M.S. Sergeeva, Candidate of Historical Sciences, Associate Professor at the Department
of the History of Medicine, National History and Culturology
I.M. Sechenov First Moscow State Medical University, The Ministry of Health
of the Russian Federation, Moscow (Russian Federation)
“Physiological collectivism”, a method for the creation of the “new man”, was developed in Russia in 1910–1920s, and served as a pretext for organizing the first Institute of Blood Transfusion in the USSR, the first director of which was its author, the physician, philosopher, and political activist A.A. Bogdanov (1873–1928). Bogdanov’s idea of “physiological collectivism” emerged as part of a dream for a socialist society based on universal unity and equality. Drawing on his own theory of “universal organized science”, Bogdanov argued that the key to sustained and stable development of society was “collectivization”. However, the revolutionary experience showed that the unification of various class representatives was impossible without the formation of a single organizational way of thinking and a profound change and unification of citizens’ consciousness. A unique opportunity to unify the people at a biological level was stipulated in the “exchange blood transfusion” method developed by Bogdanov. It was based on philosophical concepts of E. Mach, W. Ostwald, R. Steiner, and N.F. Fedorov, as well as biologists’ and geneticists’ data. The phenomenon of conjugation in the simplest form affirmed loyalty to philosophical constructs and allowed Bogdanov to offer his own mechanism for the transfer of experience between generations. The announcements of Soviet geneticists, who claimed the possibility of acquired characteristics being inherited, justified his theory. Thus, “physical collectivism,” or exchange of blood between the people, “reinforcing each body along the lines of weakness,” was developed by Bogdanov as the most effective way of building socialism. The creation of the Institute of Blood Transfusion was the result of an interdisciplinary synthesis of philosophy, natural science and social ideas of the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
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Published in Vol. 3. №4, 2015