The Integrity of the World

The Integrity of the World

Human history knew many different philosophies. The range of ideas and the ways of their organization varied from one geographical area to another, from one epoch to the next. Philosophy took different forms, often hiding itself under the mask of religion, art, science, commonsense or buffoonery, mystical practices or anarchy, rebellion or conformism. Sometimes, it even came to denial of any philosophy at all. However, in any guise, it suggested universal solutions and an integral view of the world, albeit in some specific respect. This is a common feature of all philosophies, including those advocating inconsistency and eclecticism. Regardless of their ideological position and social stand, philosophers thought about the world in its totality and formulated the universal principles going far beyond immediate necessity or subjective preference. That is why the problem of the integrity of the world can rightfully be called the principal question of philosophy.

Of course, each philosophy would approach it in its own way. In the society split into antagonistic classes, the adherence to one idea usually takes the form of the opposition to another, an ideological controversy. Philosophizing then goes into heated debate, and the participants are often more concerned with refuting the other's stand than with consolidating one's own. It is only much later that somebody will notice the intrinsic commonality of the parties, their objective necessity, mutual dependence and cultural limitations.

Unism explicitly postulates the integrity of the world and declares it to be the first concern of any philosophical reflection at all. This integrity is not trivial; it assumes many hierarchically ordered forms. One is free to unfold this hierarchy in any dimension. With every choice, it is important to account for the following three interdependent aspects of integrity:

  1. Uniqueness: the world is all. Nothing can exist "outside" the world, and the very thought of another world already places that "world" within the world of the thinker. There is only one world, and the idea of multiple worlds can only refer to its essentially distinct parts or aspects.

  2. Universality: the world is everything. The world is diverse; it is the only common universe for all its individual parts (elements, components), as well as every part of the world plays the role of a universe for its constituents. The world comprises any possible distinction, thus consisting of innumerable partial "sub-worlds", which will be conventionally referred to as things. The whole world is thus also taken as a thing, and its universal law is that it must eventually shape itself in every possible way, and develop every possible manifestation.

  3. Unity: the world is a whole. Any two things are somehow interconnected in the world, however different they may seem. Any individual thing is related to rest of the world, being virtually equivalent to its environment and hence representing (reflecting) it. In particular, every individual thing is necessarily related to itself (universal reflexivity).

This 3U formulation of the principle of integrity of the world is both very general and very practical. It can be applied to various philosophical problems to unfold the appropriate categorical hierarchies. It prevents oversimplification, the attempts to reduce integrity to a single level and, conversely, to ascribe too much universality to special regularities. Thus, one can immediately observe that the primitive rationalism admitting that the world can be described in a purely analytical manner is as delusive as the mystical belief in the illuminative comprehension. From the viewpoint of this principle, the fierce debates about the form and the background in the arts in the beginning of the XX century look generally pointless, as both are equally important for art as such and their distinction can only be relative within an expressive whole. For yet another example, the reconstructions of the Indo-European language popular in modern linguistics exaggerate the analytical aspect of integrity, while neglecting the primary syncretism and various integrative trends. In the ethical sphere, we find that the integrity of one's life is impossible without vacillation, and there is no virtue without faults.

As an immediate consequence of the triplicate integrity of the world, philosophy will perform its integrative function in three complementary ways: it helps to find purpose in our everyday life; it indicates that there is always room for new achievements; it says that there are no problems that could not be resolved some day. In particular, every philosophical category is first implicitly present in people's activity, then it unfolds itself into all the possible structured or systemic representations (including various philosophical doctrines), and finally, it overcomes the contradictive diversity by showing how all the special views originate from the same fundamental idea.

[Philosophy] [Unism]