07.01.2020, 10:59


Ilham Mammedzadeh
Institute of Philosophy of Azerbaijan National Academy of Sciences


The article discusses the methodological problems of the interaction of cultures and their influence on the understanding of the formation of modern national culture. Moreover, this approach does not deny the uniqueness and originality of cultures; it helps to understand the philosophy of their analysis and development. The concrete experience of Azerbaijan and some other countries is an example that leads to the comprehension of some generalizations in the formation of modern cultures.
In the context of globalization, everything related to the interaction of cultures, in our opinion, has become one of the most pressing problems. Its relevance does not negate the fact that after the famous work of S. Huntington, the problem of the clash of cultures and civilizations has also become the focus of debate and discussion among scientists. There are many clashes and wars in the world, the end and edge of which are not visible. However, there is a desire to cooperate, develop interaction, and strive for integration. One such project is the New Silk Road. But much in its implementation, in our opinion, depends on how culture will be understood. If previously it was believed that interests lead to wars, now everything is not unambiguous with a culture that, as a soft, or even “sharp” force, also leads to misunderstanding, exacerbating conflicts. In our opinion, the point is not in culture, but in its interpretation and peculiar use in cultural practice, education and upbringing.
Keywords: cultural interaction, national culture, cultural diversity, national and plural identity.


In the context of globalization, everything related to the interaction of cultures, in our opinion, has become one of the most pressing problems. Its relevance does not negate the fact that after the famous work of S. Huntington, the problem of the clash of cultures and civilizations has also become the focus of controversy and discussion of scientists. There are many clashes and wars in the world, the end and edge of which are not visible. However, there is a desire to cooperate, develop interaction, and strive for integration. One such project is the New Silk Road. But much in its implementation, in our opinion, depends on how culture will be understood. If previously it was believed that interests lead to wars, now everything is not unambiguous with a culture that, as a soft, or even “sharp” force, also leads to misunderstanding, exacerbating conflicts. In our opinion, the point is not in culture, but in its interpretation and peculiar use in cultural practice, education and upbringing.
Much today in the world depends on the international order, which is based on dominance. Moreover, dominance includes culture. It has become clear to many that such an order is exhausting itself. In essence, the Soviet order was built on the same principles. The project “One belt, One way” is an alternative or may become an alternative to it. But it must be effective and at the same time open and inclusive project. Of course, at first, much depends on China in the implementation of this project, but its implementation will depend on the countries involved in it. Openness and dialogue depend on many factors. This project should not end with an empire such as the USA or the USSR, it should be capable of reform, etc. But in order for it to become like a new concept of the interaction of cultures must be proposed, if you want, then the philosophy of the cultural interaction of the countries of "One Belt, One Way". It is based on the fact that cultural foundations along this path are not offered by one country; it is created on the following principles (philosophy) of interaction. First, historical and cultural epistemology cannot be limited to recognizing the dignity of the history of culture, the history of only one state. Secondly, history and culture are not only archives and the past, but also modern communication, and even a common future. Third, an understanding of history and culture recreates an understanding of true reality. Fourth, the object and subject of cultural studies as an unfinished past involve the addition of documents, and have the potential for a new understanding. Fifth, a constant reconstruction of the philosophy of interaction between different cultures on the Silk Road is needed. Sixth, the documents of the New Silk Road should be jointly analyzed. Seventh, we must proceed from the fact that the development and understanding of cultures are associated with their dialogue and interaction.
On the relevance of philosophy
Of course, any national culture, with all its uniqueness and originality, is the result of a long development. And only at some stage it begins to be perceived as a process of contradictory, but interaction and intersection of different cultures, religions and ethnic groups. Naturally, the attitude towards this should become research one, conceptual and theoretical, evidence-based and substantiated. In Azerbaijan, this attitude is recorded in the works of academician Ramiz Mehdiyev. It proceeds from the fact that the culture of our country and the people are multifaceted, representing the interconnection of cultural traditions of the past and the present. Considering that it is necessary to write about these problems using materials from the archives of different countries, involving the works of scientists from various countries, etc.
(Mehdiyev 2017). In our opinion, a philosophy of the interaction of cultures is given here that is relevant not only for understanding the cultural development of our country, but also for the interaction of cultures of many peoples.
We agree that in order to know culture, we need to study history, but we think that philosophy cannot be done in this matter. Of course, philosophers, apparently, will not be able to do anything with the fact that culture will be used as soft or sharp power (J. Nye), but they can help with the transition from an emotional and evaluative attitude to a scientific view. Of course, an emotional attitude can be positive. So, we recognize that in our traditions, lifestyle and beliefs, a dialogue of cultures and traditions from various religions that have spread in the country in the distant past - fire worship, Christianity, Islam, has historically dominated.
Turning to the sources of such an understanding allows us to see the specifics of the Azerbaijani model of tolerance and recognition of the significance of the interaction of cultures and, at the same time, the general view that is in the cultural diversity of a country and culture. In the history of the development of any culture, there is great influence, and even repetition, and the intersection of various traditions, religions, myths, tales, and at the same time, there is rarely recognition of these influences, a study of the relationship between knowledge, a rational attitude to culture and emotional, understanding the significance of their differences for development community. Therefore, it is necessary to go over from emotionality or supplement it with scientificness and objectivity, which allows you to influence the cultural development of the community. The past in culture, as a rule, is emotional, and scientificness and objectivity are largely related to the modern attitude to the past. This approach is not particularly meaningful in philosophy. We are talking about cultural-historical epistemology in philosophy, methods of reverse proof or conclusion, introducing modern research into the past in order to obtain new information, knowledge. The concept of “cultural-historical epistemology” was used by the famous Russian philosopher B. Pruzhinin in the book “Ratio serviens? The Contours of the Cultural-Historical Epistemology” (Pruzhinin 2009), but it did not define what the qualitative novelty of the cultural-historical epistemology of the present was, there was also no way beyond the European philosophy of the mind, a breakthrough to the philosophy of the interaction of cultures as a new approach. Such a philosophy helps or even paves the way for the inclusion of a foreign culture for its development. Of course, philosophy is inextricably linked with the identity of the nation, preservation of historical and cultural continuity, but it is still able to bring the experience of a different philosophy and culture into the national culture for its development and spiritual enrichment.
Cultural-historical epistemology (philosophy) also allows us to identify the causes of variability, dynamics in what is now perceived as an integral culture. The inverse method, as part of this methodology, assumes that we are moving from the known to the unknown, and this is our recognition of the importance of the idea of “interaction” of cultures for the development of cultures. It is productive, as it turns out to be the key to understanding the processes of the gradual development of cultures, education in culture, libraries, knowledge and information about others, enlightenment and personal participation. The use of evidence from various scientific fields, for example, topographic, material data, linguistic and historical research, etc. Cultural practice itself, where there was development, undoubtedly changed with the help of understanding and assimilation of new ideas, often coming from abroad. But until now, this recognition not only in the public mind, but also in philosophy did not become an occasion to rethink the role of cultural interaction in the development of national cultures.
Based on the fact that there are many definitions of culture, we will focus on the fact that “culture” is values, activities and knowledge, to one degree or another, included in people's lifestyle. With its help, it becomes clear that the multiple foundations of any culture lie in the variability of a person’s choice of basic values, knowledge, lifestyle. The fact that the individual is not integral, but in the conditions of dominance of the legal culture and the state, which many modern national cultures are guided by, he will be. Culture is always a clash of people of different values, their lifestyles, a choice between their individual, local and external worlds. Therefore, cultures develop, change, in a word they are not static, and therefore the channels of transmission of (cultural) information are so important.
Speaking about information transmission channels, first of all, let us recall the language (state, native, universal languages), but not only, since the worldwide network and the Internet will increasingly orient the individual towards multiplicity. However, one should not ignore the variability of identity in the past. Moreover, it is clear that migrations of peoples, migrations, as a rule, took place in conditions of wars, and therefore this issue as a whole was inextricably linked to violence, and therefore the interaction and everything that was connected with it was interpreted negatively, and more often was not noticed, being latent, unnoticed. Naturally, today there are enough wars, attacks on sovereignty, and therefore, as before, the whole complex of problems related to control and security, risks is relevant. But our article is devoted to another aspect of the problem.
The recognition of the cultural diversity of any culture is that part of it that is dynamic, connected with the exchange and with the channels of information transfer. And if these concepts themselves are more often used in modern times, this does not mean at all that they were not in the past. Is there any need to recall books and libraries, papyrus and ancient Greek or ancient Chinese philosophy, logic and ethics, not to mention the universal potentials of any religions that do not cancel and are often intolerant to the bearers of these religions. So, C. Gordon, in his book, among other things, specifically notes, for example, the role of the Hittites, Egyptians, Babylonians and many other peoples in the cultural interaction of ancient Jews and Greeks (Gordon 2013: 100-101; 104-105). Reflecting on this, we need to recall the work of Z. Freud "Moses and Monotheism", in which he deeply touches on the connection between the beliefs of ancient Egypt and the formation of Jewish monotheism (Freud 2014: 5). At the same time, as a result of such interaction, some peoples and their cultures (religions) dissolved or left the arena of history.
There is a problem in how we see the interaction of cultures. For most, it (the problem) is related to security and control over these processes, preservation of the kernel or culture code. The interaction of cultures can actually be dangerous, since it does not cancel the use of culture for political, military, economic and even cultural (cultural imperialism) purposes. However, without it there is no development of culture, but it can be proved only with the help of philosophy and analysis of how a particular culture interacted and developed in the past and how this process occurs in the present. This is not about disparate facts of interaction, which are many in the history of any culture. For example, about the interaction between the ancient Chinese and Turkic ethnic groups, or the fact that the ancient Germanic and Latin languages formed the basis of the French language. Gallic (Celtic) culture influenced the French, Spanish, English cultures (Моrua 2016; Моrua 2017а; Моrua 2017b). Many facts can be found about the influence and interaction of Chinese, Slavic and Turkic cultures, etc. Although one should not underestimate the fact that some groups of Turks were then influenced to a greater extent by Greeks and Romans, and by other Orthodox Russians. It is clear that interaction, on the one hand, divided ethnic groups, but, on the other hand, formed, contributed to the development of current cultures.
Our approach, therefore, offers the identification of a way to unify the facts of different eras, to comprehend and explain the contradictions between these facts. But most importantly, it recreates the entire chain of changes in culture from era to era, restoring not just how history is written, how it remained in memory, but how the development process went, naturally, checking and double-checking it. For example, it is interesting why the influence of the Celtic language is almost not felt in English, but there are many Scandinavian (Danish) ones. Or, for example, why, for all the similar moments among the Turks, their religions, languages, and races are so different. The same can be seen among the Slavs, Germanic tribes. It is clear that our analysis should be supplemented by customs, names, place names, etc. The answers to these questions translate emotionality or complement our emotional component about our origin, into the category of evidence-based knowledge about how cultures develop.
There are many philosophical concepts about culture, but it not only explores culture as an object, it is not only itself a part of culture, it is also a set of some attitudes, programs, rules of instruction and upbringing. They allow the community to solve the problems of selfpreservation that confront it so that it does not get upset, the connection of times, consciousnesses and circumstances disintegrates, but the development process does not stop. The question of these differences in the functions of philosophy in culture is as relevant as ever. Therefore, we focus on the relevance of the following idea that knowledge about the past, while promoting knowledge, should not violate dialogue, cooperation, solidarity, violation of international treaties, etc.
The interaction of cultures was both spontaneous and controlled, that is, conscious, and even ideologically supported. Its spontaneity is historical, so it went in history along with religious wars, the persecution of dissidents, the construction of the ghetto, etc. Enough to pay attention to the interaction of Germans with Jews in the history of Germany. Manageability of these processes along with the choice of a particular policy, economy, and cultural course necessarily requires an understanding of the significance of its cultural and moral component. The culture of (revealed) diversity today helps to comprehend all that is called communication, ontology and metaphysics, the history and ethics of the development of various cultures.
In principle, it is clear that culture is inextricably linked with how a person becomes a person, how he learns to understand others, how his attitude towards others changes, and after that the culture of community changes. Power, interests, politics, economics and culture become only a manifestation of this essence, at the same time, of course, at different times and with varying degrees of success, they obscure the understanding of the essence of man. The crises, confrontations, of which there are so many today, only emphasize the need to once again return to these issues.
The President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev believes that the policy of Azerbaijan is aimed at a dialogue of cultures, religions, and multiculturalism. So, at the opening of the Baku International Humanitarian Forum in October 2013, he said that if we want to strengthen cooperation in the world, the dialogue of civilizations, then we should use all the opportunities (Materials of the Baku International Humanitarian Forum 2013: 10). These opportunities can be understood as the “soft power” of the state, but they also include humanity, morality, tolerance of people in relation to people of other cultures, and the search for ways to expand
cooperation. It is also important to emphasize that for the Baku International Humanitarian Forum (2011-2018), attention to these issues has become traditional, as evidenced by the issues submitted for discussion of each of the previous forums, texts and participation of famous philosophers, religious and political figures and attempts arrange their constructive discussion. For example, a round-table discussion “Philosopher in Culture” was held with the participation of the editor-in-chief of the journal “Questions of Philosophy” B. I. Pruzhinin in October 2012 at the Institute of Philosophy and Law of ANAS (Philosophy Issues 2013: 165-174). These issues were also reflected in books under the auspices of "The Aliyev Readings", conducted with the participation of Azerbaijani and Russian philosophers (Dialogue of cultures and challenges of the modern era 2019).
In our opinion, the following points are philosophically and theoretically productive for us in pursuing our approach: first, how to study the past of imperial peoples, whose fate has now diverged to individual states, or even when they are at war, or even at war. You can learn a lot of interesting things by reflecting on facts and materials on the differences and similarities of Slavic, Iranian and Turkic cultures, on their cooperation in the present, on how to avoid negative past experiences in it. This is a very big topic, which should be given worthy of attention. This is a rhetorical question, as the answer is clear. Joint scientific groups should be created with the inclusion of not only representatives of various countries, but also various disciplines.
It is possible to erect because of hostility, injustice in the past, the so-called "Iron Curtain", "Berlin or the Chinese Wall." There are also attempts to shield the wall from migrants and refugees under the idea that they are representatives of foreign cultures. But it is hardly possible to stop the interaction process. We must also think about the reasons for the prevalence of such errors in the public mind and try to “explain, supplant, remove” them (Mammedzadeh 2011: 110). Secondly, the interaction of cultures is not only the interaction of ethnic groups, people, it is also the ability to absorb knowledge from other cultures. Studying Chinese or Greek philosophy, we become somewhat different from what we were before, and if it occupies a definite and large place in the educational system, then the results may be more noticeable. Information about the processes and variability of cultural diversity in different countries, in the world is collected in politics, economics, morality, law, history, etc. But they should also be comprehensively comprehended. The culture of a nation is not only its constituent parts, but also a common understanding of what makes it a part of a single world.
Thirdly, philosophy is closely related to its moral transformative function. For the humanity of cultural practices, this is its main function, without it, culture is dehumanized. In the end, culture is explored in order to make the world a better, more humane world. It makes sense to think about updating all that is related to enlightenment, philosophy and the ideology of Enlightenment. Recall that Voltaire introduced the phenomenon of respect for Chinese culture into European culture. Many of our enlighteners at the end of the ХIХ and the beginning of the ХХ century considered cultural mutual influence for the development of Azerbaijan to be positive, and considered it necessary to use the experience of others (Mammedzadeh and Goyushova 2015: 30).
Fourth, time and space are one of the main categories in understanding the cultural diversity of each culture. We need to reflect on the metaphysical universal foundations of any culture in order to understand how, as a result of the activities of individuals, it becomes diverse, while striving to be holistic in different countries and societies. World religions are universal, not because their current adherents are stubborn, but because they formed as different reactions to the mixture of cultures and peoples. Here the correctness, logical interpretation of the ideas of philosophers and scientists of past eras is important. When we turn to the ideas of Azerbaijani philosophers of the Middle Ages - Bahmanyar, Nizami, Fizuli, M. Shabustari, Nasimi and many others, we will see that, as a rule, they affirm the ideas of love between people of different origins, about the greatness of the prophets Musa, Isa, Muhammad, that knowledge, faith and reason should lead to good. We may recall that N. Tusi talked about ways to establish harmony between people. No less distinctly, these ideas are presented in the views of Azerbaijani philosophers, historians, scientists and enlighteners of the ХVIII, ХIХ and XX centuries. For example, M. Kazembek wrote about the unity of the foundations of cultures of different peoples, about the need for comparative studies of cultures, and Seyyid Azim Shirvani argued about the need for harmony between people of different cultures. It should also be noted that not only scientists and philosophers, but also travelers, publicists, who are somehow interested in moral and social issues, played their role in the dissemination of these ideas.
Hence, fifthly, the problems of the interaction of cultures have a clearly expressed personal context. And the matter is not only that the dialogue is conducted by people with a personal position, upbringing, knowledge, but also that often in the past and now strong leaders, politicians, prophets, scientists made a special contribution to the development of a particular culture, making her "borrowed" ideas.
About national identity and culture
The philosophy of the interaction of cultures also presupposes the recognition that there is a national philosophy and identity, that there are many factors, trends in the world that contribute to the separation of people. Globalization has revealed that the world consists of culturally diverse communities, calling this phenomenon globalization, each of these communities and its constituent groups is diverse. History, language, culture, national identity can create conflicts, share a community, and can contribute to its development, enrichment. A lot of nations in the current conditions are fragmented, they cannot maintain their unity. We recognize that often culture, history, and ideology seem to serve these processes. The point, of course, is not in history, culture, but in how we interpret it, how we relate to our past.
Each national culture is multicultural. This is evidenced in particular by DNA analyzes, the biological history of each ethnic group. And such studies become habitual, which means that we must think about how to avoid a split. It would seem that legal concepts should become priorities for nations: political citizenship, sovereignty and territorial integrity. In this way, all citizens become part of a single culture, regardless of their ethnic origin in a specific area. These standards were formed in the legal field of European culture of the twentieth century, and the history of individual ethnic groups in Europe and modern non-West did not prevent the establishment of the priority of legal culture. They were once escaped in the past empire, but they fell apart. The current integration associations are oriented towards a combination of the local, national, and civilizational component of identity. However, empires fell apart, but consciousness remains, and it cannot be ignored.
Globalization itself contributes, on the one hand, to the appearance of common features in each of the cultures, and on the other hand, variability and differences not only remain, but many may assume that their role is increasing. Moreover, to such an extent that, without taking this factor into account on the part of politicians and economists, the road opens to interethnic conflicts within single, as it seemed before, nations. These facts were earlier, but they became significantly more. They are recorded not only in Europe (for example, Spain and Catalonia), in Eastern Europe there are much more of them, there are a lot of them in Muslim and Eastern ecumenical societies. Therefore, it is theoretically important to understand how to explore and use the specifics of local, regional, local in the global world. We know that with the help of education and knowledge it is possible to change ideas about ourselves and others. As a rule, for various reasons, information and scientific texts about these issues are still not enough.
In our opinion, in the current conditions, in order to understand these trends, it will be productive to formulate a new vision of modern national culture and the identity of the era of globalization. A nation, of course, is a product of certain conditions, but it is peculiar, let us say so, to unite its past and future. The way the past is interpreted by scientists, changes its present and future. It is also clear that she “sees and reads” it in different ways. In this regard, much depends on the social sciences, national ideology. They are effective in explaining reality, and thereby contribute to the development of community. In this case, they form a dominant view of culture in the collective national consciousness. We have repeatedly touched on this issue in our works (Mammedzadeh 2016a: 22-27.
Therefore, the state maintains uniform standards of education, culture, attitude to languages, upbringing, science, history and ideology, and thus determines the common destiny of the community. In fact, only the state legitimizes the community, the nation and all its basic institutions, considering them as national - language, history, kinship and territory, of course, and attitude to others. But the way philosophy (and ideology) defines culture turns out to be force (soft or sharp, aimed at development, or against it). However, not everyone accepts the priority of the state, and not every state chooses the right path in the implementation, approval of these principles, and it is clear that often neighboring and non-neighboring states use these technologies to influence these processes. This issue is addressed, for example, in an article by R. E. Barash, who notes that “the worldwide trend today is the rapid complication of both individual identity and intercultural communication of communities; in turn, the tendencies of the ethno-cultural “renaissance” are manifested in the spread of unique national mythology, which often leads not only to the growth of ideas of cultural exclusivity and autonomy, but also to a kind of avalanche of centrifugal moods” (Barash 2019: 32).
In one of our articles, we wrote that “... more often there were works that analyze the impact of politics, law, economics on culture, and not the impact of specific forms of multiculturalism that actually existed in a particular region, on politics, law, and ideas about justice etc.” (Mammedzadeh 2016b: 207). Such a statement of the problem requires from us, as was noted above, a new understanding of how the analysis of culture in all its multifaceted nature and scientific nature should be carried out. Knowledge of culture must be verifiable, evidence-based, and therefore influential. Of course, the evidence here is of a different kind. It is achieved by choosing a specific philosophical approach to culture, clarifying and explaining how they interact with each other. So, knowledge passes into practical experience, specific recommendations for politics, economics, etc. That is why, if earlier in science multi and interdisciplinarity were more associated with fundamental sciences, now they are needed to analyze the culture and use this data in other areas. Naturally, we are talking not only about the internal areas of politics, economics, but also about external relations.
To understand what is happening in the world, it is necessary to apply these approaches in the social sciences to study culture as a significant phenomenon in the life of any modern society. And, above all, to clarify that there is a culture in the universal sense of the word, how it affects social life in all its integrity, multiplicity and discreteness. Without this, one cannot understand our knowledge of societies, states, civilizations.
And, finally, in conditions when the world is threatened by war, migration, resettlement of peoples, strange, the idea may sound that we need to turn to the methodology and philosophy of the interaction of cultures, the education of identity and tolerance. People expect a lot from states, and above all, sound political practices and projects like the New Silk Road. But they are difficult to achieve without knowledge of culture, without their dissemination in the public consciousness, without an explanation of its significance in the development of community. Therefore, firstly, without the interaction of cultures, national cultures will not develop, a truly philosophical and theoretical context of its research will not develop. But along with the recognition of this thesis, the understanding of the importance of the interaction philosophy, problems are also being created that should be investigated, analyzed, and knowledge translated into the concrete practice of educating citizens. Attitude to the interaction of cultures determines the fate of a particular culture, its modernity, its understanding of the past and the future, its significance, its participation in the processes of integration and globalization. Secondly, national culture is inextricably linked with the state, its cultural policy, its connection with science and philosophy, the ability to form on their basis the cultural core of the national ideology and collective consciousness of the community, open to new information about culture. Thirdly, the development of national culture also depends on how it understands its past, how it can abandon old and false stereotypes in its understanding. Fourth, the philosophy of any unique culture can become such when it understands the culture of another community, evaluates it and can perceive, comprehend, process this information for its development. Fifth, problems in the interaction of cultures are associated either with an exaggeration of the significance of other cultures (westernization), or with an exaggeration of their identity. The interaction of cultures has its risks, which can be predicted, can take measures only if the interaction is understood as a philosophical and methodological problem.
The authors declare no conflict of interest


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