Individual and social rationality in the context of Ukraine’s future: Aspen Institute Kyiv held a dialogue for its Community

Aspen Institute Kyiv held an Aspen-Dialogue (seminar session) as part of its program for the Community titled “Critical Rationality and Societal Consolidation” on March 23. Members of Aspen Community participated in the discussion based on the classic texts of sociology patriarchs such as Max Weber and Ferdinand Tönnies, addressing the following topics in the traditional format of AIK events:

  • How to maintain a rational understanding of social processes while not losing maximum consolidation of Ukrainians for victory?
  • How to feel support and responsibility for every citizen as one’s relative during this decisive period in history, living in a modern society of atomized individuals?
  • How to avoid destroying the unity of Ukrainian society through healthy and constructive criticism?

Participants expressed that Ukrainian society is currently scattered and not inclined toward compromise. However, this could be its strength.

According to the participants, religion could be one of the components that could be a unifying factor for Ukrainians. As an alternative, some participants emphasized the importance of education, particularly academic education, refuting the myth that it is only available to the chosen ones.

Regarding post-war reconstruction in Ukraine, some participants expressed concern about pessimistic social attitudes. To prevent this, the idea was put forward that it is necessary to move toward the rule of law and ensure the stability of state institutions.

During the dialogue, the issue of rationality was also raised. According to the participants’ views, individual rationality in most people is currently focused on physical and economic survival. However, many agreed that in the future, societal rationality should be focused on preserving institutions that are the basis of democracy and neutralizing populism. But this will only be possible if society is consolidated and has clear “rules of the game.”

Andriy Kulakov (Coordinator of Aspen Institute’s Kyiv Community Program) and Denys Poltavets (Director of Program Development at Aspen Institute Kyiv) moderated the dialogue.