Consciousness as the highest form of the human psyche - Psychology

Consciousness as the highest form of the human psyche

A purely qualitative, exceptional feature of the human psyche, directly related to the previously listed ones, is the presence of consciousness, being a kind of peak, the highest achievement of mental reflection.

Consciousness is a mental reflection in which objective reality as it were leaves, separates from the subjective attitude of a person to it. As a result, two planes of reflection are identified in the image of consciousness: objective, or world, and subjective, or I & quot ;, personal experience, attitude to the objective world and to oneself.

Usually, outside of consciousness, the person in the image is simply the world. When the subject is reflected in the divided quality world and picture of the world, we are the result of the work of consciousness. Descriptively, the phenomenology of consciousness is reduced, therefore, to the fact that in the mind, the world seems to be doubled and presented, is presented to the subject of reflection.


You, for example, read a book, imbued with its plot, without realizing it, not controlling how you perceive words and thoughts, scrolling through pages, sitting in the subway train car. In your psyche the events described in this book are reflected, psychologically you persuasively exist in the book reality. By now you drove to the station, where you need to go out, and for a moment turns on consciousness as understanding : it's the subway, it's a book, it's "I", which goes somewhere and reads something. You see yourself as if from outside, without difficulty you stand out from the objectively existing conditions, and therefore they appeared in front of you in a conscious manner. You seem to understand that the metro, the book and everything else exist by themselves, objectively, and your immersion in reading, experiences and impressions of the world are secondary, subjective, belong only to you. It becomes clear that this is not the same thing: the objective world and its image in a concrete person.

Consciousness is the acceptance, understanding and recognition by the individual of what the world is and "I" exist realistically, regardless of the perceiving personality.

You can not accept and know the world without isolating yourself in it, without subtracting from the reflected world the subjective "I" as an object and as a connected, merged with him experienced relationship. But such a higher, two-plane, conscious subjectivity is impossible without parallel acceptance and allocation of objectivity. They always co-exist in their unity, in a relationship.

With. L. Rubinshtein noted that the presence of consciousness allows a person to find, allocate, systematize the objective, stable properties of the world. Without the participation of consciousness, true, human cognition is impossible, although one is not exhausted by the other. From the point of view of psychology, consciousness is categorically irreducible to the sum, to the system of knowledge and values, which represent only one reflective plane of consciousness - objective. In the projection of the subjective plane of consciousness, emotions and meanings, or personal, "secondary", individualized meanings are presented. The phenomenon of consciousness exists and is described on the intersection of two divorced worlds, two planes of mental reflection.

The question of the origin, nature and essence of consciousness has always been one of the central and debatable for psychology and philosophy. Proceeding from the existing dialectical-materialistic construction, let us consider consciousness in the context of the well-known formula of K. Marx (1818-1883), according to which "being determines consciousness." We emphasize that this scheme in accordance with the classical ideas is equally effective in the opposite direction: consciousness necessarily determines the existence of man. Real connections, relations of being and consciousness are dialectical, interdependent. Connections of consciousness and life are innumerable and diverse, like life itself, as the world, as a person.

The essence of human being lies in the interaction and communication of the individual with other people, therefore, any real activity carried out by a person can be distributed among several people, and can be carried out directly together. Hence the actual psychological aspect of the problem. Since even an individually carried out activity is socially distributed, it does not coincide psychologically , its motive, is divorced; what motivates a person to act, and the goal - what is achieved as a result of the accomplishment of a single, intermediate act of activity. This socially conditioned, regular mismatch or relation in the activity of its motive and purpose generates meaning as a certain component, "unit" consciousness.


Consider a textbook example of the process of the emergence and manifestation of consciousness, illustrated by AN Leontiev on the situation of hunting primitive people. In order to more securely get a large beast, people pre-agree and distribute (in time and space) a complex hunting activity. First they tear out a deep hole in the right place, carefully disguise it. Then they are divided into two groups: beaters and those who are sitting in an ambush near the pit. We will carry out a psychological analysis of the activities of the two groups of hunters formed.

The motive for the activity of beaters is meat, which realizes their need for food. The goal is to make as much noise as possible to drive the beast to the dug hole. Hunters scream, knock on trees, etc. Such a noise in itself for a successful hunt is useless and acquires a reasonable meaning, only being correlated with the whole situation of the arranged hunting, with the concerted actions of other people. Hijackers make a noise, because they know about the existence of an ambush. They chose the goal of making noise, as it responds to their motive in the created hunting conditions.

The activities of people in ambush are motivated by the same motive. However, the purpose of their actions is exactly the opposite of what the beaters do. This compliance with silence is meaningless if there are no actions of a group of beaters. Immobility in an ambush makes sense, because it works on the motive of joint hunting activity.

What is really necessary for other people is also meaningful for an individual performer of a specific activity: both for the beater and for the ambush. Hypothetically described joint hunting requires the presence of speech, planning, preparation. This is possible only with the participation of a consciousness that divides in the mental image objectively existing and mentally, subjectively assumed. Anticipated future is divorced from the actual reality, how the original motive and the concrete goal are separated in the mental image.

Consciousness is also necessary for making tools [ore. Implemented actions should be distributed in time: today - the preparation of a stone ax, tomorrow - hunting. The distribution of actions in space, in a group of people is required: the social roles of professional hunters, artisans, healers, clergy, etc., are differentiated. The changed, enlarged consciousness essentially changes not the biological life, but the very existence of society and man. Multiple, multidirectional flashing individual meanings, their realization in action reconstructs both consciousness, and psyche, and life. Henceforth, the psychic image has broken up in two: the objective world and itself "I", the biased attitude of the individual to it.

In the psychological structure of consciousness , four components can be outlined schematically: sensory content, meaning, meaning, emotion.

Sensual content is the actual picture & quot ;, the original image of the reflected world. This is the result of the work of the organs of sensitivity, of all knowledge.

First you need to reflect, create a secondary world in the form of a mental image, so that if necessary, "spill out" from it, to divide the sensually reflected into the objective and subjective, independent and personal, own. There is, apparently, a certain psychophysiological minimum of sensory content, without which a person is simply in an unconscious state (a consequence of illness, anesthesia, fainting). The richer and more diverse the sensory fabric of the image, the more opportunities for the "separative" function of consciousness.

The value is an objective component of consciousness, which is a system of objective knowledge, interpretations, ways of applying this subject or word replacing it.

The value exists objectively and in two ways: as belonging to all mankind and as a fact of individual consciousness. The latter is a more or less complete knowledge by a concrete individual of an almost infinite abstract of universal understanding of meaning.


For example, in the system, the values ​​of the phenomenon (or words) party includes such interpretations: political organization & quot ;, group of geologists & quot ;, sports game stage & quot ;, set of products & quot ;, married couple and so on

For a complete description of the meaning, it is necessary to refer to all existing dictionaries and prints, in which all sorts of shades and links of the denoted multi-valued and simultaneously holistic phenomenon manifest themselves.

Meaning is a subjective, personal, individual meaning that most closely matches the situation, the context, the personality as a whole, and is born in human activity, i.e. in the relationship of a real motive and purpose.

The meaning is subjective, belongs to the individual consciousness and answers the personal question: "Why?". As a result, objective knowledge is penetrated by bias, attitude, subjectivity and becomes an individual consciousness, grows into it psychologically, personally. The meaning becomes, as it were, alive, really involved, transformed into a meaning, in other words, into one of the values ​​chosen by the person in conditions of socially organized, distributed human activity. As objective knowledge, belongs to all humanity, the meaning is relatively constant and varies according to the laws of knowledge. The subjective meaning is much more changeable, because it is born and exists in a particular person and activity, in a dynamic situation of life. Sense as it travels through the system of meanings, but it itself has a certain psychological influence on it. Values ​​are learned and assimilated through meanings, through subjectively significant circumstances.


So, the meaning of the previously described action "noisy there may be a scaring or, on the contrary, a call to yourself, an expression of joy or anger, distraction, etc. Everything depends on the motive of the general activity, which includes this action, on the characteristics of the individual or a group of people who plan and actually implement the activity.

In the structure of consciousness, objective meaning and subjective meaning, of course, do not coincide. Complex interplanar relations and the connections between them determine the specificity of any individual consciousness.

Subjective meanings always exist, but they are not necessarily realized by the person. The process of searching and highlighting the meaning can become a tense and creative work of the whole psyche and personality. Awareness of the meaning is its comparison, the relationship with the objective value.

Personality is inherent in some optimum of such objectively subjective relations, and in cases of its violation in psychology, it is customary to talk about the phenomena of disintegration of consciousness, when there are sharp contradictions and obvious discrepancies between meaning and meaning.


Here is the simplest example, which has a pronounced social nature. An auto mechanic who makes a living by repairing other people's machines understands well that the system of values ​​of his work includes the serviceability and reliability of the car, the pleasure of its owner, etc. But one of these values ​​is getting a material reward for the work done by him. Money is needed for a fitter for the maintenance of the family, and this is the main purpose of his activities. Then, having completed the repair, even having received as a result of professional satisfaction, a person dreams that the car soon breaks down again in order to provide a new opportunity for earning. There is a clear contradiction between the objective meaning and the subjective meaning of a given work activity of a person, i.e. manifestation of the disintegration of consciousness.

Thus, the vital diversity, bulk , the whole and systemic organization of the relationship between meaning and meaning are one of the most important individual and personal characteristics of the psyche. Knowledge in people can be quite similar, almost identical, but consciousness as a relation to knowledge is always unique.

The recognition by the individual of the separate existence of and of the world, produced by consciousness, is a kind of discovery, illumination. It is impossible without the existence of subjective experience, without the omnipresent human emotion.

Emotions as expressed experience subjectivity of the mental image of the world and "I" act as one of the necessary components of the psychological structure of consciousness.

Emotions and meanings exist in some psychological subjective unity, forming together the entire subjective space of human consciousness. There is no personal meaning without his subjective experience, emotional evaluation. There is no emotion that is personally meaningless, although, perhaps, useless from the standpoint of objective significance. Like the meaning of emotion is not necessarily aware of the experiencing personality. Emotion awareness is the dilution of the experience itself from the associated (emotionally) objective object, which is similar to distinguishing in the consciousness the meaning and meaning of an object or action with it. However, a person's comprehension of his own experience does not at all remove this emotion from the psyche, from the multidimensional psychological structure of consciousness (see Chapter 18).

Like everything in the psyche, consciousness is dynamic, because the objective life and subjective being are changeable, the person is changeable. One can distinguish two main directions of consciousness change (its development or, conversely, reduction).

• First, changes the range of objects and phenomena of the conscious world. In the ontogenesis of the psyche and personality, it first expands, then (in parallel) can narrow. Man is only aware of what enters into his real being, with which he has material or mental, ideal interactions, relationships. So, the first I the child is built on a fairly narrow circle of comparisons with the closest adults. The ego is a well-known chain: "I-you-we-they-they" etc. The circle of the realized world expands with the development of the child's real independence, the personality as a whole. Complicates, qualitatively and quantitatively, the purely "consumer" attitude to the world, to other people. Man accepts and realizes the objective, not only the subjective, significance of an ever wider range of phenomena in which he exists and acts.


When a child, tearfully and menacingly demands that the mother make an urgent purchase of a beautiful toy displayed in the shop window, it does not necessarily have to be a "brawler". He simply does not realize, does not divorce the objective meaning and the meaning of the toy for him. The child is not able to realize the presence of others "why", the very objective ratio. The essence is not in age, but in the real structure and course of a concrete human life.

A child may not share the common meaning of the person of his parent and some one, the subjective meaning of the person's own use. In this case the parent does not enter into the circle of realized phenomena, the subjective meaning of the child suppresses, absorbs an objectively existing meaning. Consciousness shapes the corresponding behavior of a person, in many ways determines being and perception of the world. The fact of narrowing the circle of the realized is possible, for example, also due to illness, when for an unhealthy person, surrounding people "lose" all their objective values, except subjective for the patient the sense of rendering assistance, full custody, sympathy and care for him.

The process of awareness can be considered a special form of intense mental work: intellectual, personal and emotionally charged, often filled with debatable ethical and moral moments. For example, one thing is to realize (to focus on) the way you hold your hands at the moment. It is quite another to dissolve your own negative experiences and the objective objects and circumstances that caused them, adequately understand the meaning of the actions or statements of the other person, change your own attitude to the world or to yourself.

This is the classical task of any psychological help to a person: promoting the individual's awareness of their own place in life and society, breeding or "reconciliation" contradictions of subjective meaning and objective meaning.

• Secondly, the relationship between meaning and meaning in the individual consciousness changes. These relationships and interactions can become more complicated and simpler, narrow and expand, disappear and appear, weaken and grow stronger. These categories are primarily qualitative, informative. There are three interdependent sources of possible changes:

• due to values,

• by means of meanings,

• by changing the relationship and the relationship between them.

In the provision of these changes, different psychological processes and mechanisms work. Expansion of the system of values ​​is carried out through cognition, the acquisition of life experience, through learning and teaching. The meaning is created in the very structure of human activity, for example, in the relationship of motive and purpose. The subjective sense can not be educated, it is formed, educated in the individual and by the individual by means of increment, reorganization of the need-motivational sphere of the individual, behavior and activity, by changing their psychological structure. Relations and connections of meaning and meaning are mutual, multilateral, dynamic. It is known that meaning is expressed in meanings (A. II Leontiev), but also values ​​are created, exist due to the presence of certain meanings. In the human mind, there is simultaneously not only one sense, but some of their system, hierarchy. The elements of the world presented to man in his consciousness are interpreted in different ways, correlated with the object and subject of reflection. Therefore, the overall picture of the individual consciousness is extremely pestile and mobile.

The consciousness that arises is not only a complement to the unconsciously existing mental image. Consciousness changes qualitatively, transforms it, translating it into a fundamentally new, meaningful, actually human level. Mindful mental processes become arbitrary, relatively stable, manageable. There are opportunities for reflection as a reflection, planning and management of a person's own mental processes, properties and states. In the human psyche self-consciousness is formed. This is why consciousness not only reflects the world and being, but to a certain extent creates and transforms them. Between a conscious and unconscious world, between the conscious and the unconscious in the psyche, there are certain, sometimes contradictory relationships, interactions, connections. Consciousness wanders on the human psyche, works but its own special laws, which are not always subject to objective, material rules. Conscious behavior and the human psyche itself become free.

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