Auezkhan Kodar. The Steppe Knowledge. Essays on Cultural Science.Translated by Igor Poluyahtov Instead of the Foreword

In the present time, in epoch of sovereign Kazakhstan it is very important to define the civilized sources of Kazakh culture. In the geopolitical plan, the world is nowadays divided on transcontinental mental blocks with domination of such religions as Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, etc. Ours past atheistic perseverance is lost in expansion of alien faiths and religions. Incessant pressure of western values, American way of life, on the one hand, and of Islamic priorities, on the other, make for our young republic a problem of spiritual self-determination in the complicated world.

Now it is also necessary to tell about our chronic dependence on Russian models of thinking whether it be in a science, politics or philosophy. The academic science of Russia till now has not got rid in itself methodological installations of Marxism and European centrism, while western philosophy in beginning of XX century has come to phenomenology and existentialism, leaving each individual and nation alone with «here-being» and not imposing the given schemes of development.

In this case, modern Kazakh philosophy has three urgent problems:

  • overcoming of dependence from Russian, more precisely,
    soviet standards of thinking;
  • direct familiarizing with advanced technologies of the
    thinking, whether it be modern western or eastern models;
  • re-comprehension of own national tradition in connection
    with changed understanding these categories in modern philosophy
    and cultural science.

Thus, urgency of the research consists in that we have an opportunity to enter equally into the dialogue of cultures and civilizations, and to represent ourselves as original civilized cultural community distinguished from the worlds of Christianity and Islam, Eurasia’s and Europe. The urgency of the problem is also that our state in essence has not the national ideology or national idea, which could become a forming factor of occurring in our eyes a new ethnic genesis. Besides, in the research we tell only about national tradition, but also on advantage about Kazakh philosophy. Such perspective of the research, in my own guard, is even more urgent, as if earlier attempt to ours philosophising every time rolled down to a position of popular ethnography or, at the best, ethnology. Now, first of all, I take a problem of the methodological preconditions of any conversation about national tradition, i.e. I put a question philosophically. The problem, as I see, also consists in that to put a question of an opportunity and solvency of national philosophy at a professional level, without any discounts on ours past provincial seclusion behind the Iron Curtain «and on our flag-waving somnambulism appeared after a finding of our Republic’s sovereignty. The author is firmly sure, that the Kazakhs should leave from a condition of «thing-in-self’ or «being-in-self’, and for it is necessary therefore the special language or categorical system with actually Kazakh concepts, which, however, would be accessible for common philosophical conversation on national tradition.

Or else, the given work is important not only in ideological (dialogue of cultures, national idea), popular scientific, as some original research in cultural identity of Kazakhs, but also in the actually philosophical plan, as a manual decoding the mysterious world of national thinking of former nomads. And, at last, not speaking that the Kazakh culture till now is «a blank spot» for the educated mankind, but urgency of the research also consists in that it is useful for self-knowledge of Kazakhs, for their adequate orientation in the complicated world.

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