SENTENTIA. European Journal of Humanities and Social SciencesПравильная ссылка на статью:
Anthropological background of vice / Антропологический контекст порока
Дата направления статьи в редакцию:02-11-2020
Аннотация: Мы проводим это исследование в теоретических рамках философской антропологии и экзистенциальных проблем современной философии. Дискурс философской антропологии стремится расшифровать основные коды биосоциальной природы человека в ее формирующем влиянии на его сознание и поведение. Напротив, экзистенциальный анализ пытается определить условия успешного сопротивления влиянию на сознание многочисленных внешних сил и возможность формирования разумной автономии. Тем самым данное исследование направлено на поиск приемлемого баланса в использовании методологического инструментария философской антропологии и экзистенциального анализа при решении проблемы взаимного влияния телесных, социальных страстей и сознания. Тематически статья посвящена объяснению значений такого человеческого явления, как порок. Автор стремится раскрыть антропологический смысл этого человеческого данного. Он считает, что понятия «порок» и «добродетель» социально условны. Природа наших желаний первична. Порок и добродетель - мерцающие области социально значимого в наших желаниях. Они очерчены по интуитивно-смысловому качеству и помечены метками слов. Если эго, дух теряют свою власть, то возобладают психические и физиологические элементы, биологическая ярость, превращающие человека в своего пленника. Гармония между двумя уровнями существования в человеке: плоти и духа, всегда относительна и преходяща. Борьба между тем, чего хочу я и чего хочет то животное, в котором я обитаю, вечна. Автор убежден, что мы должны понять природу этого качества нашего существования и тем самым сможем его гуманизировать.
Ключевые слова: философская антропология, экзистенциальные проблемы, тело и сознание, порок, добродетель, органические страсти, социально-символические страсти, самооценка, самосознание, самоконтроль
Abstract: This study is conducted this within the theoretical framework of philosophical anthropology and existential problems in modern philosophy. The discourse of philosophical anthropology seeks to decipher the basic codes of the biosocial nature of man in its formative influence on his consciousness and behavior. On the contrary, existential analysis tries to determine the conditions for successful resistance to the influence on the consciousness of numerous interventionists and the possibility of the formation of reasonable autonomy. Thus, this study seeks to find an acceptable balance in the use of methodological tools of philosophical anthropology and existential analysis in solving the problem of the mutual influence of bodily, social passions and consciousness. The article is devoted to an explanation of meanings of such human phenomenon as vice. The author strives to uncover the etymological and anthropological implication of this human given. He believes that the notions of "vice" and "virtue" are socially conditional. The nature of our desires is primary. Vice and virtue are flickering areas of the socially significant in these desires. They are contoured on intuitive-semantic quality and marked with labels of words. If the ego, the spirit lose their sovereignty then psychic and physiological element, biological fury come forth making of a human-being their prisoner. The harmony between two levels of existence in the human-being always is relative and transient. The author convinces that we should tolerably understand the nature of this human attribute and therefore we can humanize it.
Keywords:social-symbolic passions, organic passions, virtue, vice, body and mind, existential problems, philosophical anthropology, self-esteem, self-awareness, self-control
Anthropological Background of Depravity
Kant in his days had been always both surprised and irritated by the fact that often we could see happy villains and dull, boring virtuous people. Thus, he came to unconsoling rigoristic conclusion, that though it was in human nature to long for happiness, the latter was unreachable. Being a thinking creature man chooses not happiness, but duty — rational self-restraint according to universal moral law.
But many will not agree with a Categorical Imperative of the great philosopher: act only according to that maxim by which you can at the same time will that it should become a universal law. To live in a constant alignment on a public rank? To emasculate ourselves to something abstract average and common to all mankind, which really turns to be a public supervisor, narrow-minded and self-satisfied police-officer, Procrustes shortening or lengthening our subjectivity up to prescribed size? No, save me from that.
The rigidity of traditional opposition "vice—virtue", as well as of many other, requires a philosophical revision. And in interests of independent person, not society. The latter is quite satisfied with brutality and terror used to eradicate human vices. This is its the most powerful ideological weapon against wilfulness and selfdetermination of individuality. "You are immoral and vicious, sinful and insignificant", threatens society with lips of religions and ethical doctrines driving individuality in metaphysical deadlock of feebleness and loneliness, and of consequent repentance, discipline, indispensable returning of prodigal son in paternal embrace of tradition.
Enticement with the sharpness of non-normative sensual or rational enjoyments and torture by their insatiability, fatigue and fault — sprocket of eternity of vice in human existence. Vice supports virtue, for virtue itself is a clarified, suppressed vice. Only in this way it is valid. In vices is the energy of initial desires and itches lying in the basis of native but not of sad and exhausted, violent, and imitative virtue. "A man is a creature unconsciously cunning and not straightforward, a creature confused and not easy to understand" .
Internal metaphysical inclination of a dichotomy "vice—virtue" to repressiveness, on which two thousand years the traditional moral rest, requires the procedures of humanistic clarifying and saturation with understanding of tolerance. In other words, it is necessary to understand and accept human vice — happiness-unhappiness of native passion, which does not correspond social norms — and thus to see a true birth of original valid virtue, which energy is in reconciliation (but not elimination) of vice.
We conduct this study in the theoretical framework of philosophical anthropology and existential problems in modern philosophy. The discourse of philosophical anthropology seeks to decipher the basic codes of the biosocial nature of man in its formative influence on his consciousness and behavior. On the contrary, existential analysis tries to determine the conditions for successful resistance to the influence on the consciousness of numerous interventionists and the possibility of the formation of reasonable autonomy. Thus, this study seeks to find an acceptable balance in the use of methodological tools of philosophical anthropology and existential analysis in solving the problem of the mutual influence of bodily, social passions and consciousness.
Statement of the problem
But what generally is vice? In this sign there are three basic semantic structures of its three possible embodiments.
The first. Vice is a passion, a natural love for something that a humane-being corporally and psychologically cannot live without fame, money, wine, women (men) etc. It is a separate passion that makes people blind hypertrophies itself and occupies the place of the whole — normal harmony of different inner necessities and interests.
These passions and objects of longings are socially quite normal in themselves. In this case vice expresses an originating and growing gap between strongly expressed natural inclination and public norm. And though the passions have intention to turn into vices, they are as well as everything in human-being symbiosis of corporal orders, psychological habits and states of consciousness, they first of all they are seriously implanted in natural performance of body and mentality. Whether it is weak resistibility to alcohol, peculiarities of metabolism, sexual constitution, or temperament. Self-interest, hungering for drugs, ambition, voluptuousness — in Russian, these words include notion “love”. This is a passion of nature; it is irrational, and people understand it feeling sorry for victims of passions: “never make promises you cannot keep…”.
The second. Vice is a defect, psychological lack, consequence of absence of culture of self-consciousness (education, environment), or work of self-consciousness at oneself (laziness, apathy of soul, it dissoluteness). Cowardice (absence of culture and practice of self-control), recklessness, anger, ruthlessness, shamelessness, irresponsibility, prodigality, callousness, lack of will etc. Other people attitude to “defective” is less tolerant than in the first case as they feel realized, rational character of these defects as well as unwillingness to counteract them on the part of their carriers. But presence of defect indication here has latent sense of uncertain expectation, opportunity of changes-corrections, temporality of lacking (courage, mind, pity, responsibility, heartedness, will etc.)
The third. The defect as unequivocal and chronic departure not only from social norm, but also from naturally anthropological use, which always is wider and more tolerant then its cultural forms — obscenity , social unsuitability, steady and system tie with evil. Thus: perversion, hatred, ill-intention, gloating, malice, criminality, debauch, dissipation. Both enslavement of the man by passion and development of a crack of defect into a deep sincere break, new vital profile direct to obscenity.
Vice in the full sense of the word as deep and in most cases irreversible system change of human consciousness and image of life is characteristic for the third semantic structure. First two senses of vice (undeveloped vice: passion or lack) are within the framework of norm, i.e. the society bears them though they have intention to obscenity (Nozdryov, Humbert Humbert etc.).
The notions of “vice” and “virtue” are socially conditional. The nature of ours desires is primary. Vice and virtue are flickering areas of the socially significant in these desires. They are contoured on intuitive-semantic quality and marked with labels of words. Public intuitions concerning vices are vague and hostile. The words have an abusive meaning. Thus, there are not many people who aspires to understand (hence so impressive mercy and understanding of Gautama or Jesus), i. e. to be in the shoes of this or that vicious person. There is a stamp on him, he has dropped out of a social nest. The return is possible only through a deep, self-abasement of unconditional repentance destroying all independent and personal in a soul. But even in this case they will meet social inability, they will never be accepted in their former quality no matter how they try to show the other — humiliation is an indelible label. A new life can be started where no one knows your. Only few need this. Misunderstanding, unwillingness to understand vices from the point of view of violently eradicating virtue (a la “militant church”) seem to be one of the basic reasons of a constancy of moral intensity from above to the bottom: in society and family. We like to be hypocritical, a snow-white toga of virtue always suits us. With a sweet internal relish (demonstrating at the same time concern and understanding) we grieve for vices of those who are familiar to us tenaciously keeping in mind a calming thought: “we are not the same (and if the same, we’ll never get in such scrape, thus we are better)”. Triumphantly and with prejudice we find a mote in the eye of another regarding a log in ours as a pardonable weakness or trifle. Whom such thing did not happen to? Let us try at least partially approach philosophical and anthropological understanding of immanent nature of vices.
Human life as well as the life of many other beings is squeezeed between needs, desires and activities that satisfy them. Are rare and rather vital the pauses when we are not anxious about physical needs, or we are not under power of desires to stand out against others or striving for possessing things and values, are very rare and short-term. These neutral, free from needs and desires life pauses are denotate of abstract virtue and absolute values. Simultaneously it is that veil which always hypocritically covers real necessary and passionate truth of human life .
The needs and desires initiating human activity express two-unity of most necessary conditions of a physiological nature and public instincts. Certainly, all this man is realizing and probably that is why he makes it depend on consciousness. However, it already more later event in the human history. The basis of life is that people are beings having physical needs, seeking for public consolations, understanding and recognition. We already noticed, that the majority of people use their consciousness only for service of the body. No matter whether they understand it or not. Some people are capable to look at themselves critically and to see the whole truth of their functions simultaneously distinguishing contours of public spell or individual illusions. But they too are capable only of the greater solitude and more likely of experiencing incarceration in a flesh case, hopelessness, and endlessness.
Great thinkers of antiquity (Buddha, stoics, Neoplatonists) found the origin of sufferings and anxieties of human soul in needs and desires . This origin is natural and that is why — wild and indomitable, moreover it is based on itself or, speaking philosophically, it is substantial. There are two different levels in a human-being: the body, mentality and consciousness, among which an indistinct constant break and opposition exist. There can dominate one or another level or, which is most unpleasant, both constantly change each other authorizing human existence and making of the latter a nightmare of uncertainty and absurdity.
Already the Greek sages have developed a teaching according to which one should cleanse the soul from passions and the influence of the unconscious to establish the dictatorship of reason. Spiritual existence is possible only on the other side of mental troubles as the harmony of rationality. Intellectuals have always experienced an irresistible attraction to the ideal of perfect consciousness, which has always been "pure" from irrepressible emotionality and disturbing affects . Practitioners of moral asceticism have developed ways and methods of a possible approach to this ideal. At the same time, they knew the full embodiment of the ideal is possible only because of the ontological leap from this material world into another idealistic world with a completely different structure. This cannot happen automatically. People striving for this must make titanic intellectual efforts to change their consciousness so that it becomes ready for such an ontological transition.
Nothing had changed for the past several thousand years. However, from evolutionary point of view our species is young in comparison with other, therefore one can hardly expect any serious natural, i.e. biological changes. The more so as for individual consciousness it all comes to an end once and for all and anthropological ruminations bring poor consolations. Every sovereign consciousness controlling itself is a world understanding inevitability of withering and crash. A chain of generations lost in thousand years before us, and rolling waves of new lives transform for us, short-term beings, instants from the point of view of a star time scale into stability almost of eternity. In this or that way but practical identity of physiological and psychological determinations unites mankind morally and metaphysically .
Many people are under the decisive influence of religions and ideologies; they see their lives as exclusively bodily-psychological in their content, like billions of others like us. The ancients called it "the veil of Maya" or collective illusion, which, we will add, is of genus-anthropological origin. At the same time, each of us tends to consider ourselves a unique spiritual being. Thus, we are simultaneously in two mutually exclusive illusions.
They often interpenetrate and mutually condition each other. So, although “everyone is doing this,” nevertheless, everyone considers their bodily satisfaction only their own. And in sexual love requiring a partner, that is, the indirect connection of society, we each time proceed from ourselves as the starting point of all satisfaction. Thus, we individualize society and socialize our spiritual.
It is strange that people can form within themselves idealistic unique universe, but without fail having passed the road of universal values and ideals before that. But they are abstract, conditional, symbolic and serve the purpose of manipulating the individual.
The situation here is dual: social instincts are inborn, forms of their satisfaction are public, but nevertheless their satisfaction due to self-consciousness becomes individual and intimate in character. Human aspirations to riches, glory, authority, honours, spiritual influence only strengthened society for the majority is involved in Game and plays keeping common rules. A separate person usually does not think of it. Social environment with its norms is natural for him as natural environment for an animal. He carries out his social instincts as well as mental and physical individually, originally for his consciousness, from himself and for himself. In this selfness, licence is a source of usual novelty in human development. The payment for it is great. For an individual it is disappointment of late understanding of his real dependence and banality. For society it is a circular, zigzag, through constant contentions, enmity and wars, way to a unification.
Proportions of self-preservative and altruistic bases in a human-being are quite different historically and regionally. Generally social consciousness by words of thinkers recognizes validity of sovereignty of individual consciousness and legalizes it in metaphysical, moral maxims, everyday aphorisms like: “the nature originally is a road to itself”, “life is the main value”, “self comes first ”, “that is nothing to with me”, “the human heart is a mystery” etc.
It is difficult to deny the naturalness of selfishness for people, but only within the framework of reasonable control . This is the natural, original form of our relationship to the world and to ourselves, which is characteristic of all of us in childhood. Then we make efforts to self-restrain our passions and affects and form a rational culture of our consciousness. Not everyone is capable of this for various reasons. Some are poor in some psychological qualities, others, on the contrary, have them, but in an exaggerated form, or have not properly formed their rationality. Therefore, selfishness is a source of strength, ambivalent in its content. He can generate both greatness and vice. If a person cannot relate to himself critically, reflexively loves himself excessively and gratifies all his passions, they turn into vices. Such a person maximizing self-love does not actually know himself. And if a person doubts himself, that is, he essentially studies himself, although weakening self-confidence, then he creates conditions for mastering himself.
People love themselves and this is the basic type of love, since we are encouraged to love even our neighbors as “ourselves”. One should not demand to love others more than oneself in defiance of the instinct of self-preservation. Some insanely loving men are sometimes seriously ready to give their lives for their beloved, but this is also an example of self-love. They have reached the limit of happiness as the completeness of the correspondence between the two sexual halves.
People should love themselves with seeking understanding knowing love. So, they gain the opportunity to become themselves, to find, confirm and consolidate their personality, to reveal their originality. They compare themselves seriously and carefully to others. If they are not capable of this, then self-love imperceptibly becomes blind and unreasoning. Russian language expert Vl. Dal' differentiate Russian words describing an attitude of a human-being to himself: “selfness” (samost) and “selfishness” (samotnost) . The first designates subjective authenticity, the second — self-love as self-interest.
So blind unreasoning self-love generates all existing evil. She becomes selfish and vanity in relation to herself. These are not only smug people, narrow-minded and closed off from any critical thought. Egoists can be quite reasonable and critical individuals. However, the main thing is that they analyze and criticize only external situation and other people, but not themselves.
An example is the biblical Job. At first, he does not doubt his personal infallibility and purity before God and is smug to the extreme. Such people are seriously convinced of their righteousness and virtue are often actually the masters of life. They govern us in all areas of social life. They are attractive only in the role of sufferers, otherwise such people are real personifications of passions.
The self-consciousness of such people plunges into the psychological abyss of passions and is not capable of independent spiritual development. Their self-consciousness does not distance itself from passions, therefore, it cannot control and restrain them. They are not even able to seriously think about how to restrain themselves, it is almost like hurting themselves. Such people act quite rationally, but only in relation to external, not internal life. But they are captives of their passions, pimps of their own shortcomings, they surrender themselves into the hands of passions. People say so: “he was seized by an unfortunate passion; carried away by passions; he is powered by feelings, not mind; enslaved by passions”.
When self-consciousness loses its power over passions, they make a person their captive. It is significant that the semantic structures of the Russian language often reveal the meanings of the word "passion" with the help of direct physiological connotations of the words "hunger" and "thirst" .
Passion is a sincere impulse for something, moral thirst, hunger, involuntary attraction, unrestrained, unreasonable desiring. “Desiring” and “impulse” tell about strong willing to underlying reason of passions focusing in most vital energy. “Hunger” and “thirst” in evident form transfer essence, contents of passions — irrespective of what they are: corporal or ideal. The original, patrimonial sense of “hunger” is “saturation”, aspiration to satisfaction, and in Russian “belly” meant earlier not only stomach, cavity with digestive organs but also “life” of human-being and animal. “Thirst” means a desire to drink. “Thirst” means much stronger desire, than “hunger”, again in accordance with original physiological “denotates”: physiologically dehydration is much more exhausting and less bearable than absence of food.
It is no mere chance that these words are synonyms, revealing and simultaneously clearing up senses of a “passion”. There is a deep semantic relationship between them since they point at kindred human phenomena: appropriation and absorption . At the same time, it is possible to speak about their identical infiniteness: insatiability, insatiable thirst.
It seems that passions are a calque from physiology. It is a victory of a body-mentality above spirit, ego — when corporal, organic or social-symbolical passions take possession of human-beings, his soul and self-consciousness. The human-being certainly remains a human-being, with reason and morals, but the latter do not power, restrain, control any more. They are already subordinated to passions: serve them, hide them, justify and embellish. The reason and the ego lose their sovereignty and supreme power. The ego is substituted by personified passions. It does not mean what plausible and decent masks they hide under; the essence does not change: it is a victory of a body-mentality above self-defining spirit (or its opportunity). This is an absolute tragedy — most people have no personal history of spirit at all, they consciously and with pleasure choose tangible and intangible, but socially prestigious boons. It was, it is, and it will be so. The problem arises only when one has something to lose. When consciousness of dissonance arises. When an enslaving passion does not bring clearness of a self-satisfied spontaneity of pleasure, and thus reduce self-consciousness to the state of gloomily snarling but powerless slave. When a human-being man realizes that he has lost something important, having got nothing in exchange. What he was taking for an abyss of pleasure, what could be changed for a boring mind and burdensome duties of the control and responsibility turned out to be a humiliating slavery, in which hedonistic moments, moments of pleasure “come together” as the passion overrides all the life.
Passions are fed by our power — the power of self-conscious will. The latter is a regal scepter and authority. While "ego" keeps the will it is a self-consciousness, i.e. consciousness that manages itself. If there is no will the consciousness becomes a servant, a rational guide of passion and "ego" becomes its personification. This was perfectly expressed by A. de Riverol: "The will is a hefty slave that serves sometimes passions sometimes reason: it is the effort of all our abilities" .
The harmony between two levels of existence in the human-being always is relative and transient. The struggle between "what “I” want" and "what wants that animal “I” live in" is eternal. The selfishness which is not restricted by self-criticism turns out to be a nutritious ground for passions just because it does not see the difference between "itself" and "its passion". It voluntary gradually loses power (energy of will, desire) indulging (any passion is blind and mad). Self-indulgence, weakening of discipline, search of accessible pleasures are certainly much more comfortable for a body and psychological "me" than restrain, discipline and restrictions. But the latter is an indispensable condition of self-development and cultivation of supreme spiritual intentions. They give no tangible social feedback. And people surrender. The mental and physiological nature cries out: "That’s it, and it is real — the pleasure of assignment and absorption!" And non-corporal desires, non-pragmatic aspirations, non-utilitarian, not-just-for-show attractions imperceptibly turn pale, lose former appeal, and those inclinations that are habitual or worthy of efforts saturate with power and become monsters. For the sake of justice, it is necessary to note the opposite cases when passion is tamed by an active ego that wakes up. These are undoubtedly the flowers of human spirit.
Human passions could be divided into two groups which differ both in processes and in objects of desire. Therefore, we shall name the first organic passions (gluttony, voluptuousness, hunger for drugs), the second — social-symbolical passions (self-interest, ambition, love of power, vanity, stinginess, litigiousness).
Результаты процедуры рецензирования статьи
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Представленный материал, в целом, соответствуют требованиям, предъявляемым к научным публикациям. Содержание заявленной темы раскрыто. Структура статьи вполне удачна: текст разбит на пункты (введение, постановка проблемы, обсуждение, выводы), каждый из которых раскрывает свою часть содержания. Список источников содержит 9 позиций, ссылки на них уместны, приведены корректно и грамотно. Что касается недостатков можно отметить следующие: а) актуальность темы обоснована во введении, но, не вполне убедительно.; б) научная новизна (то есть личный вклад автора в разработку темы исследования) не определена; в) в статье проанализировано незначительное количество источников, причем классической литературы по философской антропологии и по экзистенциализму не представлено.
В целом, можно отметить, что статья не содержит обстоятельного философского анализа (с использованием методов философской антропологии и экзистенциализма, как отмечается во введении), а представляет собой размышления автора о сущности порока, соотношении порока и добродетели и некоторые теоретические обобщения по проблеме нравственной мотивации. Эти размышления логичны, обоснованы и могут быть интересны широкому кругу читателей, увлеченных вопросами теоретической этики. Приведенные замечания не являются существенными. Статья может быть опубликована в научном издании.
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