“Shopkeepers do revolutions by hands of Romantics,” – says one of the characters of Dostoevsky, who prophetically revealed the depths of the human psyche and the social pathologies that can lead and have led to tremendous upheavals of the twentieth century.
Triumph of the ideas does not end with their revelation. Not least because that there is a distance between idea and reality. It is filled with errancy of mind and excesses of performance. And revelations, like the ideas are not universally widespread. Errancies are abundantly fed by unconsciousness and banal ignorance. Strictly speaking – errancies are kind of lies, untruth. Especially shocking is the ignorance that is created through directed efforts.
The works of Pitirim Sorokin have not been known to almost anyone in his homeland for 70 years. Like the works of his friend – Nikolai Kondratieff – 60 years. Two generations have been deprived of the opportunity to reduce the degree of ignorance in the major humanities – sociology and economics. Also, little was known about their lives. One – in immigration, the other – in prison, especially in the last of the many deprivations of liberty, generously fell to the share of both. Meanwhile, the very lives of the great scientists are also the text worth of study not less than the scientific papers.
Suffice it to mention that Pitirim Sorokin, being, among other things, an expert in criminal law, researched into the most important for his and our time problems and catastrophes, as crime and punishment, feats and rewards, hunger, sociology of Dostoevsky and Tolstoy, power and rulers, revolution, morals, the crises of our time, especially – “life in death”, as he called the epoch after the revolution of 1917. In life, Pitirim Sorokin was a genuine passionary. Partly this was largely dictated by the fundamental conflict between two buildings and their inhabitants on different banks of the Neva – University and the Winter Palace. As far as in 1910 Sorokin saw that in this struggle the palace would be defeated.
Exploring reality, P.A. Sorokin dealt with facts not illusions, produced real knowledge about the real man and society, so that to build scientific structures that survived him and extremely valuable this day.
When the works of the scientist returned to his homeland, got out of restricted-access collection, the truth opened. Terrible truth. So at least, that we are able to compare our reality and that he like his beloved Dostoevsky, saw and understood then what and when much still barely began. In fact, the reality of the twentieth century has generated not only a “catacomb church”, but also a “catacomb science.” It is formed powerful scientific knowledge that is ousted by officialdom, not only, by the way, Soviet, to the underground. Partly it was created here, partly abroad. Literature has a similar fate.
As a result, in this century, we have found out ourselves in the haunted castle. Not unread books of Pitirim Sorokin – ghosts. Not yet undigested lessons of Nikolai Kondratieff – ghosts. This number of names can easily be extended. Ghosts – these are known unknowns, the phenomena that they had already understood and left their understanding as our legacy! A legacy is not perceived. By many who should – by vocation – know their achievements of mind and feats of life.
When we, with Professor Yuri Yakovets, a few years ago visited the Department of Sociology at Harvard University, which was founded by Pitirim Sorokin, we found little traces of the great sociologist in the actual memory of professors and students of the department. Meaning that was comprehended by him and left as a legacy to the descendants – requires effort. Not to discover America, first; and get ready to understand the “skeletons in the closet” of modern humanity, second.