Civilizational choice and culture in the modern period
Table of contents: The Kazakh-American Free University Academic Journal №12 - 2020
Author: Gusseva Nina, The “Kazakhstan Philosophy Congress” Association of Philosophers, D. Serikbayev East-Kazakhstan State Technical University, Kazakhstan
of theoretical work
it turned out, gives birth to either an idle,
an incoherent mass of data .
The mobility and speed of modern world social processes makes any
stay in a state of reassurance about the already completed research, an
understanding of both the existing and the expected future, unacceptable. This
means that it is vitally important to "move according to the logic" of the
processes taking place in order to distinguish it from that logic, which could
lead to more positive results than the existing one. It is vitally important
not only for the development of science, but also for the development of
society itself, in which science alone can exist and develop. In this regard,
it is necessary, firstly, to distinguish the logic of the change of social
processes in their civilizational definiteness, that is, as social processes,
and, secondly, the logic of the change of social processes as cultural
processes proper. The distinction between these variants of the logic of the
processes taking place in society is based on the distinction between the
essence of the civilization on the one hand and the essence of culture on the
On distinguishing between civilizational and cultural processes
Civilization as a way of organizing public life (and, consequently,
civilization processes) and it has the processes of using what is
created by culture and within culture as its leading processes.
Civilizational processes include the processes of consumption,
replication, distribution, exchange, preservation, transmission, etc. Civilizational
processes are not of a constructive but of a manipulative
character. After all, any consumption, distribution, exchange, dissemination,
preservation, etc. does not essentially provide for the creation of
something new, unless we consider new some applied knowledge, in which the use
turns out to be changed in comparison with the original or initial version.
Culture as a process is always a real, performed activity,
constructive, creative, and socially significant. Social processes, built
according to the logic of culture, according to the logic of integral activity,
always include relationships of people, built according to the type of connections,
and not external contacts, or interactions. Note that interactions are a type
of relationship between two or more parties in which each of the parties
doesn't undergo any qualitative change in the process and after the
interaction. A connection, on the contrary, is such a relationship in which the
parties entering into it acquire new qualities, that is, there is a mutual
transition of the features of the parties entering into the connection.
Connections, in contrast to interactions which are of an external nature,
characterize deep processes leading to the unity of people and communities.
Here it is appropriate to mention the difference between contacts and communication.
Contacts express a model of interactions, while communication characterizes the
logic of connections. In social processes which are characterized by the
prevalence of the logic of connections, the logic of communication prevails,
that is, personally interested participation in joint integral activity, there
are quite real conditions for the preservation of the human potential of each
individual, which does not allow the replacement of the human by the material,
in which the person himself receives the status of an object subjected to use.
It is vitally important for the civilization that the culture
continues to develop and deliver more and more new items to civilization
processes for consumption, distribution or replication, preservation,
spreading, transmission, etc.
A "unity" between the civilizational and the cultural proper can
arise when, on the one hand, there is a civilizational process, and on the
other hand, there is culture which appears as an outcome. Let us
emphasize the need to distinguish culture as a process from culture as an
Culture as an outcome is always represented though the objects culture.
The existing knowledge, a text, an artist's picture, a piece of music,
a constructed building, a factory, a spaceship, a developed method or
technique, etc. can be viewed as the objects of culture.
Objects of culture can expect two variants of "fate": it's either
de-objectification, in which the process of their creation will be restored and
reproduced with their meanings and logic, or lack of de-objectification, when
they will simply be used as some "ready-made" samples, objects, matrices etc.,
as independent objects in which the very process of their creation
has already faded away. Here, the use again means the aforementioned variants
of a kind of manipulation: consumption, replication, distribution, exchange, etc.
It is this second option that allows the possibility of the unity of the civilization
process and culture in its representation as a result of performed activities.
Culture as a process cannot exist outside of the integral activity,
that is, outside of a situation when the subject of activity is not formal, but
real, that is, when he, as a subject, carries out activities, starting from
setting a goal, choosing means to perform and obtain a result. In case the
activity is carried out as divided activity, that is, when one individual sets
the goal, the second individual determines the means, the third individual is
engaged in its performing part, and the fourth one, acting through the first,
obtains the result and becomes its owner, social relations will be "divided"
accordingly, since each of the participants in a certain structural-functional
block (a block of either setting a goal, or choosing the means, or performing,
or obtaining the result) of activity will be a carrier of a different interest
than those that are assigned to other structural-functional blocks of the
activity. In this case, it will not be objectively possible to "build" a model
of communication in the social process, rather than external contact,
external interaction. Marx called this situation the domination of private
interests, the domination of material dependencies [2, 3].
The dominance of material dependencies on the basis of divided
activity and the atomization of individuals transform the relational process
into a societal process, which is characterized by a global deformation of the
meanings of human existence, human morality, and human activity-creative
attitude. The meaning of human existence goes over into the meaning of being a
consumer, user, and functionary. The meaning of human morality turns into the
meaning of moral omnivorousness, where the boundaries of what is permitted and
what is not permitted are blurred. The meaning of the activity-creative
attitude is transformed into an understanding of the primacy of
"privatization", the seizure of power, money, and wealth in any form and the
transformation of human relations into formal manipulations from a position of
strength against the background of everything captured.
Separation, independence, self-isolation, atomization (K. Marx) of
individuals, as carriers of certain motives or interests, who are in the status
of participants in a divided activity, leads to relations of opposition,
competition and even antagonism between them and in epy
society as a whole [2, 3]. Such a social context serves to deepen the
orientation of people towards external, formal parameters of areas that are
important for them, which significantly narrows the sphere of real interest in
determining the line of their personal or social life, that is, here we are
talking about a civilizational process. In the civilization process, the main
determinant of the line of human or societal "destiny", decisions made, is a choice -
a choice from what already exists, from what is real, objectively available
in the society. Civilization processes as manifestations of divided activity.
Each of the civilizational processes carried out by people,
communities or institutions always represents certain systems of actions that are
present at certain "here" and "now". Systems of actions as such cannot
be identified with activities in which culture is realized as a process, that
is, they cannot be identified with integral activity. As for the divided
activity, it is represented by the systems of actions, which are only externally
combined into something, viewed as a single one. Such an, allegedly, unity,
that is, a supposed unity, but not really an existing one, which is built on
formal merger of independent systems of actions that have different goals, an
assessment of the correctness of the choice of means that do not coincide with
the goals of actual implementation, execution, etc. - such "unity"
breaks the activity process from the inside and gives rise to numerous
manifestations of this gap.
An activity turns into a functional phenomenon, which in no way is
the basis for the creation of cultural space-time. An individual in his context
turns into a functionary, an executor of certain partial functions, that is, he
is deprived of genuine subjectivity. As a functionary, a person turns out to be
a being dependent on many circumstances external to his Self. These include
arrays of characteristics, including the orientations of social institutions,
organizations, firms, routines, accepted rules, norms, and so on. Dependence on
such a multitude of external circumstances makes it necessary for the human
Self to leave the space of actual social being for the "gray" zone, that is, to
de-actualize one's aspirations, creative potential to the extent that they are
not consistent with the systemic-effective nature of the organization of social
The possibility of implementing such systems of actions assumes that
the objects themselves or objects of application, replication, transmission,
exchange, distribution, etc. already have the status of completed, static
formations, which get a certain "impulse" from the outside in the form
of initiation of these (civilizational) processes. That is, the use of already
existing objects, the replication of the already created things, the
transfer of already existing things, exchange, distribution, etc. of already
available. At the same time, we are not talking about the creation
of these used or replicated, stored or exchanged items, or objects.
Functionality and manipulativeness are paramount here.
The mentioned functional status of civilizational processes, their external
conditioning (by people, communities, and institutions) also determines
their variable nature. It depends on many factors, including political,
institutional, properly economic and other motives and interests. The
conditionality and dependence of "fate" not only of objects or items in
relation to which civilizational systems of actions, such as choice, etc. will
be performed, but also the nature of certain ways of application,
replication, transmission, exchange, distribution, etc. determined from the
outside, makes all this a representation of alleged arbitrariness and
certain freedom. That is, it creates the semblance of freedom of choice,
although from what already exists. People, communities, institutions existing
in the field of such a supposedly arbitrary choice, that is, a choice from the
existing options of application, replication, transmission, exchange,
distribution within the framework of what is necessary for them, creates a
situation every time instability, reliance on chance, on forces that are beyond
their human or social capabilities, which are able to regulate any processes in
favor of those who request this benefit or this outcome of everything that
In the context of the global predominance of civilizational
processes, the question of the possibilities for the development of culture is
very acute. Situations of choice, even if they relate to the essential aspects
of social life, do not characterize the grounds in the orientation
towards which the manipulative nature of the procedures that have emerged in
big quantities and deform the social process, turning it into a kind of opposite,
an alternative to the unfolding of meaningful values and relations of
creative, forming public good people.
In civilizational processes, the proven methods of making choices
and decisions made on their basis cannot by themselves ensure the positive
development of social processes and, thus, cannot ensure the progressive
development of society. The prevalence of civilizational processes over the
development of culture as a process, as well as the processes of its "fading",
for one reason or another, mean that there are negative tendencies in the
society leading not only to inhibition, but also to a serious decline in the
social state and to the absence possible prospects.
Civilizational choice characterizes the determination and adoption
of those types of processes that already exist and are recognized as leading
for a particular situation or task, corresponding to certain groups of
interests of communities, institutions, etc. Civilization choice in
various cases turns out to be focused on certain options mentioned above (on
the procedures of use, replication, preservation, exchange, or distribution, etc.)
or on their combinations. Clarification of these options or their combinations
is associated with consideration of the mechanisms of certain choices in
decision-making, the influence on them of the institutional structures of
society, political, economic and other interests of real social groups, forces
of influence, etc.
The presence or possibility of the civilizational choice itself
expresses and confirms the presence in society of the chaos of
intertwining, opposing, mutually denying, etc. systems of actions that
are incapable of ultimately making the social situation and the life situation
of any individual person in any way predictable, logical, expressing a certain
pattern of the social process. On the contrary, the dependence of people, communities,
and institutions on the chaotic nature of their own systems of actions, which have
an external character of "breakdown" according to motives and interests,
is confirmed and continually increases. The external character of the motives
and interests of the existing civilizational systems of actions is due to their
belonging either to individuals, or to certain communities (for example,
corporations, etc.), or to certain institutions.
Given the global and increasingly prevalent nature of the presence
of civilizational processes, civilizational choice is increasingly becoming a
form claiming universality and universal participation as a regulator of any
processes in the society, both material and spiritual. The claim to
universality in the noted sense on the part of the civilizational choice
becomes a constantly operating "mechanism" for excluding everything which
characterizes culture from social processes.
Here, we are speaking about "excluding" from the social process of
the actual presence of the orientation of people to the implementation of
constructive, creative, conscious, socially significant activity, which only
characterizes the truly human real man-nature connection and man-man
connection. Such an active connection is a representation of the essence of the
social process, but under the conditions of the dictate of the logic of civilizational
choice, it is gradually being lost and replaced by the "logic" of
manipulative activity, which reduces a man to the status of a functionary
(consumer, manager, exchanger, etc.), while the social process is being
reduced to the status of technological, in which the presence of a man as a
doer, as a creator is almost not found.
The absolute predominance of functional orientations, the actual
oblivion of human principles, the rejection of a truly creative, human attitude
(not to be confused with the understanding of creativity as the invention of
new forms of application, replication, transmission, exchange, etc.),
rejection of adequate understanding and real life in harmony, morality, beauty,
honor, human dignity, freedom, brotherhood, etc. - all this on a global
level leads to a significant degradation of the human, to its replacement by
the material, robotic, matrix, schematic relationship of the man to the man, to
replacing human value orientations with consumer, aggressive-aggressive, manipulative
Civilizational choice is one of the variants of manipulation, built
on the directly manifested interests of intensifying further manipulation and
seizures, which, according to Hegel, go into "bad infinity". The appeal to the
meaning of the phenomenon of civilizational choice is not to emphasize what is
usually meant by it, that is, not to indicate the need for the choice that each
person makes in his everyday life. Consideration of the phenomenon of
civilizational choice makes sense in the context of analyzing the prospects of
the ongoing social processes, which is associated, as we mentioned above, with
their transformation into social processes, in which not only the consolidation
of already established forms of alienation occurs, but also their strengthening
in ever new emerging versions . The absolutization of the logic of the
civilizational development and, along with it, the absolutization of the
possibilities and prospects of civilizational choice, the logic of using
everything and all in the human community, on which they are based, leads to
the dehumanization of the man , to the collapse of not only culture as a
process, but to the collapse of civilization itself [7.8].
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 The society in general characterizes the
mass of main existing relations, and this society is rightfully given this name.
It's a society of atomized individuals, dominance of alienation, private
interests opposed to common interests
Table of contents: The Kazakh-American Free University Academic Journal №12 - 2020