February 1917 revolution. These were memories of childhood. They are intimate family nature and are not intended for printing, but only for families and close relatives. At that time, the father did not even intend to proceed to a consistent description of his whole life. In the spring and summer of 1919, he wrote another part of these memoirs: “Travel Notes of a Refugee”, which describes the last period of his life: the flight from Moscow of the Bolsheviks, his stay and political work in Ukraine: and, finally, life and experiences in the Armed Forces of the South of Russia. After this work, my father finally thought to reproduce the memories of his whole life, and the previously written memories of childhood and the “Travel Notes of the Refugee” were supposed to come in here, making up a common whole. Starting from the gymnasium years of life – from 1874, he brought his memories to the early years of his professorship, ending the beginning of the nineties of the last century, and was interrupted in the middle of December 1919, one month before his death, leaving Novocherkassk due to the Bolsheviks. ” .
“Get to know yourself” – we are interested in this case the second part of this book of Bibikhin, without exaggerating the great modern thinker: his diary entries, where philosophical reflections are interspersed with autobiographical notes:
“From 7:45 to 10 in the evening in line for gasoline … The lightening sky, in it zigzags, jerky passes bright white, disappears in the eastern horizon. A stream of twin headlights and red lights from me is beautiful. Mankind vomits and shakes, shakes, knocks out – actually, his death? Playing with fire. War, piquant sudden departure – from here. From where A powerful man passes, each step showing the ability to run, beat, push, overcome. Others are soft. I suddenly notice what I think. I find it strange, easy to look at things, people. Stars overhead. Who am I? .. Worlds sonorous, impregnable. Live alone. This morning in the temple, and the priest is the purchaser, settled in a cunning wealth. I feel good in such a church. – My God, just yesterday: I will soon leave this life, I don’t want to, how can I rest. I do not know myself. Who will go where, how? I demand more from others – and myself? ..
You are driven and saved. Dedicated to the emptiness of the world.
Everything, from the plump, pretty young mother Anton, from the crumbling muffler to the semi-military garage on the Krutitsky farmstead, to the Rominsky tricks linked by an invisible thread of the present, shouts about silence, falling up or down, falls into the Past, into the hands of God, in which everything was as it was, and was not, so that there was not what was. Oh my god, really, really? But keep quiet; do not give out.
Strange, strange. You hang. Without help. Try to grab onto something and you fall. ”
"Casus Vita Nova" – a book by Vladimir Martynov, written in the wake of the defeat of his opera Vita Nova criticism. Martynov – one of the most significant modern thinkers and composers. He considers the postmodern a unique chance for Christianity: with the end of modernity, the possibility of a “new sacred space” opens up. “Casus Vita Nova” is a book from the second period of his philosophical creativity, in which he went from pure philosophizing to “autoarchaeology”, to subjectivating his concepts: a mix of philosophy, autobiography, simply “personal utterance”. An interesting “report” of the artist on the creation and fate of his creation; the most interesting philosophy with the “report” of its “residence” by the philosopher himself. We recommend this particular book, because the “Autoarchaeology” itself written in the same genre does not seem so interesting to me, but we don’t have the most wonderful “2013” and “Silence, as it were, for half an hour”. Quotes:
On the famous "end of time of composers", proclaimed by Martynov:
“I affirm that our contemporary art should be replaced by something more than just new art,” a new sacred space must come. The concept of sacral space includes both positivity, and classicism, and nationality, but it also implies something else – it implies a completely new relationship between a person and reality. Оно абсолютно несовместимо с современными принципами композиторства. Вот почему словосочетание “конец времени композиторов” для меня звучит крайне позитивно и радостно — ведь этот самый конец времени композиторов есть не что иное, как залог наступления эры нового сакрального пространства».
А вот о музыку Мартынова, если вы слушали её сразу, поймете, о чем речь:
«Иногда, знаешь, я чувствую прикосновение к этим малоосознанным, но вожделенным сферам в некоторых фрагментах моих сочинений. И я играю эти кусочки, играю их сам себе бессчетное число раз, уносясь на таких волнах к бесконечному Эдему, во всех иного рода попытках недосягаемому. Но они так коротки, эти жалкие кусочки, так мимолетны. А они должны быть вещью в себе, они должны для других значить то же, что и для меня, но как научиться достигать искомого эффекта без этих глупых повторов одного и того же (к чему я, впрочем, люблю прибегать до опьянения), как уловить тайну пружины сладострастия, чтобы можно было сжимать ее или отпускать так долго, как этого мне захочется?!! Неужели во мне заложены способности только к оперированию поверхностной, банальной выразительностью, более или менее ловко и оригинально скомпонованной из носящихся в воздухе штампов, и лишь где-то изредка оказаться проводником разряда, как-то самого собой вырвавшегося из-за глухих туч, навсегда задернувших настоящее небо, за которыми царствуют его таинственные источники — великие и чарующие, полные неги и особого темперамента энергии. У меня же они получают столь низменное и ничтожное выражение, что и другим никому они не понятны, да и я сам скорее домысливаю, пожалуй, чем реально вижу, их грандиозный потенциал. Вот и верчу в недоумении, как баран, какие-то брошенные мне шутливым Богом осколки и в лучшем случае вклеиваю неумелыми и грубыми руками в свои неумелые, грубые и никчемные конструкции, да потом, привлеченный их загадочным сиянием, могу лишь сам снова и снова рассматривать их».
«Дневники» отца Александра Шмемана — книга, которую необходимо прочитать каждому православному. Интересные детали жизни православного священника в США, богословские рассуждения, точные замечания о современной церковной жизни и т. д. и т. д., но главное — поэтичность, красота не текста даже, а того, кто его пишет, совершенно особый — подлинно христианский взгляд, свет, мягкий свет.
«Автобиография» великого христианского писателя и мыслителя Честертона. Честертон писал свою автобиографию перед самой смертью, тяжело больным человеком. Возможно, поэтому, по мнению Натальи Трауберг, здесь есть довольно слабые места. Однако есть и поистине гениальные. Автобиографии интересны уже просто как свидетельство реальной жизни людей. А «Автобиография» Честертона — рассказ о жизни писателя и мыслителя, пришедшего ко Христу, потому что он понял, что Господь — воплощение радости, здравомыслия и жизнерадостности: простых вещей. Простых, потому что истинных.
Честертон начинает, с присущим ему юмором, свою автобиографию так: «Слепо преклоняясь перед авторитетом и преданием, суеверно принимая то, что не могу проверить ни разумом, ни опытом, я не сомневаюсь, что родился 29 мая 1874 года, в Кенсингтоне, на Кэмден-хилл, а крестили меня по канонам англиканства в маленькой церкви св. Георгия, напротив которой стоит водонапорная башня. Соседства этих зданий я не подчеркиваю и гневно отрицаю, что только вся вода Западного Лондона могла сделать меня христианином».
Как пишет сам Льюис, «Настигнут радостью» — это не «нормальная биография», а история обращения. История о том, как великий апологет и христианский писатель пришел к вере, точнее, как Бог привел его к Себе. «Настигнут радостью» написана как история жизни тайными путями, устремленная к своему центру — встрече с Богом. Вот отрывок из «Настигнут радостью», ставший хрестоматийным:
«И вот ночь за ночью я сижу у себя, в колледже Магдалины. Стоит мне хоть на миг отвлечься от работы, как я чувствую, что постепенно, неотвратимо приближается Тот, встречи с Кем я так хотел избежать. И все же то, чего я так страшился, наконец свершилось. В Троицын семестр 1929 года я сдался и признал, что Господь есть Бог, опустился на колени и произнес молитву. В ту ночь, верно, я был самым мрачным и угрюмым из всех неофитов Англии. Тогда я еще не понимал того, что теперь столь явно сияет передо мной, — не видел, как смиренен Господь, Который приемлет новообращенного даже на таких условиях. Блудный сын хотя бы сам вернулся домой, но как воздать мне той Любви, которая отворяет двери даже тому, кого пришлось тащить силой, — я ведь брыкался и отбивался и оглядывался — куда бы мне удрать. Слова «принудь войти», столько раз извращали дурные люди, что нам противно их слышать; но если понять их верно, за ними откроются глубины милости Божьей. Суровость Его добрее, чем наша мягкость, и, принуждая нас, Он дарует нам свободу».
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