Konstantin A. Bogdanov. Atavisms of freedom, reflexes of slavery and "Russian national character": history of one ethnopsychological hypothesis

In his book "Untimely Meditations", Nietzsche writes both of the history and the nature of humankind, "For since we are the outcome of earlier generations, we are also the outcomes of their aberrations, passions, error, and indeed of their crimes. It is not possible wholly to free oneself from this chain".

The interpreters and translators of this phrase argue about the measure of fatalism and compulsority that Nietzsche gives to our dependence from the past. But how does this dependence express itself — in psychology or reflection, moral laws or social rules? In terms of physiology, one of the answers to this question was given basing on the controversy of slavery and freedom (Ivan Pavlov, Vladimir Bekhterev, Pitirim Sorokin). In ethnopsychology, the same concepts were needed in the reflections on national character (Geoffry Gorer, Margaret Mead, Eric Ericsson, Daniel Rancour-Lafferiere). In the present paper we will discuss how it happened, what were its consequences and what is to be done about it further.