Scientific journal
European Journal of Natural History
ISSN 2073-4972

Everyday consciousness in global civilization

Chelyshev P.V.
The article examines the ordinary consciousness as an everyday, not specialized, prescription, empirical consciousness associated directly with the practice. This is a set of everyday concepts, reasoning and recipes, obtained in the course of labor activity. In the era of globalization ordinary consciousness is maximally unified and simplified. This process prevents the development of man as a personality. Only traditional religions, such as Christianity, leading man to God, to much as possible humanize and spiritualize everyday consciousness. However, there is a serious danger in the form of religious extremism and fanaticism, creating a new threat to humanity.
1. Chelyshev P.V. Ordinary consciousness or it is not just bread that keeps people alive. – M.: MGGU. – 359 p.
2. Husserl E. The Crisis of European humanity and philosophy // Philosophy as rigorous science. – Novocherkassk: Saguna,1994. – P. 101–127.
3. Holy Bible. New King James Version. – Tomas Nelson Publishers Nashville, 1990. – 1204 p.
4. Marx K., Engels F. The German ideology // Works. – Vol. 3. – P. 7–544.
5. Tolstoy L.N. Diaries 1895–1910. Works in the 20 v. – M.: Art literature, 1965. – Vol. 20. – 670 p.
Everyday consciousness became a topical subject in the twentieth century philosophy. This was due to the loss of superiority of spiritual values by modern man and «propriety restriction of the individual» (Marx), as well as the crisis of philosophy itself, which was unable to meet the ideological needs of man because of the rule of positivism in all spheres of intellectual activity. So society had to look for new bases of life, which it saw in everyday consciousness.

In its origin and functioning everyday consciousness is associated with daily practice, «interwoven with the material activity and the material intercourse of men, into the language of real life» [4, p. 24], for «the natural man ... in all their affairs and concerns focused on the world» [2, p. 121]. He wants the only thing – at any price to win his «place in the sun» and live with a maximum intensity of the vital tension, breadth and selfish pleasure of self-affirmation. «It is human nature to strive to increase. This may be an increase in the number of rubles, paintings, horses, ranks, muscles, knowledge, but the only increase is necessary: the increase of kindness» [5, p. 259].

Everyday consciousness almost exactly reproducing the logic of practice, improves and develops on the basis of the historical development of labor and social relations. This is a natural, not-uniform and contradictory education, a set of feelings, attitudes, opinions, ideas and people’s knowledge about the economic, political and legal conditions of their lives, as well as in relation to morality, art, philosophy and religion. From the experience of domestic relations and everyday life people take knowledge which is the foundation of their life. Therefore, everyday consciousness, helping people earn their daily bread, always enabled him to survive in specific historical circumstances.

During the crisis everyday consciousness is usually saved by its pragmatism, its direct connection with life, which always revived it as a magical phoenix. Today, however, the vital factor, paradoxically, only worsened the situation of the spiritual crisis of everyday consciousness. The fact that within Western European and American civilization people have long noticed a pragmatic attitude of ordinary consciousness and started to use it in every way. Already in the XVI century Protestants put salvation in direct dependence on the commercial success and the thickness of the purse of a person. At the beginning of the XX century in Europe there appeared a philosophy of pragmatism, which theoretically condensed fundamental principles of the common sense of everyday consciousness. This conscious orientation to society pragmatism of everyday consciousness has increased dominance of material relations over human relationships, has led to the neglect spiritual values by contemporary human. Social production of «useful» person actually closed the opportunity of education of man as personality. Highlighting the pragmatic principle in human life leads to a distortion of his mind and psyche. This is manifested in the development of a consumer attitude to life, which has no boundaries in modern civilization. In this world everything is bought and sold. Even religious life distorted by everyday consciousness. If religious everyday consciousness turns to God, then it tries to make Him serve its practical purposes. People seem to forget the main purpose of religion – communion with God and begin to engage in religious commerce making it the meaning of their pseudo-life. Jesus criticizes the principle of pragmatism of man sticking in endless affairs and worldly vanity, and reminds that people do not live by bread alone, but by every
word of God.

To such narrowing in state of the mind modern man is lad not only pragmatism, but by algorithmic common knowledge, answering the question «how» you need to act in a given situation. Fixing the image of already committed action with a particular subject in a particular situation, it usually exists in the form of a prescription, the algorithm of activity. Indeed, in everyday life, it is important
to know the subject not in the abstract, not in its comprehensiveness, and as a subject of practical operating in order to quickly and efficiently obtain the desired result. If a person knows a set of specific technologies and ways to use them, he does not need to speculate about the nature and meaning of a process, or an event. Worldview question «why» is removed by the question «how» and gradually some part of the soul responsible for the feeling of «ideological hunger» disappears. As a result, the world looks like as a set of useful things, effective techniques and technologies for their use to a person of ordinary consciousness. Today, even the most intimate aspects of human life are subjected to commercial exploitation. There are technologies not only in industry but also in the field of marriage, sex and even love. Fewer people think by philosophical categories. Nobody cares about «the curse of eternal questions» that worried heroes of F. Dostoevsky. But rapidly as infection mass confusion spread about the importance of only sensual pleasure, especially of a sexual nature. There is substitution of values: a man is looking for the meaning of life not in spiritual, but in the material sphere of life. Thus, a contemporary ordinary person is «killed» by a pragmatic and technological relationship to the world. It permeates all his actions, thoughts and feelings, as a natural consequence of the practical relations of the world market economy. There is a narrowing of horizons of perceiving the world. Iinstead of searching for the meaning of life man is busy only looking for money.

Modern man has become less interested in history, philosophy, and traditional forms of religion as a result of domination in his mind the material side of life over the spiritual. If he turns to the spiritual realm, then quickly converts all these spiritual values to rubles, dollars and pounds sterling, trying to understand how it is possible to earn more and more. The outcome of these processes in the field of culture is the emergence of a «one-dimensional» man of H. Marcuse, testifying about the disaster of human nature. Nomination of the pragmatic side of ordinary consciousness today leads to the degeneration of ordinary consciousness, which for centuries exercised integrative function of development of the world, although on the basis of practical interest. Now remained only practical interest. But the system, which aim is only material wealth, power and success is immoral, anti-personal and therefore anti-cultural. The more a person binds himself with wealth and the world of things, the less time, effort and opportunities for self-development remain for a person – the main task of culture. You can not serve God and mammon. That’s why, in the XX century the eternal question «to have or to be» reviewed in detailed in E. Fromm book of the same name rises before man with a new force. But at the end of XX century crisis of ordinary consciousness only strengthened. This is due to the emergence of two trends in the development of world civilization, destroying the traditional attitudes of ordinary consciousness.

The first trend is directly related to the process of globalization, which has both positive and negative sides. On the one hand, globalization brings a number of advantages, linking the world together. It facilitates economic and political cooperation, facilitate trade, capital flow, improves mutual understanding of peoples. But it also imposes a single standard of living (today mainly American), which simplifies their cultural and national identity a variety of states and peoples.

And suffers not only national, but also a common human life, which is the dialectical unity of the manifold. The world should be united, but at the same time and multipolar. Imbalance between the whole and the parts, lack of freedom leads to the development of spiritual crisis. No wonder the Bible connects the end of the world with the unification of the world, the lack of economic, political, social and cultural development of freedom. General regulation of life inevitably leads to the Apocalypse. «Eastern miracle», of the second half of the XX century (South Korea, China, Japan) in the field of economics is based on a flexible synthesis of traditional and modern national laws of human existence.

The second trend of development in some ways the opposite of the first one. It emerged in the 1970-s of the twentieth century in connection with the revision of the current bases of Western civilization, actively implemented in their «flesh» and «blood» the ideas of globalism. This trend has been called postmodernism. It struggles with the unification of general culture and with the principle of the hierarchical structure of the world. It tries to move away from pure economic feasibility and mass social action. However, postmodernism has increased erosion of traditional social reality and a sense of unity of life. This is indicated by the authors of the ideology of postmodernism. The place of traditional substantial subject of life and activity was taken impersonal «flows of desire», «eroticism», «ripple of libido» (Deleuze, Foucault, Lyotard J. etc.). These two extreme opposing trends in the development of modern civilization lead to the main result – the loss of the man himself, losing cultural identity. The intensive search of the exit from cultural impasses begin. This attempt at the level of everyday mass consciousness, unfortunately, often turn into just another illusion of «salvation» in the form of «shopping therapy» traditional alcohol and drugs to escape from reality.

Recently, there have been more radical ways of dealing with the unification of life – religious fanaticism and radical nationalism, turning into fascism. «The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant» can serve as an example of the first movement, the ultimate goal of which is creating the world wide Islamic state. It is important that the its activities are supported by the representatives from dozens of countries, including the US, France and Russia. The second movement is clearly represented in the Ukraine, where the ideas of cultural identity turn into ideology of national exclusiveness, superiority over other nations, which are regarded as «subhuman». But is there any real alternative to ordinary consciousness? Yes and no. On the one hand, everyday consciousness is the eternal foundation of life, which can not be destroyed. It is the first natural form of conscious man’s attitude to the world and himself, a form of consciousness that many thousands of years successfully coped with the challenges of everyday life. On the other hand, everyday consciousness is in itself a force that is constantly undermining it from within, creating specialized forms of social consciousness. In other words, everyday consciousness is the root and trunk of life, on which can grow such flowers of culture as morality, art, science, philosophy, religion. They constantly arise in our daily lives, changing it radically, so as how yeast transforms the dough. After all, the world can be viewed from different points of view, not just pragmatic. You can see everything in the light of morality, that is, in the light of the struggle between good and evil, or to view the world through the prism of aesthetic categories of beauty and ugliness, or to interpret it from a scientific point of view. Or, on the contrary, to believe in the supernatural beginning of life within religion and consider that the world is governed by God.

All these forms of consciousness and spiritual activity have emancipated from the practice and have become relatively «independent» and «autonomous» formations in which people selflessly pursue higher spiritual ideals, without taking into account its usual selfish prudence, their utilitarian considerations concerning benefit or harm. Therefore, it seems that in ordinary consciousness the tendency to self-destruct is laid. After all, if from ordinary consciousness grows something new and also more and more sophisticated, it automatically tries to substitute less perfect source material. It is obvious that the ordinary consciousness cannot compete with specialized forms of social consciousness in search for Truth, Goodness and Beauty. All these forms of consciousness are designed to directly search for, interpret and express in concepts, categories, artistic images and religious dogmas man and his life. However for ordinary consciousness, these forms of activity and consciousness seem to be useless, unnecessary, redundant. It looked skeptically at all these feats of scientists, philosophers, artists, politicians, religious zealots who spend their strength, health, life in search of something not quite clear to it. And then those specialist, in turn, outraged by ignorance, stagnation of ordinary consciousness, begin to humiliate everyday consciousness, giving rise to the era of the Great Cultural Revolutions. The essence of these revolutions is attempts to moral, aesthetic improvement of ordinary consciousness, its spiritual and religious transformation, or even its complete elimination. However, it is important to understand that a complete transformation of ordinary people, their full and harmonious development cannot be achieved.

Only in the religious life man can come to some extent to the internal unity of all spheres of life and activities. Harmonious development of personality can take place only in absolute dependence on divine substance. It is clear that «no one can teach religion; religion can only be born from within, not from without» (S. Frank). Everyone by their nature is to some extent religious. And this religion from time to time is in enhanced by our daily life. Birth and Death opens horizons of existential infinity. Thus, there is a natural bridge from the world of everyday practicality to the perceived religiosity. We must always keep in mind to maintain and develop the opportunity for spiritual growth of ordinary consciousness, realizing that today it is special time in the history of the human race. For the first time it’s physical survival becomes possible only on the condition of the change of the ontological nature of everyday consciousness and religious transformation of the human heart, provided that there is growth of self-awareness and personal responsibility of each person for his social life. It is important not to confuse the true spirituality that leads man to God with the pseudo-religious or nationalist enthusiasm of contemporary globalization, which leads to the impersonal oneness of humanity at the cost of the individual.