Я. В. Быстрова, А. А. Львов


The civilizational achievements that the young Russian Empire came to had not only a positive, but also a negative side. In particular, Russian intellectuals were dramatically challenged both culturally and spiritually, as they rejected the solid ground of the traditions of their ancestors. To show ostentatious wealth together with a deeper worldview conflict was very typical for the representatives of “non-flogged generation” in the first early 19th century. Russian freemasonry became one of the movements that influenced the shaping of the self-consciousness of European educated people at the turn of the 18th–19th centuries: they were pure enthusiasts not exposed by political power, who embarked themselves on an active search for a long tradition in historical perspective. The result of such intellectual independence, which grew into moral self-determination, was the formation of Russian intelligentsia, one of the brilliant of which representatives was Peter Chaadaev. In his spiritual quest, he turned to German philosophy, Catholicism, esoteric teachings. We consider the influence of the theory and practice of Freemasons on the thought of “Basmanny philosopher”. The main task for freemasons was to overcome the typical for many intellectuals of the first half of the 19th century worldview conflicts. Based on the masonic tenets we analyze the influence of their “secret science” on the formation of Chaadaev’s views and show that his position largely coincided with the ideals of “secret Freemasonry”, developed by German philosophers. The strong influence of European spiritual guidelines, combined with a purely Russian desire to unite the spiritual heights of both Western and Eastern cultures, determined the wish for spiritual synthesis, which characterizes the intellectual breeding ground of the first public Russian thinker’s ideas.


Peter Chaadaev; worldview; worldview conflict; Russian Freemasonry; secret freemasonry; secret science; Russian Enlightenment


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