Personal and public consciousness: their interrelated interactions and contradictions
What is the relationship between individual and public consciousness? Some believe that the real sphere of social consciousness, its only carrier is a specific individual. Others, on the contrary, believe that public consciousness is something transpersonal, and therefore in its interpretation there is no need to address a particular individual. In order to understand this, let us return a little back and repeat: public consciousness is socially conditioned not only by the mechanism of its origin and flow, but also by the nature of its being and historical mission, the phenomenon; it is an attribute of society. As a special kind of reality, public consciousness is comparable to the being of society, being with it in the same "space field". Speaking about the public consciousness, we do not mean the consciousness of an individual individual, but spiritual life in general, the universal spiritual heritage recorded in the language and other forms of culture. I. Kant called this consciousness "transcendental," meaning that it transcends the experience of each given person and affects the character of the individual's perception of objective reality. But the life of the supra-personal spirit has come out of the mind and soul of individuals; every individual participates in it only partially and indirectly. Large and less noticeable efforts of human thought contribute to the formation of a great river of social consciousness, although in the name of this river there is already no trace of small streamlets. What would have happened to the Volga if the small rivers and streams had deprived it of its waters? Similarly, with the ratio of individual and public consciousness. Of course, not every individual consciousness in its objectified form enters the general array of social consciousness. It depends on the depth and social significance of the spiritual activity of this individual, on the need of the spirit of the time in her work. It is one thing - consciousness, the thoughts of a great historical personality (genius statesmen, thinkers, writers, etc.) participating in the creation of the spiritual life of the era, quite another - the thoughts of a miserable epigone, tediously repeating the trivial, going on the need of the day, something The conjuncture, wriggling in its adaptive game or simply gray-insignificant. This does not touch anyone or anyone, and therefore does not remain in the storage of social memory. To the works of genius often turn the whole life, constantly feeding on life-giving juices of his creativity. The works of significant minds enter the realm of superpersonal consciousness and live for a long time, in the centuries.
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If we now re-raise the question of where the public consciousness is, the answer should be: public consciousness is in the system "man-activity-communication-society-history-language-culture". And all this functions and develops, is in the process of constantly bringing the newly emerging individuals to the treasures of history. The brain of an individual could not think humanly outside of mankind, outside of world history, that is, outside society. When people learn to understand the world in conditions of social life already, they learn how to express their ideas in the process of communication, fixing them in a language that brings individual consciousness to the arena of social life. Individual consciousness is directly connected with the bodily existence of man, with his brain, whereas the social consciousness is connected with the historically formed system of material forms of its fixation in the form of signs, symbols, various kinds of letters, paintings of art creations, etc. All these forms of objectification of consciousness exist also transpersonally, although in reality each time through the medium of the brain and the mind of the concrete living individuals function. The individual is finite and limited. His consciousness lives and dies with him. In the system of society, it acquires a kind of immortality (within the framework of the life of mankind). Public consciousness, ultimately generated by the brain of an individual included in the context of social life, now has its powerful influence on the individual, and throughout his life. The general conditions of the social environment in which people live, determine the unity of their views, values, interests. At the same time, each person has unique features of his personal consciousness. The biography of the individual consciousness is different than of the social consciousness. The individual is influenced by the microconditions of his being: family, circle of friends, acquaintances, school, labor collective, etc. On the public mind, all this affects indirectly and in a very generalized form. Further, the individual consciousness is conditioned both by natural predispositions of each individual person, by his heredity, personal tastes, character, etc.
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Each of us, coming to this world, inherits a spiritual culture that we must master in order to acquire the human essence proper and be able to think humanly. The real being of individual consciousness is constantly correlated with the world of spiritual culture. Personal consciousness is the spiritual world of the individual, and the social-spiritual life of society, the ideal side of the historical development of the people, of mankind. Society does not have consciousness in the same sense as an individual has it: it does not have its own suprapersonal brain. At the same time, there is no solid boundaries between the individual and the public consciousness. On the contrary, there is a constant interaction between them. Historically, the norms of consciousness developed by society spiritually nourish the personality, become the object of its beliefs, the source of moral precepts, aesthetic feelings and ideas. Every person is a child of his era, his people. However, the public consciousness exists as a fact of consciousness only through its attachment to the really functioning consciousness of the individual. If the individual consciousness is washed all the time by the waters of social consciousness, then the rivers of these waters merge into a single stream from the streams of individual consciousness. A thought that exists only in the context of the consciousness of the individual and not strengthened in the context of science, art, politics, morality is just a thought. But already in the context of individual consciousness this idea is realized with an attitude toward the public consciousness and is itself engendered by previously absorbed social spiritual values. Consciousness, objectified, for example, in books, and consciousness in the head of an individual belongs to the same spiritual realm, although the contents of the head and the book are not identical.
The correlate of the social is not individual, but natural. The individual in itself is a social category. The content of his psyche is inherently as social as the consciousness of society. At the same time, the relation of personal consciousness to the world is mediated by its relation to the forms of social consciousness. This mediation of the individual consciousness by the public begins already from the moment the child assimilates the language, norms of behavior, feelings and thinking. The consciousness of each person absorbs experience, knowledge, beliefs, beliefs, delusions, evaluations of the social environment to which he belongs.
When the public consciousness is considered, they are distracted from all individual, personal and explore the views, ideas characteristic of a given society as a whole or for a particular social group. Just as society is not a simple sum of its constituent people, so public consciousness is not the sum of "consciousnesses" individuals. It is a special system that lives its own relatively independent life.
Personal ideas and beliefs acquire the character of social value, the meaning of social power, when they go beyond personal existence and become not only common property, but also a common rule or belief, enter into general consciousness, mores, law, norms of behavior. These ideas win the arena of organized social reality, where the individual biography no longer plays a major role. We enter into a dialogue with the public consciousness, and this opposing consciousness is a reality, the same as, for example, the state or the law (of course, having its own specifics). We can rebel against this spiritual force, but just as in the case of the state, our rebellion may prove to be not only meaningless, but also tragic if we do not take into account the forms and ways of spiritual life that we objectively oppose. To transform the historically developed system of spiritual life, you must first master it.
We move forward in our actions and knowledge only through the forces accumulated by the whole previous history. We can mentally look into the future only through the knowledge of the past, as if peering at it. Each new take-off of thought is carried out from the launch pad built by our predecessors. Personal consciousness is, thus, the accumulated experience of history. Public consciousness does not exist outside of personal consciousness. At the same time, it selectively refers to the results of the activity of the individual consciousness: it takes something, but rejects something. Similarly, individual consciousness acts. To ideas that are in the atmosphere of social consciousness, it applies selectively: it accepts something and makes it its own, but rejects something and condemns it. And it is not an impersonal realm of abstract ideas, free from man and pressing on him with his world-historical globality. Public consciousness is transpersonal, and this is not the same as impersonal. Public consciousness is internally co-natural with man: in him everything is created and crystallized by man, and not by any extra-human power. The author's individuality of the idea can be "withdrawn" society, and then it comes to the disposal of the individual in a transpersonal form, but the very content of the idea remains "human." "Universal consciousness, the spirit of a certain people is a substance whose incidence is the consciousness of an individual."
Public consciousness at the same time is not the quantitative sum of individual consciousnesses, but their qualitatively new hypostasis, it is within itself and in a specially organized ideal-objective reality, with the requirements and will of which the individual has to be reckoned in the same way as he is considered with natural phenomena . However, public consciousness does not exist for individuals as an external mechanical force. Each of the pass is equally opposed to him, but each of the pass in different ways (due to personality, individual characteristics) absorbs this force, reacts differently to it and each of us can differently influence the public consciousness. Each individual consciousness also has its own sources of development, therefore each personality is unique despite the unity of the human culture that surrounds it.
So, consciousness can not be reduced only to the personal form of its being. Not only individuals, but also social groups, society as a whole are carriers of public consciousness. If the individual was the bearer of social consciousness, then any difference between the individual and social consciousness would disappear: an attempt to breed them on the grounds that, say, the public consciousness is what is in the mind of the individual averaged-typical, and the individual consciousness is those nuances and liberties, which are determined by the characteristics of the individual, does not solve the problem at all. On the contrary, can we then conceive the social and individual consciousness as something different? What will remain in the individual consciousness, if we remove from it the whole content of social consciousness? Only the whims biopsychology. However, what will be the so-understood social consciousness, as not a summary of simplified statistical views in their impersonal and lifeless form?The indifference of individual and social consciousness is fraught with such dangerous "diseases" as dogmatism, voluntarism and anti-culturism for culture. In fact, the dogmatist deifies the once perceived system of ideas, considering it once and for all a given truth precisely because it internally identifies it with a social outlook, understood as truth in the last and unchanging instance. The dogmatist refuses his personal view in favor, from his point of view, generally accepted. The voluntarist, on the other hand, ignores the public conscience in favor of the individual: if I act, he believes, on the basis of a desire for the better, then my motives coincide with the objective requirements of history. The possibility of subjective error is not taken into account, so all of its beginnings (if, of course, they are not self-serving initially) in fact boil down to the most beautiful utopias. Voluntarism is no less, if not more, dogmatism delays historical progress, feeding public consciousness with numerous illusions. Having objective nature and immanent laws of development, public consciousness can both lag behind and outstrip existence in the framework of the evolutionary process, which is natural for a given society. In this sense, public consciousness can play the role of an active stimulator of social progress or a mechanism for its inhibition. The powerful transformative power of social consciousness is capable of influencing all being as a whole, revealing the meaning of its evolution and predicting prospects. In this respect, it differs from the subjective (in the sense of subjective reality) finite and limited individual individual consciousness. The power of the social whole over the individual is expressed here in the compulsory acceptance by the individual of the historically established forms of the spiritual assimilation of reality, those methods and means by which the production of spiritual values, the semantic content accumulated by mankind for centuries and beyond which the formation of the personality is impossible is realized.
We constantly stress the dependence of personal and supra-personal consciousness on being, including social. But in life it often happens that the public consciousness experiences an extremely negative influence of ideology, which disfigures the reasonable logic of being, turning it into something pathological, into a kind of aberration of a reasonable beginning. Public consciousness is formed on the basis of the thinking activity of individuals, and, naturally, more intellectually active, gifted, between personal and social consciousness there are extremely complex relationships, characterized by varying severity of contradictions. The life of the state is essentially based on thought, on the entire array of the spiritual life of society. At the same time, some ideas and principles form the backbone of the life of the state, which, by virtue of this, seeks to protect them from devastating criticism. In this context, the fate of Socrates is indicative. The fact that he worshiped another deity, contradicted the spirit of social consciousness, was destructive for him. Speaking in modern language, Socrates was in conflict with the state religion, for which he was tried and sentenced to death. The fate of J. Bruno, G. Galilei, R. Bacon, Jeanne d'Arc, the fate of our contemporaries, for example DA Sakharov, indicate the existence of a contradiction between personal and public consciousness, between the state (or accepted in society) system of spiritual principles and ideas of individual citizens of this or that society.
Like any phenomenon, public consciousness lends itself to study, although, of course, this study is conducted from within the public consciousness itself and therefore can not be absolute: it is impossible to raise oneself without an external support point. Public consciousness is usually divided into a conventionally "vertical" view to levels, and in horizontal - on forms.
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