Orthodox Asceticism as a Way of Realization of a Theologically Meaningful ‘Spiritual Technology’

  1. Lemma
  2. Православное аскетическое подвижничество как реализация теологически осмысленной
  3. Russian
  4. Asliturk, Miriam
  5. Concepts of knowledge and modes of reasoning - Concepts of knowledge and modes of reasoning > Philosophy of science/epistemology - Orthodox Anthropology - Co-existence
  6. 12-07-2018
  7. Неронова, Марина Юрьевна [Author]. Православное аскетическое подвижничество как реализация теологически осмысленной
  8. Вестник Ленинградского государственного университета им. А.С. Пушкина
  9. ascetism - Christian philosophy - technology and spirituality - Russian Orthodoxy - Hesychasm - dogma - ecclesiastical theology - dialogue
  10. Click Here
    1. <p>Неронова, Марина Юрьевна (2010). Православное аскетическое подвижничество как реализация теологически осмысленной «Духовной технологии». <em>Вестник Ленинградского государственного университета им. А.С. Пушкина</em>, 2 (4), 172-180.</p>
    1. The author argues that there is an implicit deep connection and similarity between religion and science. This concerns such basic provisions of the scientific picture of the world as the rationality of reality and the central position of the human being. Indeed, it was in Christianity that the gulf between man and God was overcome, and man became not only a chosen creature, but also an image and likeness of God with the potential possibility of deification. The Renaissance introduced a similar concept of genius, and the modern era introduced the notion of “the greatness of man.” Similarly, both science and religion persisted in the vision of the human as the "highest stage of evolution." The author points out that this latter idea was inherited from Christianity and "smuggled" into science, replacing the religious concept of the "crown of creation."

      The author posits that the similarity between science and religion can also be traced in the way religion creates and implements technologies on the basis of an available theory. Such is the case of the Orthodox practice of asceticism. The author maintains that Orthodox asceticism can be understood as a scientific practice, which is created as an algorithm and applied to achieve a result that "is theoretically justified in advance." Orthodox literature treats asceticism as presupposing a form of existence in the course of which a person intentionally alters all aspects of natural life, both external and internal. This is done with the only desired goal – to make oneself available for the mystic experience of the divine communion.

      As with any algorithm, the ascetic practice includes several steps. The first is abandoning “worldly life,” which is in fact similar to a scientist’s entering the "clean room". The second step is repentance, which aims at a decisive rejection of emotions that root a person in worldly existence. The third step is “penitential works” (developed by the Orthodox Hesychy). These consist of actions aimed to transform one’s soul into an angelic state. The practice is based on the creation of the so-called Jesus Prayer, which includes elements of psychosomatic techniques, observance of rules about the position of the body, the rhythm of breathing, and coordination of mental and physical energies – all these accompanied by physical asceticism: suppression of the feeling of hunger, lust, etc. All these techniques are supposed to trigger a response from God – the divine grace.

      Further on, the author maintains that the "hesychast spiritual algorithm" is analogous to the biblical story about the Fall of man. The sequence of steps of "ascetic technology" fully corresponds to the moments of the Fall, but is built in the reverse order. This allows one to conclude that Orthodox ascetics, relying on "theory" (the religious philosophy) and on "applied research" based on "biblical factology," created a "project of return to Paradise." Using its divine gift of freedom, will and mind, humans managed to create a "spiritual technology" that made possible the return to heaven not as something accidental, but as something rationally goal-oriented.