The Phenomenon Of War: Metaphysics, Ontology, Boundaries

"War Is The Father Of All Things"

(The talk given at the Russian Student Club, submitted to the Collection by A. G. Dugin)

We will not be able to understand the full depth of the current confrontation without philosophical reflection. Philosophers have always interpreted war as something necessary. Heraclitus speaks of war as the "father of things": πόλεμος πάντων μεν πατήρ εστί, πάντων δε βασιλεύς. War has always constituted the world and space. Without war, without division, the world is impossible. That is to say, in a certain sense, war has been interpreted as a cosmological act. There is a certain romanticization of war in Thucydides and Socrates, who were theorists of war. At the same time, there is a very interesting division that we need to make today in order to analyze the conflict with Ukraine. It is not that war is always good or always bad, but there are good wars and there are bad wars. Good wars are wars with an external enemy. They are not condemned by Thucydides, Socrates, or Xenophon. And there are internecine wars. These are usually viewed negatively. In Plato’s Laws, the Greek term πόλεμος is used (as in Heraclitus) to denote an external war, as opposed to an internal war — discord, vεtκος (as in Empedocles).

The Hellenic soul justified wars with an external enemy. War with others, with strangers, with barbarians, who must be defeated and possibly subjugated, was viewed positively. But war as discord (vεtκος), which could occur in the Greek polis, among the Greeks themselves and internal strife in cities – all of this was viewed negatively. Thus, in Plato’s view, the conflicts between Athens and Sparta should have been avoided and ways of reconciliation should have been sought. If they did happen, they should never have led to mutual destruction or direct subservience. It was rather a continuation of the competition — tθλησις. This is where the word "athletics" comes from, but to the Greeks it meant both competition and battle. The "Spiritual Warfare" or "Inward Concentration" of Orthodox monasticism in Greek sounds like a Nοερά Aθλησις.

Ukraine: External Or Internal?

Talking about today’s conflict, about the confrontation between Russia and Ukraine, the question arises: is this war external or internal? This is a very tricky question. I once had the floor in a program on an Indian TV channel "Republic TV". My Ukrainian opponent from Kiev, an ex-adviser to the Minister of Defense, said:

"There is no such people as Russians, but if they exist, they have to be killed."

It was then that I had the impression that the war we are waging was no longer an internal war, but a war with an external enemy. That is, these people who oppose us, who commit acts of aggression against the Russian people and have committed them for eight years, who have forbidden Russians to live, to speak their own language, to have their own culture, are no longer our Slavic brothers. This is already some other entity.

I was captivated by this idea — an attempt to comprehend the conflict in Ukraine as a struggle with an external enemy, as πόλεμος, and not as vε tκος. And this πόλεμος, according to the Plato, must be waged with a very harsh and courageous manner. At the same time, according to the same Plato, war is a consequence of the imperfection of human beings. Nevertheless, war must be just and must establish the right order. War is supposed to improve a human being, not make him worse. Therefore, in war, there must always be a hierarchy: the highest is the contemplative principle, and the lowest is the lustful principle.

If we look at the structure of the Ukrainian government, over the past eight years since 2014, subsidies in the military sphere from the United States amounted to $20.5 billion for military equipment. There are also huge investments in other areas. If we talk about the total volume of investment in civil society from different foundations, I think it was less, up to $1.5 billion, but these are still gigantic numbers.

Looking at these volumes, the question arises: Isn’t Ukraine and the Ukrainian puppet state an outpost of an external enemy? It should be noted that this state is headed by a comedian, a humorist, that is, a buffoon. Laughter is a very important phenomenon. Philosophers have explained its nature in different ways. Bergson dedicated a separate work to the subject of laughter 1. Laughter is the most important sacred phenomenon. Heraclitus, for example, was called the "weeping philosopher" because he never laughed. And Democritus, on the contrary, was called a "laughing philosopher." There is a legend that he giggled and grinned all the time. In general, Democritus as a whole was considered to be cursed in classical antiquity, as was his atomistic doctrine. It was him who had invented speculation (by buying up the harvest in a fertile year and selling it to the residents of his hometown of Abder in a year of bad harvest). It is no coincidence that there is a legend that his books were burned by Platonists and Pythagoreans.

So, Ukraine is Anti-Russia. And our front is not just a political, but a geopolitical pole. Ukraine is a proxy of American Atlanticism, an enemy American civilization, an outpost of the American globalist order. Existentially and metaphysically, Ukraine is also Anti-Russia. This is a society where values are turned upside down, where lust rules – the lowest lustful principle associated with the stomach and liver in Plato. The Russian Ministry of Defense has announced today that "our country did not start hostilities, but on the contrary, Russia is putting an end to them." And the end of these hostilities is actually the restoration of justice.

A Just War

Since we are talking about philosophical concepts in relation to war, we may also have in mind the theory of "just war" (bellum iustum). This concept can be traced back to the Greco-Roman antiquity. In the modern era, it was further developed by Hugo Grotius 2. We live in a world where many different actors are trying to argue for a just war. This is how Americans justify their "right" to conduct military operations in various countries. For us the concept of "justice", and, accordingly, a just war, is also extremely important.

Look at how we act, and how the Americans act. The Americans during their invasion of Iraq, Afghanistan, as well as Syria, Libya, etc. simply kill civilians without remorse and reduce entire neighborhoods to rubble. They practise mass shelling of residential and non-residential areas and civilian population settlements. Their private military contractors have no qualms about the shooting of civilians. And all this under the pretext of a "just" fight against terrorism. And the US has the unilateral right to label anyone "terrorists". On the opposite, we are acting for the sake of the living. Our justice is completely different – not formal. And despite some misunderstandings and mistakes, despite the fact that the Ukrainian people were fascinated and even hypnotized by a narrative that was alien to them, a foreign logos, the Russian peacekeepers do not want them dead.

Now everyone says that the SMO should have been completed in one day. No, it shouldn’t have and couldn’t have. Because it’s a very complicated process. It is a metaphysical, a civilizational struggle. It is too large-scale, too fundamental.

In general, however, in establishing their imperial, indeed sacred order, we see that the Russians behave humanely. In general, the empire is based on the supremacy of the rational, the highest principle in the Platonic hierarchy of soul faculties. As there is a chariot of the soul consisting of a charioteer (mind) and two horses – white (pride) and black (lust), so is the soul of the Empire. It should be so, at least. And a war will be just when hierarchy is observed – reason is above all, valor and the quest for military glory is subordinate to it, and no autonomy is given to the lustful principle. Therefore, the Russians are fighting with a higher purpose and in the name of Victory and glory, not committing crimes – especially those dictated by lust, greed, cruelty, sadism, plundering, and violence against the civilian population. Unlike our enemies, who appeal to "justice" to cover up their vile, purely material appetites.

Plato ‘S Chariot Empire

It turns out that, on the one hand, the Russians are fighting with an external enemy - the United States, but they understand that the bodies of the people who are there, on the other side, they are not external to us. The bodies and souls of these people are us; they are our reflection. But this is a reflection that has wandered into the remote and totally false world of a different ontology, with a different hierarchy of values. Therefore, on the one hand, it is an external war, that is, with an external enemy, with an external civilization, with the materialistic logos of Cybele, with the logos of lust, even with the myth of lust, with the obsession of consumption. And what is happening in Ukraine is a real society of the spectacle, according to Guy Debord 3. The asymmetry of the information war is something many people are noticing today. This is a sign of a civilization of lies that is external to us. But then again, it is also an internal war.

After all, the logos of Cybele is also at work in our society – in liberalism, in materialism, in corruption, in Westernism. This is only reflected in Ukrainians. In this case, it is discord (vεtκος) that should lead to peace through the victory of love (φιλία, according to Empedocles). This is, in fact, a disagreement between the two faculties of soul, as Plato put it. There is a charioteer, and this is the Empire. Seeking glory and honor, a white horse is subservient to him.

The Russian government is the charioteer, and our Russian military is like a white horse helping the charioteer to calm this raging black horse. As a historian of philosophy, a historian of Platonism, this is the interpretation I would propose. I hope that this the topic will be further developed. It is noteworthy that some American philosophers, such as neoconservatives, also base their theories on Platonism. Leo Strauss, who is considered the ideological inspiration for all Neoconservatism, studied Plato.

Even such a modern phenomenon as the use of fake news can be explained by an appeal to Platonism. The same Leo Strauss is of the opinion (although it is debatable) that Plato had the idea of the "noble lie". Thus, he concludes that in order to establish a "just" world order, i.e., the American world order, Pax Americana, it is quite possible and even necessary to resort to certain forms of a "noble lie." Here’s a philosophical justification for "society of the spectacle" and fake news.

Without metaphysics, without philosophy, we can, of course, describe the conflict, but in doing so we will be missing something very important.

Russian Ereignis

Now to the question of whether or not war is a means of redemption. I think it is. In general, the war is being waged by the Russians to establish peace. There were two spellings of the word "мир" in Russian: with a dotted "i" (мiр - a society, the world), and with "и" (мир - peace). Although back to ancient times, both words were written in the same way and had an all-encompassing meaning: the world as a cosmos, the universe was thought of by the Slavs as something peaceful, pacified, calmed. This distinguishes our culture, for example, from the German, where the word "world" - "die Welt", as Heidegger shows - comes from the root "walten", from which "Gewalt" - violence - derives. Quite according to Heraclitus – "war as the father of all things." For us Russians, peace is the father of all things.

Мiр with the letter "i" can be interpreted as a given, while мир – as a result of the war, as a result of a certain pact made after the tragic division. This way of thinking - first division, then reunification - is peculiar to us. And, of course, the Russians want peace.

The idea of sobornost’ (conciliarity) was widely discussed and considered in the Russian philosophy of the late XIX - early XX century. This sobonost’ must finally prevail in relations with Ukrainians. We are not so much in search of the destruction of the enemy as we are in search of the overcoming of this division. I have the best wishes for the success of our army, and I am sure that history is now in the making. In Heidegger’s terminology, there is now an Ereignis taking place, that is, Event 4. The manifestation of Russian Being in history.

And I believe that there is a need for sincere prayer for those who are there now, on the front lines. Of course, I would really like to call for prayer for the enemies so that they come to their senses. But right now, I’m not ready to do it myself. After the experience of seeing all the videos, after the threats that come to my address, it’s hard, it’s really difficult for me. I think we need to wait and see, and we need to be praying for our Peacekeepers for now.

Russian Identity And The "Big Space"

We need to reflect on who we are. Because when we have an encounter with ourselves on the other side, with the Eastern Slavs, we see that they have quite distinct contours of identity. Yes, it is completely artificial, and yes, it is not rooted in history or ontology. It consists of scattered images and combinations of liberal Nazism with Globalism. This project is funded by George Soros. As one of the main theorists and practitioners of liberalism and globalism, the sponsor and organizer of color revolutions, while speaking out against any hint of patriotism in the countries of the West itself, it is Soros who supports the Nazis in Ukraine. Inciting hatred against the Russian world, against our Empire, is the main criterion and goal for him. Let it be monstrous and perverted, but our enemies have an identity. It’s artificial, it can’t be the basis for creation. It almost immediately breaks down into madness, but it’s still expressed quite clearly.

The question to us is — what about our identity? We discussed the traditional values and the draft Decree, the adoption of which was temporarily suspended, but not removed from the agenda in the cultural space "Solntse Severa" ("Sun of the North") 5. This is very important, and I think that the issue of thinking through the prism of our traditional values, our identity, the creation of a full-fledged ideology, the process of understanding the new geopolitical situation is our number one priority. And when peacekeeping operation ends successfully, we have to figure out what to do next. We must decide how to control new territories, this Grossraum ("big space" as put by C. Schmitt) not only with the help of the military, or politically, or economically, but first and foremost ideologically.

What is the basis of this "big space"? That remains to be seen. In my opinion, the answer to this question is in the name itself, and the password will be "traditional values".

If we include the lands of Ukraine in our "big space", it will be on the basis of our common Orthodox Eastern Slavic spiritual tradition.

But this time, because history is moving much faster than it used to, we should study, define, and identify what it is. And now we need to extract meanings, mythologems, semantic nodes from our common history at a rate a hundred times faster than we have been doing for the last eight years - after the creation of the "big space" was artificially frozen, interrupted, postponed in 2014.

To Build A Russian Future

In order to understand who to rely on, we urgently need to form a clear idea of our dominant ideology. On Slavophiles? My opinion is that their ideas are necessary for us. Ideas of pan-Slavism? Yes. Eurasianism? For sure! I believe that Eurasianism is the ideology that can unite this big space of Eurasia. Slavophilism and Pan-Slavism are incompatible with Eurasianism, you will say. Let’s make it so that they are compatible. Let’s think about how these conceptions can be combined. What else do we need? We also need a religious dimension, a traditionalist dimension, a geopolitical dimension and a metaphysical dimension, which we talked about today. This is a number one task.

This is my appeal to all of you, and I urge you to have this kind of thinking. What we have now is a certain imbalance of the identities. The other side has arguments, there is ideology and there is obsession. And it’s not that we don’t have it; it exists, but it’s not so clearly manifested. This means that we have overlooked it. This means that for once in the last eight years of the persistent struggle for Novorossiya, we did not move forward when we needed to. Maybe we missed something. But as the Italian political philosopher Curzio Malaparte said, "Nothing is lost until everything is lost." I think that all this work can be done quickly.

There are many prerequisites for this. I will only designate keys, codes and pivots. They are Hesychasm, Byzantism, Eurasianism, Neo-Eurasianism, the Fourth Political Theory 6, overcoming Modernity, Traditionalism. And, of course, there is the whole complex of Russian philosophy, from the Slavophiles to the philosophy of the Silver Age, which must be studied and inspired by it. In the Silver Age it is the idea of sobornost’ and perhaps also Sophiology, in particular the works of Pavel Florensky, that are the most important for us.

I think these are the key pivots that will help us open the door to the Russian future that we need to build.


1. Bergson H. Laughter: An Essay on the Meaning of the Comic Moscow: Publishing House "Art", 1992.

2. Grotius H. On the Law of War and Peace. Moscow: Ladomir, 1994;

3. Debord G. La Société du spectacle. P.: Buchet-Chastel, 1967.

4. See Dugin A. Martin Heidegger. The Philosophy of Another Beginning. Moscow: Academic Project; "Mir" Foundation, 2010.

5.  Decree 908 of the President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin "On the Principles of State Policy for Preservation and Strengthening of Traditional Russian Spiritual and Moral Values" was adopted later after the Dasha’s death on 09.11.2022.

6. Dugin A.G. The Fourth Way. Moscow: Academic Project, 2014.

In memory of Daria Alexandrovna Dugina

Source: Russian rectification of names