1. Introduction

Philosophies often become lopsided frames of thought. Kutyrev’s new book is not just another piece of criticism of the information-symbolic society, it has a lot of good philosophy, that punches the narrow path between agnosticism and technocracy, reism and structuralism.

The main concerns of this thinker from Nijny Novgorod are as follows:

  • we have abandoned the integrity of life and replaced it with mathematization, chemicalization, informatization of being;
  • the technologies became an end in itself; we invest hope in them, that they will give us opulence, however, they pose a threat of substitution of reality by functions and methodologies (Kutyrev, 2011, 2010, 2016, 2018, 2019).

If philosophy does not cease its passion for reductionism, it will lose touch with reality and will be replaced by art, mythology, and religion that happen to be more accurate and complete in their depiction of the real world than one-sided philosophical constructs.

The book provides an overview of Kutyrev’s main story lines: the struggle of the natural and artificial, antinomies of the open vs. sustainable society, the threat of hypermodernism and transhumanism, the problems of the biotechnical design of a posthuman, the prospects for conservative philosophy, the justification of being.

The cumulative work of the Volga oracle attracts not so much by the already known prophetic alert of the expansion of the technosphere, yet as low-key reasoning about the problems of maintaining a sustainable order. Vladimir formulates a clear and ecophile message: the complexity of civilization, realized on the nano-, micro-, mega- and other levels, cannot be allowed to completely absorb the simplicity of the macrocosm, the original and natural abode of being. Our original home of things just needs to be saved. The philosophy of self-preservation formulates as a primary task the maintenance of and service to the haven of the lifeworlds of homo sapiens on Earth. En passant, he formulates an important definition of humanism as that, what is brought to the measure of man (Kutyrev, 2018: 105).

2. Back to the being

One of the objectives of the book «The owl of Minerva flies at dusk» — the protection of entity-event reality, the criticism of thoughtless scientific and technical constructivism, unlimited creativity, ingenuity in the spiritual of «otherness». The threat to being lies in its reduction to representationalism, functionalism, communicationalism, when the world-text reckoned not as a thing, not as a system, not as a subject and not even as their reflection, yet it is just an intersection of connections and relationships.

Kutyrev is perturbed by the tendency of disobjectification, by the transformation of the entity-substrate approach to the system-functional, the eviction of substratum and its replacement by functionality and structurality. Objects should not be the points of intersection of functions and system connections, and the mathematization of science is not necessarily an indicator of its high development.

Kutyrev’s ontological program is simple and traditional as his entire system: 1) consciousness is thinking, 2) man is a thinker, 3) man is a subject, 4) man does exist, 5) we must continue our existence (Kutyrev, 2018: 428).

Behind this there is a deep antireductionistic and anti-speculative principle: not to invent, not to manufacture, not to show off, not to undermine the basis of being, not to overturn the homo genus.

The main mode of the author is deontological. Let us resist the formation of an impersonal robotic objective world! Do not separate thinking from consciousness! Do not turn life into a scheme! (Timoshchuk, 2017, 2019).

Taken separately, neither reism, nor attributivism, nor relativism can not describe the world. The acknowledgment of the unity and relation of the various characteristics of being must be brought to the recognition of their interconvertability. This is the deepest manifestation of its dynamic unity (Kutyrev, 2018: 19).

Materialism rivalled during a classic time with idealism and began to lose its influence when science turned to the study of «invisible» worlds, micro and mega realities and relationships, i.e. turned into non-classical. The crisis of philosophy does not come from the fact that natural science has become materialistic, but by the fact that it has become too virtual and symbolic, taking up Higgs mathematical bosons instead of bodies, information instead of kinematics and diffraction.

Following the «matter», the «ideal» evaporates somewhere as well. In the «New Philosophical Encyclopedia» (Moscow, 2001), for example, idealism is given one page, and the word «ideal» is completely absent (!!).

Being and consciousness are continual identity. Being is included in consciousness, and consciousness is inserted into being. Being-consciousness. This is the phenomenology of the grassroots. Suchness. The dogma of all dogmas that is not deduced from anywhere. It’s like a theophany that does not require inference characteristics of God.

The goal of the book — is the salvation of personhood. In his previous works, Vladimir was saving us from technology, from emptiness, from progress, yet here he saves us from self-apocalypse, an eschatological man-made tragedy. He saves us from Immanuel Kant, who launched the countdown of humanity. Kutyrev calls the Critique of pure reason «a speculative-philosophical atomic bomb in the sphere of the spirit» for the fact that it leaves the earth in a mental hypothetical space (Kutyrev, 2018: 13).

He paints a picture of humanity's self-apocalypse with large strokes. Galileo, Kant, Marx here are the forerunners and installers of the mathematically formalized world, and M. Foucault and L. Althusser are the oracles of theoretical anti-humanism, a process without a subject. Let us forgive the alarmist pathos peculiar to him. Under the threat of robotophilia, technosexuality, and technology, all resistance measures are useful!

3. Kutyrev as phenomenologist

This book is a new project of philosophy a là Kutyrev begins with phenomenology as a section synthesizing all philosophical ideas in a classical and orderly manner: from consciousness to ethics and from onto-epistemology to anthropology (Khoruzhiy, 2016).

Perhaps the greatest value of the Kutyrev’s new book is its authorization of phenomenology as the general line of the life-affirming philosophy of the 21st century. The study of consciousness as a pure, a priori, transcendental reality, its structure, intentionality is not only an eternal query for man. Under the conditions of progressivism and ethical nihilism, the philosophy of consciousness becomes the guiding star of civilization. Husserl returns us to the basics of being by his scientific language, realizing the exit for the mental and physical. And one can only agree that Heidegger has made grassroots poetry from phenomenology.

I do not consent that Husserl’s transcendentalism can be blamed for the true expansion of information and computer technology. In this case one should question the ideas of Ramon Llull, B. Pascal, V. Leibniz. Digitalization is not Husserl’s direct program. Let us then blame J. Jacquard, the French inventor of the self-propelled weaving machine that read a program from a punch card to perform patterns on the fabric. He is «guilty» of digitization of the economy much more than Husserl.

Kutyrev is also a phenomenologist, yet of the Heideggerian type. This is a phenomenology of literature and spirit. He explains «phenomenological» as «immediate, original, not mediated, unshielded by anything» and compares it with Heidegger's «in-itself-self-seeming». Here the world is presented to man through his physicality, communication with others, experience and incoming living knowledge.

Kutyrev opposes Heideggerian phenomenology to digital-type Husserlian. Heidegger’s phenomenology is that of the soil and tradition, whereas Husserlian one is that of reduction and information. Heidegger speaks for the uncovered being, for faith and love, whereas Husserl — for the formalization and mathematization. For Heidegger, phenomena are the essence of the truth of feelings, whereas for Husserl they are an aberration.

Being becomes naively uncovered. It just exists. Dasein. Visibility and essence do not need to be distinguished. Kant was wrong, but Nietzsche was right. Being cries out and breathes. It is obvious and does not require separation into substance and phenomenon. It’s eternal and is not brought out of anywhere.

The ontofania passes into theophany and gives birth to a special dogmatic theology, the third way between apophatic and kataphatic. Among the representatives of real phenomenology, Kutyrev writes down Hartmann, Ingarden and Ya.E. Golosovker. They are the guardians of being, distinguishing layers and levels in it. Out of the representatives of literature, he names Marcel Proust, who sought to keep the immediate experience of the world despite the control of reason.

The lifeworld that emerged from fundamental philosophizing opens up philosophical and anthropological perspectives. Kutyrev brings the life concept of truth: the closer to man and the world, the more veritable is the theory. Knowledge must be productive, not just sophisticatedly abstract. Not everything scientific is adequate. Means of knowledge must comply with the subject of knowledge. Presence and communion are the support of the phenomenology of life.

Life, practice, man, nature — all these are above theory and are not obliged to engage in apologetics. Realistic phenomenology is full of feelings and imagination, it is close to anthropology and metaphysics, mythology and poetics, history and tradition, ecology and humanism. To everything that contributes to human survival.

A philosophy serving science is a dead end. Humanity must be guided by a strategy of phenomenological substantialism as its Absolute, by the ideal of the infinite continuation of its Being.

4. Art of philosophy in the posthuman world

Kutyrev reshaped Russian writer Victor Pelevin from progressivists to conservatives for the later saying about the danger of a «different» light in the book «Empire V»: «Once the stars in the sky seemed other worlds to me, towards which will fly spacecraft from the Solar City. Now I know these sharp points are the holes in the armour protecting us from the ocean of merciless light ... Hurry to live. For the day will come when the sky will burst at the seams, and the light, the rage of which we cannot imagine, will break into our quiet house and forget us forever» (Kutyrev, 2018: 17). Kutyrev himself calls the signs of this merciless light of Lucifer — transparency and observability, technological globalization.

Criticizing postmodernism, Kutyrev actively uses all its tools, exploiting short sentences, strikethroughs, polysemy, slogans, quotation, brackets, slashes, irony and sarcasm, neologisms and homophones, abbreviations and Latinisms, figures and graphemes, anaphors and oxymorons, allusions and play, hypertextuality and metatextuality, caprice and brilliance. Because of this, the text becomes light and impassable, rich and minimalist, appetizing and indigestible, in all — that which (anti) postmodernism should be.

But isn’t the antagonist is of the same type of «texturbator» as the agents of philosophical-speculative reasoning schemes that he exposes? The semantics of the author's grammatical structures allows us to give a negative answer. His method can be given the name «anti-postmodernism», where the deliberate use of postmodern techniques is intended to cut down a tree by its haft. He beats the enemy with his weapon. Since, as a rule, new ideologies are aggressive and tend to «absolutize» (Kutyrev, 2018: 456), Kutyrev’s anti-discourse is also militant, but not cynical. The thinker professes the old credo of philosophy — to serve the good of man, to observe and point to aberrations. Postmodernism exploits the ideas of classical and non-classical science and weaves a dress for a naked king out of intellectual tricks and references. Responsible historicism means freeing Mona Lisa from the mustache, returning Marx's beard and dressing to the king. This should serve not only truth but also good (Kutyrev, 2018: 462).

The ancient civilizations of India, Babylon, and Egypt connected the cosmos with the event plan of the earth. Ancient Hellas made cosmos a philosophical category, a measure of beauty. The era of modernity is gradually shifting its motion vector from life and nature to technology and the cosmos, from the natural to the artificial. This is an arrow piercing the whole man: from geocentrism to heliocentrism, from telluric to noosphere-cosmic (Kutyrev, 2018: 46). The last word of the philosophy of technology is anthropocosmism.

Postmodernism also does not contribute to the anthropic program of civilization: the rejection of metaphysics, and hence the perception of man, his place in the world that has developed over the centuries. Postmodernism means the absence of the author, subject, person; the expulsion of such «concepts as «meaning», «subject», «apprehending (noesis)» and «apprehended (noema)». Postmodernism defies teomorphic representations (Kutyrev, 2018: 441–443).

Kutyrev's program is as follows: we support everything that contributes to the sustainability of the world and man and gives a rebuff to the ideology of techno-immortality and posthuman progress. Do not turn into a robot-like class! Do not become a technoid zombie!

A better world is the one where we are now. Better than human is human. If technoids are so bored of this existing world, they can go into space and explore other planets. Let us save the Earth here and now! Let us remain human. The saying «be a man» acquires a sacred meaning. We cannot allow turning civilization into a technopark with the reservation for homo sapiens.

The ideal of a man as a perfect being who does not need technological, but moral improvement, Kutyrev finds in the medieval Indian dramatist Kalidas:

He was wise in his learning,

With wisdom, he was beautiful.

With the beauty he was fearless,

And with fearlessness — happy.

Kutyrev reconciles the evolutionary and religious versions of human origins. They are united in the fact that man is a unique phenomenon, the value of being, the micro-world and the Universe, a carrier of freedom and a measure of things, a subject that gives meaning. The crown of philosophy is anthropology with its thesis that in any system of thinking a person is in the center of discourse as an implicit signified.

The trinity of dystopia is Foucault-Deleuze-Derrida. They are the ideologists of the posthuman informational reality. The best current form of anthropological theory is the work of Sergei Horuzhiy, who, like Kutyrev, warns of the danger of crossing the anthropological border, and points to personal spiritual practice as a guideline of the spirit for man. A person cannot become fulfilled without spiritual feeding of prayer, meditation, hesychasm, liturgy, nirvana, etc. Reliance on spiritual practice is an energetic anthropological paradigm. For his salvation, man must become the God-man (Kutyrev, 2018: 461).

Kutyrev gives a concise understanding of what the noosphere is in its dialectical understanding. In this concept, there is a whole tangle of rational and irrational representations. The author seeks to overcome the historical idolatry and isolates the rational in noosphericism, criticizing the mythological. The main problem of noospherism is the fusion of ontological and axiological models. The recognition of noospherism as a new immaculate icon for worship would contradict the dialectics of life, would overshadow its unattainable, disorienting aspects. The author sees the main danger in the fact that the technosphere today has superseded social expectations by severe pressure on the biosphere.

5. Limits of technological advancement

After the man, the topic of society is no less sacred. Society is a megaman. It’s a part of the life-giving trinity of Nature-Society-Personality. They are embodied in a man non-inseparably and inseparably (Kutyrev, 2018: 440).

Kutyrev gives a new interpretation to the medieval aporia on the inexpressibility of the individual (individuum est inefabile). The individuation of a posthuman civilization is not only impossible conceptually, but also empirically. The irrationality of technocrats is an elusive balance and the basic territory of their modus vivandi (Kutyrev, 2018: 31).

Comparing dialectics and synergetics, Kutyrev notes that the in the first concept the movement is absolute, whereas stability, balance, peace is relative, however they are recognized. In synergetics and absolute evolutionism, «we only dream of peace». This is the theory of fundamentally non-equilibrium systems and the worldview of infinite formation (Kutyrev, 2018: 84)

Gaming is a revision of life under an artificially virtual-positivist sauce, sliding along the Möbius strip to the point of no return. The anthropological catastrophe did not happen at the time of landing on the moon or in the cryo-chamber of genetically modified Frankenstein. It comes along with the interobjective of Bruno Latour and the «Great Outside» of Quentin Meillassoux.

Sociology of things, the omnipresence of superorganisms, the society of insects — the frame of macro effects roughly eliminates the improvised world to numbers, turns a living thing into a dead one, reduces a person to an actant.

By the way, the criticism of the techno-paranoia that has seized the world is a topic of cyberpunk, a science fiction genre, reflecting the decline of human culture against the background of technological progress. In the British anti-utopian TV series «The Black Mirror» the metaphor is used to represent the display of technical devices (TV, monitor, smartphone, etc.). The cool brilliance of technology mediates everyday relationships, communication, and lifestyle. As with Heidegger, the skilfulness of technology becomes a factor of alienation.

The traditional topic for the thinker is the limitations of instrumental domination. The author notes that together with fire Prometheus inspired blind hope in people. Utopias are needed as much as they help us to survive (Kutyrev, 2018: 43).

Continuing the idea of conservative progress, it can be predicted that innovations will go on, but they will not spread in a way we usually imagine. Not unlimited expansion in the Universe, but optimization and consolidation of the Earth. The farms will be replaced by artificial meat and milk. Cows and pigs will remain only in zoos and eco settlements. Food will be a mixture of briquettes and healthy snacks from homogenized biopolymers, vitamins, minerals and fillers. National cuisines will remain only in restaurants. The birth of children will be an anachronism of «backward traditionalists». To preserve the health of an emancipated woman, children will be nurtured in an incubator.

Further promotion of culture, spirituality and man is possible in the post-capitalist mode. The market economy will continue, but socialist relations will inevitably expand in society. Socialism is the eternal companion of capitalism, they are connected as a law and a state. Private property is complemented by donations and an alternative system of ownership and access to resources (access economy, sharing economy, coworking), where the right to use is valued higher than the right of ownership. Pure capitalism is no longer profitable. Production increasingly needs planning, corporations need social programs and fine-tuning of the team in the form of non-economic staff motivation. Intellect, education, creativity — these are the engines of the post-industrial society. To manage such a society, it is necessary to go through the evolution from the contact zone (violence) through volitional and charismatic control to the optimization of financial and resource flows and procedures.

6. Limits of philosophy

Yes, it is difficult to convince the philosopher to see that the mountains are mountains, the fields are fields, the rivers are rivers, and life is a value in itself, and outside of it, there is no need to create artificial worlds.

Philosophy has written itself out. Away from the hard topics of metaphysics, being, knowledge, man. It has moved on to the lightweight content — play, ressentiment, fantasy, betrayal. To find topics, one must either make deep somersaults into the pool of absurdity or pass one’s clarity through the grinders of machine translation. Clarity and truth are a blatant luxury in an era of the increasing complexity of reality.

Philosophers have a negative habit to complicate the world: mountains are not mountains, fields are not fields, rivers are not rivers, man is not a living being (an under computer). The philosopher is always missing something, something pungent, interpretative. Simplicity is never enough. One has to find the problem where others do not see it. As a result, followers come up, institutions crop up and complex food chains emerge. Society starts to believe that concepts create reality. Philosophers brought us the good news: «People! No need to fetch water and chop wood! We write opuses and treat the world with verbal outpourings! We generate ways to describe the world and endless updates to further harmonize all the pictures of the world!»

Philosophy without religion is speculation, and religion, without philosophy, is fanaticism. They complement each other. Like a Zen monk who has achieved enlightenment, Kutyrev came to the truth: «Mountains are mountains, seas are seas, fields are fields». No «things in themselves» exist! This is the Tolstoyan movement! Philosophy of great simplification! Ascetic thought. Hygiene for the mind.

Alas! Blinded by the progress of techno-science, philosophy sees worse and worse. «There are fewer and fewer philosophers who could appreciate the new grammatological dress of postmodernist kings. An open totalitarian technology society is hostile to reflection. It ignores the thinking worldview and suppresses the last living elements» (Kutyrev, 2018: 456). Responsible philosophy is a rare product on the market and Kutyrev negotiates this proposal. The Volga traditionalist concludes an alliance with religion against the freedom of creativity.

It is not for nothing that spirituality is often associated with religion, for in the latter practice of self-restraint and sacrifice is transmitted. The vertical of the spirit places everyday relationships on transcendental projection.

Jesus redeems the human race, this is Universal service. What the atheist socialists could not do is done by the selfish believers of the consumer society. Satan is just an egoist, the principle of self-serviсe and homo economicus is an active person who is not tempted by the pious boredom of heaven.

The principle of service permeates all meaningful types of relationships — friendship, love, patriotism, loyalty. Be for the other. The author admits the existence of secular forms of spirituality, but notes that the careful transmission of sacrifice and self-denial is provided by religion, where the liturgy itself is service and thanksgiving. Jesus accepts the sacrifice for the human race. The law of service — the inner essence of the world (dharma, tao, maat) surpasses the specific gods.

Desecrated civilization is busy playing the mind. They are too active to be seduced by the monotony of religion. This is a post-traditional society, a system of universal utility. Traditional society is closed by filters of spirituality, culture, belief, authority, morality. The market society is gradually deconstructing these regulators and prejudices. Socialist societies in terms of filters were traditional. However, now they have also decayed under the influence of profit, market, benefits. Kutyrev stands for monasticism in the world, when a believer solves everyday problems while reaching for an imaginary ideal.


Kutyrev turns a variety of people in his supporters by using a paraphrase:

  • take from the altars of the past the fire — not the ashes (French socialist, anti-militarist and historian of the revolution, Jean Jaures);
  • if progress and technology are outside of a person, then I would prefer to stay with a person, rather than with progress (passionate Christian Dostoevsky);
  • the philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways. The point, however, is to change it (K. Marx, the great fighter for social justice).

By chasing civilization, we lost simplicity. Is it possible to be difficult and simple at the same time? This is the paradox that the philosopher is trying to solve. How to return society to the natural fold of life? Do I need to invent other worlds? Or is it possible to allow the Other? What is the human measure and where is the boundary between the possible and the acceptable? Is coevolution «possible for those who are ready to dissolve in technology, serving as food (lubricant at the joints) in the machine system, and those who would like to preserve their anthropological identity»? Will we continue to slide along the «Möbius strip» to polyontic or will we limit ourselves to visible existence, ontofania?

Calling simplicity our home, the philosopher does not call us to primitivization. The book is written in a complex language and requires philosophical preparation. In brief, it is based on the following deep ideas:

  • being is good,
  • self-assertion is the essence of every living being,
  • the eternal return is a solid platform instead of progressivism.

Since the preservation of the existing requires constant effort, the tasks of philosophy, according to Kutyrev, coincide with the hygiene charter of humane and consists in resisting the posthuman illusion, protecting life from trampling down the historical march of science and progress. Kutyrev hopes that Russia, as a country claiming the preservation if tradition, will become a pillar of Being, will not follow the path of Nothing or the oppression of life and the transformation of spirituality into rationality, the transformation of the idea of infinite being into a technological and economic formation.


  • Epistemological paradise is when only Others exist (Kutyrev, 2018: 25).
  • This cynical, reckless, feckless egocentrism will not bring civilization to good (Kutyrev, 2018: 117).
  • We need a logodicy. Human! Do not transgress your Genesis! (Kutyrev, 2018: 191).

Let us finish by Kutyrev’s favourite quote:

  • Even if I knew that tomorrow the world would go to pieces, I would still plant my apple tree. Martin Luther King.


Timoschuk, A.S. (2020) Kutyrev’s Philosophy of Sustainable Development. Culture and technologies studies. Vol. 5, № 4. P. 203-210. Available at:  http://cat.itmo.ru/en/2020/v5-i4/267, DOI: 10.17586/2587-800X-2020-5-4-203-210


Timoschuk, A.S. Kutyrev’s Philosophy of Sustainable Development // Culture and technologies studies. 2020. Vol.  5. № 4. P. 203-210. DOI: 10.17586/2587-800X-2020-5-4-203-210

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