About project

Anthropological research centre ‘Tree of Life’ is a scientific-educational project dedicated to questions/issues of interdisciplinary anthropological studies.
Principal objectives of the research:
— Study and preservation of the world’s traditional cultures’ spiritual heritage;
— Ecological enlightenment;
— Studies of human’s consciousness.
The project is devoted to the following subjects:
— Research of ecological cultures of indigenous people; ecological enlightenment;
— Study of traditional societies’ spiritual cultures;
— Studies of art, folklore, lifestyles, world-views, religions, customs, rituals and beliefs of traditional societies;
— Safekeeping of the world’s traditional societies’ cultural heritage and its integration into the present time;
— Study of human’s consciousness (research of a deep mental basis of consciousness that is demonstrated in both eastern and western religions, traditions and practices).
Types of activity:
— Edition of a periodical, albums and books (scientific, educational, artistic literature); translations from different languages; audio materials;
— Organisation of expositions, museum exhibitions, lectures, seminars and conferences;
— Organisation and realisation of expeditions to collect ethnographic data about world’s nations, their cultures, world-views and psychotherapeutic practices;
— Shooting of documentaries, creation of informational video portal;
— Ethno-art-classes and ethnotherapy workshops;
— Studies of human’s consciousness in its full variety, and also study of the basis of consciousness which implies a research of psychological, philosophical, medical, biological and social aspects on different levels of human’s consciousness, along with a deep spiritual aspect that is a manifest in western and eastern religious traditions and practices.

Mission of our Centre

A principal objective — or mission — of our Centre is cultural-educational and scientific-research activity. We aim to investigate, to create and to engage in educational activity as it used to be at times of the Renaissance Florence and then in the Age of Enlightenment in Europe (but without a total dictatorship of cold rationalism).
There was a time when people were longing for self-knowledge and improvement of the world through creation of a new cultural space. Such people existed then and they exist now. It explains the name of the website ‘culturaanimu.ru’. It is a part of a phrase that was said by Cicero. He was the first to use the word ‘culture’ in our usual modern context. In his ‘Tusculan Disputations’ Cicero, speaking of ‘cultura animi’, identifies it with philosophy:
“…as all cultivated fields are not harvest-yielding […] so all cultivated minds do not bear fruit. To continue the figure – as a field, though fertile, cannot yield a harvest without cultivation, no more can the mind without learning; thus each is feeble without the other. But philosophy is the cultivation of the soul. It draws out vices by the root, prepares the mind to receive seed, and commits to it, and, so to speak, sows in it what, when grown, may bear the most abundant fruit”
(Book II, Chapter V; translation by Andrew P. Peabody)
Hence, the true meaning of ‘culture’ is ‘cultivation’, ‘amelioration’, ‘improvement’ of the soul. This ‘amelioration’ is the true philosophy. The improvement of the soul is a peculiar practice which includes freedom from ignorance and cultivation of virtues.
Exploration and conservation of cultural and spiritual heritage of the world nations are essential for an enlightened and harmonious global community of the future.
The culture has a potential to transform a person for the better. Thus, it should be explored and maintained.
The Antiquity (Ancient Greece and Ancient Rome) is not the sole source of the cultural heritage.
Each culture has its own uniqueness and particularity that complement the main picture of the world culture.
Culture (or cultures) does not create narrow national boundaries but overcomes them. It does not put up insurmountable walls of dogmatism, but unites the spiritual heritage of distinct religions and beliefs. And the true purpose of global culture is to bring together all the best from local cultures and from the treasury of mankind’s spiritual heritage to integrate it into a present-day civilisation in order to create a better future for all people regardless of their colour, gender, nationality and creed.
Pavel Bersnev

Pavel Bersne

General director of Centre for Anthropological Research “Tree of Life”

Anthropologist, a religious expert, ethnographer.
An active member and an expert of Russian Geographical Society.
Member of Commission for the Study of countries of Latin America in Russian Geographical Society.
Author of several books on religious studies, philosophy and psychology.
Organiser of dozens of research expeditions to Peru, Columbia, Ecuador and Bolivia with an objective to follow the trails of America’s ancient pre-Columbian civilisations and Amazon’s primitive nations.