Sergey Khoruzhiy (born 1941) is a researcher of Eastern Orthodoxy (the orthodox spirituality/ascetism), an expert in Religious philosophy and philosophical anthropology as well as a theoretical physicist, a mathematician, and a translator of James Joyce's novel “Ulysses” into Russian. Mr Khoruzhiy is a graduate of the Department of Physics of Moscow University, holding a PhD in Physics and Mathematics and currently is a member of Russian Academy of Sciences.
While developing strict methods of relative quantum theory as a theoretical physicist and mathematician, Khoruzhiy simultaneously began working in the area of philosophy and religious thought. His first publication in this area came out in 1967. (“Nothing”, Philosophical Encyclopedia, vol.4). Since that time Khoruzhiy has continued to work in this area; however, with the exception of a few short articles, was unable to publish much of his work during the Communist years. In principle, Khoruzhiy rejected the official Soviet philosophy and its environment, maintaining that under the totalitarian regime philosophy was not a creativity area, but rather part of the dominating mechanism which perverted its true nature and substance.
Khoruziy's research, heavily influenced by Hiedegger, focuses mainly on Christian thought: combining Western mysticism with Russian religious philosophy. Having a critical attitude towards the general level of Russian philosophy, Khoruzhiy believes in the existence of a special type of spirituality: a unique and authentic course of development wherein the deep, philosophical potential of Eastern Christianity is demonstrated. Before the mid-1970s, Khoruzhiy tried to apply the philosophical processes of the Silver Age—particularly of Florensky and Krasavin—to this purpose. However, since that time the researcher's work has entered a new period during which it has become heavily influenced by the theory of “theological energies” as exposited by St. Gregory Palamas (14 century). St. Gregory's theory helped to outline the main principles of Eastern Orthodox discourse and demonstrate that at its core was not the metaphysics of the Silver Age, but rather Russian askesis. Hence, the key feature of Eastern Orthodox discourse involves an experiential understanding of the “full nature” of energy, in contrast to vague, logical and existential discourse on the subject predominant in the West. The former experiential view is exhibited most clearly within the mystic ascetic tradition known as “hesychasm”.
Hesychastic spiritual practice is traditionally an anthropological paradigm or strategy that transforms the total energy of the human on all levels — somatic, psychological and intellectual. In Khoruzhiy's works, this practice becomes an interdisciplinary programme that includes theological, psychological and linguistic themes along with philosophy being the main one. Hesychastic experience under this interpretation then allows one to view philosophy as a “discourse of energies”, in which energy or “existence- action” is the major principle of the whole system of notions. The adequate interpretation of this experience turns out to be impossible based upon the usual Aristotlean notion of energy and needs the alternative experiential conception, in which energy would have a different freer connection with essence — that is, one in which it is “de-essentialized”. Such a conception implies the interpretation of energy as “existence-action” should rather become “existence- event”, consisting not only of present events, but also of “transcendental events” — the objective of ascetic spiritual practices — and of “virtual events” which make up virtual reality.
Comparative analysis of a range of spiritual practices uncovers the unique nature of hesychastic experience exhibiting it as one of the ways of realizing this general anthropological paradigm or strategy — “the paradigm of Spiritual practice”. In turn, this paradigm, can be interpreted as the “maximum phenomena” of the human experience as one's very human existence starts to change. Such logic leads us to the anthropological approach which centers on the maximum phenomena and has the notion of their combination called “Anthropological Boarder” at its core. This approach has been labeled as “synergical anthropology” (based on the ascetic theological notion of synergy — the harmony of human and Godly energy. Thus the “Anthropological Boarder” consists of spiritual practices, strategies of unconsciousness and virtual strategies. The mixture of these practices can produce a number of hybrids (for example, “prelest” in askesis, a psychotechnique which results in the change of conscientiousness). As a result, the human being can be presented as a combination of the strategies of the Anthropological Boarder. This new definition of the human lies in the centre of the anthropological model which connects ancient and modern experiences and is consistent with the new paradigm of knowledge, with the different system of relationship among the discourses of different disciplines.