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Article

Digitalization and the Anthropodicy Problem in Andrei Platonov’s Works.

The article identifies the main features of the Russian writer Andrei Platonov’s (1899–1951) comprehension of the anthropological consequences of the radical social transformation during the years of the “Great Turn,” or “Great Break” (i.e., the years of Stalin’s reforms that started in 1929). Platonov’s evaluation is unique in its scale and depth. He was among the first authors to draw attention to the typological commonness of Soviet and German totalitarianisms. Their similarities are not only rooted in the design of the respective regimes. Vice versa, the design itself is generated by the possibilities of inhuman rationalistic activism in mass society. Platonov’s texts written in 1929–1934 were devoted, rather than to mass collectivism or political and socio-cultural reorganization, to anthropology and the possibility of reorganizing man, together with his cosmos. The main idea of these literary works is search for a universal way of human existence in general, including the living and the dead. In these texts, Platonov deeply conceived and felt the complete emptiness and inhumanity of doctrinaire rationalistic activism, when it is accepted as a practical maxim for the universal human will. This body of texts does not represent a dystopian view of a possible future, yet it relates the shock of an encounter with an unexpectedly ambiguous future and the author’s longing and suffering in his attempts to understand it. Such attempts lead to the need for a new anthropodicy as a justification for a human existence, notwithstanding man’s limitations and finiteness. In this respect, the results of Platonov’s reflections are extremely relevant in relation to the analysis of humanitarian factors and the consequences of currently ongoing digitalization of practically all spheres of life, as well as in terms of searching for new foundations of human life under these conditions. Platonov’s works turn out to be more relevant than the alarmism of the philosophers of the Frankfurt School of Critical Theory and than the contemporary demonization by the conceptions of digital posthumanity and transhumanism. Platonov’s relevance is due to the depth of the topics and problems he raised, and their meaning is just beginning to be revealed today.