"Ethnogenesis and the Biosphere"
DRIVE IN ETHNOGENESIS
The Ethnogenic Sign or X-Factor
Here it is, the X-factor! Now I ask the reader to accept my apologies for having rambled so long with him through the 'jungle and deserts' of geographical, biological, and ethnographic subjects, and not directly told you what the secret is. For you simply would not have believed me. You would have said: 'But this is all quite clear. An ethnos is determined by language, race, the geographical environment, social relations, self-awareness, processes of evolution, or a combination of all of them, or by some of the factors named, to one's taste.' And that is not only the view of dilettantes but also of many professionals, although it proves bankrupt every time it is applied to the analysis of ethnogenesis.
My task was to show not only that not one of the listed factors provided a chance of constructing a hypothesis, i.e. an uncontradictory explanation of all the facts of ethnogenesis known at a given time (although the number of rigorously recorded facts is by no means unlimited), but also that no combination of them did. It follows from this that the proposed solutions were incomplete. Consequently, a right arises to look for a new solution, i.e. to construct an original hypothesis. Any hypothesis, to be acceptable, must explain all the known factors. But the conversion of a hypothesis into a theory is a very complicated business, so that a scholar has no right to establish the moment of this evaluative transition. His task is different: to expound his point of view and present the substantiation of it to the judgment of contemporaries and posterity.
Some now understand by psychology the physiology of higher nervous activity, which is manifested in people's behaviour. Individual psychology is often integrated into systems of the highest order (social and ethnic psychology), but the scale of the system does not alter the point in my posing of the question. The motivation of the deeds of individual people is therefore not a matter of indifference for my analysis, because they compose the ethnic stereotypes of behaviour.
In the words of Frederick Engels, 'no one can do anything without at the same time doing it for the sake of one or other of his needs and for the sake of the organ of this need'.1 Man's needs yield to classification, for which many degrees of fractionalism we do not need are proposed. For the purposes of my analysis it is advisable to limit the division to two groups of different sign. The first is the set of needs that ensures self-preservation of the individual and the species -the 'need of needs'; the second is the motives of another kind thanks to which intellectual assimilation of the unknown comes about and the inner organization is complicated – the 'needs of growth', which Dostoevsky described in The Karamazov Brothers as the need of knowledge, because the secret of human existence is not just to live but what to live for, and moreover to establish itself surely everywhere, because man needs a community of ideals (what I would call an ethnic dominant). The latter does not arise of itself, however, but appears and develops together with the phases of ethnogenesis, i.e. is a function of the sought after X-factor. I am now almost at my goal.
The examples cited above indicate how different are the conditions in which processes of ethnogenesis begin. But at the same time a more or less uniform further course of them is always observed, sometimes disturbed by external effects. So if, in trying to discover a global pattern, we employ constant four-phase scheme of the process and ignore external impulses as chance interference, we inevitably come to a conclusion about the existence of a single cause of the origin of all ethnoi on the globe. It will be the very X-factor that must be taken as the sought invariant.
In order to convince you that I have discovered precisely the magnitude that is the impulse of ethnogenesis I must show that the three classifications noted above are built into one scheme by allowing for it: viz., (a) the ethnological, i.e. division into 'anti-egoists' and 'egoists'; (b) the geographical or relation to the terrain; and (c) the historical, i.e. the natural dying out of an ethnic community, passing through the phases of rise and fall. Coincidence of the three lines adjusts the accuracy of the proposed conception and disclosure of the X-factor.
Let me start with the path of 'empirical generalization', and see what element is present in all the beginnings of ethnogenesis, however varied they have been. As we have seen, the forming of a new ethnos always starts with an irresistible inner urge to purposive activity, always linked with a change in the surroundings, social or natural, achievement of an intended goal, often illusory or disastrous for the subject itself, being, moreover, more valuable to it than even its own life. That is undoubtedly a seldom encountered phenomenon and a deviation from the species norm of behaviour, because the described impulse is opposed to the instinct of self-preservation and consequently has an inverse sign. It may be connected with both heightened capabilities (talent) and medium ones, which indicates its independence among the other stimuli of behaviour described in psychology. This characteristic has never and nowhere yet been described and analyzed, but it is precisely it that underlies the anti-egoistic ethic in which the interests of the collective, even though incorrectly understood, prevail over the craving for life and concern for one's offspring. Individuals that have these attributes in conditions favourable for them perform (and cannot help performing) deeds and actions that in sum break the inertia of tradition and initiate new ethnoi.
The effect generated by this attribute has long been seen; furthermore, it has even been known as 'passion', but in everyday usage any strong feeling has come to be called such, and ironically, simply any, even weak attraction. For the purposes of scholarly analysis, therefore, I suggest a new term 'drive', excluding from it the animal instincts that stimulate the egoistic ethic, and the caprices that are symptoms of a disordered mind, and equally mental diseases, because although drive is of course a deviation from the species norm, but by no means pathological.
Engels on tire role of human passions. Frederick Engels clearly described the force of human passions and their role in history.
This thought runs like a red thread through the tissue of his Origin of the Family, Private Property and the State. It was 'the greed for wealth', he points out, that led to the origin of antagonistic classes.3 And, when speaking of the decline of the gentile system into a society that was in the phase of homeostasis, he wrote:
That is how Engels regarded the progressive development of mankind. Greed is an emotion rooted in the sphere of the subconscious, a function of higher nervous activity lying at the boundary of psychology and physiology. Equivalent emotions are the greed, sensuality, avarice, and selfishness mentioned by Engels, and also love of power, ambition, envy, and vanity. From Philistine positions this is a 'bad feeling, but from the philosophical angle only the motives of actions can be 'bad' or 'good' and, moreover, consciously and freely chosen ones, but emotions can be only 'pleasant' or 'unpleasant', according to what actions they generate. But actions can be and are very different, and may be objectively useful for the collective. Vanity, for example, drives an artiste to win the approval of the audience and so to improve his talent. A craving for power stimulates the activity of politicians sometimes needed for government decisions. Greed leads to the accumulation of material values, etc. For all these emotions are modes of drive characteristic of almost all people, but in extremely different amounts. Drive can be displayed with equal facility in very different features of character, giving rise to feats and crimes, creation, and good and evil, but no( leaving room for inactivity and comfortable indifference.
Hegel expressed himself as categorically in his lectures on the philosophy of history.
In spite of all its colourfulness, there is a not unimportant defect in that description of the socio-psychological mechanism. Hegel reduced passion to 'interest', and by that, in the nineteenth century, was understood the striving to acquire material goods, which excluded in advance the possibility of self-sacrifice. And it was not by chance that some of Hegel's followers began to exclude sincerity and unselfish sacrifice to the object of their passion from the motives of the behaviour of historical persons. That vulgarizing, which unfortunately became a general misconception, stemmed from the imprecision of the German philosopher's formulation.
But the founders of Marxism surmounted that barrier. In reply to the militant banalities of the Philistines, who saw only selfish egoism in all the actions of all people without exception, they put forward the idea of an indirect determinability that left room for a diversity of manifestations of the human mind.
Yes ideas are lights in the night luring scholars to ever newer achievements, and not penitential chains fettering movement and creation. Respect for predecessors consists in carrying on their feats, but not in forgetting what they did and what they did it for.
Examples of Drive
Napoleon. Lieutenant of artillery Napoleon Bonaparte was poor in his youth and dreamed of a career. That is banal, and therefore understandable. Thanks to personal connections with Augustin Robespierre, he was promoted captain, after which be captured Toulon and, having become a general as a result of that, suppressed a Royalist rising in Paris in October 1795. His career had been made, but neither it, nor his marriage to the beauty Josephine de Beauharnais had brought him wealth. But the Italian campaign had made him rich, so that he could have lived the rest of his life without working. But something pulled him to Egypt, and then instigated the fatal risk of the 18 Brumaire. What? A craving for power, and nothing else! And was he satisfied when he became Emperor of the French? No, he took on himself the excessive burden of wars, diplomacy, legislation, and even enterprises that were in no way dictated by the true interests of the French bourgeoisie, like the Spanish war and the march on Moscow.
Napoleon explained the motives of his actions differently each time, of course, but their real source was an insatiable craving for activity that did not abandon him even on St. Helena, where he wrote his memoirs only because he could not rest without something to do. The stimulus of Napoleon's activity was an enigma for his contemporaries. And it was not without reason that the Parisian bourgeois, welcoming the Russian army that entered Paris in 1814, proclaimed: 'We don't want war, we want to trade'.
And in fact the bourgeois king Louis Philippe, who carried out the social mandate of developing French capitalism, stopped the war with England, which had become traditional, and shifted the activity of his militant subjects to Algeria, because it was more profitable, safer, and did not affect the majority of Frenchmen, who wanted peace and quiet. But why didn't Napoleon do just that after the Peace of Amiens? Since he was not Louis Philippe, the Paris shopkeepers could not order him about. They only wondered why the Emperor was eternally trying to wage war. Just as Alexander the Great was not understood even by his 'companions', as the Conqueror King's closest comrades-in-arms were called.
Alexander the Great. Alexander the Great had everything by right of birth that a person needs: food, a house, amusements, and even talks with Aristotle. Nevertheless he threw himself on Boeotia, Illyria, and Thrace, only because they did not want to aid him in the war against Persia at the time when he, allegedly, wished to avenge the destruction wreaked by the Persians during the Graeco-Persian wars, about which the Greeks themselves had managed to forget.6 Later, after victory over the Persians, he fell upon Central Asia and India, the senselessness of that war outraging even the Macedonians. After his brilliant victory over Porus
Finally, Coenus, son of Polemocrates, plucked up courage and said to him:
That was the point of view of a wise, businesslike man, who took into account and expressed the mood of the troops. One must recognize that Coenus was right in his opinions of realpolitik, but it was not his reason but the irrationality of Alexander's behaviour that played an important role in the origin of the phenomenon we call 'Hellenism', the role of which in the ethnogenesis of the Near Fast is beyond doubt.
In that connection, the speech of the king himself and the arguments by which he tempted the troops to continue the campaign interest me. Listing his conquests, Alexander said:
That was the programme of a man who put thirst for fame above his own well-being and the interests of his country. Alexander himself, moreover, was 'most temperate in bodily pleasure, ... very sparing of money for his own pleasure, but most generous in benefits of others'.10 According to Aristobelos, 'His carousings ... were prolonged not for the wine, for Alexander was no winebibber, but from a spirit of comradeship'.11 But they did not go to war for the sake of satisfaction! And his soldiers did not want to fight the Indians at all, the more so that it was impossible to send the booty home with the existing means of transport. But they fought, and how they fought!
It is hardly worth looking for the reason that drove the Macedonian king to conquest in a striving to acquire markets for trading cities or to eliminate Phoenician competition. Athens and Corinth, which had only just been conquered by force of arms, continued to be enemies of Macedonia; there was no sense at all in sacrificing themselves for the enemy's sake. So the motives of Alexander's behaviour have to be sought in his personal character. Both Arrian and Plutarch noted two qualities in him that were taken to extremes: ambition and pride, i.e. a display of the 'drive' I have described. This excess of energy not only proved sufficient for victory but also to compel his subjects to wage a war they didn't need. Many of Alexander's companions, of course, like Perdiccas, Cleitus, Seleucus, and Ptolemy, also possessed drive and ware sincerely involved in their king's cause, thanks to which ordinary Macedonians and Greeks were drawn into the campaigns. It was not one man but a whole group of people with drive in the ranks of the Macedonian army that were able to break the Persian monarchy and create several Macedonian kingdoms in its place, and even a new ethnos, the Syrian. The Macedonians themselves and the Persians were transformed out of recognition in the new conditions, and became the prey of the Romans and Parthians.
But perhaps it was the idea of merging Hellas with the East that pushed Alexander to his feats? No, he had studied philosophy with Aristotle, and the latter did not teach him such an idea. Chronologically this idea arose not before the conquest of Persia but after it, otherwise Alexander would not have burned down the palace in Persepolis. One is not seeking a compromise in destroying the masterpieces of the art of the conquered people.
So drive is a capacity and striving to change surroundings, or (to use the language of physics) to disturb the inertia of the aggregate state of the environment. Its impulse is so strong that its bearers, people with drive, cannot bring themselves to reckon with the consequences of their actions. That is a very important circumstance showing that drive is not in people's consciousness but in a subconscious element, being an important characteristic reflected in the constitution of nervous activity. The degrees of drive are different, but for it to have visible manifestations recorded in history there must be many with it, i.e. it is not an individual characteristic, but a group one.
Lucius Cornelius Sulla. Let us test the correctness of the description of this characteristic I have discovered on several other personages. Lucius Cornelius Sulla, Roman patrician and nobili, had a house in Rome, villas in its environs, and many slaves and clients. Like Alexander he experienced no lack of either feasts or entertainments. What pushed him into the army of Gaius Marius whom he despised and detested? For he did not confine himself to the duties of a staff officer, but took part in the fighting and captured Jugurtha, risking his life, in order to carry him to Rome and condemn him to starve to death in the Mamertine prison. For all those feats he received only one honour – lounging the Forum and chatting with friends, he could call Marius a dull blockhead and himself a hero. Many people believed that, but not everyone. Then Sulla again got into a fight, won a duel with a chief of barbarians who had invaded Italy and killed him, and – began to boast even more. But that seemed little to him. He was superior to Marius, we presume, but there remained the memory of Alexander. Sulla decided to conquer the East and proclaim himself greater than the Macedonian king. There they said to him: 'Enough! Let others work for a while!' Sulla, it would seem, should have been satisfied because his services to the Roman Republic had been recognized; home – the cup runneth over, all around respect and admiration – live and rejoice! But Sulla did the opposite. He rallied the legions, took his native city by storm, appearing on the barricades without a helmet so as to inspire his comrades-in-arms, got himself sent to another hard war. What drove him on? Obviously, there was no striving for gain. But from my point of view the inner pressure of drive was stronger than the instinct of self-preservation and the respect for the law bred in him by culture and custom. Subsequently, simply the development of the logic of events, what in time of Alexander Pushkin was called 'la force des choses' (a good, but forgotten term). That still applies fully to history, which reinforces ethnology. In 87 B.C. Marius opposed Sulla with an army of veterans and slaves (who were promised their freedom). The Consul Lucius Cornelius Cinna supported Marius, drawing the Italians, i.e. the oppressed ethnos, to the side of the plebs. Having taken Rome Marius ordered the most humane of his generals to massacre the slave-soldiers because reliance on them compromised him. And 4 000 men were cut down in their sleep by their comrades-in-arms. That massacre showed that the plebs, for all their democratic declamations, differed little from their opponents, the optimates.
Yet there were differences. Sulla also mobilized 10 000 slaves in his army, but after victory rewarded them with plots of land and Roman citizenship. The difference between Marius and Sulla was determined more by personal qualities than by party programmes. In contrast to Alexander, moreover, Sulla was not ambitious and proud, because he himself declined power as soon as he felt satisfied. He was an extremely vain and envious person, but these traits of his character were just the manifestations of drive. Let me stress once again that Sulla's success depended not only on his personal qualities but also on his contact with his surroundings. His officers (Pompeius, Lucullus, and Crassus) and even some of the legionaries also had drive, and felt and acted in unison with their leader. Otherwise he could not have become the dictator of Rome.
Jan Huss and Joan of Arc. It also happens that people with drive do not make their near ones victims of their own passions, but sacrifice themselves for their salvation or for an idea. Jan Huss gave an example of such sincere service, when he declared that he said and would say that Czechs in the Czech kingdom by law and by the requirements of nature should be first in positions, just like the French in France and the Germans in their lands. But Huss' sacrifice in Constanza would have been fruitless if Jan Zizka and the Prokop brothers, students of Prague University, citizens and knights, peasants, and Czech priests had not thrown the burgomaster of Prague and the German advisers of stupid King Vaclav IV of the Luxembourg dynasty from a window of the Town Hall in the Old Town. They were possessed by anger, and avenged the unjust sentence of their rector, betrayed, and later burned by the Germans.
If there was a temptation, in the examples of Napoleon, Alexander the Great, and Sulla, cited above, with a great stretching of the point, to see in them 'heroes who lead the crowd', then here, in a similar combination of events, it is obvious that it was not a matter of personal 'heroism' but of the creation of an ethnic dominant that organized the drive of the system and directed it to the intended goal. But many cases are known when a heroically, patriotically minded leader was unable to induce his fellow-citizens to take up arms to defend themselves and their families against a cruel enemy. Let us return to an example I have already referred to earlier.
Suffice it to remember Alexius Murzuphlus, who fought on the walls of Constantinople against the Crusaders in 1204. Around Alexius there was only a Viking (Varangian) bodyguard, and a few hundred volunteers. They were all killed. But the 400 000 population of Constantinople allowed the Crusaders burn and pillage the city. That is where the difference comes from between the role of a leader and the possibilities of an ethnos determined by the level of drive.
Even more indicative were the events that occurred in Rome in A.D. 41. The regime established by Augustus had converted all the republican laws into fictions, and resplendent decorations covering up the despotism of the princeps. Under Tiberius, and especially under Caligula, cruel reprisals against rich people (whose property replenished the imperial treasury) became the fashion. In addition Caligula suffered from fits of paranoia during which he ordered anyone his eyes fell on, or whom he chanced to remember, to be killed. During the republic no one could even have imagined such a thing, but the civil wars had carried off so many men with drive that the senators and equates only shivered and awaited death. Two brave men were found, however, Cassius Chaerea and Cornelius Sabinus, who murdered the scoundrel. The Senate could have taken the power that belonged to it by law, but most of the senators were scattered in their homes, the people thronged the squares, and were then dispersed. The emperor's bodyguards, Germans, having seen him murdered, left, and there was no revolution or coup d'etat.
Some soldier found the terrified uncle of Caligula, Claudius, brought him to his comrades, and they declared him emperor for a payment of 15 000 sestertii for each legionary. But 'differences' reigned in the Senate, until all the cohorts joined Claudius. The republican conspirators were executed and despotic power was established.
Here the leaders were 'heroes' and the 'mob' was numerous, but the system of the Roman ethnos lacked energetic replenishment of the drive that had made the Roman people conquerors of all neighbours and the city of Rome the capital of half the world. The legionaries did not even win, because they met no resistance.
But let me return to the Czechs, who lost the rector of Prague University. The Czechs were not like the Romans of the time of the Principate but were like those of the epoch of Marius and Sulla. Jan Huss, of course, was a good professor and enjoyed popularity among the Czech students, but his influence on all strata of the Czech ethnos grew unbelievably after his martyr's end. Not the 'hero' but his ghost, which became the symbol of ethnic self-assertion, roused the Czechs and threw them against the Germans, so that the German and Hungarian knights fled in panic from the detachments of Czech partisans. One cannot say that the Czechs were inspired by the Prague professor's ideas. Huss defended the teaching of the English priest Wycliffe. And his followers... Some demanded the Eucharist from the cup, i.e. a return to Orthodoxy; others a national church without a break with the Papacy; a third group denied the need for a hierarchy; a fourth declared themselves 'Adamites', stripped themselves naked, and denied everything at all (the Czechs themselves exterminated these madmen).
It was not a positive programme but a negative ethnic dominant that gave the Czechs victory in the twenty years' war (1415-1436) – 'kill the Germans', because they were Catholics, because they were noblemen, because they were peasants who lacked rights, because they were rich burghers at whose expense one could profit, because of anything you like. But at what a price. Bohemia lost the greater part of its population, Saxony, Bavaria, and Austria around half, Hungary, Pomerania, and Brandenburg much less, but also a considerable part.
Bohemia defended freedom and culture but only through an internecine war. The Calixtine Utraquists crushed the Taborite Protestants at Lipany, and dealt with them mercilessly. After that there was an opportunity to conclude peace with the Germans. King Jiri Podebrad (1458-1471) pursued a policy of tolerance because of the people war-weariness.
That brief survey shows that drive is an elemental phenomenon that can be organized in an ethnic dominant by words that reach the masses. But it can also be spilled without flowing together in a single stream, which is what happened in Bohemia in the fifteenth century.
Something similar, but not altogether, happened in the same years in France liberated from the power of the English King Henry VI and his allies, the Burgundians, who were striving to break away from France despite their Dukes being Valois. Joan of Arc, a girl from Lorraine who spoke French with a German accent, would never have saved either Orleans or the King, or her homeland, if she had been surrounded only by the scoundrelly courtiers of the Dauphin and his mistress Agnes Sorel, and there had not been either Jean Dunois and La Hire, or the marshal de Boussac and the captain Jean Poton de Xaintrailles, or reckless cuirassiers and skilled arbalesters, for whom it was enough just to hear 'la belle France' (a formula of the ethnic dominant) to understand what it was that was worth fighting for to victory, even though, before that, those who didn't want 'to become Englishmen' had fought for the Dauphin.
It is not individuals with drive, of course, who do great things, but the general disposition that one can call the level of drive. The mechanism of this phenomenon was brilliantly described by Augustin Thierry in his analysis of Hugh Capet's victory over the Carolingians.
Yes, but this means that all the events I have reviewed had an ethnic content at bottom, or rather in depth. Both Alexander and Sulla, and Jan Huss must be regarded as members of different ethnogeneses in different phases and regions. So, by singling out individual psychological contours we arrive at an ethnopsychology as the source of sources of the history of peoples.
The immense material accumulated by ethnography really calls for generalization. Many ethnographers, especially Soviet ones, have been concerned with quests for the principle on which All the global material can be complicated.13 The principle must clearly be a new one, otherwise it would have been employed long ago, and universal. The truly existing phenomenon of drive meets these requirements like the effect of the impact of phenomena of nature on the behaviour of ethnic communities. But it contradicts the customary conception of an ethnos as a 'social state'.14
The predilection for outmoded and untrue opinions entails a certain logical error of the inductive method, viz., metaphysical distortion. When the brain encounters new ideas, impressions, etc., it seeks rest in a buffer process of analogizing and building a bridge between percepted known and new unknown clothed in a customary dress. That road does not attract me. I want to take the next step. But first let me briefly formulate the conclusions I have already drawn, because they are now becoming starting points.
Saving or squandering? Let us recall that Vernadsky discovered the biochemical energy of animate matter when he compared swarms of locusts with the mass of ore in a deposit. The mass of the swarm proved to weigh more than the mass of an individual ore deposit. And that whole immense mass for some reason chose the road to death. What impelled it? In his search for an answer Vernadsky created a theory of the biosphere as an envelope of the Earth with anti-entropic properties. But people are also part of the biosphere. Consequently, the energy of animate matter permeates our bodies, permeated the bodies of our forefathers, and will permeate the bodies of descendants, stimulating diverse ethnogeneses. My job, now, is to show whether the phenomenon I have discovered and described can solve the problems of ethnogenesis and ethnic history posed above.
The scheme of ethnogenesis as a discrete process, described above, presupposes the sudden rise within some region of a group of ethnoi with drive and then their spread beyond it, loss of the complexity of the ethnic system, and either disposal of the individuals composing it or their conversion into relicts. Since this scheme, in spite of a host of local variants, is traceable everywhere, there is a need to interpret it, even by comparison.
Imagine a ball that has been given a sudden push. The energy of the push is expended at first on overcoming the rest inertia and then on moving the ball, which will slowly die out because of the resistance of the medium, until the ball stops. The path of the ball will depend on whether it is on the level or runs into an obstacle, or rolls into a hole. But however many times we repeat the operation, the principle of the motion is the same -inertia of the push, i.e. expenditure of the energy of the impulse received.
In the biosphere phenomena of that order are called successions. They are very diverse in duration, character, and consequences, but they all have a significant feature of similarity, viz., time lag or persistence, which appears in man as expenditure of the impulse of drive. It makes mankind similar to other phenomena of the biosphere, while the social and cultural phenomena characteristic of man alone have another character of movement, on the boundary of which lies the phenomenon of ethnos.
The Tension of Drive
The biochemical aspect of drive. There is no doubt that every person and every collective of people is part of the biosphere and a component element of society, but the character of the interaction of these forms of the motion of matter has to be made more precise. In order to attain this goal and to solve the problem, I have introduced the concept 'ethnos' to designate a stable collective of individuals that counterposes itself to all other similar collectives, and that has an inner structure, unique in each case, and a dynamic stereotype of behaviour, into the problem of the relation of man as the bearer of civilization with the natural environment. The specific variants of mankind's links with the natural environment are realized precisely through ethnic collectives. But here we have the problem of the boundary and relation between the natural and the social. Obviously, nature dominates outside the technosphere, but it also lies in the bodies of people. Physiology (including pathophysiology) is closely linked with psychology as a product of the organism's nervous and hormonal activity. Lack of iodine causes cretinism; secretion of adrenaline gives rise to fear or anger; the hormones of the sex glands stimulate love lyrics and sentimental novels; chemical compounds used as doping not only act on the physical state of sportsmen but also on their mental state; narcotics lead to the degeneration of whole peoples, and so on. The pattern of the social form of the motion of matter in man is so interwoven with the biological, biochemical, and biophysical, that the need to demarcate them distinctly is obvious.
But while it is extremely difficult to do that, taking the single person as the object of investigation, it is much easier to take a system of higher order as the unit, namely, an ethnos in which the inevitable errors of analysis cancel each other out. It is difficult, of course, to describe, let alone calculate, the drive of people of past ages. But there is a return stroke of thought. The work done by an ethnic collective is directly proportional to the tension of drive.15 Consequently, by calculating the material goods of an ethnos' activity, even if with big assumptions, we get as a result the expenditure of energy from which we can judge the initial outlay of energy, i.e. the level of drive.
Acts dictated by drive are readily differentiated from the ordinary actions performed because of the presence of a universal human instinct of self-preservation, both personal and species. They differ no less from the reactions evoked by external stimuli like, for example, invasion by foreigners. The reactions are short-lived as a rule and therefore without results. Self-dedication to some aim is characteristic of drive, i.e. an aim sometimes pursued for the whole of one's life. That makes it possible to characterize an epoch as regards drive. Having characterized the various phases of an ethnos' ethnogenesis in that respect, we get data for plotting a curve of the tension of drive with an admissible approximation; and when there are several such calculations for different ethnoi, and better still, superethnoi, we get a general pattern of ethnogenesis. That means we need to know well the history of events, because history, as a science of social relations, does not reflect this pattern, but rather another one, i.e. the spontaneous development characteristic of the social form of the motion of matter.
Doubts may arise about the legitimacy of counterposing the idea of the self-development of the social form of the motion of matter to the conception of excess with the gradually attenuating inertial motion that is inherent in ethnogenesis as variations within the species Homo sapiens. Biological changes can occur in man, it would seem, without fluctuation of the energy of the biosphere's animate matter, and without the effect of the tension of drive. Because in that case the optimum degree of adaptation to any conditions would be a blind alley for any type of development, whose outcome in that case would only be complete death of the population. But in order to reorganize itself physiologically and ecologically the species (or ethnos) must reject the organs (or habits) developed, i.e. move back from the dead end so as to find a new road. On the contrary, the origin of a mutation does not depend on the conditions of the environment, in other words an excess affects a population, necessarily prompting its altered part to look for ways to gain the lost paradise, i.e. the homeostasis long ago represented by Ovid as the golden age.
The multi-vectorial character of the ethnic system in outline. Since there is no ethnogenesis, and cannot be, without drive, one can consider drive a necessary element of it that can be figuratively taken out of the brackets within which the local features of one ethnos or another remain. It is precisely this trait, common to all processes, that is important for distinguishing the pattern or regularity.
But no one has ever seen drive directly as a phenomenon, or ever will. Consequently we can only characterize it by its manifestations. But that is not even the most difficult thing, which is rather to allow for and understand the varied directional effect of the dominant that is generated by an ethnos' drive. Let us liken an ethnos to a physical body on which several forces are operating (see Fig. 1). The sum total of these forces will then be the vector VE = V, + V2 + V3 + V4 + VS = 0. The real effect of the observable motion will not equal the arithmetic sum (VF) of these forces but rather the vector sum, i.e. the body will move to the right with an upward slope. If we remove the four components V7, V3, V4, V5, the body will get a greater acceleration in the direction VI, i.e. the effect of its action will be greater, which means, in this case, that the acceleration arises through loss of part of the forces, and not through an increase in them, because the resultant force is greater and the effectiveness consequently greater.
Let me explain from some examples. In the eighth to fifth centuries B.C. Hellas teemed with drive. Triremes ploughed the Mediterranean and the Black Sea, colonies of Greeks spread from the Caucasus to Spain, and Ionia and Magna Graecia (in Italy) became more populous than the metropolis. But the Greek city-states could not co-ordinate their forces, because each polls valued its independence more than life, and equated subordination with reduction to slavery. Even during the mortal danger of Xerxes' campaign, Thessalians and Boeotians fought for the Persians without ever forgetting that they were Greeks. They suffered cruelly for that, because the Athenians and Spartans executed the Persophile Greek prisoners as traitors, after the battle of Plataea, while sparing the Persians.
But as soon as the Peloponnesian and Theban Wars bled Hellas white, a co-ordination of forces and Alexander's campaign against Persia proved possible. The area of Hellenism16 was much wider than the area of Greek control, but these successes were achieved at the cost of a general lowering of the level of Greece's drive, when the culturally and economically least developed regions, Aitolia and Achaia, began to lay claim to a primary role, along with Macedonia. But they became stronger, while Athens, Thebes, and Sparta weakened. In other words, the total power of Greece as a system was reduced, so that it became easy prey for Rome. And in spite of the inertia of the Greeks' old potential power being sufficient to draw the Roman nobility to their culture, the weakening continued until the remnants of the Hellenes were converted into the nucleus of the Byzantine Greeks, fully transformed by the thrusting drive of the second and third centuries A.D. But that was already another process.
So the simplest observations lead, in the overwhelming majority of cases, to false conclusions unless allowance is made for corrections. A loss of the tension of drive will be taken for an upsurge, since a great many things are achieved in both cases. But a small number of 'great deeds' is also equally characteristic of a low and a relatively high level of drive, because a counterbalancing of the differently directed forces and temporary stabilization are possible in that case. One must study the entire process as a whole and not the separate moments of an ethnos' life. It will then be clear whether drive increases or wanes.
From a statistical study of the activity of big collectives manifested in mankind's history, it comes out what it is impossible to distinguish when analyzing the separate individuals, because of the multi-factor elements that govern behaviour. (1) The unessential factors cancel each other out; (2) historical processes are recorded in absolute time but biological and geological ones in relative time. Therefore only history can provide the natural sciences with an absolute chronology, getting means for empirical generalization from them in exchange, after which ethnology develops as a science processing humanitarian materials by the methods of the natural sciences.
I shall not undertake to judge whether a single gene or a combination of genes underlies drive, whether it is a recessive characteristic or a dominant one, or whether drive is linked with the nervous or the hormonal sphere of physiology. Let the spokesmen of other sciences answer that. My task, the ethnological has been fulfilled. We have observed a biogeographical development of the anthroposphere, along with the social, and the cause that evokes it. The essence of the phenomenon of drive, and its links with other elements of the biosphere, I shall examine below.
Induction drive. Drive has another extremely important property: it is infectious. This means that harmonious people (and to an even greater extent impulsive ones), who found themselves in a direct affinity to people with drive, begin to behave as if they also had it. But as soon as they are sufficiently far away from people with drive, they take on their own natural, psychological, ethnological image. That circumstance, without going into its special purport, is quite widely known; it is mainly taken into account in military matters. In them either men with drive are picked out, recognized 'by intuition', and formed into special task units, or they are deliberately dispersed among the mass of mobilized men in order to raise their 'fighting spirit'. In the second case it is reckoned that two or three men with drive can raise the fighting capacity of a whole company, and that is really so.
Engels wrote, in his article 'Cavalry', that a head-on battle of two cavalry units is extremely rare. Usually some turn the rear before the hand-to-hand engagement, i.e. 'the moral element, bravery, is here at once transformed into material force', the decisive element of which is 'dash', during which the soldier values victory (the ideal aim) more than his own life.17
It goes without saying that the cavalrymen in a squadron are very unlike one another in their mental qualities; nevertheless a squadron behaves in battle as a single whole, with more or less drive. Its drive consists in its valuing victory more than life; the paradox is that a unit with less drive is beaten because the cavalry easily cut down the fugitives. But several hundred men can only be 'electrified' by induction, i.e. by the injection of a charge of drive into each individual. To continue the analogy, we thus get a drive field (like an electromagnetic field) that has quite different properties compared with the psychological features of the same people taken separately.
And, in contrast to the theory of 'the hero and the crowd', the essence is not that hero leads a military unit, but that due to the presence among the soldiers of several men with drive, bat otherwise not outstanding individuals, the unit itself acquires the dash noted by Engels, which sometimes even helps out an untalented commander. No one would try to compare the talents of Bennigsen, Wittgenstein, Welfington, and Blucher, for example, with that of Napoleon, but the dash of the Russian, English, and Prussian troops in 1813-1814 was greater than that of the French recruits, almost children.
But the most important thing, perhaps, is that it is useless in such critical moments, as a rule, to act on consciousness, i.e. on people's reason. And no arguments can help.
Recall the tragedy of Hannibal, who ran out of breath on the eve of victory in an unequal war. After the victory at Cannae he needed small reinforcements, a detachment of infantry, in order to capture Rome and so save Carthage. The arguments that his envoys and the supporters of the Barca family used in the Carthaginian council of elders were irreproachable. But those who do not want to hear hear not, and those who do not try to understand will not. The elders of Carthage sent the general the reply that as he was winning why he needed more troops, which doomed their grandsons to death.
But one cannot say that the Carthaginian rulers were stupid or cowards. But the influence of the absent one did not extend to them. And when victorious Hannibal returned to his native city, it turned out that his popularity was so great that his powerful rivals were forced to bow to him; only the ultimatum of the Roman Senate forced him to quit his native land. He himself took the decision to sacrifice himself because he understood that any attempt at resistance was doomed to failure.
Here is another example, this time from the history of literature. On 8 July 1880 Dostoevsky gave an address on Pushkin at a meeting of the Society of Lovers of Russian Literature. Its success, according to the recollections of eyewitnesses, was tremendous. But when you read the address it does not make any special impression. It is not in any way on a par with The Karamazov Brothers. The personal presence of Dostoevsky was evidently not least in the effect produced.
Induction drive is manifested everywhere. That is particularly obvious in our day when music or theatre lovers besiege the doors of the Conservatory or the Bolshoi Theatre. They very well understand that the impression of the same play, transmitted by radio or television, is not equivalent to the one they get in the theatre. Even though this example is microscopic compared with the phenomena of ethnogenesis, the pattern in both is the same.
A clear example of induction drive is the battle of Arcole in 1796. The Austrian and French armies were separated by a shallow but swamp stream across which a bridge had been thrown. Three times the French attacked, but were beaten back by the Austrian case-shot. Finally, when it seemed impossible to raise the soldiers again for a new attack, General Napoleon Bonaparte seized the banner and threw himself forward, and behind him, like iron fillings drawn by a magnet, the whole column of grenadiers poured onto the bridge. The first ranks were again mown down by case-shot but the next ones succeeded in reaching the Austrian guns and killing the gunners, after which the French army crossed over and the battle was won. Napoleon himself survived only because he was knocked into the river from the bridge.
Let us analyze this example from the angle I have adopted. The army sent to Italy was one of the worst of all the French armies operating on the fronts at that time. It had been brought up to strength by conscripted peasants from the south of France, repeatedly bled white and trampled underfoot by the Parisians, badly trained, and even worse supplied. These were inert people without professional military skills. The quartermasters of this army were inveterate cheats and swindlers, and Bonaparte shot quite a few of them for embezzlement even before the campaign began. Consequently, the percentage of people with drive or elan was infinitesimal; and against them were moved the best regiments of the Hapsburg monarchy. Yet the French came out on top in four big battles (Lodi, Castiglione, Arcole, and Rivoli) because Napoleon knew how to inspire drive at the decisive moment (or rather to introduce, i.e. induce it), which his rival, General Alvintzi, could not do. Some time later the induced drive disappeared, and Suvorov reduced the French successes in Italy to naught in three battles (Adda, Trebbia, and Novi, in 1799). One cannot blame the French generals (Jourdan, MacDonald, and especially Moreau) for this. They knew their profession well, but made efforts and not super-efforts. And Suvorov, like Bonaparte, could transmit his surplus drive not only to Russian soldiers but even to foreign ones. However, Suvorov could not influence the royal military council, because it met in Vienna, and a certain proximity was required for inducing drive (it cannot be perceived any more beyond a hundred kilometres).
But when Suvorov, after the lost Swiss campaign, which though heroic was a retreat, reached Vienna, and on entering the theatre blessed those present, no one counted that funny or out of place. On the contrary, he was awarded imperial honours, though it would have been more useful not to have restricted his actions six months earlier.
I have dwelt on these examples in such detail in order not to recall the mass of similar cases, but the whole military and political history of developing ethnoi consists essentially of variants of induced drive of one kind of another, through which crowds of harmonious individuals are brought into movement.
But these, variants are diverse, the decisive element being the degree of ethnic closeness. Suvorov could raise the spirit of Russian troops through the modus of patriotism to a greater extent than that of the Hungarian, Tyrolese, Croatian, or Czech soldiers who also were under his command. Napoleon affected Frenchmen much more strongly than Westphalians, Saxons, Dutchmen, and Neapolitans, as the campaign of 1812-1813 showed. One can say that the resonance of the stimulated drive was the less the further ethnoi of the person with drive and of the harmonious individual were from one another, other things being equal, of course. That once more brings the problem of drive, as an attribute, close to the problem of the essence of ethnic monolithicity. But resonance, like induction, is an energy concept. How far are they applicable to an ethnos?
As we have seen above, any process of ethnogenesis begins with the heroic, sometimes sacrificial feats of a small group of people (consortium), to whom the masses around them rally, and rally quite sincerely. One person or another may, of course, be skeptically minded, or simply egoistic, but after he joins the system arising under his eyes, his mental attitude no longer has great significance. That well-known phenomenon is explained by the induced drive and resonance I have remarked upon. And they help us understand the significance of people with organic drive who are the 'priming' for those that drive has infected. Without the former the latter fall apart as soon as the generator of induced drive disappears and the inertia of resonance runs out. And that usually happens very quickly.
Means of losing drive. Any ethnogenesis is thus a more or less intensive loss of the system's drive; in other words, death of the people with drive, and of their genes, which happens especially during arduous wars, because soldiers with drive for the most part die young, without having fully enjoyed their opportunities of passing on their qualities to posterity.
But the most interesting thing is that the tension of drive is not only lowered during war. That could easily be explained by the death of individuals who sacrificed their lives too readily for the triumph of their collective. But drive is just as apt to fall in times of profound peace, and even more rapidly than in hard times. And the most terrible thing for an ethnos is the transition from peaceful existence to defense against the attack of another ethnos. Then, if death does not come, a collapse is inevitable, which is never painless. It is impossible to explain that by social causes or factors, but if we treat heightened drive as an inheritable attribute everything is clear.
During wars women value heroes going to fight, thanks to which the latter have time to leave progeny before being killed. The children grow up and continue to perform deeds prompted by their constitutions without ever having known their fathers. On the other hand, the moderate, tidy family man becomes the ideal in quiet times, while those with drive have no place in life.
We see the same pattern where the family is polygamous, and the woman seems to have no rights. The rapid multiplication of the Arabs during the Caliphate, and of the Ottoman Turks happened through polygamy. But the concubines for the harems were captured in fighting, and were maintained from the booty of war or incomes from conquered countries. Even marriage to a fellow-countrywoman was very costly, since the bride price had to be ensured for the family in case of widowhood. Poor nomad Bedouins were therefore satisfied with one wife, who had the right of divorce, because marriage was not a sacrament as in Christian Europe but a civil state. Muslim law, the Shariat, thus did not prevent a woman from choosing a husband to her taste and that taste corresponded to a vogue either for brave men who brought home booty or for good husbands who ensured prosperity of the home. In any case, both in the West and in the East, men with drive, unwanted, who sometimes hampered society, died without legitimate offspring. Their disappearance from the population was unnoticed, until external blows wrecked the ethnos; when that happened, it was found that the loss was irreplaceable. And then a phase of obscuration set in, i.e. of agony. We have the right, therefore, to affirm that ethnic processes are not a variety of social ones, although they constantly interact with them, which constitutes the diversity of the historical geography in which the two come together as in a focus.
Drive is thus not simply 'bad inclinations' but an important hereditary attribute that bring new combinations of ethnic substrata to life, transforming them into new superethnic systems. We now know where to look for the cause of it, because ecology and the conscious activity of separate people lose their validity. There remains the broad domain of the subconscious, collective, however, rather than individual the effect of the inertia of a drive impulse lasting for centuries. Drive is consequently a biological characteristic, while the initial impulse disturbing the rest inertia is the coming of a generation that includes a certain number of individuals with drive. By the very fact of their existence they upset the accustomed situation, because they cannot five by everyday humdrum cares without a goal that attracts them. The need to resist their surroundings forces them to unite and act together; so an initial consortium arises, which rapidly acquires certain social forms prompted by the level of the age's social development. Given favourable circumstances the activity generated by the tension of drive puts this consortium in a most advantageous position, whereas isolated men with drive 'were either driven out of the tribe, or simply killed' (and not just in antiquity).18 Things are roughly the same in class society.
Men with drive are doomed. But if they had always perished without accomplishing anything we would still bc sacrificing babies, murdering old folk, devouring the bodies of killed enemies, and tormenting friends and relatives by witchcraft. There would not have been either the pyramids, or the Pantheon, or the discovery of America, the formulating of the law of gravitation, or space flights. But all that is, and the beginnings were already laid in the Paleolithic. And today there would be Sumerians, Picts, and others whose names have long been forgotten, living on Earth, and not modern Frenchmen, Englishmen, Russians, etc.
Men of drive perish most tragically in the final phases of ethnogenesis when there are few of them and mutual understanding between them and the masses of Philistines is being lost. So it was in Byzantium in 1203. A smallish contingent of Crusaders, around 20 000 men, appeared at the walls of Constantinople t(i seat the son of the overthrown emperor on the throne. The Greeks could muster 70 000 troops, but did not resist, leaving the Viking bodyguard and the brave men who were manning the walls without help. The city was taken twice, on 18 June 1203 and 12 April 1204. The last time it was pillaged and reduced to ruins. The Crusaders lost one knight when storming the walls! So then, the men of drive were killed in the fighting and the others in their burned houses. Cowardice does not save. But there were the forces for resistance. The city could not only have been saved but could have won. And when the province came into the war, victory was won and Constantinople was liberated, to fall again in 1453 in similar circumstances. And again there were many people who gave themselves up to be killed by the victors. So what kind of characters were they?
Harmonious individuals. However great the role of people with drive in ethnogenesis, their number in an ethnos is always infinitesimal, for I call people with drive, in the full sense of the word, those in whom this impulse is stronger than the instinct of self-preservation, both individual and species. In the overwhelming majority of normal folk these two impulses cancel each other out, which creates a harmonious individual, intellectually sound, competent, easygoing, but not superactive. Furthermore, the unrestrained fieriness of another person, impossible without a drive to self-sacrifice, is foreign and antipathetic to such people. And one must add that a large proportion of the individuals in developing ethnoi have just as weak a drive as in relict ethnoi. The difference is only that there are people with drive present and acting in dynamic systems who put their surplus energy into the development of their system.
But one must note that intensity of development is not always to the good of an ethnos. 'Overheating! is possible, when the drive gets out of the control of rational expediency and is transformed from a creative force into a destructive one. The harmonious individuals then prove saviors of their ethnos but also to a certain limit.
People of that bent are an extremely important element in the body of an ethnos. They reproduce it, moderate outbursts of drive, multiply material values after already created forms. They can manage quite well without drive until an external enemy appears. In Iceland, for instance, the descendants of the Vikings gradually lost drive. In the twelfth century they stopped their sea raids, in the thirteenth century ended the bloody strife between families, and when Algerian corsairs landed on the island in 1627, they met no resistance. The Icelanders let them burn their houses, rape their women, take children as slaves, and did not find in themselves the resolution to take to arms.
Let us assume that other explanations can be found in this concrete case. The Algerians were professional thugs; they probably exploited the factor of suddenness, which caused panic; the Icelanders were completely deprived of the aid of the metropolitan country, Denmark, drawn at that time into the Thirty Years' War and defeated. And, finally, according to my idea, the Icelanders' drive also lost tension subsequently. Was it indeed so? Let us look at Iceland two centuries later.
In 1809 there was a Danish garrison in Reykjavik consisting of 30 or so soldiers, a captain, and the governor, who had a beautiful daughter. In June of that year, a brig flying the Jolly Roger appeared in the roads and called on the town to surrender. The Danish officer opened fire but was wounded by a cannon-ball from the brig; the soldiers lay down their weapons. The pirates landed; their chief proved to be an Icelander, earlier a well-known clockmaker Jorgen Jorgenson, now a pirate. This rascal, it came to light, was in love with the governor's daughter and demanded her for himself, while he permitted his pirates to rob the inhabitants, declaring himself the King of Iceland. Fortunately, the girl fell seriously ill. Though the Icelanders were no better. No resistance was put up to the handful of bandits. Thousands of descendants of the ferocious sea raiders, conquerors of England, Normandy, and Vinland, submissively bore the outrages of a few score of marauders, without putting up a resistance and even without saving themselves by flight. But against them had come not the fierce Moors who were contending with the royal navies of Spain and France, but a handful of the scum of North Sea ports. Isn't that a fall of drive?
But one must not take the majority for all. Individual people did not lose self-possession. Although they were not able to shake off the general cowardice and weakness, they were able to save themselves. Among them was the bridegroom of the beautiful Dane. He escaped in a fishing boat and, meeting a British frigate, asked for help. The British quickly reached Reykjavik, and forced the pirates to surrender under the threat of their guns, put them in irons, and liberated the governor and his daughter. The chief of the cutthroats was tried by an English court and acquitted because he had not infringed the interests of British subjects. And the Icelanders, after six weeks under the power of the pirate king, returned to their own affairs, to what alone they were capable of as harmonious, civilized folk, harmless to everyone except themselves. Because heightened defenselessness does not always promote the flourishing of an ethnos.
'Vagrants', 'soldier tramps' and 'degenerates'. Finally, there is almost always a category of people in an ethnos with 'negative drive', in other words whose actions are governed by impulses with a vector the opposite of drive.
The Icelanders, for example, had not lost the capacity to work to feed their families and even to care for the sources of life, the herring fisheries, the colonies of cider ducks (where they collected down), and the small meadows among the rocks needed to feed cows. But the subethnic formations in the urbanistic agglomerations of antiquity were far worse variants. The demoralized descendants of Roman citizens who had lost their plots of land (parcellae) crowded into Rome in the first century A.D. They huddled in the closets of the five-story houses, breathed the stenches of the cloacae, the drains by which sewage was emptied into the Tiber, drank wine from unhealthy lead vessels, but persistently and brazenly demanded 'bread and circuses' from the government. And it was forced to give in because these crowds of sub-drive people could sustain or support any adventurer with drive who wanted to carry out a coup d'etat, so long as he promised them an additional issue of bread and a more splendid spectacle in the circus. But they did not know how to defend themselves against enemies, and did not want to know, because it was hard to learn the art of war. The individual of sub-drive supposed, by his own invincible logic, that no one could foresee the future, since he himself, the recipient of a bread ration and spectator of circus shows, did not know how to make a forecast on the basis of probability. He divided the information he received into two parts: pleasant and unpleasant. Bearers of the latter he considered his mortal enemies, so that he made short work of them at every opportunity.
As a result Alaric took Rome, although the Goths were fewer in numbers than the men in Rome trained and capable of fighting, not to mention in Italy. But even that shame taught the Romans nothing. The Goths easily ingratiated themselves with the defeated, and left. That provided grounds for immediate smugness. But when Gaiseric again took Rome, declaring himself avenger of the destruction of Carthage, he easily carried out a reprisal massacre among the sub-drive types, that no one wanted to save, unlike the harmonious, harmless Icelanders. Rome did not recover after the Vandals' pogrom. But I somehow don't feel inclined to pity it.
There was a similar situation in Baghdad, which was captured not by strange barbarians but by Turkish slaves bought by the Caliph. In the ninth century A.D. the Arab troops were extinct. Their descendants had preferred to occupy themselves with petty trading and idle chatter in the bazaars. In order to guard the person of the Caliph, and sometimes, too, the frontiers of the Caliphate, professional soldiers were employed; they were bought in the steppes of Central Asia and the deserts of Nubia. They turned out to be the sole real force in Baghdad and began to displace Caliphs at their own discretion. The population of the huge city wept, abused one another, and joked, but preferred to live without working and to die kneeling, anything except to defend themselves.
Loss of a system's drive or, correspondingly, a change of ideal, yields such consequences. The slogan 'Live for oneself' is an easy road to black ruin.
The-drive of the individual is connected with any capability – high, low, or medium; it does not depend on external effects, being a feature of the individual's constitution; it has no relation to ethic standards, easily generating equally feats and crimes, creation and destruction, good and evil, excluding only indifference. And it does not make a person a 'hero' who leads the 'mob', because most people with drive are in fact members of the 'mob', determining its potency and degree of activity at one moment or another. The group of people with sub-drive are most colorfully represented in history by 'vagrants' and professional mercenary soldiers (landsknechts). They do not change the world and do not preserve it, but exist at its expense. Because of their mobility they often play an important role in the fates of ethnoi making conquests and revolutions together with the people with drive. But if the latter can manifest themselves without the former, the former can do nothing without people of drive. They are capable of begging and of robbery, the victims of which are bearers of null drive, i.e. the bulk of the population. But in such a case the 'vagrants' are doomed; they are tracked down and wiped out. But they appear in each generation.
Gradations of drive. It is tempting to compare people with drive with 'heroes' who lead the 'mob', and to call the 'vagrant soldier' a 'support', but in fact, the mechanism of historical action is not so simple. The Spanish Hapsburgs and the French Bourbons, with the exception of the founders of the dynasties, were mediocre people, no less than the bulk of their courtiers, among whom adventurist ministers like Fouquet and Law, or Manuel Godoy appeared from time to time. But the hidalgo and chevalier, the negotiants and corsairs, missionaries and conquistadors, humanists and artists all created such an internal tension that the policy of Spain and France in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, if one depicts it as a component of the ethnogenetic process, reflected the high drive of these ethnoi.
In spite of people with drive often leading popular movements, it is more correct, therefore, to call them 'pushing' rather than 'leading! because, without enough of them, who die in obscurity, it would be impossible to break a tradition, i.e. inertia of the masses, solely on the basis of 'obedience to enthusiasm'.
I have thus noted three gradations of diminishing drive, though the division may be more detailed where necessary. It is therefore correct to call the third characteristic type 'people with sub-drive'. But the main thing is not to confuse these types with class, estate, or ethnic subdivisions. Anyone of the latter includes all three types, but in different combinations and with different dominants. A modification of their ratios within an ethnos, either numerical or vectorial, determines the process of ethnogenesis.
Hannibal and Carthage. Now let me look again at the personality of Hannibal and examine his behaviour during the Second Punic War from my angle. The Barca family was one of the richest in Carthage. Hannibal's father, Hamilcar, increased his wealth by subduing Numidia and Spain, where his son Hannibal was, in fact, king. The war with Rome did not bring Hannibal any profit. On the contrary, the risk was extremely great. From Hannibal's angle it was not he who needed it but his fatherland Carthage. But if a stray arrow had struck the breast of the Carthaginian general, no booty would have compensated for that, the more so that he did not need the money. But perhaps he was carrying out the will of his fellow-citizens? No, they had not asked him to fight, and at the decisive moment refused to send reinforcements; they detected him with all the passion a Philistine is capable of who feels it necessary to do something for the common weal rather than for himself In these cases people of sub-drive immediately begin to think up excuses that will let them dodge their responsibilities. Of course, that is by no means far-sighted, but people are not always foreseeing, which leads even to fatal consequences. In short, for his personal good, Hannibal should have stayed in his Gades, and amused himself; the Carthaginian elders should have supported their general with all their forces; the Numidian cavalry should have deserted so as not to die for the hated Phoenician colonizers; the Spanish stingers should have risen and recovered their freedom. But it was all the other way round! And because of what happened the rich Punic literature of Carthage disappeared. The valleys in the gorges of the Atlas Mountains were exhausted and became derelict because the burden of supplying the city of a million, Rome, with bread fell on this country. The freedom-loving Berbers, saving themselves from the cruelty of the Romans, moved south and their herds trampled the still green plains of the Western Sahara which began to be turned into a stony desert. But in the time of Hannibal rivers flowed in the Northern Sahara, elephants roamed, and horses grazed, but after 2 000 years of the anthropogenic effects of Roman and Arab conquerors that whole rich fauna was replaced by the camel alone.
But if we want to rind the cause of such immense changes in ethnography and physical geography, it becomes clear that the subdrive of the Carthaginian Philistines imposed a heavy load on the drive of the Barca family. It was that which led them first to defeat in the war, and then to death on the walls of besieged Carthage; and then, as a consequence, it resulted in the conquest of Numidia, after which followed annihilation of the landscape.
But could it have been otherwise? Of course! Timely aid to Hannibal would have meant the destruction of Rome, liberation of the Samnites and of the Cisalpine Gauls, stopping of hyperbolized, artificial urbanization and, consequently, preservation of the beech and oak forests on the Apennines, of the vineyards around Capua and Tarento, and of the Etruscan townships in the valley of the Arno. The wealth of Gaul and the art treasures of Hellas would have been saved for a long time; but there would not have been the Appian Way nor, possibly, Latin in the schools of future ages. But the development of the relations of production would have followed its own path in that situation. In place of the antique slavery, which had outlived itself, there would have come feudalism, sooner or later. The rise and fall of drive does not influence the social development of mankind, understanding by that the succession of socioeconomic formations. But how can emotion alter anything in the element of consciousness, i.e. intellect? Now we shall see why!
The Fading of Drive
Flash and ashes. One can now say that the 'take-off moment' is the sudden appearance of populations with a certain percentage of people with drive. The phase of becoming is a rapid increase in the number of individuals with drive as a result either of multiplication or of incorporation. The phase of existence is a diminution of their number, and the appearance of people of sub-drive. The phase of decline is the replacement of people with drive by sub-types who, by virtue of the peculiarities of their stamp, either ruin the ethnos altogether or do not succeed in doing so before invasion by foreigners from outside. In the latter case a relict remains consisting of harmonious individuals, which becomes part of the biocoenosis of the region they populate as the top final link.
All peoples (ethnoi) that we call primitive only because their unrecorded history lies in the darkness of time follow this intraethnic evolution. But we see the same picture in history-, it is particularly clearly visible in subethnic entities, for example, in the Siberian Cossacks.
In the fourteenth century, the descendants of Russified Khazars changed the Russian name brodniki (roamers) into the Turkish kazaki (Cossacks). In the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries they became the terror of the Nogai steppe, and, carrying the war into Siberia, killed the last khan of the Nogai, Kuchum. Having received support from the Moscow government, the Cossacks crossed Siberia in one century to the Pacific Ocean. Needing reinforcements and replacements, they gladly accepted Great Russians into their bands, but always distinguished the latter from themselves. It was accepted to call them all together explorers.
The Russian explorers of the seventeenth century were willful, tough, unyielding people afraid of neither the authorities nor the harsh northern climate. From 1632, when the Cossack lieutenant (sotnik) Pyotr Beketov set up winter quarters on the Lena, to 1650, i.e. until the Anadyr trek of the Cossack Semyon Motora, they traversed the whole north-east of Siberia and collected sable tax to a total no less than what the conquistadores got from American gold. The Cossack-conquerors were people of indomitable courage and primordial initiative. They taxed tribe after tribe and now and then ventured into the Arctic Ocean on kochas (primitive Siberian river boats built of roughly hewn planks joined together by tree roots) intended specially, as it were, for shipwreck. But already at the end of the seventeenth century the trail-blazers' character began to change, and instead of voyages they sent non-committal replies: "Our boats are weak and the sails small. And we don't know how to make big boats as in olden times." In the eighteenth century the Russian population of northern Siberia had crystallized as it were. Initiative and activity disappeared without trace and courage itself was replaced by timidity.19 Finally, in the nineteenth century the descendants of the Cossacks were defeated by the Chukchi and became state serfs and the rightless slaves of any official sent to the North from the south as punishment for service misdemeanors. Since the descendants of the Spanish conquistadores, and of the French colonists in Canada (with the exception of those who intermarried with the Indians), and of the Portuguese and Arab merchants in the basin of the Indian Ocean, lost drive in a similar way, and in the same chronological period, while in past epochs the same fate befell the descendants of the Vikings and the Greeks, one can consider the process described to be a regular, law-governed one. The squandered energy of drive left behind it the ashes of the flash.
The greed of the conquistadores, the pride of Alexander the Great, the vanity of Sulla and the passionate conviction of Jan Huss, it would seem, were dissimilar phenomena. outwardly it seems so, but the foundation of these, and of a host of phenomena and qualities similar to them, is the same, namely drive. And here is why. In all the examples quoted it is stressed that the attribute of drive or impulse to exceptional activity was characteristic of the population and not just of a person. I concentrated attention on individual personalities with a compositional aim, so as to describe the attribute itself most clearly. In fact the processes are more complex, though not to such a degree that it would be difficult to analyze them, by adopting a system and consistently following it.
It appeared, at first glance, that the higher the drive of a person or system, the richer is the creative life of the social group, and the more lavish the culture of the ethnos. And since the epoch of the Renaissance in Italy abounded in talent, one can treat it as the highest phase in ethnogenesis. But in the fifteenth century the Italian ethnos was experiencing a difficult period. In Milan the condottieri Visconti and Sforza had established themselves firmly, and in Florence the Medici; while in Rome the Popes openly practiced nepotism and simony (the buying and selling of benefices), and in Naples and Sicily Spaniards ruled, coarse, aggressive, and remote from humanism. The traditions of the city republics, and of the patriotism and valour that had enabled the Italians to free themselves from the cruel authority of German emperors, were disappearing everywhere. On that general decay such flowers grew as the artists Fra Angelico (Il Beato) and Botticelli, the humanists Giovanni Pontano, Lorenzo Valla, Marsilio Ficino, and Pico della Mirandola.
But the 'high Renaissance'- the first half of the sixteenth century, celebrated for the names of Leonardo da Vinci, Raphael, Michelangelo, Titian, Ariosto, and Machiavelli, occurred on the background of a series of wars between Spain and France, in which Italy was not a participant but the arena of contending despoilers. These wars began with a French invasion of Italy in 1494, and up until 1525 France claimed power in Italy. The victor, Emperor Charles V, after victory over the French at Pavia, was forced to throw troops in to suppress the resistance of the Italians, which was realized by the barbarous destruction of Rome in 1527.
No, one cannot say that the Italians did not try to rid themselves of their tyrants, for which they sometimes used the coming of foreign troops. In 1494, for instance, when the French were approaching Florence, the Medici family was overthrown there and power passed to the Dominican monk Savonarola. It did not become easier under him, or after his death in 1498. The re-created republic proved quite powerless, and in 1512 the power of the Medici family was restored. A second attempt to reconstitute the republic was made with the involvement of the great artist Michelangelo in 1527, but it, too, was suppressed by the imperial troops in 1530.
In the second half of the sixteenth century Italy was in Spain's sphere of influence. The principles of the Counter-Reformation adopted by the Council of Trent in 1563, in essence a new Catholicism, did not encounter popular resistance in Italy, but met isolated protests from intellectuals. Catholic reaction easily coped with them. After the burning of Giordano Bruno, the jailing of Campanella, and Galileo's renunciation, a complete decline set in that lasted around 150 years. Italy's drive ran out. How are we to explain the non-coincidence of the 'golden ages' of drive and creation?
Weak but active drive. Apart from the clear examples I have described, there apparently must be more weakly expressed variants in which the people with drive do not go to the stake or to the barricades (Huss and Sulla), but sacrifice much for their aims. The creative burning-out of Gogol and Dostoevsky, the voluntary asceticism of Newton, the breakdowns of Vrubel and Mussorgsky, were also examples of the display of drive, because exploits of science or art call for sacrifice just like feats of direct action. Scholars and artists also play an important role in the processes of ethnogenesis, though a different one from the figures of political history. They give their ethnos a specific coloring, and so either single it out from others or promote interethnic communion thanks to which superethnic entities and cultures arise. The people with drive, even if less tense, included the nameless builders of the Gothic cathedrals, the old Russian architects, the spinners of fairy tales, and so on, who chose these difficult professions from an inner compulsion. Understandably, they also included the talented chroniclers who fall within this section according to my classification.
Let me draw attention to the relatively weak but creative degrees of a system's drive. There are two, one on the rise to the 'overheating' of the system that I have called the 'acme' phase, and the second on the way down, marking the transition to the phase of decline that I have called 'inertial'. Figuratively speaking, both these moments are a bending of the curve of plus-minus growth of an ethnic system's drive, and even in the phase of decline the full loss of tension is still remote. At this relatively low level of drive a person's stereotype of behaviour and social imperative are not such as to push him imperceptibly to voluntary death for the sake of an ideal or even an illusory goal chosen by himself. But the tension of drive existing in a person in this period is enough for him to strive for this goal and even to alter the reality around him a little. In this case, if he has the appropriate abilities, he will devote himself to science or art, so as to convince and enchant his contemporaries. If he has no capacities of that kind he accumulates wealth, makes a career, and so on. Historical epochs in which this level of drive predominates are regarded as a flowering of culture, but one of two possible violent periods follow in their wake: either there is the overheating already described with a rise of drive, or decay will set in with its slow decline. The Renaissance (fourteenth and fifteenth centuries), for instance, was followed by the Reformation (sixteenth and seventeenth centuries), and in the wake of the horrors of the Thirty Years' War, the Huguenot wars and dragonnades, and also the fierceness of the Roundheads of Cromwell, who, in Engels' expression, 'is Robespierre and Napoleon in one',20 there set in a relatively quiet period in the eighteenth century similar to the Renaissance in level of drive, but not in its vector. At first there was a rise in level and then, after the cataclysm, a fall, which meant that the percentage of people with drive fell, and their place was taken by people who preferred safety to risk, accumulation to rapid success, a quiet, comfortable life to adventures. They were no worse and no better than the people with drive; they were simply different.
This process has never been recorded anywhere in the sources, because it is only obvious from broad comparisons of the characteristics of ages and countries. It can therefore only be described by means of ethnology and ethnic history.
But can one say that people with a lower tension of drive (artists, poets, scientists, etc.) do not play any role in ethnogenesis? Or that this role is less than that of generals, conquistadores, heretics, or demagogues? No, it is not less, but it is different. I have shown that the personality with even great drive can do nothing if he does not find a response among his fellows. And it is art that is the instrument for the appropriate attitudes and moods; it forces hearts to beat in unison. One can therefore affirm that Dante and Michelangelo did no less for the integration of the Italian ethnos than Cesare Borgia and Machiavelli. The Greeks held Homer and Hesiod in equal esteem with Lycurgus and Solon not without reason, and the Persians even preferred Zarathustra to Darius Hystaspis. While drive is penetrating an ethnos in various doses there is development as creative achievement, but since one cannot be a poet without readers or a scientist without teachers and pupils, a prophet without a flock, a general without an army, the mechanism of development lies not in certain persons but in the system's entity of an ethnos that has drive of some degree or another.
The members of persistent ethnoi have many merits that are always noticed and highly valued by neighbours and travelers, who extolled the 'newly discovered' Indians, Polynesians, Eskimos, Tanguts, Evenks, and Aini. Anatomically and physiologically they were full-blooded people, wholly adapted to the relief and landscape of their areas, but with so little drive that development of the ethnoi had subsided and faded out. Even when an individual with drive was born by chance among them, he sought to apply himself among neighbours rather than in his own homeland; in the fifteenth to eighteenth centuries, for instance, Albanians made a career either in Venice or in Istanbul. Drive is even lower among modem Bushmen, Veddas, Gonds, and the descendants of the Mayas in Yucatan. And apathy, i.e. degeneracy and death, is even lower, but that is already a theoretical extrapolation, because neighbours find time in practice to deal with an enfeebled ethnos before it dies out.
It follows from what I have said that the hardest period in the life of an ethnos is the transition from the highest phase (acme) of the white heat of drive to the thoughtless quiet of homeostasis. The goals and tasks are still the same, but the forces are waning. The percentage of harmonious people and those with sub-drive grows, lowering and then reducing to naught the forces of creative, patriotic persons, who begin to be called fanatics. It is precisely the absence of the inner support of 'their own' that determines the death of ethnoi through rivals that are small in numbers but have drive. As the twentieth-century Polish writer Bruno Jasienski said: 'Beware of the indifferent'.
I have already said above that the death of an ethnos, either through extermination or by way of assimilation, is preceded by a simplification of its internal structure and impoverishment of its stereotype of behaviour. Mediocrity, annihilating the extremal individuals in its environment, deprives the collective of needed resistance, as a consequence of which it itself becomes a victim of its neighbors, with the exception of those rare cases when mountains or deserts serve as a last refuge of an isolated relict. Between phylogenesis and ethnogenesis there is a certain but not full analogy, while progressive social development is governed by quite other laws and patterns (exhaustively described in the theory of historical materialism).
Bastards. If the loss of drive, as an extremal attribute, went beyond social conditions, it would be rapid, obvious, and in practice-without results. But in the complex collisions of ethnic history, with a constant interaction of socioeconomic processes, the role and significance of loss of drive are glossed over to some extent. I shall therefore return again to history and take an example from a well-studied period, so as to avoid misunderstanding based on the incompleteness of the material.
The rush for colonies (because few returned from the East and West Indies) and syphilis, which yielded defective offspring, destroyed West Europeans with drive. Syphilis infected people selectively. Seamen and soldiers suffered most of all from it; at that time they were volunteers, i.e. people with drive, or vagrant soldiers, i.e. people of sub-drive. The inert part of the population in towns and villages suffered less from these two scourges, so that the drive of the system was lowered. But that proceeded more slowly than might be expected. There was a circumstance that prevented a lowering of drive.
The point is that people with drive, before perishing in wars, manage to spread their genes in the population. The thirst for action impelling a youth to a bloody fray, aroused a rapture in girls of his own age that they expressed in a way simple and affable for them. And in an age of high drive public opinion did not condemn these girls too hardly. Sanctimoniousness came together with the cooling of drive. The word 'bastard' was not insulting in the Middle Ages. The L4ord High Constable of France (Commander-in-Chief of the French armies) under Charles VII, Jean Dunois, was called the Bastard Prince. And there were many like him. During the Hundred Years' War the extramarital sons of grandees and of girls of the third estate, won themselves knightly honours and names as leaders of the vagrant mercenaries, i.e. men of sub-drive, who filled the 'white bands'. These bands 'consisted of poor but implacable, strong men who only sought personal gain, both in their own country and abroad'.21 In 1431 in the war for Lorraine, the Duke of Burgundy, Philip the Good, took into his service the Bastard of Humieres, the Bastard of Brimen, de Neuville, and Robinet Hunderpfeifer, a bastard of the Schinderhannes family; and they ensured Philip victory.22
It was even simpler in the Orient. Arabs, Turks, and Mongols, who practiced polygamy, considered all their children 'legitimate', even those of captive women. The difference between the children of the first wife and of concubines was only taken into account for succession to the throne, but for most of the population that was not essential. Women possess the same capacities to pass on genes as men, and also have drive. The dilution of the primordial gene fund in harems therefore created variations of the level of ethnosocial systems' drive more painlessly than in Europe.
Such a stereotype of behaviour made the attribute of drive an erratic one, which undermines the idea that drive is inherent in a certain class. If even a chance coincidence can generate such a correspondence, it will already be disrupted in the next generation (even when there is an operative police of morals) by the appearance of so-called 'illegitimate' children who, forming part of another social groups, will behave according to the standard of their drive inherited from their actual and not legal forebears.
In France before the seventeenth century, for example, the nobility were not a closed caste. In fact any energetic person in the king's service could become a nobleman. Richelieu's edict introduced certain limitations into that. As a check, after the Huguenot wars, for instance, a person declaring himself a nobleman had to prove several generations of noble forefathers. Nevertheless, under Louis XIV almost all ministers came from the bourgeoisie, and several illustrious names in the armed forces, and in literature all the great names except three (Fenelon, La Rochefoucauld, and Madame de Sevigne) were commoners.23 They had a leading role in the feudal kingdom because of their business-like qualities, which their 'legitimate' forebears evidently did not possess; otherwise those would have been promoted by Philip the Handsome or Charles the Wise, when there were in fact no estate restrictions in the royal service.
In fact, if people with drive were concentrated in one social group, the first sanguinary war would wipe out the whole population of them and commencing ethnogenesis would be cut off right in the first phase. But that, as we have seen, does not happen.
Then, ethnic regeneration is often observed, i.e. restoration of an ethnos' structure after an upheaval, the saviors of the patria displaying drive similar to what its founders possessed, and infinitely more than the drive of those who were their natural, legitimate forebears. There have been bastards in all epochs and ages, and in all peoples, though their appearance is seldom noted in the sources (but that is not grounds for considering that the unremarked did not exist).
The mechanism of ethnic regeneration is as follows. Usually, among the subethnoi that form an ethnos, there is one that is more initiative, and is consequently the leader. In it the drive of individuals is intensively converted into deeds, so that expenditure of drive proceeds rapidly. It is replenished from the other subethnoi, but there is also a feedback when drive genes are disseminated throughout the population through extramarital connections, with which the baby remains in the environment of its subethnos, or rather in the family of its mother. The expenditure of the system's drive is therefore retarded.
When a leading subethnos that has exhausted its possibilities collapses, one of the peripheral subethnoi takes up the torch and the process of ethnogenesis, ready to break down, continues. That would not happen with regulated marital relations, because the parents would have to take the child with them into the thick of human passions where it would have to share their doomed fate. It will preserve its life at the price of loss of genealogy.
Every regeneration of an ethnos of course entails a shift of cultural development, but within the limits of a given system, thanks to which the ethnos prolongs the period of intensive creative life and not of barren existence. Just that is enough to bless the combination of instincts that infringe rational standards of behaviour. Nature is stronger than people's intentions.
What cements an ethnos? Having answered the question of the nature of the dynamics of ethnic becoming or ethnogenesis, I have come to a no less important matter, the cause of ethnic stability. Many ethnoi exist in a relict state with such weak drive that it can be regarded as nil in practice.
Accumulated energy, the material base created, experience of government, and other socio-technical factors counter the tendency to decay. Since an ethnos always functions throughout its life within the limits of some superethnic system, there is an 'enere exchange with elements of the supersystem. This results in the level of drive, from which it follows that the functioning of the external system of the ethnos' connections may lead both to an acceleration of development or to decline, and even to death, if the magnitude of the exchange exceeds a certain critical value, different in principle for the different moments in the ethnos' life.
Now I have the right to pose the question of what precisely cements different people, who are often dissimilar to one another, into an entity, a whole, called ethnic. With another frame of reference, a social one, this role is performed by relations of production, which have a capacity for spontaneous development. But there is another frame of reference for ethnoi; and history, which studies events in their connections and sequence, and which beautifully describes the rise and disappearance of social institutions, is unable to answer why, for example, the Athenian was closer to his brother the Spartan than the Phoenician peacefully trading with him? It only notes that the Athenians and Spartans were Greeks, i.e. a single, politically divided ethnos. But what is an ethnos? And what links its members together? History does not answer that, which means we must turn to nature.
We already know where the difference is hidden, between ethnic history (of a phenomenon of the forces of nature) and the history of culture, created by the hands and intellect of people. Life blazes up and is completed by death, which is perceived as the natural end of the process, even the desired end, especially when it is timely and painless. That is why all processes of the biosphere are discontinuous (discrete); in continuous development there is no place for either death or birth.
But everything is the reverse in the History of culture. Palaces and temples take years to build; the landscape is reconstructed over centuries; scientific works and poems are written for decades - all in the hope of immortality. The hope is justified because man's creations are granted not death but slow destruction and oblivion. There is no drive in creation; there are only crystals of it, invested in inert matter by the creators of form, i.e. by people, or rather by flame of their passions and feelings. These crystals, alas, are also capable of development and transformation, because they fall out of the conversion of the biosphere. The right to death is the privilege of the living!
That is precisely why the cultures created by ethnoi and studied by archaeologists survive the former and come into the fallacies and misconceptions of the latter, forcing them to identify the creation with the creator, and to look for analogies between things and people. This temptation is the more dangerous because many people remain in a population, and even more things an(.' a certain quantity of ideas, after the departure of people with drive from it. Culture, like the light of extinct stars, thus deceives the observer who takes the visible for the existent. But the transition from description to explanation of a phenomenon makes it necessary to employ a different apparatus of investigation, viz., a hypothesis, i.e. an unproven proposition, but one that corresponds to all the known facts and explains their interconnections. And here we pass into the domain of the natural sciences.
1 Karl Marx and Frederick Engels. The German Ideology. Collected Works, Vol. 5. Progress Publishers, Moscow, 1976, p 255.
Copyright © 1996-2002 Cossack Web. All rights reserved.