I’m still not convinced by Lex’s arguments that Russia is not a dialect of Western Civilization, and when I get the time, I’ll dig more into that. However, I did want to make some of his case for him, from a quote in the article that he linked to. I disagree with much of that article because I think it focuses on a Russia that has not been in existence for hundreds of years, and projects that vanished Russia on the modern Russian consciousness. Most specifically, the claim that Russians do not see or emphasize individuals is flat wrong, in my opinion. However, I have the pathological need of the scientist to try to poke holes in my own arguments: there is much in that article that is correct, and can be used to bolster the argument that Russia is a separate civilization from the West. For example:
The masses remained traditional: they were unable to defer gratification, they were indifferent to fraud and the notion of contract, they had a short time horizon, had little or no drive or motivation for achievement, and did not know what entrepreneurship was.
sarcasm Sounds like France. /sarcasm
Seriously, an older friend of mine in a city near the site of the great tank battle of Kursk was an engineer. He and I were engaged in a slightly tipsy philosophical conversation (was there any other kind in the late USSR?) back in 1989. He said that the taint of serfdom still permeated the Russian soul, and most of his countrymen were still slaves at heart. I wholly disagreed with him at the time. I only partially disagree with him now. Who knows, I may wholly agree with him when I get to be as old as he was then (he is much older – and wiser – than me).