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В.В. Налимов


Reprinted from
Journal of Humanistic Psychology,
Vol. 33, No. 3, Summer 1993, p.82-98


This paper introduces Vasily Nalimov, humanist, philosopher and visionary, and Zhanna Drogalina Nalimov, co-worker and researcher, as individuals whose concepts, regarding human consciousness, are both provocative and exciting. Following his years in Soviet labor camps, and labeled "an enemy of the people", Nalimov found that his ideas were better received in the West than in his own country. I met the Nalimovs in 1991 when they visited Princeton University and I was impressed not only by their vast knowledge and experience in the field of human consciousness research but also by the spiritual bond that exists between them. Later that year, I was honored to be invited to interview Nalimov in their Moscow home: that interview, plus Vasily' s prodigious writings, showed me a man who sees far beyond his own time. Nalimov 's concepts of meaning and consciousness encompass topics as varied as language, mathematics and philosophy, and which will probably not be fully realized until well into the next century.


There is a Russian saying that to be able to write a person must have suffered. Vasily Vasiliyevich Nalimov is such a person. His life story is one of high intensity and drama; he was interned for many years in Soviet labor camps, and he is an outstanding writer. While the majority of his philosophical and mathematical works are as yet fully understood only by a few, they contain a profundity and breadth that may be processed well into the twenty-first century. A review by Professor Rustum Roy of the Materials Research Laboratory, Pennsylvania State University ( 1989) of Nalimov's Faces of Science (1981) emphasizes the freshness and range of Nalimov's writings:
    Nalimov has very important insights. They are insights of integration, of putting the pieces of a jigsaw puzzle together to reveal a new holon of reality. Here is the antidote for the inherent reductionism of most scientific work, especially as it is practiced today. (p.2)
In the foreword of Nalimov's Realms of the Unconscious (1982) Robert G. Colodny of the University of Pittsburgh outlined and summarized Nalimov's work: Nalimov, the co-worker of the world-renowned Soviet mathematician Andrei Kolmogorov, having explored the sources of creativity in that most rigorously logical discipline, pushes on to the frontiers of traditional explanation and asks radically new questions about the nature and function of the unconscious ( p.ix ).
    ... Nalimov is not attempting to construct an exhaustive theory of the realms of the unconscious; nor is he seeking to convert the infidel. In the tradition of the early natural philosophers and without dogmatism, he asks new questions, questions that are provocative and hence productive of debate and perhaps a little wisdom ( p.xii )
Nalimov's work was initially published by ISI Press (Institute for Scientific Information, 3501 Market Street, University City Science Center, Philadelphia, PA 19104) through his friend and benefactor Eugene Garfield. However, when ISI Press was about to dispose of their stock, an admirer of Nalimov's, Rustum Roy, felt so strongly that the works should be preserved that he bought up all of Nalimov's books and offered them under the publication name of STS Press (102 M.R.L. , University Park, PA 16802). Nalimov's recent work Spontaneity of Consciousness (1991b) is to be published through the sponsorship of Roy and STS Press.


In the summer prior to the failed 1991 coup, sitting in his small book and picture- filled flat in the Moscow suburbs, Nalimov told me about his fascinating life. He was born early in the century, November 4th , 1910, into what he calls a "time of transformation". His father, Vasily Petrovich , came from a small northern village where the language and the culture were predominantly Ugro -Finnish. The people were of Hungarian-Finnish descent and pagan in their religious practice. As Nalimov explained, "The people were very close to nature, there was a belief in animism, and they saw the Earth as a living system". Despite the fact that the authorities forbade these practices, they persisted. For instance, some young men would go off alone into the forest for up to two months. On their return they were considered to be shamans who could use their personal energy to heal.

Nalimov's father, Vasily Petrovich , was considered a shaman through his use of such practices, but he also sought more conventional education. Although Russian was not his first language, he went to Moscow where he gained a medical degree, and then returned to his village where he combined his skills as a healer in both modern and folk medicine. He worked as a " Felddoktor " or field doctor to further support his studies to become an anthropologist and ethnographer. He returned to Moscow, and it was during his later studies at the University that he met and married Nalimov's mother, Nadezhda Ivanovna, despite initial opposition from her family. Nadezhda Ivanovna was among the first group of women to graduate as physicians in Russia. At Nalimov's flat, I had the privilege of being shown the family album.

Here were faded, sepia photographs of young Vasily looking intense and determined, the same look worn by his mother when she was photographed in her professional role as a physician. Here, too, are Nadezhda 's contemporaries, bright young women in their twenties and thirties graduating as doctors and surgeons, women achieving equal status with their male counterparts. During the First World War Nadezhda worked as a surgeon treating wounded soldiers, and in the album we see her with her patients--young men with bandaged heads and crutches. Nadezhda became one of the first Soviet women to graduate as a surgeon and she held the Degree of Distinguished Physician. Nalimov's album shows unique archival- quality photographs of her preparing to perform surgery. As we looked through the photographs Nalimov, praising his mother's achievements, paused for a moment and proclaimed "...and she was also my mother !"
The young Nalimov would often accompany his mother to the hospital and watch her work. He writes ( 1989a ):
    When I leaf through the old family photographs I see that my mother always looked very sad. Was it a presentiment that she would never see her children grown? I remember once, when a boy, I accompanied her to the hospital where she had to examine the patients after the operation. For some reason I put my hand into the pocket of her coat. She took my hand and said, "Soon you'll be a grown-up and I'll be able to lean on your hand". But that was not to come true. (p.6)
Nadezhda Ivanovna died of typhoid in 1918, when Vasily was 9 years of age. She had been mobilized to care for soldiers with the infection and succumbed herself. Nalimov's father, Vasily Petrovich , supported the family through his scientific activity and writing, providing enough income in the early years to employ a nurse and a cook, and then was remarried to Olga Fedorovna . Later he became a university professor. He died many years later, 1939, in a political prison.

Nalimov (1989a) claims that "the winds of fate made me from my childhood contact tragedy...." and his family certainly suffered a great deal. In addition to his mother's early death and his father's imprisonment, Nalimov's maternal grandfather suffered deprivation of his civil rights and expulsion from his home, presumably for political reasons, and his mother's sister and brother both committed suicide. Nalimov's sister, Nadezhda, became the wife of a British military officer during the First World War, but when the war was over her husband returned to Britain and Nadezhda was sent to a prison camp. After her release, Nadezhda tried to be reunited with her husband but died before she was successful. The family of Nalimov's step-mother, Olga Fedorovna , also had a paradoxical history of intrigue and political adventures. This became the background in which the young Nalimov was raised. It strengthened him for his own ordeals. Speaking of the politically-motivated deaths of friends and colleagues he (1989a ) theorized:
    The obituary list....is certainly incomplete. But it is frightening as it is. The destructive force was inexorable and inventive. Its task was to break the links between generations, to free the road to the new unfettered by the past. And it seems to have succeeded. (p.15)
Prison Camp
Like his father, Vasily was also arrested for counter-revolutionary activities and at the age of 26 he was condemned, without trial, to 5 years of reformatory prison camp and exile at Kolyma . However these 5 years became 18 years and he was only finally released in 1954, after Stalin's death. Although officially free, his freedom was restricted to certain areas and, even though he was rehabilitated in 1960, Nalimov felt that the stigma remained: " But even now I feel behind me the shadow nicknamed 'people's enemy'" ( 1989a . p.13). He remembers those times (1992):
    The situation was terrible there; in every aspect--forsaken in space and time--they had lost everything being trapped in a life oversaturated with hard work, cold and starvation. It was a torture prolonged in years.
He also writes (1989b):
    Indeed, all that was but a severe and cruel pay for the attempt to acquire new meanings not on the personal level but for the entire people that was not prepared for the burden of the opening freedom. But the burden turned out to be too heavy, cumbersome, unbearable. Freedom turned into debauch that gave birth to unfreedom even more cruel than before. A new ideology is always more frightening than a senile one. (p.15)
A Love Story
Nalimov's first wife was Irina Vladmirovna Usova whose father was a nobleman and landowner with an estate in Kursk province. After her death he married Zhanna Drogalina and therein lies a love story. Following the end of her first marriage Zhanna had a dream. She was in a boat, in a storm and lost. Suddenly there was a man who pulled her to safety. Later, in waking reality, she was invited to a party, as was Nalimov. Neither of them particularly wanted to attend the party but they went because friends had invited them. Neither knew the other was attending but they met at the door to the party and there was an "instantaneous recognition". They took each other's hand and walked into the party. Zhanna says that they are still holding hands and have not let go. They look at each other and you can feel the love they have for each other. She touches his 80-year-old face, and says lovingly, "Look at this face...". There is a passage from Maeterlinck 's La Morte (1914) quoted in Spontaneity of Consciousness (1991) that she says characterizes the essence of Nalimov's writings:
    The greatness of a man is measured against the mysteries which he cultivates.... (p.10)
Zhanna Drogalina Nalimov is a linguist, translator, teacher of meditation, wife and co-worker with Vasily Nalimov. She has collaborated with him as leading experimenter in the meditation research described in Realms of the Unconscious (1982), as well as contributing to its writing and editing. She shares Nalimov's vision of the probabilistic makeup of human nature and the ubiquitous nature of meaning (1990):
    Human consciousness....possesses an amazing treasure: meanings that do not obey formal logic. Logic does not operate with meanings; it only reveals connections within symbol systems. Logic lacks creativity. (p.19)
Understanding Human Personality
The concept and understanding of human personality is not incompatible with those of mathematics and physics, according to Nalimov (1985). In Space, Time and Life he employed the flexibility of Bayesian logic to construct an image of personality which included aspects he termed ego, meta-ego, multidimensionality , and hyper-ego. Nalimov based his ideas on the early work of Lewin (1936) and Zeeman (1965). Lewin rejected the classification model of personality representation and attempted to construct a structural image of personality. Nalimov was interested in Lewin 's (1936) strati-graphics of personality, in particular, the geometry of the calm state and those of stress and tension. Zeeman's (1865) topographical models of consciousness, and the field of transpersonal psychology, also influenced Nalimov as he interpreted personality as a manifestation of the semantic field through which consciousness interacts with itself and with the world.

Transpersonal Psychology, A review by Stanislav Grof (1982) applauded Nalimov's work Realms of the Unconscious as "the first significant contribution of Soviet science to the field of transpersonal psychology and to the new paradigm in consciousness research." Grof said that its significance went far beyond the fact that it represented an endorsement of the basic assumptions of the transpersonal movement. Grof felt that this work, based on the theory of probability and semantics, brought a unique original perspective into the field of transpersonal psychology:
    Of special interest for transpersonal psychologists are Nalimov's new insights and formulations bridging the mystical traditions and modern science. He emphasizes not only the critical role of introspection for psychology, but more specifically the paramount importance of state-specific observations from non-ordinary states of consciousness. In his view, human beings are specific psychosomatic devices interacting with aspects of reality that are not accessible for physical measuring gadgets of mechanistic science. In Nalimov's system, consciousness has the properties of a semantic field dominated by probabilistic principles. In this context, the dimension of time is relevant only for the realm of physical manifestations, while the unconscious is an atemporal semantic field. (p.187)
Grof (1982) concluded that the relevance of Nalimov's work transcended the boundaries of science and that his view of the world encompassed and integrated the totality of the experience acquired by all of humankind:
It transcends provincial, national, political, racial and religious chauvinism, and ideological clashes of competing systems based on ignorance of the holistic nature of reality. In the context of his vision, the only hope for humanity is the creation of an entirely new human culture through a radical transformation of consciousness. In this way Nalimov's work is an important addition to recent trends and efforts in humanistic and transpersonal psychology to offer a new and promising alternative strategy in approaching the current global crisis. (p.188)

In a 1990 letter to Anne A. Simkinson of Common Boundary, Nalimov outlined the ways in which the practices of Russian spiritual intellectuals are complementary to ideas in Western transpersonal psychology. They include: the rejection of reductionism in describing the nature of consciousness, recognition of the transpersonal nature of personality, awareness of meditation as a means of studying human consciousness and as a therapeutic tool, and an interest towards manifestations of altered states of consciousness. Nalimov's own background in probabilistically -oriented mathematics, and their application to linguistic and psychological problems, differs from other concepts of transpersonal psychology in several ways. For example, he compares personality structures to certain notions in theoretical physics, he resorts to probabilistic thinking, and he proceeds from a Platonic, rather than an Oriental philosophy. Nalimov's core idea is that the concept of meaning is the key element structuring human nature.

The Irrational within the Rational

In a talk given at the Tenth Annual Meeting of the Society for Scientific Exploration, Nalimov ( 1991c ) elaborated on his idea of the irrational existing as a complementary principle to the rational. Roger Nelson (1992) reporting on Nalimov's talk, stated that the irrational and the rational, while appearing to be opposing principles, can be demonstrated to be complementary, throughout the examination of semantic texts that can be treated by the techniques of physical modeling. Nalimov urged efforts to formulate a universal non-personalized consciousness and presented data that indicated the need for such an integrated, holistic perspective. In the Russian journal Chelovek ( 1991b ), Nalimov writes:
    We are ready to assert that the irrational and the rational are two complementary principles of our consciousness. The source of their harmony is in their compatibility, non-divisibility, co-participation. (p.22)
Current Writings
A prolific writer, Nalimov has frequently received publication both in Europe and the United States. During the early 1980s he was successful in finding an American publisher for four of his major books, Faces of Science (1981), In the Labyrinths of Language: A Mathematician's Journey (1981); Realms of the Unconscious: The Enchanted Frontier (1982); and Space, Time and Life: The Probabilistic Pathway of Evolution (1985).

In Faces of Science Nalimov explores the fundamental shift that has recently occurred in science - a movement away from description based on deterministic modes and towards those based on probability, while In the Labyrinths of Language is an exploration of the nature of language in which Nalimov presents the reader with a collection of definitions and statements about language from a wide-ranging group of philosophers and writers. He also introduces the idea that meaning has a "fuzzy" nature, described in terms of probabilistic measures, whereby he formulates his probabilistic theory of meaning. Nalimov's denies the long-held view of the world as deterministic:
    Language and meaning can best be described as having 'fuzzy' boundaries: words, on which our culture is based, do not, and cannot, have atomistic meaning. p.5.
He explains that in language, free will is expressed by a stratum of polymorphous words forming fields of meaning which are sometimes fuzzy to such an extent that they even include antonyms. Nalimov likens the semantic field to the physical vacuum where both contain potential energy/information:
    Note that the semantic field, like the physical one, plays the role of the medium in which the interaction takes place. A person interacts with himself (or herself) or other people by means of discrete words or symbols. This process is realized through generating words or symbols and through their comprehension. Both aspects are realized through contact with the semantic field. p.76.
Nalimov's mathematical background comes to the fore in Space, Time and Life where he asks what role numbers play in the world of living things: can probability, which has been used to explain phenomena in modern physics, also be applied to biology and evolution? Is humankind on the threshold of a new theoretical biology? Nalimov explores these provocative questions and continues his efforts to explain the universe through the use of numbers. In a report entitled "The Self-Conscious Universe", written for a 1991 symposium on "Consciousness in Physical Reality" he expands this idea:
    The filters through which we perceive the world are mathematical by nature since they proceed from basic mathematical notions-space, time, number, probability and, therefore, chance. (p.5)
The Meaning of Meaning
"Meanings are ubiquitous, they are at the foundation of the Universe," states Nalimov (1988). Realms of the Unconscious (1982) is a treatise on the symbology of the unconscious and follows a different path than Nalimov's earlier writings. It assesses the role of the unconscious on the physical world, seeking answers to such age-old questions as: do we only perceive the world through human-made physical devices? Or is our unconscious a specific receptor that is in contact with another reality closed to physical devices? This book takes the reader into the world of prophetic dreams, as well as meditation and symbology , where the borders of science and religion meet.

Past, Present and Future
In Realms of the Unconscious Nalimov analyzes past, present and future in terms of states of Doing. In a novel discourse Nalimov carries on a dialogue between himself and another-worldly Meta-observer of Time. Nalimov states that the present is simply the realization of "doing" or the state of Doing (perhaps similar to the Buddhist state of Being or the Zen state of doing-without-doing). The past, according to our current paradigm, is frozen Doing (which does not take into consideration the historic concepts of reincarnation and karma) and the future is potential Doing. The only different between past, present and future is in the state of Doing, and Time is but a grammatical category which serves to express various state of Doing.

Nalimov adds that, within our culture, psychological events are ordered according to physical Time which arises from physical Doing. However, he acknowledges that psychological Time is felt differently in different periods of life. Time may be affected by some external conditions. The speed of psychological Time changes, he claims, simply because the scale of Doing is transformed, either expanded or compressed. He concludes that our concept of personal psychological Time is as deeply metaphysical as that of the probabilistic vision of the world.

Human Potential Pavtrushev (1987), introducing the Soviet approach to transpersonal psychology, quotes Nalimov's and Drogalina's (1984) rationale for a new experimental approach to the unconscious:
    There is a great deal of experimental material on the unconscious which does not fit the existing paradigm and revision of the existing paradigm is required. The current scientific paradigm has prevented us from looking at and analyzing huge areas of experimental work done on the unconscious and material accumulated for thousands of years, which has a direct relation to the problem of the unconscious. (p.1)
At a 1985 round-table discussion at the Annual Convention of the American Psychological Association, Stanley Krippner described how Nalimov and Drogalina's research into the hidden reserves of the unconscious adds to our understanding and fulfillment of human potential:
    In both the USSR and the USA unconscious processes play an important part in accessing "hidden reserves" or "human potentials". V.V. Nalimov (1982) used group meditation accompanied by music and breathing exercises in natural settings to stimulate imaginative activities by his subjects. Nalimov reported that the subjects produced unusual concepts of such terms as "dignity", "freedom" and "slavery", as well as evoking symbols resembling the stereotypes described by Jung and his associates. Nalimov claimed that his approach demonstrates that the analysis of myths and symbols need not depend only on material from the past but that those evoked from the depths of consciousness of contemporary people can be used as well. (p.290)
Basically, Realms of the Unconscious (1982) describes how subjects, in a state of relaxation, received a key word (e.g. dignity, freedom, slavery), focused on the word, experienced it, became it, then wrote accounts of their experiences. Some, who were artists, drew sketches and one experienced meditator and gifted artist, Aleksey Dyachkov, went on to produce a series of dramatic and symbolic paintings. The texts produced by Nalimov's subjects were as a rule mythological, emotionally satiated and full of images and symbols comparable to traditional symbolism.

There have been, however, Soviet critics of Nalimov (e.g. Bassin , 1985; Kirayev, Korshunova, & Mikhlin, 1985; Simonov, 1986a) who have had problems with his definitions of the terms consciousness, subconsciousness and unconsciousness. Kirayev, et.al. (1985) criticized Nalimov and Drogalina's description of a model of the subconscious level of mental activity as:
    philosophically and methodologically groundless and they are faulted for concerning themselves with parascientific issues at the expense of real philosophical and psychological problems (p.147.)
But Simonov (1986b), commenting on Bassin's criticisms, supported Nalimov and Drogalina's methodology:
    Just as scientific advances, technological discoveries, social norms, and systems of ethical values shape social consciousness, so works of art record and pass on elements of the unconscious, the subconscious and the superconscious. Thus, science and art, two branches of human culture, serve as complementary means of probing nature and humanity (p.337)
There is also the claim that Nalimov's ideas run parallel with those of the Polish scholar Alfred Korzybski (1973) who first published works on general semantics and meaning as early as 1935. Nalimov in Realms of the Unconscious (1984, p.281) acknowledges Korzybski's critical work on the logic of general semantics and describes his criticism of Aristotelian logic as "strikingly shrewd".

A New Meaning

Nalimov's most recent work Spontaneity of Consciousness: An Attempt of Mathematical Interpretation of Certain of Plato's Ideas (1989b) can be considered an attempt at a mathematical interpretation of certain Platonic ideas and covers the topic of "meaning" in more detail. However, even Nalimov has problems with the definition of meaning:
    The urge to touch the Mystery of the Universe seems to be originally inherent to us. Perhaps, it is as inherent to us, humans, as the mastery of the language. Language as it is contains a mystery within itself, the mystery of meanings: The unsolvable mystery of what a meaning is. (pp.315-316)
I am neither a philosopher nor a mathematician; but what I think Nalimov is saying in these writings is that we each filter the world through our own individual consciousness, this consciousness having been formed by the probabilistic nature of the world we live in, and that our reality is created by ascribing individual meaning to our experiences.
Writing on the topic of meaning in the year of Perestroika (1989a) Nalimov remembers:
    It is sad to write memoirs. Again the soul is clouded with the smell of burning. Fire. Not woods or villages were burning, but human destinies. The country's fate was burning. A lot burned out completely. For the first time in the history of the human race the revolution was successful. There was a great revolution, it's impossible not to acknowledge that. The revolution that turned into a bloody mystery: one cannot help seeing it. The revolution prepared by the entire past of European history. The old culture was completely destroyed for the sake of creating a new culture. Meanings that were long smoldering in the underground at last came to the surface of the world history. They showed what they were capable of. It seems that the giant social experiment is over. It can be summed up. But no, it is going on, because new meanings, capable of carrying away masses of people have not yet ripened. (pp.19-20)
Perhaps in future writings Nalimov may elaborate on this last paragraph to speculate how other cultures create new meanings out of chaos. In particular, how countries that we designate as "Third World", seek not to erase the present and move on to the future but to erase the present and move back to a more authentic past.

A New Science

Nalimov (1989c) feels strongly that we are facing the edge of a new paradigm where science will have to face new problems. He writes:
    A broad circle of problems is considered, which science of the future will have to face: rejection of the unconditional belief into scientific-technological progress as a blessing, changes in the conception of what is scientific in science; possibility of knowledge based on expanding scientifically sound ignorance; formation of a new paradigm as a multidimensional structure, revealing a holistic vision of the world. (p.3) We have to acknowledge that the growth of science is accompanied by a growth of our ignorance-though not a vulgar one but a refined, scientifically embellished ignorance. Scientific relativism as expressed by many equally justified but incompatible hypotheses constantly broadens the spectrum of our consciousness. We begin to view the world through a variety of different images-images we have made up and which are within the reach of our consciousness. (p.8)
Nalimov has attempted to sketch an image of a new science. This image is versatile, cannot be reduced to a short formulation, and differs from the image that we have seen in the past. He feels that it is self-evident that science has long stopped being a process to enjoy and has begun to turn into a rigid system which defends its prerogative in the name of scientific-technological progress. Nalimov (1989c) concludes:
    Science breaking into the fetters of its own one-dimensional paradigm, ceasing to be a system, becoming a free and easy occupation again, capable of existence in community with all other aspects of human consciousness, an occupation versatile by nature-this is what I see as being concealed by the curtain of tomorrow. (p.9)
Rustum Roy (1989) sees this change occurring from an international perspective:
    What will greatly hearten all serious Western students of science, technology and society, is the fact that Soviet scientists can perceive the importance of problems and solution in terms so nearly identical with our own. (p.5)
The Twenty First Century
"Prediction, in general, is impossible" writes Nalimov, claiming that prediction is only possible in the physical sciences where all the factors are held constant. In psychology there are no constants and structure is constantly changing. "Because there are no constants in human nature", Nalimov adds, "it is impossible to predict what will happen - prediction carries a probabilistic factor" (1991a):
    One more decade and we enter the new century. We know that non-trivial scientific forecasts of the future are impossible, at least for the reason that social sciences (in contrast to physics) lacks fundamental constants remaining unchanged in time. They are absent in psychology and biology. The lack of fundamental constants testifies to the fact that the live World does not have essentially stable systems. The World is ruled by spontaneity which escapes rationally oriented science. (p.65)
Nalimov (1991a) asks if the modern world is ready for the changes he envisions. In the research for Realms of the Unconscious, it was found that people perceived the key word "freedom" as light, flight, joy and openness and Nalimov concludes from this positive response that, at least in the depths of their unconscious, the majority of people are ready to perceive the new paradigm:
    Our task now is to understand the started process of renovation of our culture, integrating and adapting therapeutic forms accumulated by the immense experience of the past, and to convert it into the holoprocess. (p.69)
In Spontaneity of Consciousness (1991d) Nalimov adds:
    The urge to touch the Mystery of the Universe seems to be originally inherent to us. Perhaps, it is as inherent to us, humans, as the mystery of language. (p.253)
Despite the bitter winter and food shortages, Vasily continues to write but Zhanna fears for his health (1992):
    My attention is much occupied by Vasily who is not well at all....There is some very important work for us to finish by the end of the year about Vasily's spiritual teachers to whom he was very close in his youth--they shared the philosophy of mystical anarchism....It is possible now to voice it and to reveal spiritual events of our history of the twentieth century because the archives are half-open now.
It will indeed be intriguing to read Nalimov's future writings on this enigmatic topic and the tantalizing spiritual events that are alluded to by Zhanna.


It is the phenomena of probability which Nalimov feels created nature, the world in which we live, us as its people and our individual characteristics. "It is so strange", he ponders, "how was it possible for nature to create such things?" It is this very factor that created a man named Nalimov: philosopher, educator, devoted husband, mathematician, dissident, writer, and (although he may deny it) visionary.


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