Alexander Bogdanov

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A A Bogdanov

Alexander Aleksandrovich Bogdanov (22 August 1873 – 7 April 1928) was a Russian Empire and Soviet physician, philosopher, science fiction writer, and revolutionary of Belarusian ethnicity.

Quotes[edit]

  • It seemed to me that in your arms I felt your entire youthful world. Its despotism, its egoism, its desperate thirst for happiness—all of this was in your caresses. Your love is like murder. But – I love you, Lenni.
    • Alexander Bogdanov, ‎Loren R. Graham, ‎Richard Stites (1908/1984). Red Star: The First Bolshevik Utopia. p. 93
  • The world of experience, both physical and psychic, is entirely composed of elements - spatial, tactile, accoustical, thermal, etc. Combinations of these elements make up different "phenomena", both psychic and physical. If the law of causality, inferred for all these phenomena - i.e. for the world of elements connected by various relations - is applicable to "things in themselves" serving as an immediate link between "phenomena" and "things", it is clear that "phenomena" and "things in themselves" are of the same nature. "Things in themselves" would then represent a direct continuation of the world of empirical elements and in fact would be only combinations of elements.
    • Alexander Bogdanov, cited in: ‎James Patrick Scanlan, (1965). : Pre-revolutionary philosophy and theology. Philosophers in exile. Marxists and Communists. p. 398
  • In the history of thought... objectivity was sometimes on the side of one man against the rest of humankind. For example, in Copernicus' time the objective astronomical reality existed only for him, while hundreds of millions of people were mistaken in this regard... Copernicus alone embraced the accumulated astronomical experience up to that time in its entirety and was able to organize it harmoniously with the methods which corresponded to the level achieved by the collective efforts of humankind; other people possessed other people possessed only parts and fragments of this experience, so that it remained unorganized in all its fullness.
    • Alexander Bogdanov, cited in: Kenneth M. Stokes. Paradigm Lost: A Cultural and Systems Theoretical Critique of Political Economy. p. 1995

Tektology. The Universal Organizational Science, 1922[edit]

Alexander Bogdanov, Tektologia: Vseobshchaya Organizatsionnaya Nauka (Tektology. The Universal Organizational Science) (Moscow, Izdatelstvo Z. I. Grschebina, 1922.

  • For tektology the unity of experience is not "discovered", but actively created by organizational means: "philosophers wanted to explain the world, but the main point is it change it" said the greater precursor of organizational science, Karl Marx. The explanation of organizational forms and methods by tektology is directed not to a contemplation of their unity, but to a practical mastery over them.
    • p. 61; as cited in: Tektology in: systemspedia.org, 2012.
  • Tektology must clarify the modes of organization that are perceived to exist in nature and human activity; then it must generalize and systematize these modes; further it must explain them, that is, propose abstract schemes of their tendencies and laws; finally, based on these schemes, determine the direction of organizational methods and their role in the universal process. This general plan is similar to the plan of any natural science; but the objective of tektology is basically different. Tektology deals with organizational experiences not of this or that specialized field, but of all these fields together. In other words, tektology embraces the subject matter of all the other sciences and of all the human experience giving rise to these sciences, but only from the aspect of method, that is, it is interested only in the modes of organization of this subject matter.
  • The strength of an organization lies in precise coordination of its parts, in strict correspondence of various mutually connected functions. This coordination is maintained through constant growth in tektological variety, but not without bounds: .. .there comes a moment when the parts of the whole become too differentiated in their organization and their resistance to the surrounding environment weakens. This leads sooner or later to disorganization.

Essays in tektology, 1980[edit]

Aleksandr Bogdanov, George Gorelik (transl.), Essays in tektology. Intersystems Pubns, 1980/1984.

  • Tektology must clarify the modes of organization that are perceived to exist in nature and human activity; then it must generalize and systematize these modes; further, it must explain them, that is, propose abstract schemes of their tendencies and laws; finally, based on these schemes, determine the direction of organizational methods and their role in the universal process. This general plan is similar to the plan of any natural science; but the objectives of tektology are basically different. Tektology deals with organizational experiences not of this or that specialized field, but of all these fields together. In other words, tektology embraces the subject matter of all other sciences, and of all human experience giving rise to these sciences, but only from the aspect of method: that is, it is interested only in the mode of organization of this subject matter.
    • p. iii
  • Tektology is not something principally new; it is not a leap in scientific evolution, but a necessary conclusion from the past, the necessary continuation of what has been done and is being done by men in their practice and theory. This is in part a justification for my boldness ... if any justification is necessary.
    • p. xiv
  • In the struggle of mankind with the elements, its aim is dominion over nature. Dominion is a relationship of the organizer to the organized. Step by step, mankind acquires control over and conquers nature; this means that step by step it organizes the universe; it organizes the universe for Itself and in its own interests. Such is the meaning and content of the age-long labour of mankind.
    Nature resists elementally and blindly with the terrible strength of its dark, chaotic, but innumerable and Infinite army of elements. In order to conquer it, mankind must organize itself into a mighty army. Unconsciously, it has been doing this for centuries by forming working collective, ranging from the small primitive communes of the primordial epoch to the contemporary cooperation of hundreds of millions of people.
    If mankind had to organize the universe only with the forces and means given to it by nature, it would not have any advantage over the other living creatures which also fight for survival against the rest of nature. In its labour mankind uses tools, which it takes from the same external nature. This forms the basis of its victories; it is this which long ago provided and continues to provide mankind with a growing superiority over the strongest and most terrible giants of elemental life and which distinguishes it from the rest of nature's kingdom.
    • p. 1-2.
  • The experience and ideas of contemporary science lead us to the only integral, the only monistic understanding of the universe. It appears before us as an inŽ nitely unfolding fabric of all types of forms and levels of organization, from the unknown elements of ether to human collectives and star systems. All these forms, in their interlacement and mutual struggle, in their constant changes, create the universal organizational process, inŽ nitely split in its parts, but continuous and unbroken in its whole.
    • p. 6
  • Tektology is a universal natural science. It is just being conceived; but since the entire organizational experience of mankind belongs to it, its development should be swift and revolutionary, as it is revolutionary in its nature.
    • p. 61
  • Tektology is concerned only with activities, but activities are characterized by the fact that they produce changes. From this point of view it is out of the question to think about a simple and pure "preservation" of forms, one that would constitute a real absence of changes. Preservation is always only a result of immediately equilibrating each of the appearing changes by another opposing change; it Is a dynamic equilibrium of changes.
    • p. 78
  • Symbols in general, and their main group,—words and concepts—in particular, perform a skeletal role for the socio-psychic content. … Consequently, the nature of ideologies is generally degressive, skeletal, with all the related features... So, beginning with the simplest example, the word not only secures the living content of experience, but also hampers the future development of experience by its conservatism. In science and philosophy, the customary but obsolete terminology is often a serious obstacle to progress, preventing the mastery of new material, and distorting the meaning of new facts which it cannot express fully and precisely. But this contradiction appears even more vividly in the development of more complicated complexes.

Quotes about Alexander Bogdanov[edit]

  • It was early in April in 1928 when the word went out in Moscow that Alexander Bogdanov had died. He was a controversial figure, an old Bolshevik who had left that party long before the 1917 revolution and never returned. All the same, he had had Lenin's respect as a scientist (as long as he stayed out of politics). More recently, he also had the support of the new party strong man, Stalin. Bogdanov opposed the growing despotism of the "dictatorship of the proletariat", under which slogan Communist autocracy was being developed. But he was respected as a tireless propagandist for the socialist cause, an enthusiastic teacher of the proletariat, and a writer of arcane science and philosophy. Bogdanov was held in such respect that Communist bigwigs spoke glowingly at the funeral, praising his intellect, courage, and dedication to science and humanity. They did not fail to point out that he had split with his one-time friend, Lenin, and had succumbed to ideological "errors". Indeed, he had powerful enemies in the early Soviet state. Bogdanov was a physician, economist, philosopher, natural scientist, writer of utopian science fiction, poet, teacher, politician (unsuccesful), lifelong revolutionary, forerunner of what we now call cybernetics and organizational science, and founder of the world's first institution devoted entirely to the field of blood transfusion. You could call him a Renaissance man.
    • Douglas W. Huestis, "The life and death of Alexander Bogdanov, physician." Journal of medical biography 4.3 (1996): 141-147.
  • Alexander Alexandrovich Bogdanov was a prominent Russian philosopher, scientist and political activist the end of the XIX century - and the first quarter of the XX. Amongst his numerous scientific achievements, and philosophical conceptions "Tektology", the universal organizational science, is undoubtedly the most significant contribution by Bogdanov to world culture. Not without reason. In Tektology he criticized the philosophical ideas which he propounded at the end of the XIX century and even at the beginning of the XX - including empiriomonism, his main philosophical conception. Bogdanov, until the end of his days, constantly emphasized the radical novelty and universal value of tektology.

External links[edit]