The nature of the relationship between primitive man and nature caused a feeling of inseparable connectedness: the forces of nature are personified in the images of the gods (the person experienced their power and felt powerless in opposing them), people and gods live a common life, share common features and even vices. Gods are not only omnipotent, but also capricious, malicious, vindictive, loving, etc., while the heroes of myths are endowed with fantastic abilities in overcoming evil, in the fight against enemies.
The fact that Hegel once wrote about the relationship between the gods and heroes of Homer is quite applicable to the myths of the peoples of the East: “All the content attributed to the gods should also be at the same time the inner essence of individuals, so that, on the one hand, the dominant forces appear individualized on their own, but on the other hand, this external principle for man is immanent to his spirit and character. ”
Gradually, the ordering of chaos and the organization of the universe begin to be attributed to the “first man.” In Vedic myths, this is a thousand-headed, thousand-eyed, thousand-footed Purusha, whose mind or spirit gave rise to the moon, eyes — the sun, mouth, fire, breath — the wind, etc. Purusha is not only a model of the cosmos, but also of the human community with the earliest social hierarchy, manifested in the division into “varnas”: priests (brahmanas) emerged from the mouth of the Purusha, the military class (kshatriya) emerged from the hands, merchants (vaishya ), from the feet – all the rest (sudras).
Similarly, in Chinese myths, the origin of the world is associated with a supernatural man named Pangu, from whose sigh the wind and clouds appeared, from the head – thunder, from the left eye – the sun, from the right – the moon, from the body with arms and legs – four countries of the world, from the blood of the river, from the sweat – rain and dew, from the glitter of the eyes – lightning, etc.
Turning to the rational understanding of the causality of the world in various manifestations of its constancy and variability, a person had to see in a new way his place and purpose in it. He still felt himself in continuity with the cosmos as a whole, but he had already thought about the existence of the root cause, the fundamental principle of being, of some absolute.
The relationship of a person with an absolute is formed, as it were, but in two models, which reflect not so much the peculiarities of the psychological makeup of the Eastern peoples, but the specifics of the social structure of ancient Asian society. The two pillars of it are centralized despotism, based on state ownership of land and water, and the rural community. The virtually unlimited power of the Eastern monarch was broken in consciousness as the omnipotence of the one who acquired the attributes of the main deity.
In China, a single “great beginning capable of giving birth, endowing and destroying” a man deified in heaven – “Tien”. In “Shi Jin” (“Canon of Poems”), Sky is the universal ancestor and great ruler: the human race is born into the world and gives it the rule of life. The mention of the rules of life is not accidental. Illumination of public foundations, their preservation and maintenance is the most important social function of the Tian cult. It is noteworthy that the concept of human perfection that develops somewhat later implies first of all “humanity”, which is interpreted as following the rules, ritual, etiquette. ”
A noble husband thinks about how not to violate the laws,” he must comply with the requirements of the ritual. “Etiquette” in addition to the norms of intrinsic value, like truthfulness, kindness, courage, moral imperative “what I do not want me to do, and I don’t want to do to others, “included as a paramount principle of virtue respect and strict obedience to the established division of social roles: the sovereign should be sovereign, the dignitary – dignitary, father – father, son, son.
Confucianism, which had laid the ideological foundation of Chinese society since antiquity, put forward as the cornerstone of social organization — whether that meant the norm, as a rule, ceremonial. Lee assumed to maintain forever rank hierarchical differences. According to the canonical treatise “Li Ji,” Confucius said that there can be no order and, consequently, no prosperity in the state: “Does this mean that there are no differences between a sovereign and a citizen, up and down, old and young … Lee – the established order of things. ”
Similarly, in India, “forming the real and unreal Brahma, not only” the eternal creator of beings, “but also defining for all” names, activities (karma) and special position. “He is credited with establishing caste division and demanding unconditional compliance. According to outgoing from Brahma to the “Laws of Manu” (established in the 6th-5th centuries BC), the highest position in society is occupied by priests – brahmans, whose service is rated as a “best deal” for a commoner – a sudra. The latter “should not accumulate wealth; even having the opportunity (to do it), because, acquiring wealth, oppresses the Brahmins. ”
Mystical ascesis testifies to selfishness, counting on individual liberation from suffering, but it also demonstrates the highest degree of altruism: the rejection of earthly blessings, sacrifice serve for others an example of selflessness, a constant reproach to greed, low passions and lack of spirituality. Peace and life negation often turns out to be a denial only of the world of evil, but not of life as such. On the contrary, in the constant striving for self-improvement, in the relentless search for truth, the true affirmation of life manifests itself as an ever-changing process, a stream of endless changes.
Evaluating the Socratic principle of “Know yourself,” Hegel called it “the central point of the entire world-historical turn” in the sense that “the place of the oracles was taken by the testimony of the spirit of individuals …”. A similar turn was observed almost at the same time in the cultures of the East. The tendency to recognize self-consciousness as a source of virtue, the subjectivization of morality, observed, in particular, in early Buddhism, was a speech against the absolute authority of the Vedas and the severity of caste discipline.
Fluctuation between two extremes: the justification of the social status of morality by belittling the real individual or the assertion of a particular individual by ignoring the social essence of morality was a universal characteristic of the ancient era. However, the peculiarities of social life of the ancient Asian society could not help but affect the preponderance of the “hesitations” in the direction unfavorable for the further development of a free personality. This, in turn, determined the fate of the development of philosophical thought, which for centuries, remaining in the confined space of traditional thinking structures, was occupied mainly by their commenting and interpretation.
Why did not the Renaissance, the Enlightenment and the Reformation take place in the East or, at least, not fully realized, why did the traditions of rationalism turn out to be undeveloped and therefore the centers of the highest ancient civilization of India and China remained unaffected by scientific and technical progress? Here is an insignificant part of those numerous “riddles” that have been given to us by the East and to which scientists have yet to answer.
In parallel with the formation and development of Indian and Chinese philosophy, the emergence and formation of philosophical thought in ancient Greece takes place; It was precisely ancient Greek philosophy that was destined to play an important role in the life of European humanity, its history and culture.