Institute of the Fools

The essence of Foolishness as a social institution in Russian history is reduced not so much to extravagant and eccentric behavior, as to a test of the strength of the boundaries of morality, public order and even holy images.

Why precisely social institution? Since the very first Russian holy fool, Procopius of Ustyug, who lived in the XIV century, the holy fools built around themselves, around their “Practitioner of Foolishness”, their own rules of worship and behavior, sometimes the holy fools were able to change the moral image of the society in which they appeared, through unusual and extravagant behavior bordering on insanity. In this paper I will try to highlight the evolution of the institution of foolishness, from its inception to the metamorphosis that it underwent through the prism of Soviet and modern society, as well as technology.

As already mentioned, Procopius of Ustyug is the first Russian holy fool, however, he is not the first in history. The Greek Church honors the six holy fools, of whom St. Simeon (VI.) And St. Andrew (IX.) Received extensive and very interesting lives, known in ancient Russia. Our ancestors especially loved the life of St. Andrew, who was considered a Slav by us, for the eschatological revelations that are contained in him. On the Lives of the Fools GP Fedotov in the book "Saints of ancient Russia" says the following:
“Rarely do we find life-worthy biographies for Russian holy fools, even more rarely, modern biographies. Almost everywhere, the unskilled, familiar to literary patterns hand erased the identity of the person. Apparently. and religious reverence prevented hagiographers from portraying the paradox of achievement. Many holy fools in Russia went naked, but hagiographers sought to throw cover of church beauty on their nudity. Reading the lives of the Greek fool Simeon, we see that the paradox of foolishness encompasses not only the rational but also the moral sphere of the personality. Here Christian holiness is disguised as the appearance of not only insanity, but also immorality. The saint commits all the time condemnable actions: makes a disrepair in the temple, eats sausage on Good Friday, dances with public women, destroys goods in the market, etc.

Russian hagiographers prefer to borrow from the life of St.. Andrew, in which the element of immoralism is missing. Only folk legends about St. Basil the Blessed and the meager references to the chronicles show that the affect of immoralism was not alien to the Russian holy fools. Their lives chastely cover this whole side of their exploits with the stereotypical phrase: “Laughing by doing”. The “holy fool” and the “snout” - the epithets that were indifferently used in Ancient Russia - apparently express two sides of the abuse of “normal” human nature: rational and moral. We could easily refer to the proof of modern Russian foolishness, but that would be methodologically wrong. Deprived of ecclesiastical recognition and blessings from the 18th century, Russian foolishness could not fail to degenerate, although we are deprived of the opportunity to determine the degree of his deviation from ancient specimens.

As we see from this passage, the behavior of the holy fool is ambivalent, not only stupidity, but also immorality wanders along with holiness. And here lies one of the most important signs of a holy fool. In order to better catch it, you need to think in oxymorons, the benefit of the Russian language can provide us with this opportunity: the extreme or maximum degree of some quality things can be emphasized through an oxymoron, for example, in the story “He” by Leonid Andreev “The handle was burning cold ", that is, when reaching a certain maximum limit, any quality goes into its full opposite, the holy fools were so holy that they seemed obscene than other sinners, the holy fools were so clever that they seemed dumber than others pizza
However, in addition to this common place for all holy fools, including modern ones, which will be discussed later, Fedotov identifies three main features of foolishness in Russia:

1. Ascetic disregard for vanity, which is always dangerous for monastic austerity. In this sense, foolishness is pretended insanity or immorality with the aim of reproaching people.

2. Revealing the contradiction between deep Christian truth and superficial common sense and moral law with a view to ridicule the world (I Corinthians, I-IV).

3. Serving the world in a kind of sermon, which is accomplished not by word or deed, but by the power of the Spirit, the spiritual power of the individual, often clothed with prophecy.

Note that the feat in the full sense of the word are only the first and third signs, the second sign appears at the dawn of foolishness, in the sixteenth century, which marks the truly established institution of holy fools, both canonized and worldly. The fools often had a prophetic gift, which was only to confirm the kind of holiness that these people carried in themselves. One might even say not often, but "The Prophetic gift was an obligatory attribute of the holy fool."

It is worth noting that in Kievan Rus you can see people who were foolishly temporarily (Isaac, the recluse of the Caves, and Abraham of Smolensk), but they were not in the full sense of the word fools, but performed specific austerity.

Prokopy Ustyugsky is the first holy fool (died 1302). The most interesting thing is that according to the life compiled in the 16th century, Ustyugsky was German. He began as a Novgorod merchant, later, after being baptized near Saint Varlaam Khutynsky, he sold all his wealth and, asking for help from his baptist, went to the “eastern countries”. What is his riot, life is silent, however, his foolishness brings to him from people “annoyance and reproach and beating and fang”, but he prays for his offenders. Wandering led him to Great Ustyug, where he settled down because of the "Church decoration."

Icon of Procopius of Ustyug

The first Russian holy fool succeeded, apparently, to mislead Ustyuzhan. The imaginary “fool” did not enjoy prestige, as is evident from the fiery cloud episode. Once Procopius, entering the church, proclaims the wrath of God against the city of Ustyug: "For lawless, inappropriate acts, evil will perish by fire and water." No one listens to his calls for repentance, and he alone cries for days on the porch. Only when a terrible cloud found on the city, and the earth shook, everyone runs to the church. Prayers before the icon of the Virgin Mary turned away the wrath of God, and stone hail broke out twenty versts from Ustyug, where centuries later it was still possible to see the fallen forest.

The prophetic gift, inherent in foolishness, Procopius also manifests in the second episode of his life, from which we learn that he and Ustyug were friends. In a terrible frost, which Ustyuzhans would not remember when people and cattle froze, the blessed could not stand on the porch of his “tattered vest” and went to ask for shelter from the choir Simeon, the father of the future St. Stephen. In this house, he predicts Mary about the birth of her holy son. So, as his face is drawn here in communication with people, there is nothing stern and gloomy in it. He is “a bright vision and a sweet laugh”. The owner, who embraces him and kisses him, he welcomes with the words: "Brother Simeone, from here, have fun and do not be discouraged."

In this Ustyug story there are clear traces of the influence of the Greek life of Andrei Foolish, especially in the description of the saint’s frosty patience.

No wonder the Ustyug legend cites the first Russian holy fool from Veliky Novgorod. Novgorod was the birthplace of Russian foolishness. All the famous Russian holy fools of the 14th century and the beginning of the 15th century are associated with Novgorod. Here, Nikol (Kochanov) and Fyodor raged in the XIV century, parodying the bloody clashes of the Novgorod parties with their fights. Nikola lived on the Sofia side, Fedor - on the Trade. They quarreled and transferred across the Volkhov. When one of them tried to cross the river over the bridge, the other drove him back: “Don't go to my side, live on your own”. The legend adds that after such battles the bliss happened to return not only to the bridge, but straight across the water, supposedly dry.

In the XVI century, the real flourishing of the institute of Foolishness begins; it is in this one that such a character appears as “Ivan the Fool”. And also, the XVI century gave Russia the most famous Fool - Basil the Blessed and John nicknamed the “Big Cap”.

According to folk legend, Vasiliy was given to a shoemaker as a child and then already showed his insight, laughing and crying over the merchant who ordered his boots: the merchant was in for a quick death. Throwing a shoemaker, Vasily began to lead a roving life, walking naked (like St. Maxim) in Moscow, spending the night at one of the boyars' widows. As a Syrian holy fool, he destroys the goods on the market, bread and kvass, punishing unscrupulous traders. All his paradoxical actions have a hidden wise meaning associated with an objective vision of the truth: they are committed not according to the ascetic motive of moral self-humiliation. Basil throws stones at the houses of virtuous people and kisses the walls (“corners”) of the houses where the “tombs” were created: at the first outside the exiled demons hang, at the second the angels cry. The gold given by the king is not given by food, but to a merchant in clean clothes, because the merchant has lost all his fortune and, starving, hesitates to ask for alms. The drink given by the tsar he pours out the window to put out the distant fire in Novgorod. The most terrible thing is that he smashes the miraculous image of the Mother of God at the Barbarian Gates, on whose board under the holy image a devil was painted. He always knows how to reveal the devil in every image and follows him everywhere. So, he recognized him as a beggar, who collected a lot of money from people, sending “for free happiness” as a reward for alms. In the massacre of the impoverished demon, there is a morality, the point of which is directed against pious greed: "Bring together Christian souls with happiness, you catch the liberty character."

Basil the Blessed

More than once, the blessed seems to be the repressor - albeit the meek - of the Terrible-king. So, he reproaches the king for the fact that, standing in the church, his thoughts were on the Sparrow Hills, where the royal chambers were built. Deceased in 50's XVI century, of sv. Vasily was not a witness to the oprichnina terror of Grozny. But the legend makes him transfer to Novgorod during the executions and pogrom of the city (1570). Once under the bridge near Volkhov, in some cave, Vasily invites John to himself and treats him with raw blood and meat. In response to the king's refusals, he embraces him with one hand, the other shows the ascending souls of innocent martyrs in heaven. The king waves his handkerchief in horror, ordering the execution to stop, and the terrible delicacies turn into wine and sweet watermelon.

About honoring of sv. Basil, canonized in 1588, says dedication of temples to him as early as the XVI century and the very renaming of the Cathedral of Pokrovsky (and Trinity) by the people, in which he was buried, into St. Basil's Cathedral.

Under Tsar Theodore Ivanovich, another holy fool, nicknamed Bolshaya Kolpak, labored in Moscow. In Moscow, he was a stranger. A native of the Vologda region, he worked in the northern salt mines as a water carrier. Having moved to Rostov (he is actually a saint of Rostov), ​​John built himself a cell in front of the church and escaped to it, hanging his body with chains and heavy rings. Going out into the street, he put on his cap, that is, clothes with a hood, as clearly explained in his life and is depicted in ancient icons. Perhaps Pushkin was the first to call this cap iron in Boris Godunov. As a special feat of John, it is said that he liked to look at the sun for a long time, thinking of the “righteous sun”. Children and crazy people laughed at him (the faint echoes of real foolishness), but he did not punish them, as St. Basil punished, and with a smile foretold the future. Before his death, the blessed moved to Moscow, but we do not know anything about his life here. He died in the movnice (in the bath), and during his burial in the same Pokrovsky Cathedral, where Vasily was buried, a “sign” occurred: a terrible thunderstorm, from which many suffered. In the Englishman Fletcher we read that in his time “he walked the streets naked as a holy fool and reinstated everyone against the Godunovs whom they worshiped as the rulers of the state.” They usually identify this holy fool with John, although his nakedness seems to contradict Kolpak's clothes.

The political role of holy fools could not be ignored by foreign guests, who paid even more attention to holy fools than Russian hagiographers. In 1588, Fletcher would write: “In addition to monks, the Russian people especially honor the blessed (holy fools), and this is why: the blessed, like the libel, point to the faults of the nobles, about whom no one else dares speak. But sometimes it happens that such a daring freedom that they allow themselves to get rid of them, too, as was the case with one or two in the previous reign, because they too boldly defied the rule of the king. ” Fletcher reports about St. Basil the Blessed, that "he decided to reproach the late king for cruelty." At the beginning of the 16th century, Herberstein wrote about the tremendous respect of Russians for holy fools: “Holy fools walked naked, the middle of their bodies was covered with a rag, with wildly flowing hair, with an iron chain around their neck. They were honored by the prophets - obviously reproved by them said: "This is according to my sins." If they took anything in the shop, the merchants still thanked. ”

Ilya Glazunov "The Fool"

From these descriptions of foreigners, we conclude, first, that the holy fools in Moscow were numerous, constituted a special class, and that the Church canonized very few of them (However, in view of the predominantly veneration of the blessed people, establishing this exact list of canonized saints of this rank meets many difficulties.) Secondly, the general respect for them, which did not exclude, of course, individual cases of ridicule from children or mischievous men, the very chains paraded, completely changed the meaning of ancient Christian foolishness in Russia. Least of all is the feat of humility. In this era, foolishness is a form of prophetic, in the Hebrew sense, ministry, coupled with extreme austerity. Specifically, the moral fool consists only in the derision of the world. The world no longer swears at the blissful, but they swear at the world.

After the 16th century, holy fools remain an important part of society, but the church no longer notices them and canonizes less and less. And already one of the last Holy Fools - Pasha Sarovskaya, who lived from 1795 to 1915, predicted the death of the royal family before her own death, was canonized only in 2004, which only once again shows that the church reluctantly canonized its Foolish people.

Before moving on to the second part, we should mention the most famous Russian Fools:
Prokopy Vyatsky (1578-1627), in his youth, being in the field, received a blow with lightning, after which he was “damaged by his mind”, at the age of 20 years he fled to Khlynov and accepted Foolishness with a vow of silence. He silently predicted to the patients recovery or death (he lifted the sickness from his bed - he would survive, he would begin to cry and fold his arms - he would die). In 1627, he also predicted his demise: he prayed earnestly, wiped his body with snow and peacefully delivered his soul to the Lord.

Ksenia of Petersburg, who lived during the reign of Elizaveta Petrovna, who became a widow of a court chorister in 26 years, Xenia distributed the property of her husband and traveled 45 for years under his name. In any weather, at night, she went out into the field and stood in the kneeling prayer until dawn. Once, the workers who built the new stone church in the Smolensk cemetery began to notice that at night, during their absence from the building, someone was dragging whole mountains of brick to the top of the church under construction. Invisible assistant was Xenia. Also, the townspeople thought it was good luck, if she went to visit them, and if she asked the driver to bring it, then it was good luck. Ksenia died at the age of 71.

Ivan Yakovlevich Koreish - a non-canonized holy fool, lived in Moscow in the 19 century, came to him for help in healing from all over Russia, famous people wrote about him: St. Philaret (Drozdov), writers Leskov, Dostoevsky, Tolstoy, Ostrovsky. However, the last 47 years of his life he spent in the hospital for the mentally ill at Preobrazhenka (which did not stop people from coming to him).

Ivan Koreysha

Anushka, who lived under Nicholas I. A small woman, about sixty years old, with delicate beautiful features, poorly dressed and with an unchanged wrist strap in her hands. An old woman from a noble family descended, chatted fluently in French and German. It was said that in her youth she was in love with an officer who married another. The unfortunate left St. Petersburg and came back to the city a few years later as a holy fool. Annushka walked around the city, collected alms and immediately distributed it to others.

Until now, we have been talking about the foolish ones who were associated with Orthodoxy and the Orthodox Church, therefore their Foolishness is called "Foolishness in Christ" or "Foolishness of Christ For the sake." However, as we have seen before, by the example of Ivan Koreysh, the archive of discourses changed, characteristic of the whole XIX century and the holy fools in Christ were threatened with being in the yellow house, and the holy fools themselves were subject to more severe ostracism than in previous times. Also, as Roger Chartier writes, at this time there is a disappointment in the church norms and rules and an attack on them from philosophers and writers, but not the accusatory text of Voltaire and the materialists, but the religious instructions of the church itself, which turned against it because priests made impossible demands on believers. Therefore, in response to disciplinary institutions, a critical element of society — the holy fools — must necessarily be embedded in the historical structure of Russian society. And it is built through art - the Russian avant-garde.

As is known, the beginning of the 20th century for art in Russia is the time for experiments in art. The Russian Avant-garde, in essence, continued the work of holy fools, namely, the study of the boundaries of public morality, flirting with the authorities and the fierce criticism of various rotten sides of society, such as the church.

For the Russian avant-garde was foolishness. One of the frontmen of Futurism, Velimir Khlebnikov, himself performed the same functions as the holy fools of the 16th-19th centuries. Here, for example, as Eduard Veniaminovich Limonov describes his life course: “Having no corner of his own, Khlebnikov wandered through the fields and villages of Russia, went with the Red Army soldiers of Frunze to the Persian campaign, lay in the Kharkov mental hospital (on the famous Saburova Dacha, where Garshin and Vrubel, and I am a sinner, almost a child), slept on the floor in the rooms of friends and ended his life in the village of Santalovo, Novgorod province, at the age of 37 years. ”.

Episodes of the pilgrimage are peculiar to holy fools, but this is not enough to call Khlebnikov a full-fledged holy fool, what makes him so? We read further from E.V. Limonov: “According to the testimony of his contemporaries, he had bright watery eyes, as if they were looking inside him. He was scattered, sloppy, relationships with women like Van Gogh. He was in love, they say, in one of the Sinyakov sisters. (The other sister was married to the poet Aseev.) Somehow, the company of the Sinyakov sisters and their friends went to the lake near Kharkov. The sister, in whom Khlebnikov was in love, got into a boat with a man, with one of the guests, and, having gone far away, the boat stopped. After some time, Khlebnikov with noises emerged from the water. He was worried about the girl he was in love with and therefore began to silently float around the boat. Explained in love, he did not know how. Recall that Van Gogh also did not know how to make a declaration of love to a prostitute, whom he fell in love with, and therefore once brought her bloody ear, wrapped in a rag, as a gift to her. In the world of saints it is so accepted. ” And also, perhaps the most famous story from his life: “Prophets, as you know, roam the deserts. Petrovsky’s memoirs recounts an episode in which Khlebnikov and Petrovsky spent the night in the Caspian steppes, and Petrovsky fell ill. Khlebnikov left Petrovsky, and to all the exhortations of the latter not to leave him, because he could die, Khlebnikov calmly replied: “The steppe will stop singing,” and took the pillowcase with the verses left. In this episode, everything is Christian and apostolic, simple and sparingly. This episode is, as it were, of the Gospel and a mean replica: “Steppe otpoet!” Is worthy of the surroundings of Lake Tiberias or the stone Galilee. And it was not cruelty that took Khlebnikov away from Petrovsky, but his apostolic ministry to his work - the creation of Khlebnikov's poetic world. This unique world has got to us. ”(In the same place with E.V. Limonov).

It is worth noting that here Limonov calls Khlebnikov a prophet, as if unconsciously existing in the biblical world. Khlebnikov's style of poetry contains all twentieth-century poets without a trace, that is, in the polyphonic, polythematic poetic world of Khlebnikov, the motifs of Mayakovsky and Mandelstam and Pasternak and Twisted sounded, but they can all be replaced by one. Even Blok with his supposedly unique poem “The Twelve” can be found in Khlebnikov without difficulty. These are several poems at once, including the poem The Night Before the Soviets. “Ladomir” and “War in the Mousetrap” can be viewed as prototypes of Mayakovsky's poems and, in all likelihood, it was so.

Velimir Khlebnikov

Velimir Khlebnikov is one of the transitional periods from the old foolishness in Christ to the hyper-intellectual foolishness of the modern type. Khlebnikov is unique in that it contains signs of both eras.

The figure of Kazemir Malevich in this context is remarkable in that for the first time he is trying to comprehend the changed social world in new (suitable for him) terms. Malevich, in addition to drawing up a picture of the interactions of institutions in the modern world, in his book “Peace as Non-Objectivity” identifies four types of people according to their relation to non-objective:
1 - Materialists, enslaved by practical use, who made it ideal for themselves.
2 - Idealists (poets), for whom objectless is the goal, but it constantly eludes him, as they themselves are physical idealists, trying to turn objectless into objective.
3 - Patients, hallucinatory poets, seeking to dissolve in the non-objective in their hallucinatory sleep. "In the pursuit of a hallucinatory object in his view and the theory of numerical calculation, a man breaks himself, drowns, explodes, suffocates."
4 - Prisoners who committed what they were sick with and those in prisons and psychiatric homes.

As can be seen, Malevich here is fully aware of the fact that disciplinary institutes appeared and after changing the archive of discourses half-holy people considered earlier became ordinary inhabitants not so much of yellow houses as many of the madhouse states of the objective world, expressed in his words: thus, it is the same psychiatric house, in no way inferior to the true home of the sick, in which there are cells, dungeons, singles, general plans. ”

Let's pay attention to the fourth type of man according to Malevich. By dissolving into pointless, Malevich implies the negation of form, the negation of the visible, or rather the difference of visibility in front of the content, which is equally united in content, is so diverse in manifestation. Perhaps the best analogy to explain the idea of ​​Malevich would be the Spinozist concept of a single individual, where each individual is a mode of being of a whole individual, his way of being. And that is what the fourth type of person notices — the Holy Fool, who is able to see and communicate with the non-objective. That is why Khlebnikov is precisely this case, for as Heidegger said: “A real poet is able to see Nothing.”

Another aspect of foolishness has undergone changes, namely, the aspect with which the holy fool communicated with the social nature of his time. The extravagant behavior of fools in Christ was a way of conveying to the world some kind of message, or bringing it to light water, singling out from grayness of everyday life some aspect of the social world that was not previously available to the public. In the 20th century, the genres of Performance and Hepping took over this function, in which Russian futurists actively participated (they also originated this genre), in particular, Vladimir Mayakovsky, who actively participated in Heppenings. Performances, in essence, are scientific experiments that are designed to inquire not physical nature, but social with the help of pre-scripted in advance rationally action. With this discovery, the Futurists discover a new method of experimentally studying social life, but this is a topic for a separate work.

After the avant-garde beginning of the 20th century, its totalitarian part begins. At this time, the holy fools are chased along with the collectivization from cities to villages. In "Tales of Grandfather Yegor" tells how the holy fools, arriving in the hinterland, lived among the ordinary village folk and developed local folklore, adding rituals and various mystical cases to them.

Here it is worth paying attention to what Martin Heidegger called the Hiddenness of the World. Modernization in the form of industrialization in the USSR has created a situation where the world has replaced the artificial-improvised, with which a person is forced to contact, not noticing nature, but rather to the detriment of contact with the world. It is here that the world is concealed, its deontologization, where nothing more mystical happens and at the same time the old world leaves, the holy fools will never become prophets. However, at this time, the ideals of enlightenment reach the USSR already in the form of a sour project, which gives rise to only one kind of free man — a man dissatisfied with the results of the Enlightenment. In Russia, anti-rationalism and anti-enlightenment are spreading.

Peter Slotterdike in his book Criticism of the Cynical Mind tells us that modern cynicism is a product of the enlightenment of reason and the immense size of boredom, which, contrary to the project of enlightenment, does wrong, knowing that it does. As a salvation from this state of affairs, Slotterdike proposes to return laughter to the arena of philosophical discourse, as well as various practices of researching human behavior, peculiar to ... ancient Greek cynics, and in particular Diogenes. Speaking about feces, vomiting, masturbation, semen and other features of Kinikov’s life, Slotterdike comes to the conclusion that it is this kind of cynical behavior that, by examining the limits of microphysics of power, nullifies the macro-physics of the power of Ideology.
Tatyana Goricheva grasps this thread in her article “CINISM OF JUSTICE AND HOLINESS” and compares the ideas of the Slotterdike with the realities of the USSR 60's. Goricheva writes that frank insanity, confirmed by medical discourse, spoke about a person’s belonging not only to Bohemia, but also to a certain human type: “In 50-60, when the Soviet Union began to heal the excessive optimism of Stalin’s times, "Schizophrenic" was a compliment in the circles of the Soviet bohemia. Psychiatry and a madhouse helped this idealization of the whole patient: all the dissimilar and unusual, eccentric people who had fallen out of the system got into mental hospitals. One was declared schizophrenic because he planned to create a universal religion, the other for excessive infatuation with philosophy, the third for incomprehensible poems, the fourth for strange appearance, etc. The worship of schizophrenia was a worship of a new way of life, marginality, a life more subtle and deep, mysterious and independent. The Saigon Schizophrenic newspaper was published in Saigon, a popular Leningrad cafe. Love for schizophrenics was a universal phenomenon. Not only Leningrad and Moscow, but also cities such as Kharkov, had their schizo idols. ”

Further, Gorichev, relying on the arguments of Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari, says that Schizophrenic is in itself a type of person who is unable to fit into the normalizing environment of sour Marxism and that is why it is a revolutionary element that deconstructs any ways of codification: “After reading In the West, the book by Deleuze and Gattari, Anti-Oedipus, I understood that something similar was happening here. Schizophrenic, migrant and wandering, going further in the destruction of society, was described by the authors as the freest person in the capitalist world. He "burns" all the "codes", he carries with him a "decoded stream of desire." Deleuze and Gattari have a schizophrenic - a “revolutionary” type, breaking through walls. "I am not yours, I am forever among the oppressed, I am an animal, I am black." (329) These notes (a hint of social oppression) are, of course, alien to the Soviet one, who is forever free from the "Marxist illusions of schizophrenic."

But Gorichyova doesn’t stop at that either, and says that people who were looking for “True Madness” or true liberation not only from ideology that dominates people's minds, but ideologically criticized ideology in their structure, brought themselves to a state of idiocy. On the way to the foolishness Goricheva highlights several stages.

In addition to the schizophrenics indicated above, Goricheva speaks about the next stage - the Protestants. Protestants are people who, in their schizophrenic walks, suddenly found God, but not God of a particular religion, but transcendence per se, according to Goricheva herself, this god was the absurd god of Kierkegaard. The word of Goricheva: “In search of higher freedom they find God, who is only transcendent, who is hidden and not expressed either ethically, or religiously, or ritually. Such a God Incognito suits people who have just escaped from the clutches of the system. “Holy fool, steal, pray, be lonely, like a finger,” these verses of Brodsky were often quoted by Protestant as a creed. ”And right there about Kierkegaard:“ Protestantism expressed the best world view of Kierkegaard in our country. At Kierkegaard, Christ is deprived not only of the attributes of power, but of all attributes in general. It is as if this God was created by Kierkegaard for today's "elite" believers, and then that coming to God is usually preceded by a process of abandoning all kinds of idols, of everything "human." God is on the other side of tradition, morality, history. It is clear that such a God is extremely individualized. That is why Kierkegaard does not write about holiness, but about the hero of faith Abraham. Holiness is the radiance of God through man; it serves people, unites with them, heroism is the elevation of one above the rest. ” Summing up, we can say that the Protestants are the people who, with nihilism, treated the nihilism of the bohemian 50-60 of the years met the absurd God Kierkegaard.

Behind the Protestants are, in fact, the Cynics, or rather, the very practices of Kinism, which Diogenes and the ancient Greek philosophers like him were famous for. This type appears at that moment when the masses, being saturated with ideology and its criticism, fall into cynicism - the new modern ideology (Zizek). Goricheva about Cynicism and its overcoming through Kinizm says the following: “I oppose the cynicism of social life to individual cynical protest. If cynicism is “stooped from above,” then cynicism is “insolence from below.” Obviously, nowadays, both here (in the West) and there (in the Soviet Union), a new Diogenes, free, direct and fearless, is needed. In the West, a cynic is necessary because every “collective” and “social” movement has failed. Cambodia, the Gulag and Cuba discovered the cynicism of leftist movements. It remains an individual protest, which has once been embodied in the ancient cynics. Western philosophers (Glucksman, Sloterdijk, Foucault) are increasingly talking about cynics, unable, however, to carry out the main thing in Kinism - the coincidence of theory and practice. Therefore, non-writing people remain infinitely closer to the spirit of cynics: hippies, clochards, urban Indians in America, bohemians with us. ”In turn, Goricheva especially emphasizes the genealogical component of the preceding states she highlighted above, saying that“ Diogenes are without a doubt , continuation of the schizophrenic Deleuze. He is not an idyllic dreamer, locked in his barrel. This is a dog that bites. "As a first-hippie and proto-bohemian creature, Diogenes helped shape the European intelligentsia tradition." “His weapon is not so much analysis as laughter” (303, Sloterdike, “Criticism ...”) ”.

Then, on the road to foolishness, there are foolish cynics, without preludes, let us give the word to Goricheva: “This type of people is most prevalent here in the Soviet Union. In it are the boundaries and ambiguity of all foolishness. The foolish cynic plays the “holy fool”, knowing that there is not enough demand from the “fool” and the infant. Foolishness helps to escape from certainty and responsibility, to create a defensive reaction between man and society. People who have chosen an eternal compromise are hiding in foolishness, well aware that laughter disarms. This cynical foolishness rests on slavish dependence and fear, it can vary its tones from arrogant, not descending to the interlocutor, antics, to voluntary jesting in the spirit of Lebedev, Fyodor Pavlovich and other Dostoevsky heroes. Such a "foolish" is a product of cynicism, its parasite. There is one more, the most terrible form of foolishness — this is the humor of Ivan the Terrible and Stalin's "joke". It is worth noting a few points: first, Goricheva says that the Soviet Union, as a social structure, creates holy fools for cynics primarily for self-defense against the repressive apparatus of the nomenclature, choosing a speculative-compromise way of existence inside and at the same time outside society. Secondly, the absolute form of such foolishness is the strange humor of the tyrants, in which one can see an echo of that holiness of which Fedotov wrote: "The holy fool became the successor of the holy prince in social service." Here, the reader’s breath should stand still: whatever metamorphosis Russian society undergoes, whatever disasters it undergoes, there are always those constants that pass from one millennium to another, such as respect for the crazy so much that society allows them to rule themselves and if the rulers did poorly, they had to search for sacred madness in themselves. Based on what Goricheva says about the spiritual search in the repressive system of the USSR, it is possible to say that every Russian is potentially insane, potentially holy fool and potentially holy.

A reflection of such a transition can be found in the works of Mamleev, for example, in the novel “The rods” and the episode with the grandfather-hen.

It remains only to highlight the modern world and the way in which we find the institution of foolishness today, or rather, after the collapse of the USSR.

After Russia reappeared on the world map, foolishness again became a work of art. The practices of performance were revived on the street and in contact with public order. For example, Alexander Brener, who all 90-e "terrorized" the city and Russian citizens with his performances and sometimes exhibitions that were always relevant and pursued the goal, as before, to find the very "truth" or justice, which is worth only the action "Yeltsin come out! ”

Oleg Mavromatti is another artist who became famous primarily for his performances, the most famous of which is the crucifixion of Mavromatti, when he, with the help of assistants, nailed himself to the cross. In today's Russia, Pavlensky and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova are the first to come to mind, who became famous for their provocative performances, which were broadcast on central television channels and do not need additional presentation. The more underground foolish ones are for example Daria Stroshherer, who perfectly integrated into the modern world of the Internet and capitalism, having her own channel with streams, selling her own creativity and not forgetting from time to time to confirm the status of a foolish specific behavior (What is remarkable, she was born in the capital of Russian foolishness - Novgorod). Rapper Husky is also responsible for the behavior of the holy fool, along with themes that appear in his texts: sour Orthodoxy, a crisis of spirituality, and so on. These and many other modern holy fools constitute an important social institution that constituted and held the spiritual part of Russian society. The holy fools are one of the most important aspects of Russian history, which, like any cultural heritage, must be protected from neglect or disrespect, because society best describes how they treat their own crazy people.

Nikolay Sinyaev

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