Nikolai Fyodorovich Fyodorov

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Our task is to make nature, the forces of nature, into an instrument of universal resuscitation and to become a union of immortal beings.

Nikolai Fyodorovich Fyodorov (Никола́й Фёдорович Фёдоров; surname also Anglicized as "Fedorov", June 9, 1829 – December 28, 1903) was a Russian Orthodox Christian philosopher, who was part of the Russian cosmism movement and a precursor of transhumanism. Fyodorov advocated radical life extension, physical immortality and even resurrection of the dead, using scientific methods.


  • [The] transformation of the blind course of nature into one that is rational [...] is bound to appear to the learned as a disruption of order, although this order of theirs brings only disorder among men, striking them down with famine, plague, and death.
  • How unnatural it is to ask, ‘Why does that which exist, exist?' and yet how completely natural it is to ask, ‘Why do the living die?

What Was Man Created For? The Philosophy of the Common Task: Selected Works


Full text online. London: Honeyglen Publishing / L'Age d'Homme. 1990. ISBN 978-0-907855-09-5.

  • The learned, who have fragmented science into a multiplicity of branches, imagine that the calamities that strike and oppress us are within the competence of specialised disciplines to control, whereas in fact they constitute a single problem common to all of us, namely the lack of kinship relations between a blind force and rational beings. This blind force makes no demand on us other than to endow it with what it lacks: rational direction, or regulation. Yet no regulation is possible owing to our disunity, and our disunity persists because there is no common task to unite men. Regulation, the control of the blind force of nature, can and must become the great task common to us all.
    • Part I, § 2, pp. 36–37
  • A truly moral being does not need compulsion and repeated orders to perceive what his duty is – he assigns to himself his task and prescribes what must be done for those from whom he has become separated, because separation (whether voluntary or not) cannot be irreversible. Indeed, it would be criminal to repudiate those from whom one descends and to forget about their welfare. For the learned to behave thus would be to reject their own welfare, to remain prodigal sons for ever and be permanent hirelings and servants of urban caprice. This would lead them to disregard completely the needs of rural communities, that is, real needs, because the needs of such communities, unspoilt by city influences, are limited to those essentials that ensure survival in the face of hunger and illness, which not only destroy life but also displace kinship relations and replace love by enmity and hostility.
    • Part I, § 4, pp. 38–39
  • [T]he rural problem is (1) loss of kinship between men who, through ignorance, forget their relatedness, and (2) the hostility of nature to humans, which is felt most acutely if not exclusively in villages, where people confront the blind force directly; whereas townsfolk, being remote from nature, may think that man lives at one with nature.
    • Part I, § 4, p. 39
  • Only when all men come to participate in knowledge will pure science, which perceives nature as a whole in which the sentient is sacrificed to the insensate, cease to be indifferent to this distorted attitude of the conscious being to the unconscious force.
    • Part I, § 5, p. 40
  • To admit an absence of causality for the unbrotherly state leads not to peace and brotherhood but merely to playing at peace, to a comedy of reconciliation which creates a pseudo-peace, a false peace which is worse than open hostility because the latter poses a question whereas the former prolongs enmity by concealing it.
    • Part I, § 8, p. 42
  • The problem of the force which brings the two sexes to unite and give birth to a third being is also a problem of death.
    • Part I, § 9, p. 43
  • Internal discord reflects external disunion, that is, the separation of the learned and intellectual classes from the people. Intelligence without feeling becomes the knowledge of evil without any desire to root it out, and a knowledge of good without any wish to promote it. It is an admission of lack of kinship and not a plan to re-establish kinship bonds. The consequence of indifference is oblivion for the fathers and discord among the sons. The causes of lack of kinship extend to nature as a whole, for it is a blind force uncontrolled by reason.
    • Part I, § 11, pp. 45–46
  • The principle of disunion and inactivity informs all three Critiques. The philosophy of art which he embodies in his Critique of Judgement does not teach how to create, but only how to judge the aesthetic aspects of works of art and of nature. It is a philosophy for art critics, not for artists and poets. In the Critique of Judgement, nature is regarded not as an object to be acted upon and transformed from a blind force into one governed by reason, but merely as an object of contemplation to be judged on its aesthetic merits; not from the point of view of morality, which would recognise it as destructive and death-bearing...
    • Part I, § 13, p. 51
  • Our task is to make nature, the forces of nature, into an instrument of universal resuscitation and to become a union of immortal beings. The problem of God's transcendence or immanence will only be solved when humans in their togetherness become an instrument of universal resuscitation, when the divine word becomes our divine action.
    • Part II, § 4, pp. 70–71
  • The grief of a son mourning the death of his father is truly universal, because death as a law (or, rather, an inevitable hazard) of blind nature could not fail to arouse intense pain in a being who has attained consciousness, and who can and must achieve the transition from a world dominated by this blind force of nature to a world governed by consciousness, and where there is no place for death. This universal grief is both objective because of the universality of death and subjective because mourning a father's death is common to all. Truly universal grief is the regret for having been lacking in love for the fathers, and for one's own excessive self-love. It is sorrowing for a distorted world, for its fail, for the estrangement of sons from fathers and of consequences from causes.
    • Part II, § 8, pp. 72–73
  • Universal Christian grief is the sorrowing over disunity (that is, over enmity and hatred and their ensuing consequences such as suffering and death), and this sorrow is repentance; it is something active that includes hope, expectation and trust. Repentance is the recognition of one's guilt over disunity and of one's duty to work for unification in universal love in order to eliminate the consequences of disunity.
    • Part II, § 8, pp. 73–74
  • The minorship of the human race is nowhere more evident than in the superstitious veneration of everything natural, the acceptance of the supremacy of blind nature over intelligent beings (natural morality). It is not the savages who are in this state of childishness and minority, not young nations, but the ageing ones which do not notice their superstitions and even pride themselves on being free from superstition. This happened in ancient history, it is happening now, and this state of childishness usually begins during the era of a nation's decline, though the nation believes itself to be at the zenith of its civilisation. The present puerility of Western Europe is a form of paganism, though secularised since the era of the so-called Renaissance. Death is venerated too, as being natural.
    • Part II, § 11, pp. 75–76
  • Nature is regarded as a death-bearing, self-destructive force, but not because of its blindness. Yet where can a blind force lead except to death? Humans admit nature to be a blind force even when they regard themselves as part of it and accept death as a kind of law and not as a mere accident which has permeated nature and become its organic vice. Yet death is merely the result or manifestation of our infantilism, lack of independence and self-reliance, and of our incapacity for mutual support and the restoration of life. People are still minors, half-beings, whereas the fulness of personal existence, personal perfection, is possible. However, it is possible only within general perfection. Coming of age will bring perfect health and immortality, but for the living immortality is impossible without the resurrection of the dead.
    • Part II, § 11, p. 76
  • History as fact is mutual extermination, the extermination of people like ourselves, the pillage and plunder of nature (that is, the Earth) through its exploitation and utilisation, leading to degeneration and dying (culture). History as fact is always mutual extermination, either overt in times of barbarism or covert in times of civilisation, when cruelty is merely more refined and even more evil. This situation raises the question: must man be the exterminator of his own species and the predator of nature, or must he be its regulator, its manager, and the restorer to life of his own kin, victims of his blind unruly youth, of his past – that is, of history as fact?
    • Part III, "What is history for the unlearned?", p. 79
  • By using the mass of Earth and transforming it into conscious force, the united human race will give to the telluric force, controlled by reason and feeling — that is, by a life-giving force — domination over the blind force of other celestial bodies, and will involve them in a single life-giving force of resuscitation.
    • Part III, "What is history for the unlearned?", p. 80
  • Apart from a slowly advancing end, we cannot be certain whether a sudden catastrophe may not befall the Earth, this tiny grain of sand in the vastness of the Universe.
    • Part III, "What is history for the unlearned?", p. 88
  • If, however, progress is the transformation of the spontaneous (procreation) into conscious work, we must regard parasites as an inherent evil. The control method used is undoubtedly immoral, since it takes advantage of the natural evil of an epidemic. Nor can the annihilation of any insect be considered moral. Only the complete transfiguration of a blind force (procreation) into a conscious act can be called moral.
    • Part III, "What is history for the unlearned?", p. 92
  • Man placed himself at the mercy of fate (that is to say, the annual rotation of the Earth), he submitted to the Earth; childbirth replaced the artistry of reproducing oneself in other beings, a process comparable to the birth of the Son from the Father, or the procession of the Holy Ghost. Later, proliferation increased the struggle, which was fostered by an unbridled surge of procreation; and with the increase in birth, mortality increased too. The conditions which could have regulated this concatenation of phenomena disappeared, and gradually there came revolutions, storms, drought and earthquakes; the solar system became an uncontrolled world, a star with an eleven-year cycle or some other periodicity of various catastrophes. Such is the system we know. One way or another, to confirm us in our knowledge, the solar system must be transformed into a controlled economic entity.
    • Part IV, "What should we do?", pp. 101–102
  • What will nature — which, in its present, unconscious state, is a force that procreates and kills - become when it achieves consciousness, if not a force restoring what it has destroyed in its blindness ? How senseless are statements about the incommensurability of the forces of man, that is, of nature striving towards consciousness and control, and the forces of the same blind nature. And should one term 'human force' merely that of man's own hand, or include what he can achieve through nature ? And are human force and human activity to be limited to what man achieves now by using the forces of nature ? Why, the true, the natural task has not even begun...
    • Part IV, "Supramoralism or general synthesis (universal union)", p. 107
  • Contrary to Schopenhauer's 'world as will and representation', it should be 'world as slavery and the project of liberation from enslavement', from dependence, from subordination to a blind force; for us the world has no will, and for beings endowed with feeling and capable of action and not mere contemplation, the world is not solely a representation but a project of liberation from bondage. The expression 'the world as will and representation' could be justifiably replaced by the expression 'the world as lust', for lust procreates and kills, giving birth to sons and destroying the fathers. For us the world is not a representation but a project, moreover one that does not oppose lust (the opposite of lust is asceticism) but transforms the procreating force into a re-creating one, the lethal into a vivifying. Then the world can no longer remain a representation but becomes a project of the restoration of the predecessors by the offspring, that is, a project of resuscitation. That is how it should be, but at the present time the world is as it is — lust and representation.
    • Part IV, Question III, p. 113
  • The will to procreate, as lust, engenders wealth and leads the human race to demoralisation (of which the Universal Exhibition is a striking expression), whereas the will to resuscitate, when the problem of returning life is seen as the purpose of conscious beings, moralises all the worlds of the Universe, because then all the worlds that are moved by insensate forces will be governed by the brotherly feelings of all the resurrected generations. This involves both their moralisation and their rationalisation, because then the worlds of the Universe will no longer be moved by blind insensate forces but will be governed by the feelings and reason of the resurrected generations.
    • Part IV, Question VI, p. 120
  • Be perfect as God your Father is perfect, God the Father of the living, not of the dead. Where should we look for models of living? In the world of the animals, of blind nature, or in a world that is superior to the human race? Should the model for our society be an organism and the blind evolution of life, or should the model for our unity-in-pluralism be the Divine Trinity, within which unity is not a yoke and independence not discord? Would not then Divine creativeness, replacing our present destruction of life, serve us as a model for its re-creation?
    • Part IV, Question XI, pp. 128–129
  • [A]utocracy is the task of the sons which becomes, with the full union of those sons, the return of life to the dust of the fathers – that is to say, struggle not against members of our own species but against the dark force which procreates and destroys life.
    • Part IV, Question Xll, p. 131
  • To abdicate the task of resuscitation leaves the human race only the choice between constitutional debating and despotism. To retain Easter as a feast only and the liturgy as a church service, an expression of an as yet incomplete love for the fathers which does not entail actual resuscitation, or, by abdicating completely brotherhood and filial love, to indulge on the graves of the fathers in bestial orgies followed by savage mutual extermination; to retain the art of dead likenesses or to annihilate any true likenesses; not merely to censure parents for giving life to their offspring without their consent, but to curse one's procreators; to retain academic class science or, rejecting all knowledge, to descend into the hopeless darkness of obscurantism; to remain in the perennial city of brides and bridegrooms, surrounded by toys and trifles, indulging in pleasures and entertainments, or else, rejecting not only fathers and forebears but even progeny, sons (artificially childless marriages), in order to indulge in boundless lechery; to retain will as either lust or mortification of the flesh; to retain sensuousness or to be satisfied by mere grieving for the dead or — the last and greatest evil — to plunge into nirvana, the product of total evil negation — such are the fruits of abdicating the task of resuscitation.
    • Part IV, Question Xll, pp. 131–132
  • Negative virginity is not yet a celestial virtue; chastity is not yet active wisdom; not to beget is not yet liberation from death — resurrection. It is essential that unconscious procreation be replaced by the task of resuscitation.
    • Part IV, Question Xll, p. 135
  • When external regulation has been achieved, the inner psychophysiological force will tilt the balance away from sexual drive and lust towards love for the parents, and will even replace them, thus transforming the force of procreation into one of re-creation, the lethal into a vivifying force; in other words, childbirth will be replaced by patrification, in fulfilment of the will of the God of the fathers.
    • Part IV, "Ways of solving the paschal questions, or the course of a natural task", p. 139
  • [T]he present generation is too frightened by the magnitude of time and space revealed by geology and astronomy, and has been so conditioned by four centuries of nature worship that it feels only its insignificance, and fears even to contemplate such an endeavour as weather control.
  • [M]an has always felt and recognised the imperfection of nature, and has never accepted it as law. He broke this law when he took his first step, because his vertical posture challenged gravity, the most universal law of nature. This upright position is not natural to man – it is supranatural – and he has achieved it artificially, through effort (by swaddling and other methods of adaptation). One cannot say of man that he is the creation of nature. On the contrary, he is the result of under-creation, of deprivation, of a natural pauperism which is shared by rich and poor alike; he is a proletarian, a pariah among living creatures. Yet in this lay the origin of his future greatness; deprived of natural cover and means of defence, he had to create all this himself by his own labour. Therefore man values only that which has been created by working, or which expands the area of application of work; it is not difficult to guess that the culmination of this forward movement must be that everything on which human life depends will ultimately be achieved through work, so that humans will depend solely on their labour. Consequently the entire world, the meteorological, telluric and cosmic processes, will be the responsibility of man, and nature will be his work. Man is driven towards this goal by hunger, disease and every other calamity, so that whenever he delays in expanding the area of work, the scope for disasters expands. Thus nature punishes man by death for his ignorance and sloth, and drives him to ever-expanding labour.
  • Before talking about resurrection one must state firmly that, just as death is impossible where there exist sinlessness and knowledge that can control the forces of nature, so resurrection is impossible where there exist sin, ignorance and other misfortunes resulting from man's dependence on the blind forces of nature.
    • "Physical and moral sinlessness: a prerequisite of immortality", p. 182
  • Neither the universal return to life, universal resurrection, nor even death itself, have hitherto been the subject of knowledge or well founded judgement. For there would have been full, detailed investigations into the reasons and conditions that have given rise to the phenomenon. For most people, death appears to be an absolute, inevitable phenomenon; but just how unfounded is this conclusion is obvious from the fact that it is considered acceptable to talk about the opposite of death, about immortality, and even about resurrection; and it is talked about as a possibility, in circumstances where all sorts of sins prevail among people, and all sorts of calamities and evils, arising from the folly of nature. But if the coexistence of the one with the other is unthinkable, since the one excludes the other, then can one talk about the possibility of death where there is moral and physical sinlessness, where nature shows such a benign attitude both within and outside man, of the sort that is deemed possible when man's knowledge and control of nature are complete?
    • "Physical and moral sinlessness: a prerequisite of immortality", p. 182
  • To solve the question, 'What should art be?' will be to solve the contradiction between rational being and the blind force of nature, to fathom the most abnormal relationship between man and nature, to solve the question of the subordination of rational being to blind force. Will nature always remain blind and, in its blindness, a destructive force, while art remains the creation of nothing but dead imitations? Will this division be temporary, or will it last for ever? Perfection lies in the unity of nature and art.
    • "How did art begin, what has it become and what should it be?", p. 184
  • Nature, within man, was conscious of the evil of death, of its own imperfection. So the rebellion of the living (the vertical posture) and the resurrection of the dead, in the form of tombstones, are natural acts for a feeling, rational being. It was when the living (who had suffered a loss) rebelled and turned to heaven, and when the dead were resurrected in the form of tombstones, that art began. Prayer was the beginning of art. Prayer and the (vertical) prayer posture constituted the first acts of art; this was theo-anthropurgic art, which consisted of God creating man through man himself. For man is not only a product of nature but also a creation and concern of art. The last act of divine creation was the first act of human art, for man's purpose is to be a free being and consequently self-created, since only a self-created being can be free. In this act of self-creation – that is, in rebelling and turning towards heaven – man discovers God and God reveals himself to man; or, more precisely, on discovering the God of the fathers, the being who has made the discovery becomes not just a man, but a son of man. And only in the abstract sense, forgetting the loss, is it possible to say that the being which has discovered God has become man.
    • "How did art begin, what has it become and what should it be?", pp. 184–185
  • If the question, 'What has art become?', is synonymous with 'What are the reasons for the unbrotherliness between people and for the rift in the relations between nature and people?' then the question, 'What should art be?' is the same as the problem of establishing brotherly unity in order to transform the blind force of nature into a force guided by the reasoning powers of all the resurrected generations. In other words, what we are talking about is universal resurrection, since it is this that represents the complete restoration of kinship and that will provide art with the appropriate course to follow, and show it its goal. Transforming all the worlds into worlds guided by the reasoning powers of resurrected generations will constitute a complete resolution of the Copernican question and is at the same time identical to the primeval view – that is, the patrification of the heavens (the turning of the heavens into the fathers' abode), or catasterisation (the transferral of the fathers' souls to the stars) – which also finds its expression in church sculpture and painting. For children this primeval view is the most straightforward, an explanation and resolution of the Copernican question. To turn all the worlds into worlds guided by the reasoning powers of resurrected generations is also the most important goal of art.
    • "How did art begin, what has it become and what should it be?", p. 186
  • Till now consciousness, reason and morality were localised on planet Earth; by resurrecting all the generations who have lived on this Earth, consciousness will be disseminated to all the worlds of the Universe. Resurrection is the transformation of the Universe from that chaos towards which it is moving into cosmos — into the greatness of incorruptibility and indestructibility.
    • "The art of imitation (false artistic re-creation) and the art of reality (real resurrection)", pp. 189–190