National picture of the world and archetypical matrix mentality of the Kazakh people

The article is devoted to the study of the formation of the mentality of the Kazakh people. The results of adaptation of the Kazakh ethnic group to the natural arid habitat zone, the influence of nomadic cattle breeding and traditional culture on the formation of the mentality of the Kazakh people are presented. It has been established that the key elements of the Kazakh mentality are archetypes: Ata Meken, Ru, Syilau, Aruaκκa senu, Bata-beru, K<>naκ — syilau. It is substantiated that they represent a coded model of the historical experience of the Kazakh people and currently continue to maintain a symbolic character for the Kazakh identity.

Mentality is a prism through which a person looks at the world, but this prism itself is colored by emotionally charged key symbols for representatives of a given cultural community. These characters are not just some words or concepts. The appearance of any of them in the human mind sets in motion the entire range of feelings associated with it, which, in turn, becomes an impulse to a more or less typical action of people of the same community. This bundle of «concept-action» is called the national archetype. Hence, it is possible to identify each ethnic culture with the help of a specific set of archetypes, on the basis of which its originality is expressed and the continuity of traditions is ensured. The analysis of the archetypical foundations of the Kazakh mentality singled out from the realities of the modern life of the Kazakh people some intrusive words that haunt the Kazakh at every step — incentives: Ata Meken, Ru, Syilau, Arukka senu, Bata-beru, Konak-syilau. Behind every word stands not just a stroke, reflecting the peculiarity of the world's perception of the Kazakh people, but a whole train of images, associations and emotional experiences for a person of Kazakh nationality. The mentality as a component of the mental warehouse of a nation must bear in its structure precisely such bright and indicative, integral structural elements. These components reflect the aspirations of all or at least the majority of the members of the nation. Also, they should be coded model of the unique historical nomadic experience of the Kazakh people. And then they can be called the archetypes of the Kazakh mentality, since they throughout the existence of the people had a symbolic character, and now continue to remain religious symbols of the Kazakh identity. From where, how these archetypes originated, remains to be investigated. But they are already present in the available spiritual experience of the Kazakh people, and they somehow became entrenched in the minds of each Kazakh individual, shaping their value structure and determining their behavior towards more or less typical actions. Thanks to the archetypes, representatives of one or another people become mentally and behaviorally similar. And all because in the traditional society, where the ethnos mentality is actually laid down, people live according to canonized patterns and moral precepts of distant ancestors. The society encourages such behavior and condemns any deviation from archetypes that have become the «mental norm» of the everyday behavior of a person in a traditional society.

The objectification of these archetypes and their actual functioning in specific rituals and speech practices of the Kazakh people is the subject of a separate study, but first we call them and briefly define a common horizon of values.

The archetype of the native land. There is no people who have no emotionally colored perception of the motherland. The archetype of the native land of the Jewish people is the Promised Land, the Russian people the Holy Russia, and the Kazakhs the Ata-Meken. Being nomads, the Kazakhs fully identified themselves with the clan territory as a natural extension of their natural being, an organic part of the natural reproduction cycle of a nomadic society. In former times, the Kazakh clans did not have maps of the tribal territory. And they did not need them, because everything: all the pastures, every stream, hill, nomadic paths were clearly captured in the mental map of the area. The nomadic world has disappeared, but the earth itself is perceived as a link between the past and the future, which is enhanced by the realization that our ancestors lie on thisearth. A variant of the term «Ata-Meken» is the word «Ata-Konys» which literally means the grave of the ancestors: «kir zhuyp, kindik qan tamgan zher» is the earth that absorbed the blood from the umbilical cord of the ancestors. The concept of Ata-Meken is an expression of the original natural belonging of the land of the Kazakh people to their descendants and passionate attachment to it.

Archetype Ru — represents the Kazakh family in seven generations of consanguinity through the male line. In former times, the first question that was asked to a stranger was: «Qai ruynan bolasynyz?» — what kind of family would you be from? What is it — Ru? Why did each Kazakh have to know their ancestry, why they say about us: Kazakhs, wherever they are, ask — not who you are, but start to find out who (what) is behind this person? Let us try to find out what initial meaning this question had for the Kazakh people. First of all, in this question «Qai ruynan bolasynyz?» Reflected the key symbol of the Kazakh mentality — the archetype Ru. In the patriarchal Kazakh society, due to its local nature, all social communications were built on a purely related basis. Hence, to determine his strategy of behavior, man most important was the perception of himself and significant people in the categories of kinship. And the most authoritative and universally recognized form of communication in the Kazakh people are blood relations. Historically, a feature of the kinship of the Kazakhs was that they were defined by triple kinship ties. A Kazakh proverb says that a person has three peoples: the father's family, on the basis of which the continuity of generations proceeds, was called — «oz zhurt» (his people). The maternal race was called «nagashi zhurt». Having created a family, a person acquired the «qayn zhurt» in the person of his wife's (spouse) relatives. Such a monument of ancient Turkic literature testifies to the enormous significance of blood ties in the behavior and thinking of the Kazakhs — this is a famous song in which a woman grieves that she loses her relatives during a fire. It is significant that she wants to save not her husband and her children (with whom she has «one meat» — «et zhatkyn», but «bones are different» — «suek bolek»), but only her half-brother — «suek bir». This actually meant that for this woman in the first place in importance were relatives on the paternal side, that is, in his clan branch (Ru). How did the subordination system of the individual to the blood-related community, laid down in the tribal nomadic society, reflected in the mentality of the Kazakh people? It can be assumed that in Kazakh society, the basic principle of the behavior of an individual is collectivism on a blood-based basis. A person in the nomadic Kazakh society became a subordinate element of the tribal community, which was governed by the relations of seniority, class and tribal responsibility. The very identity of a person entirely depended on his position in the system of kinship relations. Man could not be the creator of the conditions of his life. Not a free individual, but a local kinship community was the initial structuring principle of the social relations of Kazakh society. Thus, the answer to the question asked at the meeting: Qai ruynan bolasynyz? — was, in fact, the birth certificate of a person. This information is needed to the questioner in order to find out the status of the gender of a person, namely what kind of gender is behind this person. And for the respondent himself it was vital to know his place in the clan structure, to find meaningful people from close and distant relatives around him. You can call this mental strategy as a search for people to rely on — «search for a patron». In Kazakh society, a person considered himself protected only when he felt that he belonged to a clan. Other peoples, sedentary and mature civilization, had many ways to protect and support the survival mechanisms of an ordinary person. People were saved from the cold in stationary warm houses, from hunger — with the help of their labor and summer food supplies, from lawlessness — turning to the state. The nomadic Kazakh, except for people who are nearby, could not have other supports. Relatives — the only support person in all. The exit from the hierarchical structure of the generic relations of the Kazakh society was equivalent to the exit from the society itself. The social status of a person — a place in society was determined by the measure of his recognition in a related group. In other words, the authority of a person depended not on his personal human qualities, on the actual labor contribution to the common economy, or even on his past years. And from the influence recognized by other people, which was determined by the place that this clan to which the person belonged, occupied in the hierarchical tribal structure of the Kazakh people. It turns out that the individual received what he wanted, not as a result of personal efforts — labor and ingenuity, but only being in the lineup with his family. It turns out that the main thing for a person is to have these relatives and relatives, and to be with them always. In the depth of the centuries a well-known wish was born to every Kazakh -: «U ishsende — ruymen bir bol» — even if you drink poison — be with the clanIn my opinion, it was the institution of blood kinship that originated the archetype of familial dependency in the Kazakh mentality. That is, it gives rise in modern terminology to the clan consciousness of the Kazakh type of personality. At the empirical level, the Ru archetype is manifested in the priority of kinship over all others, in the highest status of the family in the hierarchy of basic values of the Kazakh people. In the theory of values, the family belongs to the group of universal values. The status of the family as a terminal value is that a full-fledged family is what each person aspires to as the main goal of his life. And the Kazakhs are no exception. At the same time, in the ideas about the family of the Kazakh people, these are not only parents and children, but a large patriarchal family in several generations of blood kinship. A special feature of the Kazakh family was the warmth and affection of not only siblings, but also cousins, second cousins and brothers, uncles and nephews, relatives with matchmakers, etc. This is evidenced by the existence in the Kazakh language of a variety of terms denoting distant degrees of kinship of people that are not articulated in other languages. For example, such terms: «torkin» — all relatives of a married woman, «zhien» — children of a married woman in relation to her parental family, «zhekzhat» — intimate relations between matchmakers, «zauzat» — the generic name of all relatives along the mother's line, but unlike nagashi-zhurt, it also includes all matchmakers and relatives, «Nasil» — descendants of a man in the line of a daughter, «urpak» — descendants in a line of a son, «nemere» — «real» grandchildren from sons, unlike «zhien» — grandchildren from daughters, «bole» — children of sisters, «bazha» — husbands of sisters, «abysyn» — wives of siblings, as well as «nemere aga», «nemere ini», «shobere aga», «shobere ata», etc. The terms reflecting the data of kinship relations of the Kazakh people, fix the really supported relations between close and distant relatives, and also people who are not actually relatives. They have no analogue in the languages of other nations, and therefore they are called non-equivalent vocabulary of the Kazakh language. We emphasize once again that the basis of the reproduction of the institution of blood relationship was the harsh realities of the nomadic way of life of the Kazakh people, when the fate of a person depended on the clan status of a person and his knowledge of his ancestry. There were such situations when the question «Qai ruynan bolasynyz?» Was so important for people that the life of a person depended on it. Here is what VK writes about this. Hern in his work «Character and customs of the Kazakhs»:

Zhaiaudyn shany shykpas,

Zhalgyzdyn uni shykpas.


From the foot — the dust does not rise,

From the lonely — the sound is not heard.

As this proverb definitely expresses the meaning of the clan principle, on which everything is based on the Kazakhs. A man without a clan is an orphan in the steppe: no one supports him, no one will protect and will not help in any difficulties or misfortunes; he is a stranger to all. His voice does not matter in the people and in the crowd. Even the life of a lonely Kazakh and his property is not always safe: kuns (payment for blood), according to the folk custom, his relatives charge for the killed, and no one will bring a lawsuit for the lonely, rootless; so that the murder of a lonely Kazakh very recently could have been completely unpunished in the steppe. That is why the solitary and the rootless sought the patronage of the khans and sultans, willingly joined tolengutov in order to become under the protection of a strong man» [1; 16].

Archetype Syilau — reflects the whole range of feelings, the whole scheme of the expected behavior of a person in communicating with seniors (ulkender syilau). Syilau is defined by the centuries-old traditions of the Kazakh traditional society, the essence of which is the rigorous obedience of the younger elders, as well as the unconditional respect for their age life experience and human wisdom. This is our, Kazakh analogue of the Confucian «xiao» — the sons of respect for their elders by age and position.

The archetype Aruakka senu — reflects the reverence by the Kazakh people of deceased relatives, called aruakami. An analysis of Kazakh mythology shows that in all our epic tales, folk sayings and proverbs, aruaki personified the divine principle and were especially revered by the people. Kazakhs have preserved pagan ideas that a person has three types of soul. Two of them leave immediately after the death of a person (shybyn-zhan — remains with him in the grave, et-zhan goes to the heavenly world). But the third (ruhi-zhan) continues to be in the family of the deceased for a year. After sending the anniversary of the death of a person, she finally joins two other souls in the other world. And only then the spirit of the deceased becomes a true aruakom. The biggest commemoration, and therefore, the final wires of the soul, the Kazakhs considered the anniversary — «zhyly». The spirits of deceased relatives must be fed — sacrifice to them in the proper days and years because without these rituals feeding the souls of the deceased and all distant ancestors will be doomed to hunger and suffering in the afterlife. Moreover, the spirits of the dead are able to avenge if relatives no longer remember their aruakov. It can be considered that the cult of ancestors (aruakka senu) existed in the nomadic Kazakh society as an integral mythological complex. The entire complex of the funeral and funeral rites of the Kazakh people was essentially a ritual sacrifice to the spirits of deceased ancestors. The main reason for such a serious and responsible attitude of people to the funeral-ritual ritual is the belief in the existence of the soul after death that is deeply rooted in the traditional Kazakh mentality. One may say that these are remnants of the past, that thanks to this «the dead suffices the living», but the fact is that they even exist today as an element of modern Kazakh culture and a significant factor of national consciousness. Including in terms of self-esteem: the Kazakh respects himself not for having made a professional career, but for fulfilling his duty to ancestors. And now the Kazakhs continue the tradition of honoring the spirits of their ancestors, go to great material costs to carry out the funeral of relatives in accordance with accepted traditions. Some old people, fearing that their children will not be able to make them rich funerals, even save money for death — olimge. It is noteworthy that for the elderly, not just luxurious commemorations are important, but more in line with their traditions, namely the Kazakh funeral and funeral ritual. The old people are more afraid of the fact that children do not know all the subtleties of these ritual, collect ritual things for their funerals, make wishes for the children how to spend their last journey. Life shows that even now the Kazakhs go to great expenses to realize all the necessary funeral rituals and funerals, so to speak, on the highest level... Compared to the rituals of the maternity and wedding cycle, the rituals of the funeral memorial ritual are most fully preserved. The disproportionately high material costs by relatives for a memorial service for the deceased in modern market conditions indicate the preservation of the Aruakka senu archetype in the life of the Kazakh people.

The cult of good wishes is expressed through the emotionally charged word «bata» (blessed word). The special role of bata in the life of the Kazakh people, moreover, a high degree of its presence in the most important life situations speaks of some magical meaning of blessing for the Kazakhs. The tradition of blessing belongs to the oldest rituals of humanity, and is a wish for people of various kinds of benefits with elements of edification. In essence, baht are small speech formulas that are pronounced in different situations: before the road and the beginning of certain rituals of the life cycle, to accomplish something, for good luck, for good luck, etc. The Kazakh bata, having pagan roots, in the subsequent development became an integral part of the religious rites of Islam. Bata is of two types: 1) the first sura of the Quran (Fatiha), traditionally pronounced in Arabic, represents blessing as a purely religious ritual act and 2) a speech formula which is pronounced in Kazakh language and is expressed in aphoristic or simply rhymed form.. Blessings of both types are used in everyday situations and at solemn moments, for example, during the rites of the life cycle: at birth, ritual cutting of fetters, circumcision, for triumph when the child goes to school, after graduation, at the institute, at the wedding, at the funeral. Bata must be pronounced after a public meal, as well as parting words. It is used for the development and maintenance of contact, friendship and for the expression of sympathy. Having emerged as the most ancient ritual, on which the classical Muslim matrix fell, the Kazakh bata absorbed the poetry of the Kazakh zhyrau and aityand later transformed into an independent genre of oral folk poetry. His emotional and expressive attitude, motivational intonation and the very form of verbal magic bring the baht together with archaic plots and spells. Belief in the power of the word in the Kazakh society took shape in a holistic and independent rite «bata beru» (to give a blessing). It should be noted that, despite the fact that in especially solemn situations, the Kazakh baht is pronounced by believers after its Arabic original, its value is much higher than the first. In any case, the mullah, who does not know how to perform the baht in his native language, is no longer invited. Despite the ongoing processes of urbanization and modernization of Kazakh society, the tradition to give the baht least changed, and is an integral part of etiquette, both everyday and solemn, and especially religious. For the Kazakh people, the tradition of blessing has become a kind of energetic feed, which is already necessary at the subconscious level. This, in my opinion, makes the «baht» the archetype of the Kazakh mentality, since it reflects not only the ideas of the Kazakh people about happiness and unhappiness, dignity and honor of the individual, but also contains prescriptions that regulate the daily behavior of a person in society. This factor makes a baht similar to a teaching, a commandment, or a covenant. The blessing contains the standard of morality to which a person should strive in his life. Bata protects a person from everything negative and directs him to good achievements, teaches righteousness. There is also a reverse blessing called «teris bata» — in fact, it is a curse that was given to those who did not justify the trust of their elders or brought shame upon themselves and their relatives. The philosophical core of baht as a blessing of blessing is the phenomenon of human wisdom. The content of the baht includes three attitudes: ethical (moral pattern of human life) and lexical (obligatory aphorism of utterance) and imperative (appeal, prompting to a certain action). With the help of these means, a magical «conspiracy» of the destiny of a person for the best share occurs. According to its structure, the blessing is based on the figure of addressing with high emotional content and implies the existence of the blessing and receiving blessing. In the position of the blessing is a wise old man, akyn, anyone who wants well. In the position of the recipient of the blessing is not just the younger generation, but all living in the present: from the world of people to the natural world, that is, all existing existence in all the diversity of its manifestation.

Archetype Konyk- syilau. Back in the 19th century, Russian official V. Von Gern, who was sent by the tsar's administration to Kazakh lands, wrote about hospitality from the Kazakhs in the 19th century to collect information about the life and lifestyle of the Kazakh people [1; 17]. In this archetype, the status of hospitality as a terminal (target) value is expressed in the hierarchy of basic values of the Kazakh people. In the Kazakh traditional society, the observance of the laws of hospitality was considered one of the most important duties of each person. It was strictly controlled by the customary law of the Kazakh people. This suggests that the archetype of the Kazakh mentality «konak syilau» finds its objectification in the practice of hospitality of the Kazakh people. Archetype konak syilau appears in the status of hospitality as a mental Kazakh people communication standards: «ot zhagykmagan ui — kora, kisi kelmegen ui-mola», «konagynyn altyn alma — batasyn al», «kongansha konak, uialady, kongannan son ui iesi uialady». The named archetypical installation in the behavior of the Kazakhs is clearly manifested in the fact that when the guests arrive, the hosts postpone all their affairs and are engaged only in serving the guests. The corresponding reception of guests is more important not only for their current affairs, but even for their own children, who are not allowed to sit at the same table with the guests, and they are fed separately with leftover food from the guest table. Moreover, the Kazakh hospitality could border on disorder, when a person could slaughter the last cattle for guests, without leaving the family food. The question arises, what is the ideological norm that forces a person to give up everything when a guest comes in and head off for a visit when called? Why was it so necessary at all to constantly meet people, visit them and then invite them to me? In my opinion, such a serious attitude towards hospitality is explained by the coincidence of a number of conditions that enshrine the usual culture of guests in a highly developed social and legal institution in Kazakh culture, respect for a guest in a cult of guests. Such as the specific nature of habitat, nomadic life, cattle breeding as the traditional type of economy, the absence of the institution of private property, the universal human need for communication, remnants, superstition, etc. In my opinion, the standard custom of hospitality acquired its institutional character in the Kazakh nomadic society as a result of the coincidence and synchronization of many factors:

First, it satisfies the universal human need for communication,

Secondly, it fulfills its targeted gastronomic role,

Thirdly, it was a form of exchange of gifts in the Kazakh traditional society, which is, provided the redistribution of social labor products into a form of reciprocity — communal property was jointly consumed at weddings, funerals, and other ritual events.

The fourth function of hospitality — latent mythological — is based on the preservation in the mind of the Kazakh people of the magic of the divine guest,

The fifth function, hospitality provides the ethnic and cultural identification of the Kazakh individual.

Figuratively speaking, a Kazakh will cease to be a Kazakh if he refuses to go to visit and invite and receive guests.

Kazakh culture and mentality neither good nor bad, just — they are special. Mentality is a special way of seeing the world, a particular way of response, enshrined in certain mental habits, behavioral reactions of the people. This way of seeing the world cannot be called low, backward, and only special. And we do not know that our features, but we have to study it. Analysis of the mentality of the Kazakh people to explore through the allocation of national, that is emotionally colored patterns of thinking and behavior. And since they are formed in the womb of a nomadic society to specific social institutions, it is necessary to study these institutions and their impact on the mentality determines the Kazakh people. It was revealed that the formation of the Kazakh mentality was long and determined by a number of factors: the experience of adaptation of the Kazakh ethnic group to the natural arid habitat zone, nomadic cattle breeding, the nature of the main social institutions, the specificity of the historical process, the traditional culture of society.

The mentality of a community is generated by history, but he, having formed, will determine it in the future. The content of mentality is a combination of ideological and psychological attitudes that, when turned into habits of consciousness, are manifested in the features of a national character and in a number of the most recognizable patterns of behavior of representatives of this community. So the author in the Kazakh mentality and national character revealed the following:

  1. general ethnic features: adherence to traditions, priority of family ties over civil, respect for elders and parents, tolerance, peacefulness and hospitality, a tendency to imitate and borrow, dynamism and mobility.
  2. features of group behavior — a sense of duty, collectivism on a family and compatriot basis, lawabiding and servant hood, the desire to find support in someone (search for a patron), heightened sense of shame and self-esteem, passivity.
  3. everyday life features — compassion, coexistence, endurance, restraint, modesty, a tendency to laziness and dependency. Completing my study of the Kazakh mentality, I will note that this topic is multifaceted and inexhaustible in principle. I took only some important, in my opinion, its aspects. The author saw his task rather in the formulation of the problem and the search for certain aspects of its solution, and not in the derivation of the «formula» of the Kazakh mentality. The author does not claim the ultimate truth in such a complex and sensitive issue as the Kazakh mentality and does not exclude subjectivity in assessing the collective mentality of the Kazakh people. I only express my own, subjective opinion about the mentality of the native nation, and nothing more, and I will be very grateful and grateful for the constructive criticism and comments on the essence of the problem raised and suggest that we consider this work as an invitation to the discussion. As a carrier of this mentality, I dare to express, in the language of M.M. Bakhtin, my own replica in an open and never-ending dialogue of cultures.



1 V.fon, Gern. Character and morals of the Kazakhs. (1996). Karaganda: Publ. KarSU.

Year: 2019
City: Karaganda
Category: Philosophy