The Phenomenon of the Irrational in Ideology - Political Psychology

The phenomenon of the irrational in ideology

The concept of the ideology of the Italian sociologist Pareto is an integral part of a hundred theoretical system. Developing the notion of sociology as a logical-experimental science, the scientist in detail analyzes the dichotomy of the logical and irrational, which serves as the starting point of his views. The attention given by Pareto to the problem of ideology reflects the researcher's interest in that field of human behavior that, in his opinion, lacks rational soil and therefore does not lend itself to scientific explanation.

The rational and sensual spheres ("half") in the human psyche, as Pareto argues, coexist in isolation from one another, and the feelings that people hide behind outwardly reasonable explanations, induce them to illogical, irrational actions, in fact, forming the basic fabric of the history of mankind. Pseudological theories (such that the means do not have an objective-logical connection with the goals) - theological, ethical, political and similar teachings and doctrines concealing the essence of religion, morality, politics - are brought to life by the "mental hunger experienced by a human being" ;

Thus, Pareto attributes ideology to purely psychological phenomena and associates their occurrence with special properties of the psyche. These properties, irrational, instinctive motives of action, he called "remnants", indicating their property "stay" after the reduction of all rational considerations. These are feelings, instincts, passions, impulses that determine the behavior of a person, acting as the main part of a psychic whole.

Q. Pareto noted the permanence, stability of these psychic properties, believing that they are the basis of any social fact, providing, in the final analysis, social development. According to the scientist, only irrational, residual layers in a person lead to political actions.

The ideology in the Pareto concept is nothing more than a verbal, pseudological cover, masking the irrational. She justifies, "rationalizes", justifies, embellishes the genuine motives of social action. The irrational needs a logical, "rational"; on the other hand, it is in the sensual remains - the real genesis of any ideological education.

Q. Pareto is not limited to this statement. He tries to typologize leftovers and derived from them spiritual phenomena, which they call derivations & quot ;, i.e. derivatives from the sensory foundations of the human psyche. The attempt to classify ideas, myths, and persistent images allows Pareto to begin a concrete examination of ideological processes.

The task of social science, in Pareto's opinion, is to open the core of various doctrines, i.e. emotions, their conditioning. Science must also analyze verbal reactions that give effect to the appearance of reasonableness, to consider, as in turn, derivations stimulate enthusiasm, lead to the movement of people's feelings. Sociology explains why different spiritual formations take possession of the consciousness of the masses.

The first class of derivations, which has three subclasses, form dogmas, axiomatic statements that are presented as absolute truths. Their first subclass is abstract, seemingly resting on "empirical and imaginary facts," existing outside attempts to experimentally validate judgments. These are statements that get their power "regardless of experience", as if from themselves, although they often take the form of logical-experimental statements. These include Bible sayings, prohibitions, taboos, and the like.

The statements related to the second subclass of derivations are, as it were, an indirect expression of feelings. For the explanation in this case, feelings are taken, an example of which is the saying: "It is better to suffer from injustice than to commit it." Derivations of these two forms are often combined in the third class - the "mixture of facts and feelings." Adoption of this kind implies consent or disagreement, depending on the conformity of the feelings of the person who speaks it. This subclass of derivations is most widely distributed.

The second large class of derivations, also having three subclasses, constitute judgments justified by reference to authority. Their common formula is: So do all & quot ;. First of all, these are the simplest derivations, the basis of which are the residual aggregate constants, expressing the person's conservative feelings. However, sometimes behind these derivations are the residues of the "instinct of combinations", which express the desire for innovation. In accordance with this, they are backed by the authority of "one or many persons", the authority of "traditions, customs, customs" or the authority of "divine beings or personifications." V. Pareto shares such derivations into three subclasses. Many of them are borrowed from books. The Greeks found everything from Homer, the Romans from Virgil, Italians to much from Dante. It is well known how matters stand with the Bible and the Gospel. It's hard to say what in these books could not be found .

The third class of derivations, which includes six subclasses, form appeals to generally accepted feelings and principles. In this case, the rationale, the output moment of which is the individual feelings of the agent ("agent"), is presented as appropriate to the feelings of "all people" etc. In the first subclass of Pareto puts references to the "general opinion", as well as proverbs, sayings and other maxims that imply some collective "consent". The pseudological nature of this kind of ideological model, as Pareto emphasizes, is already evident from the fact that every proverb that acts as a clot of "wisdom of life" can be countered by another asserting the opposite.

The second subclass covers derivations that rest on personal interest. This includes all the reasons that induce others to a certain action by appeals to their interest in it. In this case, A prompts B to do so-and-so, because it is useful to him or because the failure of this action will be harmful to him & quot ;. This subclass includes utilitarian theories, in particular the utilitarian philosophy of I. Bentham, demanding from each person the commission of a useful, because it supposedly corresponds to his own interests.

Q. Pareto argues that Bentham allowed at least two errors. First, he proceeded from the fact that the required actions would be consistent with the logic. Secondly, he mixed two logically opposite principles: selfish and altruistic, because he claimed that the "utility" that directs the activity of an individual is simultaneously an expression of the interests of all.

The third subclass includes the derivations of the collective interest & quot ;. V. Pareto distinguishes between real, real, or "objective", collective interest and imaginary, imaginary. In the first case, derivations are not supposed to arise, but there are simply reasonably justified actions, variously related, that pursue an objective goal achieved by a particular interested individual or many individuals using the means appropriate for this purpose, in other words, logically justified, rational. A different matter is a fictitious collective interest, when the "objective" target is subject to subjective and non-logical actions are advertised by the interested person under the guise of logical ones. So, "some politicians want something for themselves, but they demand it in the name of the party, society or fatherland; some industrialists seek to obtain government investment in their industry, but demand them in the name of the entire national industry or even "all working people."

The fourth subclass of the third class of derivations is legal entities & quot ;. To this subclass belong all the projects that are born in the people's life together, appeals to the "absolute morality" or "absolute law", in other words, to the moral or legal order of human communities. These projects tend to be perceived as eternal spiritual entities. They are based on group feelings.

The fifth subclass is adjacent to the fifth - statements that correspond to the notion of "metaphysical essences": justice, truth, categorical imperative, democracy, solidarity. This type of derivation is characteristic mainly for the educated strata of society, while, according to Pareto, the common people are more inclined to choose personification in order to justify sensual structures that are deeply underlying the actions of the people.

In the sixth subclass of derivations, statements related to the "supernatural essences", exemplified by the "religion of humanity" O. Comte and the teachings of St. Augustine.

The last, fourth class of derivations, into which the subclasses are mashed, form purely verbal arguments, "verbal evidence". Their first subclass is vague terms denoting real, real things, and vague things corresponding to certain terms & quot ;. There are a lot of expressions of this kind that do not have any objective equivalent. As an example, Pareto refers to known from the formal logic of sophistry.

The second subclass includes terms denoting specific, really existing things that cause side-feelings defining the very choice of terms & quot ;. This kind of derivations, usually used by speakers, is especially effective, because through cleverly used turns it awakens in the listeners the necessary feelings and, moreover, so skillfully that listeners do not notice it. Such derivations are highly valued in politics and legal proceedings. V. Pareto also refers, in particular, to the concepts of "expropriation" and "theft", which are used with different meanings, although in reality, according to the researcher, they mean the same thing.

The Italian sociologist found an illustration in Rhetoric Aristotle, who wrote that when they want to praise a thing, they choose the best metaphors, when they want to condemn it - from the worst. For example, in some cases they say: "Orestes is an avenger for his father", and in others: "Orestes is a murderer of the mother". Similarly, persistence in beliefs, when approved, is called constancy, and when condemned - by stagnation, stubbornness, conservatism. Anyone who wants to achieve something must call his goal modern, democratic, or, even better, highly humane, progressive. Politicians are widely used for this purpose. The changing fate of the concept of "liberty", according to Pareto, well illustrates this idea.

The third subclass form terms with a variety of different meanings and different things, denoted by the same term & quot ;. As examples Pareto leads sophisms of formal logic, which have a dual meaning. A direct appeal to such a derivation is an appeal to "solidarity", and an example of its indirect use is a different interpretation of the commandment "Do not kill!" In some cases, when they want to give the term kill the general meaning, this prohibition is confirmed, and in others - when prompted to kill - the meaning of this term is limited. The expression then takes the form: "You must not kill, excluding certain circumstances," or "You must kill under certain circumstances!" The principle of "doubling" is also widely used, the addition of the basic concept with an epithet, such as, for example, "true", "right", "honorary", "noble" etc. As a result, for example, the concept of "complete freedom" quite often contradicts the concept of "true freedom".

This subclass of derivations easily passes into the next, the fourth, consisting of simple metaphors, allegories, analogies. V. Pareto recognizes behind this subclass the scientific value, when these metaphors, allegories and other means serve for the transition from the known to the unknown. However, they are used to mask objectively unreasonable actions when they are simple derivations for a pseudological explanation.

An example is the derivation of a related union of church and state. This statement is constructed in such a way that it proceeds from a real description of the state of the church in the state, then they change places, and all the reasoning is transformed so that a legend appears, woven from allegories, analogies and metaphors, in which literature and history draw rich material. Similarly, all derivations of this subclass are used. "It's only once to pave the way for derivation, you can easily get to ridiculous extremes."

The fifth subclass of the fourth class of derivations is composed of "foggy and vague expressions that do not match anything concrete". These derivations consist of simple juggling with words, the use of running accurate words and speech spells. V. Pareto refers to the fact that in his contemporary Italy the notion of "overcoming" is widespread. and overcoming & quot ;. "What they want to say is unknown to anyone, but it is certain that the speech should be about something very impressive, so that even with one utterance of these words the adversary pale, stuns and does not know how to react ..." The same can be said about the words live & quot ;, dynamic & quot ;, spiritual and they are opposed, negative in meaning definitions "dead", "static", "mechanical".

The classification of Pareto derivations is presented in Table. 16.1.

Table 16.1

◘Classification of derivations (according to V. Pareto)

Derivation class

Derivation content


First class of derivations

Dogmas, axiomatic statements that are presented as absolute truths

Abstract judgments

Indirect expression of feelings

A mixture of facts and feelings

Second class of derivations

Judgments justified by a reference to authority

Judgments reinforced by the authority of one or more persons

Judgment, backed by the authority of traditions, customs, customs

Judgments reinforced by the authority of divine beings or personifications

The third class of derivations

Appeals to Common Senses and Principles

References to common opinion and maxims, implying collective agreement

Derivatives that are based on personal interest

Derivation of collective interest

Legal Entities

Approvals that correspond to the notions of metaphysical essences: justice, truth, democracy, solidarity, etc.

Approvals Related to Supernatural Entities

Fourth class of derivations

Verbal arguments, verbal evidence

Indefinite terms denoting real, real things, and vague things that correspond to certain terms

Terms that denote specific, real-world things that cause side-feelings, which determine the very choice of terms

Terms with many different meanings and different things, denoted by the same term

Metaphors, allegories, analogies

Misty and vague expressions to which nothing corresponds to anything concrete

Q. Pareto, for whom the "science is in a constant becoming", considered its classification of derivations far from perfect. Affirming that the derivations of ideology, of religion as false verbal formations in general are hardly susceptible to precise scientific analysis, Pareto essentially continued the line of false spiritual formations that F. Bacon had already observed (the theory of derivations reveals similarities with his doctrine of idols) and M. Montaigne.

Still opposing derivations (ideologies) to scientific truth, Pareto did not belittle their role in social life and recognized their positive social function. "Facts clearly prove," he wrote, "that mythologies are untrue and yet have great social significance."

The exposure of the mythological and pseudological nature of ideologies with which Pareto spoke was in some ways reminiscent of the Marxist formulation of the question of ideologies as a distorted deformed reflection of social reality. However, Marx and Engels conditioned the distortion of the class essence of ideology, emphasized first and foremost the false character of the ideology of the reactionary classes.

As for Pareto, he insisted on the invariably false essence of all ideologies without exception, believing that they differ only in systems of arguments and verbal formulations. The scientist wrote that it would be misleading to regard psychological constructions as absurd, pathology or artificial formations created by "dedicated" especially for fooling the masses. Summarizing, it can be said that derivations are made not so much because someone is persuaded, but because they clearly express ideas that people already had in an unconscious way. This last fact is always the main element in the situation. Since the derivation was accepted, it gave strength and aggressiveness to the appropriate emotions that have now found a way to thinking. "

The problem of the non-logical (ie associated with the emotional state of people) historical action Pareto closed in the narrow boundaries of the individual psyche. Thus, he ruled out the possibility of explaining such an action (and, more broadly, an irrational moment in history) on the basis of social dynamics.

Pointing to the secondary nature of the derivations, Pareto assigns to them the place of one of the elements that determine the form and equilibrium of social systems. Participating in the general balance of social factors, derivations, according to Pareto, have an addictive character. Keeping the position of psychological reductionism, the scientist excluded from his field many important social factors, although he pointed to the role of the sociological approach to the consideration of ideological phenomena.

In this connection, Pareto's definition of the tasks of logic and the sociologist is of considerable interest. When the logic opens an error in the output, sophistry is exposed, and his work is finished. Only then does the work of the sociologist begin, which should investigate why in general false arguments are accepted by many people, why sophistry convinces ... Logic investigates why the conclusion is erroneous, sociology - why it gets widespread. "

It seems fair that "here we are dealing with the main problem of the sociology of knowledge". V. Pareto fully relates the solution of this problem to the field of psychology: "Claims are accepted and gain recognition through emotions of a different kind that they excite in those who listen to them, emotions that receive the status of" evidence ". They convince, because they speak in the form of scientific maxims, with great persuasiveness, exquisite literary language. "

The psychological explanation of the impact of derivation does not reveal either the specifics or the social functions of specific ideologies. It can not be said that Pareto did not try to do this. Thus, in formulating his "social equilibrium law," he particularly points out: It is not difficult to see that the fluctuations in derivations that form theories of "free trade" or "protectionism", "individualism" or "collectivism" closely follow fluctuations in the complex of "remnants" of interests and social heterogeneity rather as their result than their cause. Theories that favor free trade will arise when interests and class circulation are conducive to free trade. The same is true of protectionist theories, with theories of "individualism" and "collectivism." The oscillations of the complex of "remnants" - interests and social heterogeneity - are the main, basic, and in fact the meaning of the oscillation of derivations consists almost exclusively in the fact that they mediate the picture of the vibrations of the complex of "remnants", interests and social heterogeneity. "

Unfortunately, this topic was not sufficiently developed, as the scientist focused on the formal-logical study of derivations. Offering an interpretation of ideology as a pseudological rationale, the Italian sociologist seemed to have abandoned the purely formal logical analysis of ideology, as well as the psychological reduction characteristic of his approach, and moved on to the actual "sociological" the logic underlying them and linking ideology with human actions. However, Pareto understood the very social action exclusively irrationalistically, took away rational elements and considered rational only the logical form in which irrational motives are doomed.

Exposing the paralogisms contained in the derivations, false conclusions, sophistries, of course, made Pareto repeatedly and again emphasize the non-logical nature of some of his contemporary ideological views. The persistence with which he argued that legal derivations are used for selfish purposes, often very far from the task of maintaining law and order, that "moral" derivations often serve immoral purposes, etc., to a certain extent reflected the sharply negative attitude of himself to the demagogic tricks and tricks of social and political groups dominating under imperialism, the essence of which the scientist saw in an attempt to disguise unseemly political goals. And yet, in general, one of the specific areas of sociological knowledge is a concrete historical analysis of laws, morality, political doctrines, and so on. - remained outside the formal approach of Pareto. The question is who is the subject, i.e. creator and carrier of ideologies, the Italian sociologist was not raised at all.

Why did the Athenians deify Athena, and the modern masses - democracy? V. Pareto erroneously asserted that in both cases the underlying plan of arguments form identical feelings.

Other examples of how the actual social, concrete historical basis of the external similarity of different, time-based representations, could elude the researcher. For the unbiased, in Pareto's opinion, there is no (in terms of the scientific value of argumentation) differences in the arguments that confirm the religion of pagans, Christians, proponents of progress, solidarity, democracy, etc. All these religions equally burdened by the "original sin" priority of emotions over facts. The Italian sociologist denied the fact that all historically real ideologies differ significantly from one another in that they are born on different levels of human consciousness. Moreover, the researcher did not take into account the fact that different forms of social consciousness reflect different aspects of social being.

The erroneous nature of a number of initial methodological notions does not exclude the fact that the concept of ideology in Pareto contains positive moments. One of them is the distinction between ideology as a set of postulates and its real appearance in the process of the actual functioning of these postulates. Religion, as Pareto stressed, is not identical with theology. The application of laws differs from the laws written in legal codes, the real rules of behavior differ from the accepted moral standards. In this regard, Pareto rightly believed that the study of ideas can not and should not replace the research of other aspects of real life.

Sometimes, in sharp contrast to his own doctrine of the immutability of the "remains" Pareto recognized the strong influence of the environment on them. In another case, he commented on the idea that the "economic system" is cause functioning of other elements of society, and defined this idea only as a possible hypothesis.

The Pareto concept is not straightforward. Its internal complexity and multidimensionality caused the controversial fate of the ideas of the Italian sociologist, their role in the subsequent development of social science. The scientist appears as a positivist researcher, who applied the technique of logical analysis to a sphere that seems least likely to yield to such a procedure - to the irrational domain. Pareto's consideration of myths and other ideological entities, the classification of derivations carried out testifies to the desire to develop an accurate technique of sociological knowledge. Theoretically, the researcher relied on the tradition of positivistic scientism, which particularly affected the solution of the methodological problems of sociology.

However, the growing trend of irrationalism in Europe had an impact on Pareto. This is particularly evident in the very sources of the concept of the scientist, who in the anthropological nature of man sees primarily an instinctive base. V. Pareto sees the only function of thinking is to reveal the illusory character of ideology, to expose it as a deception. He denies the ability of a person to act in the spirit of an enlightenment ideology, based on the realization of a reasonable connection between people.

As a positive knowledge in Pareto is purely formal social mechanics. However, if ideas are not correlated with reality, if they are mobile and have influence, is there no room for unmotivated activism here? These elements of the Pareto concept enabled Manheim to call the Italian researcher one of those authors whose ideas were reworked integrated into Nazi ideology. "Fascism willingly borrows the positions of irrational philosophies and the most modern in terms of political theories. The ideas of Bergson, Sorel and Pareto were included primarily in the fascist worldview (of course, appropriately revised ones).

The tendency for the strengthening of the political machine, the assertion of the biological superiority of the elite, the justification of brute force, trampling on the rule of law, criticizing the rationalist approach to politics and emphasizing the role of affects, all of this, albeit in different forms, echoes the ideas of the fascists.

So, ideology has a number of features:

- ideology is always marginal, i.e. belongs to a limited community of people, as a rule, polemicizing with their ideological opponents;

- Ideology is always collective: it is not the thought of the individual (there is no ideology of Kant, Marx or Descartes);

- ideology always camouflages itself, not only masking the facts and convincing arguments of the enemy, but posing themselves, as a rule, for science, common sense, morality, evidence, fact, etc.,

- Ideology is always rational, i.e. contrasted with myth, dogma, beliefs, etc .;

- ideology is always in the service of power: the author takes the sociological definition of ideology as the sum of ideas of the ruling class.

Ideology can manifest itself in various areas: in the structure of schools, regulations, family structure, institutional sphere (parliamentary, administrative, legal, etc.), various symbolic systems (in emblems, rituals, clothes, etc.) . However, the priority area for the realization of the ideology in which it performs its specific functions is speech activity.

The ideological nature of the language today seems so obvious that it begins to raise doubts among a number of researchers. Thus, one of the representatives of the French "new right" BA Levi believes that speech is neither a place of ideological clashes, nor an instrument of power, but a "form of power itself". This thought, supported by R. Barth in his time, means that if everything is an ideology, then it is, in effect, nothing.

Ideology becomes a fact of speech through the medium of text, which is a type of speech regulated by the subcode of the language and common to most of the group of individuals. It is the ideological text in opposition to legal, administrative, scientific and some other texts that should serve as an object of further scientific analysis.

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