Styles of Individual Life - Social Philosophy

Individual life styles

Lifestyle - is the totality of values ​​and norms by which an individual is constantly guided in his behavior.

The lifestyle is not necessarily realized in its entirety, more often it is those glasses that are inconspicuous for the person himself, through which he considers his activities and the activities of other people. The way of life is learned mainly not on the basis of reflection, but in the process of imitation of others and the following of tradition, as a result of the almost imperceptible, and even more effective, pressure of the environment in which the individual acts.

In the process of socialization, the society imposes on the individual not only a certain style of thinking and a system of feelings characteristic for this society, but also a certain style of life considered to be respected and worthy. Not every individual adopts the style of life that dominates in his environment. But he who does not intend to hide in the crevices of the social structure, but, on the contrary, strives to succeed in his activities and to gain the approval of those around him, adopts the lifestyle that dominates his environment and especially in the society as a whole.

We can distinguish two extreme styles of individual life, between which there are various intermediate options - passive and active. With the passive style, life is perceived as a reality, in which there is no need to make any special changes; life should be lived in the same way as ancestors lived, guided primarily by tradition and common sense, without claiming much, without singling out any special goals for which it would be worthwhile to sacrifice all others. The active style presupposes a decisive intervention in life with the intent to change it, the pursuit of a few but large goals, the realization of which, although it requires known victims, but is capable of bringing tangible new results.

To the passive life style, in the majority, individuals of a preindustrial, or traditional, society tend. The two extreme forms of an industrialized, modernized society - capitalism and socialism - on the contrary, welcome an active lifestyle. Here we are talking, of course, about the general trend, and not about some kind of rigid rule. People who clearly prefer an active lifestyle are also found in traditional society, although they constitute a minority; Those who obviously gravitate towards a passive lifestyle are also enough in an industrial society, although they do not stand in the foreground.

Active lifestyle encourages people to separate the main from the secondary with the intention to use their strength to solve the main problems, sacrificing secondary interests. Briefly, this style of life pushes a person toward a certain self-restraint and even asceticism.

In the most general sense, asceticism is the neglect of the sensible, the present world, its diminution or even denial for the sake of the spiritual, speculative, future world. In simple forms, asceticism involves limiting or suppressing feelings, desires, voluntary transfer of pain, suffering, etc. for the sake of the set high goal. In more radical cases, it requires the renunciation of property, family, etc. to ensure the priority of the spiritual over the material, speculative over the real. Understand widely, asceticism has ontological grounds, because it is based on a certain worldview concept about the structure of the world, its parts and their mutual relations, the place of man in the world, etc. The exaltation of the speculative world, which is part of the essence of asceticism, presupposes an extremely broad statement of the values ​​of this world in the real world.

Asceticism can be moderate and extreme. Examples of extreme asceticism are filled with biographies of saints and outstanding revolutionaries, who sacrificed their health, feelings, attachments, everyday goods for the sake of a great goal. In ordinary life, asceticism, as a rule, has a moderate form. That asceticism, to which the active life style constantly gravitates, is most often a restrained, moderate asceticism, only remotely resembling the asceticism of a saint or a revolutionary.

Both capitalism and socialism are pushing their individuals to an active lifestyle, and hence to asceticism. Socialism does this, however, much more aggressively than capitalism, and imposes a much more rigid asceticism on its supporters. The more severe form of socialist asceticism is also dictated by the poverty of the bulk of the population of the socialist countries and the extreme expansionism of the socialist states. The grandiose but materially unsolvable task of establishing socialism on a global scale presupposes, you might say, extreme asceticism.

It should be noted that not only socialism gravitates toward asceticism, but also to some extent any collectivist society.

The activism of the individuals of capitalist society is directed at completely different, one might say, opposite goals than socialist activism. In addition, if under socialism an active lifestyle is required literally from everyone, under capitalism such a style largely corresponds to the range of professional duties and is a matter of fairly free choice. The asceticism assumed by the activity of the individuals of capitalist society has milder forms than the asceticism of socialist society.

The active lifestyle, which was welcomed by the emerging capitalism, was analyzed in detail by M. Weber in his time. He called it "worldly asceticism"; and directly derived from religious asceticism, namely from the asceticism of Protestantism. For capitalism, according to Weber, we need a special system of thinking, which, at least during work, eliminated the unchanging question, as if to save its usual earnings at the maximum of convenience and with a minimum of tension, a system of thinking in which labor becomes an absolute end in itself, a vocation . The change in the structure of thinking and the development of a new attitude to work Weber derived from the religious Reformation, under the influence of which certain elements of the culture of capitalism were formed, the normative aspect of characteristic capitalist behavior.

Weber proceeds from the concept of "spirit of capitalism" (capitalist culture, capitalist ethos). The core of this spirit is the concept of professional duty, i.e. about the internally motivated obligation and the inevitability of fulfilling the norms of economic behavior. The main of these norms is rational management, focused on increasing productivity and multiplying capital. The ideal of capitalist America, writes Weber, is a "creditworthy, respectable man whose duty is to increase his capital as an end in itself." Weber emphasizes that this is not a simple custom, but a specific duty: "The essence of the matter is that not just the rules of everyday behavior are preached here, but a kind of" ethics "is set forth, a departure from which is viewed not simply as stupidity, but as a kind of violation of duty. It's not just about "practical wisdom" (it would not be new), but also about the expression of some ethos

Judgments about entrepreneurship and capital imply not a personal excess of entrepreneurial energy, not a morally indifferent tendency, namely an ethically colored norm regulating the whole way of life. Maxim's "Making money is my duty, this is my virtue and the source of my pride and respect for me from fellow citizens" expresses an understanding of the accumulation of wealth not as an individual inclination or whim, but as a duty.

Weber contrasts the capitalist system of norms of behavior with the system of norms of behavior of traditional society. According to the traditionalist point of view, a person by nature does not seek to earn more and more money, he seeks simply to live, to live as he used to, and to earn in so far as it is necessary to maintain such a way of life. In traditional culture, there is no motive for improving productivity and increasing capital. This is the culture of reasonable sufficiency, the attitude to money is characterized here by an ethically colored rule: to have money is not shameful, but it is not worthy to give them too much attention, unworthy to turn them into an end in itself, constantly dedicate their lives to the multiplication of capital.

Thus, capitalism approvingly refers to the active life style and its accompanying moderate asceticism. Post-capitalism does not change much in this orientation of the individual to an active life style, depriving, however, the accumulation of the capital of that supernatural aureole that it had in the heyday of capitalism.

Summarizing the discussion of the styles of individual life, it can be noted once again that both extreme forms of industrial society - socialism and capitalism - put forward their active lifestyle as their ideal, although they do so with varying strengths. The asceticism assumed by such a style of life under capitalism is moderate enough, while under socialism it is capable of acquiring the most severe forms.

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