The nineteenth and early twentieth century saw the emergence of a controversial school of Russian thinkers, led by the philosopher Nikolai Fedorov and united in the conviction that humanity was entering a new stage of evolution in which it must assume a new, active, managerial role in the cosmos. In the first account in English of this fascinating tradition, George M. Young offers a dynamic and wide-ranging examination of the lives and ideas of the Russian Cosmists. Suppressed during the Soviet period and little noticed in the West, the ideas of the Cosmists have in recent decades been rediscovered and embraced by many Russian intellectuals and are now recognized as essential to a native Russian cultural and intellectual tradition. Although they were scientists, theologians, and philosophers, the Cosmists addressed topics traditionally confined to occult and esoteric literature. Major themes include the indefinite extension of the human life span to establish universal immortality; the restoration of life to the dead; the reconstitution of the human organism to enable future generations to live beyond earth; the regulation of nature to bring all manifestations of blind natural force under rational human control; the transition of our biosphere into a noosphere, with a sheath of mental activity surrounding the planet; the effect of cosmic rays and currently unrecognized particles of energy on human history; practical steps toward the reversal and eventual human control over the flow of time; and the virtues of human androgyny, autotrophy, and invisibility. The Russian Cosmists is a crucial contribution to scholarship concerning Russian intellectual history, the future of technology, and the history of western esotericism.
- Publication Date:
- 28 / 06 / 2012