Giuli Dadiani

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Giuli Dadiani

Painting of Dadiani in 1885, painted a few days before his death
Born 2 July 1855
Klow, Varkana
Died 10 May 1885 (aged 29)
Iremian Sea
Residence Varkana
Nationality Varkan
Alma mater Klow University
Era 19th-century philosophy
Region Western Philosophy, Varkan philosophy
School Dadianism
Main interests
Politics, philosophy, religion, history
Notable ideas

Giuli Dadiani Tugushi (Varkan: გიული დადიანი ტუღუში; 2 July 1855 – 10 May 1885) was a Varkan rationalist philosopher, author, journalist, revolutionary and military theorist. A major figure of the January Revolution, his later life has been rather controversial.

As a young writer, Dadiani rose to prominence in Varkana's cultural scene after publishing his first two novels. Although both controversial novels, his third one created a huge polemic in Varkana and made him a leading leftist figure. His friendship with Ana Kalanda prompted him to her side as they founded the Communist Party on 1 January 1881, and he played a pivotal role in the victorious 8 months-long guerrilla campaign known as the January Revolution.

Following the revolution, Dadiani performed a number of key roles in the provisional government. He helped establish a modern education system, the complete separation of church and state and as such was the founding father of Varkan secularism. He chose not to run as candidate in the elections following the communist consolidation of power in the whole of Varkana and instead continued his philosophical work until his presumed death in 1885.


Youth (1855–70)

Dadiani was born on July 2, 1855, in Klow, to ?? and ?? Dadiani. He grew up in the 6th district of the Varkan capital. Dadiani attended primary school and then, later, secondary school, and showed particular talents in history and language. He also found time to work on poems and musical compositions. In his secondary school years, Dadiani received an important grounding in languages — Aetolian, "Occitan" and "German" — so as to be able to read important primary sources.

Dadiani had a penchant for pursuing subjects that were considered unbecoming. He composed an essay in which he said that "life has no meaning and we are all going to die anyways". The teacher who corrected the essay gave it a good mark but nevertheless convoked his parents to a meeting to discuss what was perceived as their son's suicidal tendencies. After graduation in 1870, Dadiani commenced studies in architecture at the Klow University.

University student and writer (1871–76)

In university, he met Ana Kalanda, then a law student, and became close friends. She became a leader in the communist movement and an important influence on the development of Dadiani's ideas. For a short time he and Kalanda became members of the Radical Party. After two semesters he stopped his architectural studies and started to work at a library, working on writing his own novel.

He published his first novel, Revolution, in 1872 at only 17 with much acclaim. In 1874, he published his second novel, the controversial Revenge. The critical establishment was generally hostile to the novel; Gamsakhurdia complained of its vulgarity, and Dochanashvili found within it "neither truth nor greatness". Revenge proved popular enough with the masses that it helped promote the Communist Party's popularity. Today the novel remains his most endearingly popular work. His third and last novel, Enslaved, published in 1875, was heavily criticized in Varkana.

Independent philosopher (1876–85)

January Revolution (1882)

Death or disappearance

He officially died on 10 May 1885 after jumping off a ship in the Iremian Sea and never emerging. His body was never found, and his death was declared in the hour by the ship's doctor, Mikheil Javakhishvili. Family and friends in Klow gathered in the Presidential Palace on 15 May 1885 for his state funerals. Several of his closest friends spoke at his funeral, including President Ana Kalanda. Kalanda's speech included the passage:

After the January Revolution, I told [Dadiani] that the Varkan people would become even harder to govern, to which he replied "I hope so." I know you are watching me with a smile on your face, and for whatever reason you are doing this, I don't hold it against you, dear friend. Know one thing, we love you. I love you, and thank you for everything.
Ana Kalanda on 15 May 1885 in Klow

Kalanda's words and intensity when she finished her homage to Dadiani created certain rumors. It felt, among those in attendance, like she saw Dadiani in the crowd of mourners, and the way she spoke, looking happy and never once seen crying or sad about her friend's death, made a few believe Dadiani faked his own death and went to his own funerals to then mysteriously disappear. A believer of this theory is the historian Luka Razikashvili, who knew Dadiani well. He argued that "it was the kind of thing [Dadiani] could very well manage to do and I recall him having such an idea in his youth."

Relationships and sexuality

It is widely believe that Dadiani and Ana Kalanda had an affair, and they both remained good friends throughout the years. Luka Razikashvili also supports this belief, although he admits they never showed anything more than very close friendship in public. Both Kalanda and Dadiani never marrying, as well as Dadiani's often late and unexpected visits in the Presidential Palace and testimonies from university friends are arguments in favor of this theory.

Openly bisexual, Dadiani had no shame in talking about his sexuality. In a letter to his brother-in-law Mirza Kalich, he suggested he should consider sharing his sister with another man in an orgy, citing detailed personal experience he had getting in bed with both a man and a woman.


Because of Dadiani's style and his controversial claims, his philosophy generates various reactions. His works remain controversial, due to varying interpretations and misinterpretations of its meaning. In the Western philosophy tradition, Dadiani's writings have been described as a case of revolutionary thought, in its structure and problems.

Some of Dadiani's famous sayings include:

"I am living, therefore I am dying."
"Greed for knowledge, and knowledge only."
"Your social relationships are the most constraining components of your life."
"We do not even dare to name things as they are anymore."
"People see weakness where others see strength."
"Opulence is having things we don't need and pretending we deserve them somehow."
"We do not see anymore the barbed wire that aureole our servile brains."
"The only worthy relationships are symbiotic, benefiting every participant. This goes for all kinds of relationships from family to commune to nation to the world and to the gods."
"The more personal wealth and self-importance are given prominence, the less a community we are."
— Giuli Dadiani


Human nature

To Dadiani, there is no human nature. Despite finding similarities in all cultures around the globe regarding human emotions, Dadiani argues that these emotions are transmitted to people, much like a dog copies human emotions. In other words, they are not innate but acquired. Dadiani assumes that humans are nothing without social interaction and are a species that cannot survive without others. He gives the hypothetical example of abandoning a newborn baby in the forest, stating that the baby will surely die as a consequence of its inability to survive on its own.

Instinct is also acquired for Dadiani, as he writes in Social Creatures that you only know you're threatened if you recognize a threat. An entirely new threat, such as a type of exotic fruit that causes death to humans, but you do not know that it does, couldn't be considered harmful unless you acquired the knowledge of its harmfulness. Therefore, to Dadiani, survival instinct and any other instinct are results of learning.

Rational egoism

For Dadiani, an action is rational only if it maximizes one's self-interest. He however distances himself from ethical and psychological egoism when he wrote in his Ego and Reason that despite the logic behind acting in one's self-interest, sometimes one can appear to act against their own self-interest and still act ultimately in their self-interest, as much as one can act against their self-interest by delusion or "mental blindness", while his moral views are contradictory with ethical egoism.

Dadiani's rational egoism was criticized for two reasons by the Breislandic philosopher Derek Parfit. First, from the rational egoist point of view, it is rational to make savings now, even though this is detrimental to one's present interests (which are to spend the money now). But it seems equally reasonable to maximize one's interests now, given that one's reasons are not only relative to him, but to him as he is now (and not his future self, who is argued to be a "different" person). Parfit also argues that since the connections between the present mental state and the mental state of one's future self may decrease, it is not plausible to claim that one should be indifferent between one's present and future self.

Dadiani answers to the criticism in a telegram to Parfit which was published in a Varkan newspaper shortly after, where he explains that to make savings is not necessary detrimental.

"You save money because you do not need the money now, otherwise you would use it. If you absolutely needed the money, you wouldn't save it. You therefore save it for when and if you might need it, which maximizes your self-interest. No action is equally rational precisely because of one's reasons. One's present self will always have a reason to swing one way or another (necessity), which might effectively be irrational for one's future self but rational for one's present self based on their knowledge at the time. It is plausible to claim that one should be indifferent between one's present and future self simply because it is only possible, not a certainty, that your mental state connection with your future self might decrease, just like it is possible that you might die before you use that money, but it is also uncertain. As such, a rational action would be one you make as your present self based on your present self's interests and the envisioned interests of your future self (which are inherently your present self's interests) with your present self's knowledge. To conclude, your future self is more or less irrelevant since it does not actually ever exist, and only your present self exists, which encompasses your past self. If you forget about something which would have modified your action, the missing information is part of your present self's knowledge as missing, despite being part of your past self's knowledge. Your decision always depends on the rationality based on what you know at the time you make the decision."
— Giuli Dadiani

Moral universality

Dadiani supports Kantian morals, especially his categorical imperative.


Dadiani was labeled as a cynic relating to both senses of the term to an extent, the contemporary sense and the Ancient Aetolian sense. In his book Modern states and ochlocracy, he explores different types of political systems including democracy and specifically the distinction between anarchism and statism. "As a statist, I inherently distrust humans and their will to choose what is right, what is logical to do not only for themselves but for others, and that includes me, as I do not trust myself," Dadiani writes. He then explains his reasons, notably that he considers other humans to decide for most humans based on a "natural observation", whereas humans learn from other humans with knowledge to survive, and as such, those with knowledge should help the masses to survive or at least make the most rational choices for their societies. Dadiani writes that it is that distinction from other animals, this ability to transmit knowledge to each other, that makes humans able to distance themselves from the general "animal reality" of living in a "survival of the fittest" world.

Dadiani's behavior in public and his simple lifestyle are the reasons why he has been associated with the Ancient Cynics. During his last three years of life especially, Dadiani was often a state guest of honor at his friend Ana Kalanda's table in the Presidential Palace after the January Revolution. After being asked several times by a prominent minister about his views on government affairs, Dadiani answered: "I'd rather not share my opinion, and let you make your mistakes so I can laugh at conservatives pointing out your flaws and believing they're better than you. What are enemies for if they do not help you stay in the right path by exposing you?"

In 1881, according to a friend, Dadiani concocted a passionate love letter, which wound up with the request that the receiver should meet the writer on the next evening, with a flower in his button hole, under the post office clock. Dadiani sent the letter to diverse desperate heterosexual men he knew more or less. The result was that forty-five young men with flowers in their button holes assembled at the same time one day during the year under the post office clock.


Born an Armazist, Dadiani maintained a profession of that religious philosophy throughout the remainder of his life. His views on religion presented in his works of philosophy, however, may strike some as discordant with the doctrines of Armazism. At the time, Dadiani's strong endorsement of religious toleration was interpreted as advocating omnism. Unlike many of radical Enlightenment philosophers, Dadiani first affirmed the necessity of religion to fight nihilism. He later changed his view by stating humans did not need religion, as their self-interests were inherently anti-nihilistic. He, however, stressed the importance of religion in social development to "surround the unknown with a calming veil of humanity." Accused of atheism, he dismissed the claims, explaining he simply views Armazism in a "human light," and not a spiritual one.

Further, Dadiani's Insecurities Of Dadiani The Little Man was a comedy – actually a prank – in which Dadiani pretended to be a conservative priest who was attacking Dadiani. When many conservative readers publicly praised the book, Dadiani revealed himself as the actual author and had a good laugh.

Politics and economics


Dadiani's vision of an aristocracy as a form of government is similar to Plato's, but differs as it is applied to a modern context. Dadiani's version of a philosopher king, grounded on wisdom and reason, is a council of delegates, as he explains in Aristocracy: a vision for Varkana. These delegates are appointed and re-callable at any time by those whose work is to "be the most humans of us all". He further explains that he means professors or anyone whose life is to teach others so they can help society improve, which is the meaning of human societies, according to Dadiani, i.e. "to transmit knowledge to future generations so the species progresses".

The aristocratic state that Dadiani idealizes is composed of a caste-like system which would have the ruling class, made up of the aforementioned delegates who "are the most wise and knowledgeable", and several other classes based on their contribution to society. Dadiani further explains that there could be no discrimination between the classes in such a system because "discrimination comes from ignorance which creates hate" and "each class would philosophize enough to respect those less knowledgeable than them and each's contribution to society, whatever the importance" which he sums up as "simple humanism". Nonetheless, he also says that "nobody would logically disrespect a class, in that system, superior to theirs, because it would be a system based on merit". The modern capitalist class system is the object of Dadiani's analysis throughout much of Aristocracy: a vision for Varkana, as opposed to the economic servitude and communalism that are studied primarily in Communalism against economic slavery.

Communalism against economic slavery


Military theory

The basic concept behind Dadiani's theory is to maintain the support of the population and through urban guerrilla warfare, eliminate the enemy leaders. The leaders dead, their supporters would either dissolve into various factions easier to ally or contain (divide and rule) or completely collapse like a beheaded chicken, continuing to walk for a while until it drops dead, hence the Varkan name of the theory: უთავო ქათამი (headless chicken). It was used by Varkan Communists in the January Revolution, who directed a guerrilla war against the Varkan government, suddenly attacking then just as quickly withdrawing, minimizing losses and maximizing effectiveness.



Dadiani is portrayed by Kote Bokeria in the 2006 Varkan film Ana Kalanda.


Dadiani's works did not reach a wide readership outside the Dinarides until his presumed death in 1885. His works became better known during the late 19th and early 20th centuries, and readers have responded to them in complex and sometimes controversial ways. By the Great Adonian War, Dadiani had acquired a reputation as an inspiration for both right-wing totalitarianism and leftist politics.

Dadiani has been associated with Ana Kalanda (and by extension Kalandism and communism) due to his role and participation in the January Revolution in 1882. However, Dadiani was not communist or even socialist and has been accused by Varkan communists of being proto-fascist and an opportunist.