by Arnold KAZMIN, Presidium member, Russian Philosophical Society
None of the thus far known forms of social management is capable of duly ensuring worthy existence for most people who have to fend for themselves, left as they are with their own cares and worries. Common people do not trust the powers that be and feel deep-set fear in anticipation of further moves that can worsen their situation. Little man, what now? This kind of situation has been persisting for aeons, regardless of social systems, be it slavery or feudalism, capitalism or socialism. Or other "paradigms" as well...
Articles in this rubric reflect the author's opinion. - Ed.
Man and society: scientific concept of moral growth of man and community.
Now how to get rid of this curse of all civilizations? The matter involves social management and social skills as part and parcel of human mentality.*
It is commonly believed that an idea of this or that leader is automatically translated into social and government reality as an expression of the will of the social classes and of the nation at large. But that is far from being always so. This error of judgement that happened to "steal in" long ago has evolved into a major obstacle in the way of social progress. Reams and reams of printed stuff on the subject-matter have not corrected this error and failed to uncover the regularities of specific processes going on in human mind and their connection with the ideal of decent life.
The point is that thinking, as a physiological function of the brain, has always been relegated to a utilitarian, albeit practically important, role in the manifestation of moral and ethical behavioral acts. But this is an all-out, comprehensive and systemic process obtained in the evolution of intelligent, reasonable beings; and it begets the person's chief asset, the moral vim. This point of view was first aired by the German philosopher Hegel (1770 - 1831) who defined thinking as Das Ding in sich ("the thing in itself"). Developing the ideas of Hellene thinkers, Hegel wrote in his great work Die Phiino-menologie des Geistes (The Phenomenology of the Spirit) that in his time "Plato, replying to the question what is justice in itself and for itself, deemed it possible to point only at the objective form of justice, namely at the body politic materializing morality".
It is in place to recall his other words as well: "It would be absurd to exclude thinking from morality, for the entire process of thinking is reduced to the transition from something abstract to essential via the self-reflecting will to the domain of morality and... to concrete morality incorporating in itself both of these abstract elements."
The Hegelian "incorporating in itself" can be construed in quite concrete terms as a system that consolidates elements of thinking, such as mental (logical), on one hand, and emotional-aesthetic, on the other. This implies manifest trends proper to each and every individual.
The great Russian physiologist and Nobel prizewinner Ivan Pavlov (1849 - 1936)** augmented the philosophy on the moral component of thinking. The second signaling
* See: A. Kazmin, "Human Intellect ;is Subject of Inquiry", Science in Russia, No. 3, 2004. - Ed.
** See: Yu. Natochin. "Personality, Scientist, Citizen", Science in Russia. No. 3, 2003. - Ed.
Social Life Support System.
system (language, speech), which he discovered as being intrinsic to man's higher nervous activity and which distinguishes man from animals, is viewed as an evolutionary stage in the formation of biosocial characteristics that are vital to an intelligent being and that combine such things as "intelligence" and the "senses" ("feelings").
These properties of thinking are realized in a variety of combinations. One may be best in mathematics, physics and chemistry. But another one is quite good in the humanities. Yet another one has a natural bent for arts. And there are also universal, multidimensional jacks with multifarious aptitudes.
All the various human talents-say, in material production, in science and the arts-arc appreciated in society. Each of these talents impacts human thinking. Yet he who is involved with managerial activities should be many notches above a narrow specialist and know a good deal more. As a semantic characteristic of moral thinking such universality takes in a balance of human capabilities: from the lowest on the totem pole (life experience) to the uppermost notch (an immanent ability to organize and manage a system of vital activity and maintenance of large popular masses).
At this point we should call attention to yet another aspect of the matter, and this is the dignity and freedom of every individual, and opportunities within the limits imposed by social skills. A wise and competent manager sees that as a priority objective. He who usurps power will not be free either for all his might and he will fear his crushed subjects in their miserable, vegetative existence.
That is to say, immoral government-its bodies and officials-cannot perform its functions properly, and it will fail to deliver in the end, while the rank and file will not become personalities worthy of respect.
Individual characteristics of thinking are a groundwork for the entire system of being without which people shall never come on top of their problems. This is a must for the fair distribution of human and natural wealth, and its motivated, purposeful use for secure life of this and future generations.
Yet another point. Today we have no clear-cut definition of the notion "social system", nor do we have a clear idea about the goals of human interaction in society. Systems analysis and "structured" thinking should be geared to thorough inquiries into the heart of the matter. Such kind of approach will enable an insight into the pattern of the social evolution of humankind and bring us to ideal being in all its implications-something that only philosophy with its striving toward absolute knowledge can tackle. We must be in the clear about the moral righi of every man, woman and child as a system of norms - a system that calls for obligatory hierarchy in the management of social processes. Backed up constitutionally, this moral right may evolve into a stabilizing factor for the steady, sustainable development of social relations.
Illustrations supplied by the author
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