Alexander N. Chumakov
OUTLINE OF THE HOLISTIC WORLD
Moscow, Prospect, 2005
1. Why specify what seems self-evident
2. When awakening comes
Part I. Global transformations in the modern world
1. Individual in the realm of problems
2. Global problems as reality
3. The emergence of global studies
4. The first global revolution
5. Paradigm shift
6. The phenomenon of globalization
7. From global problems to globalization
8. Resurrection of global studies
Part II. stages of progress: dynamics of scientific and technological development
1. Science and technology as the engines of progress
2. Technological progress
3. Scientific progress
4. Scientific and technological progress
5. Scientific and technological revolution
6. Informational revolution
7. Social dimension of scientific and technological progress
Part III. globalization as an objective historical process
1. The holistic world
2. The main turning points of history
3. Prehistoric society
4. History begins
5. The first symptoms of globalization
6. Globalization begins
7. Fundamental globalization
8. Space era begins
9. Multiaspect globalization
Part IV. conceptual approaches to history
1. History as reconstruction of the past directed to the future
2. Formations approach
3. Cultural and historical types
4. Cultures approach
5. Civilizations approach
7. Sustainable development
Part V. Understanding globalization: basic stages
1. From reality to its understanding
2. Understanding universal linkages (first stage)
3. Understanding the holism of the world (second stage)
4. Discovering global problems (third stage)
5. Recognizing globalization (forth stage)
6. Post-globalization (fifth, hypothetical stage)
Instead of the Conclusion
The volume is dedicated to one of the most topical issues today - to the issue of globalization. Academic discussions around this topic are numerous and the number of globalization-related studies and publications steadily grows. Although practical experience and theoretical material is vast, nevertheless, they can hardly be considered satisfactory. For the last decades the significance of globalization and global problems engendered by it has grown while adequate coordinated response of the world community still lacks.
This volume analyzes the phenomenon of globalization in tight connection with such fundamental social phenomena as “scientific and technological progress”, “culture” and “civilization”. The book claims that civilizational interconnections emerged and developed as a result of the emergence and refinement of culture that arose with the upraise of the first human beings at some stage of history – more precisely, in the period of the Neolithic revolution. These interconnections gave birth to separated civilizational centers. From the very beginning civilizational development contributed into unification of social life to lead in the middle of the second millennium (in the era of Renaissance and the great geographic discoveries) to the beginning of practical globalization. In the last century it grew into multiaspect globalization that determined the formation of the world community and the emergence of global problems of humankind in the last half of the XX century.
In the Introduction it is stressed that tight connections between mutually dependent and complimentary concepts of culture, civilization and globalization (and, most important, between the phenomena behind them) have not been understood and thoroughly analyzed so far. Numerous publications contain many diverse facts about globalization, attempting to figure out trends and repeating patterns but they fail to go farther than simple description of what is going on in the world. There is neither theory of globalization, nor clear and concise analysis of its multiple and interconnected aspects. The volume rises these questions and attempts to answer them through comprehensive study of the objective foundations of globalization as well as of those natural and historical conditions under which this multiaspect and large-scale phenomena emerged and was developing.
The book is prefaced by methodological commentaries where the author stresses the need to define more precisely the basic concepts related to globalization. He emphasizes several principles explaining why our understanding of globalization falls behind with regard to the real world developments and why our interest to globalization emerges and fades away periodically.
Part One, Global Transformations in The Modern World, demonstrates that human beings are determined to face problems. These problems become more complex and acute while humankind is becoming global. It is stressed that the Earth is the best of all possible worlds for humans to live in. It is the real paradise often turned into hell by human beings themselves. This part of the book shows how global studies emerged and were developing as a transdisciplinary sphere of scientific knowledge located at the crossroads of philosophical, natural, technological and social sciences. Global studies are also seen as a set of practical activities (governmental decisions, political actions, social movements, etc.) directed towards resolving universal contradictions.
Part Two, Stages of Progress: Dynamics of Scientific and Technological Development, analyzes the emergence and development of science and technology and explains their role in the process of globalization. Basing on rich historical material, the volume describes various stages of scientific and technological progress and reveals the essence of scientific and informational revolutions and their influence on the formation of holistic world.
Part Three, Globalization as an Objective Historical Process, analysis the world as a holistic world. History is understood as an interconnected time-bound process divided into subsequent stages. Interchange of these stages signifies, according to the author, the four turning points of history. The first stage is prehistoric period. The second, connected with the Neolithic revolution, means that history begins. The third stage defined by Karl Jaspers as “pivotal time” is characterized by the first signs of globalization. The fourth stage is identified with the era of the great geographic discoveries when practical globalization begins. Already by the beginning of the XX century it has become fundamental; with the beginning of space explorations and informational revolution it becomes multiaspect. Globalization is seen as a process of universalization, of the development of structures, ties and relations common for the whole planet in various spheres of social life. Globalisation is also seen as a fact of reality, a phenomenon manifesting itself through the existence of the limited global space, single world economy, universal ecological interconnectedness, global communications, etc. This phenomenon, thus, can not be ignored by anyone. The volume shows how globalization embraces the whole Earth and its three basic spheres: geological, biological and social untied by a common name triosphere.
Part Four, Conceptual Approaches to History, analyzes various approaches to social development. Such concepts as socio-economic formations, culture, civilization, noosphere, sustainable development and futurology are critically studies in order to evaluate their applicability to describing the process of globalization.
Part Five, Understanding Globalization: Basic Stages, concludes the volume and demonstrates that understanding globalization is a complex task having five stages. First stage meant understanding universal connections and lasted from the end of the XVIII century to the beginning of the XX century. Second stage meant understanding of the holism of the world and lasted from the 1920s to the 1960s. Third stage in the 1970s – 1980s meant discovering global problems of modernity. At the moment we witness recognizing globalization and this fourth stage will last about 10 years more. In the future one could suggest the beginning of the fifth stage provisionally called postglobalization.
The Conclusion sums up the volume stressing that our understanding of globalization is hampered by the fact that this phenomenon is not common for our normal perception. It has no historical analogies and its scale and complexity overgrows ordinary human vision of the world. Globalization is the largest and the most significant planetary phenomenon, which can only be understood at some special and temporal distance. Time is needed for collecting and analyzing information, special distance is needed for details and particulars not to hide the main elements and outlines of the whole. To evaluate globalization correctly and non-partially we should recreate the holistic world outlook and to look at this complex phenomenon from various sides. This would allow to work out a general theory of globalization. Now the time have come to do it. Spatial distance needed is provided by space explorations, above all. This allows to consider globalization both as a natural and historical process and as the sphere of relations and confrontations between various forces and interests.