Modern society is characterized by a high level of scientific and technological development. But this does not solve the problem of crises in different spheres of life. The cause of the situation we are facing is seen in the tradition of abstract scientific thinking. Emerging in the New Time, this tradition excluded the spiritual constituent from the systemic consideration. This methodological approach resulted in problems in spiritual and ethical development of man. The purpose of the article is to reveal the algorithm of the holistic cosmic thinking contributing to spiritual and ethical development of man and the harmony of Being. The object of the research is to reveal the holistic approach of cosmic thinking, its universal principles, world view peculiarities, and the system of interrelations. The research methodology is based on the holistic systemic approach stemming from the ideas of the Teaching of Living Ethics and other philosophical works. The research employs comparative philosophical analysis of the principles underlying the Bases of Being and their synthesis. As a result of the research we obtained an algorithm of cosmic thinking expressing by itself a triune dynamics of ontological, epistemological and axiological aspects of Reality. Representing by itself a synthetic unity of life, cognition and self-perfection, the algorithm shows their systemic interrelation and mutual influence in the process of cosmic Being.
Keywords: Cosmic thinkingsynthesisa holistic approachharmonythe Teaching of Living Ethics
At present mankind has reached a high level of scientific and technical development. Evidently, this
fact suggests a highly developed mentality on the whole. Unfortunately, this condition does not ensure
a harmonious life for society. We can see lots of problems of social, ecological and political character.
The cause of these is seen in imperfection of spiritual and aesthetic aspect of man’s consciousness. To
improve the situation, it is important to reveal the root of the problem.
It is noteworthy that a great number of philosophers, such as Soloviev, V.S. (1999), Berdyaev, N.A.
(1994) and Florensky, P.A. (2001; 2003), draw our attention to the predominance of the so-called
problem of “abstract sources” in the new European philosophy. Bulgakov, S.N. (1993) refers to this
tradition of thinking as “logical monism”. According to him, the core of the problem lies in the fact that
in these philosophical systems “one side, or only one part of integral reality wants to be seen as a whole
<…> claims to be absolute philosophy” (Bulgakov, 1993: 312-313).
They use any possible methods to achieve this goal. It results in errors of thinking that affect
practical activities and behavior. Being accumulated, they turn into global economic, political and
military problems of mankind threatening the life of the planet.
In connection with the aggravated problem of harmony in the relationship between people and the
surrounding world it may be helpful to reconsider the peculiarities of the holistic philosophical
approach. The purpose of the article is an attempt to understand the fundamental features of the holistic
approach represented in the philosophical tradition of cosmic thinking. The subject of the research is
the system of principles of holistic approach of cosmic thinking, its philosophical peculiarities and the
universal system of interrelation. The article supports the idea that mastering the principles of cosmic
thinking by people and their aspiration to apply them to real life will be a great contribution to the
harmony of Being and evolutional development of man and society.
The research methodology is based on the holistic systemic approach presented to this or that extent
in the works of different researchers in the history of philosophical thought including the Russian
cosmism. This approach was best expressed in the cosmic world look of the Teaching of Living Ethics.
The methodological principle of the Three-Hypostases Essence of the Bases of Being revealed in its
basis provides opportunities for systemic solution of the problem of synthesis of ontological,
epistemological and axiological aspects of Reality. The research employs comparative philosophical
analysis of principles underlying the Bases of Being as well as their synthesis. Ideas of the founders of
philosophy, philosophers-cosmists, Berdyaev, N.A. (1994), Bulgakov, S.N. (1993), Florensky, P.A.
(2001; 2003), Roerich, H.I. (2000a; 2000b; 2006), Roerich, N.K. (1995; 1996), The Teaching of Living
Ethics (2003; 2011), etc., Shaposhnikova, L.V. (2005), et alt are connected with this scientific trend.
Cosmic Being as integrity of life, cognition and improvement
The author starts off from the principle of self-sufficiency and self-organization of the Absolute in
Eternity and Infinity. According to Roerich, H.I. (2000b: 252), the Absolute occasionally appears in
Manifested and Non-Manifested Being. In its essence, this utterance is conformable with the following
well-known philosophical thesis - “All in One and One in All” - which, in fact, expresses the universal
Essence of the Absolute in its opposite states. In their unity, they make up the Cycle of self-
organization of the Absolute which functions as a basic principle of the spiral movement underlying the
manifested cosmic Being
In this context, to describe the holistic dynamic cosmic Reality occasionally manifested in Eternity
from an Integral, Absolute, or Divine Source a relevant holistic philosophical approach is needed. That
is, on the one hand it should provide theoretical adequacy in reflecting the unchangeable structure of
relations stemming from the Bases of Being as an integrity of ontological, epistemological and
axiological aspects in an integral philosophic system. On the other hand, in compliance with these
aspects, it should as well appear in the real peculiarity of its practical synthetic implementation as a
trinity of life, cognition and perfection. Under the holistic approach, these aspects are inseparable.
Cognition and perfection are impossible without life as well as life is senseless and self-destroying
without cognition and perfection.
Thus, in the integrity of its theoretical and practical meaning, the holistic approach appears to be a
really efficient algorithm of both a holistic systemic thinking and the self-organizing cosmic Being of
the Absolute. It was as early as in ancient times when Parmenides mentioned the synthetic integrity of
thinking and being: “Thinking and the thought that it is are the same; for you will not find thinking
apart from what is, in relation to which it is uttered” (Anthology of world philosophy. Antiquity, 2001:
53). Therefore, it becomes clear that it is the adequacy of the thinking process to the principles of
thinking underlying the Bases of Being that creates the preconditions for both true cognition and true
harmony of life and, hence, natural evolutional cosmic development of man.
The above mentioned makes it clear that the synthetic quality of the holistic approach also suggests
using a synthetic categorical-conceptual apparatus. Let us take a closer look at these theses.
Holistic philosophical approach and the tradition of abstract thinking contrasted
The problem of the holistic approach in understanding Being has existed at all the historic stages of
the development of philosophy. The New European tradition of abstract thinking has made it even
more topical. Despite their different, sometimes incompatible philosophical views, many
representatives of various philosophical schools strived for developing the holistic approach in the XIX-XXth centuries. In the Russian philosophy many researchers were united by the fact that their philosophical system presupposed the understanding of Being in close connection with the Absolute, or the Divine Source. But at the same time the Absolute also represented the Outcome for all the existing things as well as the criterion of Truth. The inseparable unity of the Source, The Outcome and the Existence of manifested Being as structural elements of the self-organizing dynamics of the Absolute gave birth to the principles of the synthetic research methodology of the holistic approach. These principles were employed in this or that way by representatives of different schools creating a prerequisite of their cohesion. For example, here is what Florensky P.A. wrote about the existence in the holistic reality of Divine spiritual energy which is invisible in relation to the visible physical reality: “…in my world, the physical as such, i.e. regardless of its pervasion with spiritual and occult energies, does not exist” (2001: 248). Roerich H.I. pointed out that under the holistic approach of understanding
Being it is important to keep in mind the following: “Synthesis is summarization of the processes of the
Visible and the Invisible Being” (2001: 252).
In the context of their research all the philosophers made their own contribution to understanding
and further development of the holistic approach creating a more and more complete representation of
the holistic research methodology. For instance, Florensky, P.A. who understood the Absolute I as the
Subject of the Truth existing in the dynamics of its three potential states or Persons (I, You, He)
reasoned: “Self-validity and self-grounding of the Subject of Truth of I is the relation of He through
You. Through You the subjective I becomes the objective He, and in the latter it has its validation, its
objectivity as I.” (Florensky, 2003: 66). In fact, by this Florensky, P.A. reveals the fundamental
substantive elements of the potential of Absolute I in the process of cyclical Manifestation of the
Absolute which Roerich, H.I talks about in the citation above. This also may be understood as the
expression of the principle of spiral motion described by Blavatskaya, H.P. (1992).
Reasoning about the holistic cognition from this angle, Blavatskaya, H.P. also notes: “To make of
Science an integral whole necessitates, indeed, the study of spiritual and psychic, as well as physical
Nature” (1992: V.1. B. 2, p. 734). Berdyaev, N.A., who confirms this thesis on the whole, writes that
“philosophical cognition is a spiritual act which employs not only the intellect but also a complex of
spiritual powers of man, his emotional and volitional essence” (Berdyaev, 1994: С. 235).
Let us go back to S.N. Bulgakov’s reasoning. After mentioning the drawbacks of the new European
tradition of abstract thinking, he finds a relevant holistic pattern in the structure of sentence which in its
essence is the trinity of the subject, the predicate, or in other words the statement about the subject, and
the linking verb.
Thus, according to Bulgakov, S.N., the structure of the sentence “I am something (potentially
everything)” (Bulgakov, 1993: 317) expresses both the ontological and epistemological aspects of the
integral structural organization of the Bases of Being. In this structure “I” ontologically is the subject,
or as Bulgakov puts it: “Spirit is a living sentence constantly realizing itself” (Bulgakov, 1993: 318].
On the other hand, the epistemological aspect expressing the way of integral judgment as the self-
consciousness of “I” is also represented in the sentence pattern. As Bulgakov says, “it is sentence that
lies in the basis of self-consciousness” (Bulgakov, 1993: 318].
Taking into account the ideas of the Teaching of Living Ethics and the above mentioned
philosophers belonging to different schools it should be noted that the given system of relationships
also contains an axiological aspect. In the context of the holistic approach it expresses the semantic
value of the proposition from the angle of its validity or conformity with the supreme principles of
Absolute Being. The Living Ethics states that “Love is the leading, life-giving source. <…> Love is the
crown of Light” (The Teaching of Living Ethics, 2011: 140). We can find similar quotations about
Love as the nature of God in the works by Florensky, P.A.: “God is Love…, i.e. love is the divine
essence, His true nature” (Florensky, 2003: 83) and other authors. It means that man’s judgments and
activities take on a truly creative character if they are directed at Common Good, are filled with Love
to the world and its Divine Source. On the contrary, a piecemeal abstract way of thinking which does
not systemically take into consideration this moment will have a conditional, probabilistic character
fraught with egoistical, selfish manifestations.
As it was mentioned above, in the context of the holistic approach words, concepts and judgments
acquire a synthetic character. In other words, in contrast to pure neutral abstractions, they are perceived
as real born substances containing energy of a certain quality and able to interact with the surrounding
world. This is what Florensky, P.A. discusses in “The Watershed of Thought” in the chapter titled “The
Magic of Word” (Florensky, 2001: 244-265). Not taking into account this circumstance may bring
down man’s responsibility for his thoughts and words.
From the methodological angle, the empirical and rational research instruments used in the tradition
of abstract thinking are not sufficient for integral understanding and veritable solving the problems of
Being, on all levels including the cosmic level. The fact is that in this case we only take into
consideration what is accessible for empirical perception and can be understood with the use of rational
methods. The hyper-rational, metaphysical, or the so-called spiritual aspect of Being is left out beyond
the systemic comprehension. It is a structural element of integrity, the element that interconnects
separate forms of life, processes and phenomena of cosmic Being in a single system at all levels of its
hierarchical organization. From the methodological angle, the essence of spiritual aspect has not been
thoroughly studied by the modern scientific thought. But the existence of a certain profound reality
gapped by traditional empirical and theoretical methods of cognition is not to be excluded today. In
research process the manifestation of this reality is designated as “intuition”. In the Teaching of Living
Ethics this phenomenon of spiritual interrelation with the Bases of Being is called “sense knowledge”.
Due to this, there sometimes happen prominent discoveries of new natural laws revealing profound
mysteries of Being. The synthetic quality of sense knowledge is linked to the activities of a spiritually
developed heart. Many philosophers devoted their speculations to the philosophy of heart. Yurkevich,
P.D. (1990), Soloviev, V.S. (1999), Florensky P.A. (2003), Vysheslavtsev, B.P. (1994), Ilyin, I.A.,
(2002), Berdyaev, N. A. (1994) et alt are among them. In the Teaching of Living Ethics, there is a book
devoted to this problem which is called "The Heart".
In the context of the holistic approach a spiritually developed heart is, on the one hand, the
implementation of the higher “I” of man (i.e. motivating their activities from the angle of the true
knowledge, consciousness, goodness, beauty, unlike the lower, egoistical and selfish “I” when it
dominates over man’s judgment). And on the other hand, the heart is the centre of a human being’s
connection with the Absolute Divine I. That is why the research tools of the holistic approach
necessitate ennoblement with the spiritual energy of the true belief and the sense knowledge of heart.
Lacking this spiritual cordial synthesis man’s thinking becomes ephemeral, opportunistic, unreliable
from the angle of truth with all the ensuing practical consequences.
Today it is important to methodologically improve man’s way of thinking so that it will be able to
reflect the real structure and laws of cosmic Being.
Structural elements of cosmic thinking and their characteristic features
Unfortunately, the brief format of the article does not allow giving a detailed presentation of
peculiarities of cosmic outlook. Based on the author’s research some aspects of which have been
presented previously (Svyatokhina, 2013; 2015a; 2015b), a number of theses making up the platform
for judgments and conclusions can be formulated. They are supported by the literature mentioned
above. Among important features inherent in cosmic thinking we can point out the following.
The principle of self-sufficiency and self-organization of the Absolute in Eternity and Infinity is
realized due to its Spiritual and Material nature. The thesis that the world: “is composed of various
combinations of differentiations of the One element - Spirit-Matter” (Roerich, 2006: 24), for example,
was formulated by Roerich, H.I. This universal basis of the world allows to ensure its diversity on the
one hand, and its harmonious unity and development on the other. “The world is one in the consonance
of spirit.” (The Teaching of Living Ethics, 2003: 307).
At the heart of development there lies the law of spiral movement and variation of vibration of all-
source spiritual and material energy of manifested forms of life from minimal to maximal and vice
versa. Various harmonious combinations of them create the greatness of Cosmic Being.
Complete evolutional Cycle of Manifestation consists of a descending, involutional part, and
ascending, evolutional constituent. In the first, involutional part of the Cycle there takes place a process
of the so-called “descent of spirit into matter”. It provides evolutional preparation for the human form
of Being which is the main one at this stage. Unlike sub-human forms (animals, plants, minerals etc.),
and due to its structural organization, human cosmic form of life reaches the state of the microcosm, or
the similarity of Macrocosm. This provides an opportunity for realization of the second part of the
Cycle, the evolutional one, “the ascent of spirit from matter”.
Initially this cosmic process is intended to be realized through spiritual perfection of a human
essence in the process of historic development. The following stages may be defined as Divine-Human,
Divine and so on, according to the stages of Spiritual Cosmic Hierarchy aspiring to the Infinite. In the
context of the holistic approach which employs the category of Eternity it becomes evident that the
stages of Spiritual Cosmic Hierarchy are not abstract judgments about Reality to reach by people in
their spiritual development. The Spiritual Hierarchy of Human Cosmic Beings who have passed the
human stage of development in earlier cycles is the true Reality of Cosmic Being that so far has not
been considered by the existing research methodology. Pointing out an outstanding contribution of
these Cosmic Teachers and Instructors to the development of mankind at all stages of its history
Shaposhnikova, L.V. writes: “… representatives of the animated Cosmos, or Cosmic Hierarchs, emerge
on the earth to bring man knowledge, expand his consciousness, and explain things unperceived by the
moment” (Shaposhnikova, 1996: 326).
Thus, the maximal Cycle of Manifestation of the Absolute includes all the system of Hierarchically
organized cycles, or forms, of life up to minimal, relating to the beginning of the evolutional way. All
forms of life and their natural evolutional development are formed basing on the single principle
arising from the Three-Hypostases Essence of the Bases of Being which also generates integral laws of
cosmic Being. In this research the most actual of them are the law of Reincarnations and the law of
Cause and Effect.
According to the holistic approach the Essence of the Bases of Being is seen as a Three-Hypostasis
unity of Life, Mind and Love of Absolute I. Each Hypostasis performs its own indispensable function
in self-organization of integrity of the Absolute in Eternity and Infinity. Moreover, each Hypostasis is
impossible without the other two.
Thus, the Hypostasis of Life (the ontological aspect) expresses the principle of an integral
organization of Manifested Being of the Absolute, which is only possible in the trinity with the
hypostases of Mind and Love of the Absolute “I”.
The hypostasis of Mind (the epistemological aspect) in the process of manifestation of the Absolute
is a three-link system of the cycle of Spiral Movement understood as
double negation is the expression of the cycle of the development of self-consciousness of the
manifested potential of Absolute
completes its cycle as
angle of its structural organization, it is a system with a feedback giving an opportunity to estimate and
control one’s own activities and development as well as move towards cosmic evolution, or involution.
At the same time, the system with full feedback in the limit is synthesis (Razumov & Blagodatskikh,
2006: 267) or the Single, the Absolute.
The hypostasis of Love of Absolute I (axiological aspect), being the energy nature of the Divine
Absolute, is called upon to give birth and harmonize all around. Love is the condition of self-
organization of the Absolute in Eternity and Infinity. In the cycle of manifestation of potentialities of
the Absolute, Love is the criterion of the true estimation of man’s conscious activities and the condition
of his evolutional development. This conclusion is drawn from the principle of functioning of the
system with a positive feedback. According to it, the positive sign of the feedback loop, i.e.
conformable with the input signal of the system, is its development.
In this context, the Principle of Absolute I symbolizes the synthetic Centre of manifestation of
universal energy of Love, Life and Mind of the Absolute. In the Teaching of Living Ethics this centre
is called Heart. That is, in the system of Three-Hypostases structural organization “I” is the synthetic
centre, the heart of integrity, or form of life of this or that kind, as well as of her consciousness.
Roerich H.I., writes: “Spirituality, first of all, is consciousness, and consciousness is the foundation of
the Universe. Each atom has its consciousness, as wherever there is life there is consciousness; but, of
course, its gradations are infinite” (Roerich, 2000a: 88). Actually, Heart is not merely the centre of the
manifested integrity, or form of life, but the centre of life’s consciousness and contact with the
surrounding world and the Bases of Being.
Spiritual potential of cosmic thinking
The research showed that the potential of cosmic thinking gives mankind not only new opportunities
of cognition but opens new horizons of cosmic Being, creates preconditions for man’s forming truly
responsible thinking aspiring to the harmony of Being.
The necessity of man’s spiritual perfection and developing the best qualities of his heart acquires
special significance. The fact is that due to its central position in the structure of organizing integrity,
the heart is actually the connection point of the Divine Source giving life to all, and the Divine
Outcome expressing the purpose and the sense of the manifested Being. In its essence, the period
between the beginning of manifestation of human life form and its completion is the opportunity of
cosmic evolutional development for heart and mind. But its realization is only possible as a result of
assimilation of man’s own life aspirations and cognitive activities with Divine Source based on creative
spiritual energy of Love. Otherwise, only involution, or the descent of human nature to lower levels of
development is possible, which will mean having to retake the cycles.
In the process of evolution the scale of heart’s activity and self-organization opportunities expand
significantly due to the laws of cosmic Being. The Teaching of Living Ethics says: “I advise, first of
all, to pay attention to the heart as the source of the predestined unification of the worlds. It should not
be thought that Hierarchy is only discipline; it is the advance into the Higher World” (2003: 217-218).
This means that new, larger-scaled cosmic opportunities of man’s Being are disclosed through the
spiritual development of heart.
According to the Teaching of Living Ethics, after having successfully passed the human stage of
evolutionary development, the Spiritual Cosmic Hierarchy of Human Beings aspires in the Infinity.
They possess deep knowledge about the laws and principles of Cosmic Being and successfully
implement them into the life of Cosmos. Only laws based on the Truth, Beauty and Common Good can
lead to harmonious collaboration and creative activities of Spiritual Cosmic Hierarchy. Only man’s
conforming qualities will be the engine to engage them in this creative process and further evolutional
development. “Merger with the Cosmic rhythm is the Foundation of all Transcendental provisions”
noted Roerich H. I. (Roerich, 2000b: 253).
From the above said it is clearly seen that the energy of Love is connected with the spiritual sphere
of the heart’s activity. That is why cosmic thinking can manifest itself increasingly alongside with
man’s spiritual and aesthetic development. This, in its turn, will contribute to the harmony of Being and
man’s cosmic evolution.
As it was shown above, the New European Tradition of abstract thinking does not contain the
necessary methodological potential to solve the problem of harmony of Being. As a solution, the author
used the already existing in the history of philosophical thought holistic approach including the Russian
cosmism and the Teaching of Living Ethics where it is most fully represented.
The author’s contribution consists in formulating the principle of the Three- Hypostases Essence of
the Absolute Bases of Being (encompassing the trinity of the ontological, epistemological and
axiological aspects) and the holistic synthetic algorithm of cosmic Being as the trinity of life, cognition
and self-perfection stemming from it.
These research tools allowed to see that in the context of abstract thinking man activates only
intellectual, empirical and rational, potential leading to a relative, piecemeal result. It fails to reach an
integral synthetic perception of reality as the spiritual and ethical, or axiological, aspect of the holistic
thinking connected with the activity of the heart is not taken into consideration. But, as it was shown,
the heart is the centre of the structural organization of integrity and carries the spiritual energy
connection with the Bases of Being on the basis of Love. The exclusion of the backbone structural
element from the process of thinking leaves it without the source of energy and the criterion of verity
and only supports its external shape. That is why the results of such a piecemeal thinking are fraught
with arbitrariness, disharmony, lack of vitality.
The holistic cosmic thinking stemming from the eternal principles of the Absolute Bases of Being
includes not only empiric and rational but also spiritual and ethical aspect of heart activity in the
structure of thinking. The research showed that the principles of cosmic synthetic thinking contain a
unique potential for spiritual and aesthetic development of man' consciousness encouraging him to put
higher, eternal values resulting from the Bases of Being into real practice of life. Such a systemic
ideological attitude in man’s consciousness creates objective conditions for spiritual and moral self-
perfection as well as successful solutions to practical challenges, such as maintaining peace and
creativity in the Common Good. This is an important background of the harmony of Being.
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Svyatokhina, G. (2019). Cosmic Thinking as a Factor of Harmony of Being. In A. Sandu, T. Ciulei, & A. Frunza (Eds.), Logos Universality Mentality Education Novelty, vol 15. European Proceedings of Social and Behavioural Sciences (pp. 984-992). Future Academy. https://doi.org/10.15405/epsbs.2016.09.122