Ukraine’s Minister of Education, Serhiy Kvit, wrote in the Spring of 2014 about the Maidan revolution, “Not only political differences but also social and national barriers became secondary on the Euromaidan. Ethnic Ukrainians waving their flags were joined by Crimean Tatars, Jews, Poles, Belarusians, Georgians, Armenians and others.” He goes on to report, “Glory to Ukraine! – Glory to Heroes!” became the Maidan’s slogan.
It’s repeated constantly by representatives of different political ideologies in all regions of Ukraine.” Unfortunately despite his commentary the Maidan revolution has spawned more war, as part of what some political analysts claim is part of a global neo-liberal agenda and others call a conservative, nationalistic stance. None-the-less, the cultural artefacts – the flags, slogans, and art – are timely reminders of the ethos in Independence Square. I view the EuroMaidan revolution as being mostly successful because of the people’s aesthetic agency, meaning their openly shared and acted upon feelings and perceptions, which stemmed from a sense of religiousness. The “people power movement” did not come to a climax only because of the Ukrainian police’s aggression and the revolutionaries’ molotov cocktails but mostly because of the Maidan community’s “religiousness,” that being an individual’s heightened awareness of their wholeness and expansiveness with their environment. I contend that such aesthetic/religious agency shows a vital philosophical difference between a pragmatic perspective on revolution as a value-making experience and the political aesthetics of Hannah Arendt, which explains praxis as coming from the autonomy of the intellectual faculties of imaginative contemplation and judgment. I find Arendt’s theory does not fully take on board the full aesthetic range of particular situations and does not address people’s value-making through tradition and religious beliefs, so it is unable explain revolutionary social changes as lasting ones. Using William James and John Dewey’s discussions on religiousness in the context of Byzantine art, I have made a study of the religious icons that were used as cultural symbols during the Euromaidan to help disclose how the people’s religiousness spawned a more equal and pluralistic government. How-ever, I do not want to hereby claim that Christian values are exclusive tenets of democratic changes, as my thesis holds that many religious perspectives, artifacts, and cultural practices facilitate greater equality.