The article analyzes the existential experience of a person on the home front and internal states of a person, which lead to the deepest emotional experiences of death, pain, fear. The tragedy experienced in the life and consciousness of the Kazakh people is an existential experience. The focus of this article is the analysis of existential reflection in Kazakhstan society during the Great Patriotic War. The authors come to the conclusion that during this period the citizens of Kazakhstan developed existential experiences. It was established that during this period the inhabitants of Kazakhstan felt all the fragility of their existence, which they must overcome by making great moral, moral and physical efforts. In the course of the authors’ scientific analysis it was established that the citizens of Kazakhstan made a significant contribution to the defeat of the enemy. The article analyzes the role of existential reflection in resolving the subject of such problems as reflections on the meaning of life, anxiety, responsibility to the family, compassion, death, feelings, freedom, conscience. Since all these fillings are existential categories, the main pivot of the article is expressed by these concepts. It not only tells about existential unrest in the minds of people of the war period, but also sets out examples that determine the inner state of human existence. The experience of Kazakhstan society analyzed in the article showed that in many respects the terrible and unfair situation of war requires overcoming, that is, purification, and there is an opportunity to show moral strength, that is, to show a worthy way out of a person’s life tragedy.
The Great Patriotic War was the most difficult of the wars that the people of Kazakhstan had to endure in their centuries-old history. The war was the greatest test of the strength of the people, and the people of Kazakhstan passed it with honor. The life principles of those who lived in Kazakhstani society and worked on the home front during the Great Patriotic War became the subject of philosophy. It is necessary to trace, what existential experiences our heroic defenders of the Fatherland had to go through. The very first difficult test is separation from home and loved ones. It's not just a long separation. A soldier in the war does not know whether he will have to see his home and, most importantly, his family and friends again. War destroys the entire system of ideas about good and bad, right and wrong developed in peacetime, and, most importantly, pushes a person against himself. During the war, he learns about himself and about life that which he did not see or did not want to notice in a peaceful life. His consciousness begins to work on creating a new picture of the world. One of the tests for the soldier is the realization that he himself will have to kill or be killed. In dangerous moments in a war, many personality traits are revealed from an unexpected side. A continuous series of borderline situations, being on the verge of life and death form a special type of philosophy of a combatant. Enduring all sorts of hardships, experiencing various types of danger or anticipating its onset, loss of personal freedom and the coercive nature of behavior — all these factors of war and battle affect the fighter. Acting constantly and ceaselessly, they gradually modify the character of the fighter's reaction to the universe around them, create a number of conditioned reflexes, in a word, produce a number of changes that, ultimately, give a delineation of the existential reflection inherent in the fighter in comparison with the layman. In war, the danger of battle and everyday life are closely linked. The humans at the front do not only fight. There comes a lull, and during these hours he is busy with work, on which success in a new battle largely depends.
Materials and research methods are determined by the topic and specifics of the tasks set, the solution of which requires an integrated approach.
*Corresponding author’s e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org (A.S. Sagatova)
The methodological basis of the study is the phenomenological principle, including intentional in phenomenology. In addition, the following methodological approaches and methods were used in the study:
- Methods of philosophical and anthropological analysis, as well as general scientific methods and principles of cognition. In addition, a systematic approach, a method of comparative analysis were used in the work.
- The method of comparative analysis of different theoretical constructions, which allows to identify changes in the content of the subject by researching the comparison of the basic concepts of existentialism and analytical philosophy.
- The first plan was to discuss the problems of research with non-political, moral postulates, from a moral point of view.
The concept of existential reflection in a period of instability
The philosophy of existentialism emerged at the beginning of the 20th century, but it is still relevant today. Its relevance is determined by the surviving features of the world that gave birth to this philosophy: technical progress, wars, alienation of the individual from society, an isolated person, etc., which lead humanity to thinking about the meaning of life [1: 166].
Thinkers of different eras condemned wars, passionately dreamed of eternal peace and considered various aspects of the issues of general peace. Some of them paid attention mainly to its the technical side. They believed that aggressive war was birthed of immorality and that peace can only be achieved as a result of moral re-education of people in the spirit of mutual understanding, tolerance for different religions, elimination nationalist vestiges, educating people in the spirit of Noah «all people are brothers» [2: 165].
One of the most powerful aspects of war is existential reflection. In order to resist this world an individual must first of all deal with their own inner world, assess their capabilities and abilities [3: 670].
People often realize the cruelty and violence of the war itself, which leads to existential reflection, certain experiences, changes in meaning and life guidelines. War and its horrors reduce the morale and attitudes of numerous soldiers.
The basis of existential reflection is morality. Based on a personal understanding of morality and ethics, each person who finds themselves in the harsh conditions of war individually adapts to the new conditions of life. This applies not only to the soldiers directly participating in the battles, but also to those people who remained in the rear to provide for the needs of the front. Such people also have vivid patterns of existential reflection against the background of ongoing events [4: 86].
Morality is a value-normative way of regulating human conduct in society, based on moral principles and obligation. According to A.A. Huseynov, «the key… question of morality… is how to reconcile the subjectively asked moral purpose of actions with their objective content?... What should be done so that the individual’s striving for happiness does not turn into a great misfortune.» The latter is characteristic precisely for situations associated with manifestations of alienation in morality. Therefore, there is every reason to say that «morality continues to function in all its ‘falsehood’, ‘alienation’, ‘hypocrisy’, etc., just as it functioned earlier [5: 16].
The moral aspect is one of the most important among many other components of the multifaceted phenomenon of global alienation of the individual. It is the experience of alienation (that is, the recognition and emotional sensation of something alien and hostile in an entity enslaving a person) that gives the category of alienation a complete meaning [6: 137].
If people lose the moral foundations of their existence, then no expected material well-being is able to save society from destruction. The separation of people is generally an inalienable property of private property, since it predetermines the mutual antagonism of interests and aspirations, adapting the course of all moral life to market relations. It is quite obvious that the moral, precisely human, essential basis of the person suffers from various manifestations of alienation. Since the peculiarity of human activity lies in objectivity, and the subject in his own «activity objectifies his essence, the meaning of the phenomenon of alienation consists in the enslavement of man by the forces he himself created, in the destruction of the human essence, in the dehumanization of man. The quintessence of alienation is self-affirmation, the product of a man devouring monsters.»
An individual commits morally approved acts not because of their inner convictions they are unable to do otherwise, but because this is required by the prescriptions of the society in which they have to live. Thus, one of the most significant aspects of the complex multidimensional process of moral alienation is a person’s assessment of the imperativeness of a moral rule as some kind of external compulsion, as an encroachment on their personal freedom [7: 206].
So, norms, principles, sanctions and requirements of morality are perceived by people as imposed on a person from the outside, exogenous. Consequently, a person follows moral rules just formally, for show. This hypocritical attitude of a person in relation to the moral norm is a clear manifestation of alienation in the area we are investigating. It is a consequence and indicator of moral insufficiency, immaturity of the personality, «which is supported by the crisis state of modern society, characterized by the transformation of the fundamental value orientations.»
The permanent renewal of the conditions of existence generated by the scientific and technological revolution leads to the unattainability of a stable system of moral meanings and values that constitute the moral and ideological basis, an invariable set of principles and norms on which one could rely.
Existential reflection during the Great Patriotic War
The power of existential reflection lies in the inability to protect oneself from its effects. Existential reflection focuses on insecurities and desires.
The use of propaganda against the enemy's weaknesses leads to a new concept of existential reflection, known as the fourth kind of war, requiring its own component of exploration, strategy and action against the enemy. War is often viewed as a mechanical approach to human affairs based on the creation of a powerful and effective war machine.
Emotions, such as fear, hate, deception, pain, humiliation and loneliness, which are often considered the worst and most vulnerable parts of human nature, are systematically exploited by the enemy so the person becomes too demoralized to continue fighting. The Great Patriotic War brought with it the beginning of a new style of war. War was no longer a test of superior weapons and military forces. It suddenly turned into a struggle for the minds and souls of citizens and soldiers [8: 32].
Many philosophers argue that the Great Patriotic War influenced the emergence of social philosophy to the greatest extent. Before the war, most aspects of social philosophy were purely philosophical.
So there are two main questions of philosophical inquiry here. First is how individual fears can be managed. And second, how can the military tension be systematically increased. Philosophy studies the impact of war on humans. Currently, there are five enemies of individual survival.
The first is pain. Then cold, hunger and thirst. Fourth, fatigue. And then boredom and loneliness. Using these factors, existential reflection tries to focus on suffering rather than death. The typical reaction pattern in combat is as follows. First, a person has this unsettling enthusiasm. The troops are very happy to join the battle, they are delighted. There is a small concern about joining the fight, but in general, they are very eager to join the battle.
They are now experiencing what we call «humility» as they engage in battle. This is a chronic depressive condition. The experience of combat and combat begins to tire, become depressed, but can still carry out routine warfare effectively. But as battle fatigue and daily fighting continue, they become part of what we call «worrying concerns». This is where they are most vulnerable in their morale.
Anxiety is characterized by feelings of depression and loneliness. Imagine you are there in the field, in battle, far from your friends and your family, and everything that is familiar is nowhere to be found.
Combined with this suppressed feeling of loneliness, loss of appetite, and guilt, we also see a decrease in group identification. Having lost themselves in the conflict and battle that the soldiers are going through, troops often begin to question and doubt the purpose of military action [9: 52].
During the Great Patriotic War existential reflection was divided into three interdependent classes: strategic, tactical, and what we call consolidation. Strategic propaganda was directed against the enemy in enemy-occupied countries and had a dual purpose: not only to undermine the enemy's will to resist, but also to maintain the morale of those who support the allies in the long term. Tactical or combat propaganda was conducted against enemy forces at the front and pursued strategic short-term goals. Consolidation propaganda was directed at the civilian population on the home front, in areas recently occupied by the Allied forces, in order to ensure their further cooperation.
Kazakhstan in the Great Patriotic War: economy and losses
Kazakhstan entered the Great Patriotic War as a constituent part of the USSR, having a significant number of the population, rather developed production capacities and enormous natural resources.
By the middle of 1942, the restructuring of the national economy on a war footing was basically completed. During the war years, the direction of capital investments changed abruptly: 6174.5 million rubles were invested in the national economy of Kazakhstan (in prices as of July 1, 1955), including 4035.6 million rubles in industry, mainly for the development of the main branches of heavy industry: fuel, metallurgical, machine-building, energy, etc. work of power plants, industrial enterprises and transport not only within the republic, but also in the South Urals, in a number of western regions and in the Volga region [10: 12].
The oil industry of Kazakhstan played a significant role in supplying the front and rear with oil products, especially in 1942, when the front line approached the Volga and the Caucasus and the direct outlet of Baku oil in the central part of the country was temporarily cut off. In the summer of 1942, the railway connection between Baku and Grozny with the active army was paralyzed. The lower reaches of the Volga were also under threat.
In these difficult conditions, the Caucasian oil products had to be delivered to the front by a long roundabout route: Baku–Krasnovodsk–Ashgabat (by sea)–Tashkent–Uralsk–Stalingrad (by rail). The situation was aggravated by the fact that the Ashgabat railway line had a low capacity of the mass transportation of oil products. The stock of oil products in the army in the south was extremely insignificant. The State Defense Committee demanded to organize the fastest delivery of oil products across the Caspian Sea. A more optimal decision was made to deliver fuel to the front-line bases from Baku to Guryev by sea, and then by rail and the Guryev-Orsk oil pipeline [11: 17].
Enterprises of the light, food, local and cooperative industries of the republic played a significant role in supplying the soldiers of the Red (Soviet) Army with uniforms and food. The total number of light industry enterprises has tripled to 65, of which 29 were evacuated from the western regions of the country. The workers and engineering and technical workers of these enterprises, having mastered the production of new types of products, produced a large number of uniforms, clothing, equipment, army shoes, transport harnesses, carts for army carts, cavalry saddles, etc. during the war years [12: 21].
More than one sixth of the population was drafted from Kazakhstan in the war, up to 1 million 366 thousand. Of these, Kazakhstan lost 410 thousand people. The heroic efforts of women and children, who was involved in the logistical support of the troops, as well as food, were a significant contribution to the Victory.
It is also necessary to consider how the image of death influenced the inhabitants of Kazakhstan during the Great Patriotic War. The emergence of the image of violent death marks the heightened taboo on the topic of death, which is characterized by the massive spread of the fear of death. It becomes «unconditional evil», accompanied by senseless violence, ceases to carry any ethical message and meaning. A person completely belongs to a totalitarian system that suppresses their freedom, any of their social and existential possibilities [13: 73].
In everyday life, not burdened with the hardships and violence of war, people tend to forget about their mortality. Death appears as a distant and almost unreal perspective, an abstract consequence of life. The finiteness of life is an unavoidable fact that is in the shadow of consciousness. Every time a person finds an explanation that allows them to reduce the consciousness of the inevitability of death to an accident. And the type of this accident does not matter, it could be illness, accident, injury. But there is also something that radically changes the attitude of people towards death. When the death of the otherworldly, abstract and not having a direct relation to the life of a product of fantasy becomes this-sided, that is, it begins to be present in the world, then it is no longer accidental. In this situation, a person constantly comes into contact with it, sees its traces in the world.
Existential Reflection in Kazakhstani Society during the Great Patriotic War
What opinions did the residents of Kazakhstan held when they learned about the beginning of the Great Patriotic War? This is definitely a feeling of «horror». Despite significant cultural variability, an important feature of «horror» is that it is invariant in nature, accompanying all known human history. «Horror and fate have walked around the world at all times.» A tragic human situation can be described from different angles, including a terrible one. And there is no demonization and angle of horror here; indeed, in any epoch, human existence is exposed to the action of irrational and inherently infernal forces that violate human plans and interrupt positive life-building [14: 221].
Horror is inherently ambivalent. Quite an everyday idea of the «horrors of war» is widespread, but the mystical aspect of horror is also important, demonizing the evil fate and misfortunes of human life. The mystical aspect of horror, multiplied by the relentlessness of fate, leads to an ethical understanding of the misery
of human life. The fusion of horror and fate is equal to the tragedy in its classical sense. This is somewhat schematic, but the destructive effect of fate is terrible in its essence, and it constitutes the main collision of the tragedy of the population of Kazakhstan, which finds the strength and courage to resist the inevitable fate. Here, the horror is not an absolutely self-contained entity, but rather acts as a «side effect», as a consequence, caused by the action of fate.
The terrible is a category close to the tragic, but deeply opposite to it. If the tragic always has its resolution in the future, then the terrible is hopeless. This is death, which does not carry anything enlightening in itself, does not promise people the coming liberation from misfortunes, disasters, not controlled by people, not subject to them, dominating over them. In tragic misfortune is majestic, it nevertheless elevates a person, since the latter remains the master of circumstances and, even dying, asserts his power over the world. In the terrible, on the contrary, man is a slave to circumstances, he does not own the world [15: 187].
Thus, tragedy as an aesthetic category carries a deep ethical meaning: the ability to enlighten and transform existing reality, while horror is evidence of a spiritual and semantic dead end. The tragic appeals to a moral action that depends entirely on a person, while horror manifests the helplessness and paralysis of a person’s moral will, since its nature is beyond the limits of human power. Already in its original form, horror contains those properties that later become defining and autonomous from the tragic beginning.
In the classical version, horror is a kind of intensifier of evil doom, in order to emphasize the tragedy of the human situation, in which the hero’s actions acquire a uniquely morally encouraged character, worthy of imitation and perpetuation. In this sense, the terrible is immanently tragic as its ethical component. The horrible is not a self-contained aesthetic essence, but is the necessary context for ethically justified actions. Although, it is obvious that the terrible in itself initially has no ethical content.
Life's tragedy supplanted aesthetic tragedy, which was replaced by horror in all forms and forms. A fundamental ethical-aesthetic inversion has taken place, which determines the essence of the spiritual situation.
In a situation of war, great problems awaited people. These problems suddenly burst into life, disrupting its normal order and rhythm. In them, the insecurity of a person becomes convex, the fragility of their being, which he must overcome by making great moral efforts. Therefore, they are great; the greatness of man is manifested in them.
Tragedy arises and is formed as a special aesthetic practice, most suitable for raising questions that will later be called «damned». In this regard, the aesthetic aspect, for all its significance, did not have an absolute self-sufficient meaning, since the «great problems of human life» were brought to their philosophical resolution, in which there was a minimum of aesthetics, but a maximum of ethics. The initial mystification and aestheticization inherent in tragedy gives way to a philosophical clarification of the fundamental issues of human existence. Much of this is accomplished through the idea of «catharsis» [16: 17].
The tragic death of the hero acts as an ethical standard of life in general for all people who, in the inevitable confrontation with death, must maintain their human dignity in order to remain human.
This is the amazing ability to live, not adapting to the imperfection of the world, but proceeding from the idea of life as it should be. Such a disagreement with the environment is fraught with disastrous consequences for the individual: «thunderclouds hang over it, from which the lightning of death eventually strikes.» But this is the path leading to a more perfect (above all ethically) state of being, which is achieved by the fact that the hero, at the cost of his suffering and death, helps to improve the world.
It is important to note the complex structure of tragic feelings as a combination of compassion and fear, which ultimately leads to a cathartic effect. Note that fear is present as a basic element in the tragedy of war, which is its essence [17: 223].
In the tragic cleansing, the enlightenment of consciousness is given not only about the semantic relationships of things, but also about the things themselves. After all, tragedy just begins when the given substance of the mind rushes into the material infinity of otherness and comes to self-splitting and selffragmentation. And here it is no longer just aesthetics, but also life’s peace, when we feel that here, in the tragedy, the very foundations of our existence were seriously affected, and now they are unharmed.
The hero, therefore, is a «hostage» of the highest decrees of fate, as if «guilty without guilt». But it is precisely this in many respects terrible and unfair situation that requires overcoming, that is, cleansing, and there is an opportunity to show moral strength, that is, to show a way out of life tragedy worthy of a person.
A new sensation of life comes, in which tragedy is not the result of some special «tragic» events, but life itself. There is something in life itself that makes it essentially tragic without regard to tragic events. From a philosophical point of view, tragedy is an empirical hopeless. Tragedy shows that life as an empirical cohesion of phenomena is meaningless, but it is a tragedy that forces us to raise the question of the meaning and purpose of life with particular force [18: 121].
«Empirical hopelessness» as the basis of tragedy suggests that the tragic is becoming a category of everyday existence. There is an everyday tragedy that is much more real, and deeper, and more suited to existence in a period of war than the tragedy of great adventures. «Is it frivolous to assert that the real tragedy of life, an ordinary deep and universal tragedy, begins only when what is called adventures, sorrows and dangers has passed?» [19: 67].
The life of every person, if we consider it as a whole and in general terms, emphasizing only significant moments, in essence is always a tragedy... unfulfilled desires, the vain striving, hopes mercilessly trampled by fate, fatal mistakes of all life with its increasing suffering and death at the end — always a tragedy.
So the historical becomes tragic; this is the most significant axiological cultural shift that occurred as a result of the discovery of existence. The paradox of this situation is that a deeper penetration through existence into the personal plane of being, into the tragedy of personal existence reveals the universal laws of this being, enshrined in historical experience, which by definition is impersonal. This allows you to understand the philosophical approach to the human situation, in contrast to the scientific and religious, which can make tragedy a special case of life. For science in general, the ethical dimension does not have a special meaning, and for religion, life is primarily sinful, and not tragic.
Tragedy, thus, can be defined as the discrepancy between the individual will of the subject and the objective dictates of fate, which is in the position of aloofness and indifference to an individual representative of the human race. If the individual will of the subject coincides with the objective course of things, then they speak of luck, luck, or even happiness. But most of the time they don't match. Therefore, the tragedy is to some extent inherent in all people, and it characterizes the general human situation, and not a special extraordinary situation of unhappiness [20: 65].
But at the same time, it is worth emphasizing, despite the indifference of fate to the life of an individual person, that its «indifference» is incomparable with that icy emptiness of the absolutely inhuman, which carries horror.
This is a kind of phenomenology of tragic experience that is revealed in everyday life, on the very basis of life. There is a fundamental reassessment of values, as a result of which the focus of philosophical attention is a person in the face of inevitable fate. The tragedy is not individual «great» and great events of life, but life itself, which has revealed its absolute defenselessness in the face of death.
The feeling of hopelessness appears in the apocalyptic times of the Second World War, when deadlock and meaninglessness merge into one, giving rise to this hopelessness. This is no longer just a tragic feeling, but a tragic one, drifting to the absurd, passing through a terrible one. In a sense, the apocalypse of culture can be read as a fusion of the tragic, the terrible and the absurd.
The peculiarity of the war period is that horror penetrates into everyday life, practically merging and dissolving in it. The horror of everyday life has been already a fundamental new turn; not only is there horror in life, but existence itself is pure horror. At least it could be. The concept of «pure horror» can be considered a certain metaphysical enzyme, with the help of which the philosophical situation of the moral and psychological state of the peoples of Kazakhstan during the Great Patriotic War is described most radically.
Now the human situation is described not in terms of «hero» and «tragedy», but in completely different terms: «transformation», «process», «sentence». In the diaries of the inhabitants of Kazakhstan, one can find evidence of the phenomenology of the birth and existence of horror at the «cellular» level of his imagination and consciousness. Here, for example, are the records of 1942: «My auricle is fresh to the touch, rough, cool, juicy — like a leaf. I most definitely write this out of despair for my body, for the future of this body.» Despair over the future of your body is some kind of previously unthinkable ethical and anthropological attitude, which, obviously, is not a shocking statement, but a reflection of the author's real inner state [21: 120].
Here are some more examples of unusual states of consciousness, its visions of the world, which shed light on this so unusual creativity: «My state is not a state of ‘unhappiness’, but it is not happiness, not indifference, not weakness, not fatigue, not interest in anything — then — then what is it? … All the things that arise in my head do not grow from their roots, but from somewhere in the middle. Try to hold them, try to hold the grass and hold on to it yourself, if it begins to grow only from the middle of the stem»; «I’m like a stone, I’m like a tombstone to myself.»
These descriptions represent some kind of manifestation of horror that has become living flesh, entered into the mind, soul and body. No doubt, no faith, that is, no philosophy, no religion, nothing at all for the advanced Nothing that is associated with horror. These are very remarkable surreal states of consciousness, in which the extreme states of fear, absurdity, unreality, insecurity, guilt and despair are mixed, which together seem to be possible to diagnose in terms of horror [22: 113].
Indeed, there is much in common in describing such states with what they write in the next note: «I don't want anything. I do not want to go: the movement is too fast; I don't want to go: it's too tiring; and you don't want to go to bed, because then you either need to lie down, but you don’t want to, or get up again, but you don’t want to either. I don't want anything at all... This is how I live now, as in a besieged fortress, but in order not to suffer damage from excessive inaction, I usually cry until I get tired... My life is like an eternal night... My life is completely meaningless... How, however, a terrible boredom — terribly boring!.. That's how I lie, but the only thing that opens to my gaze is emptiness; the only thing I live in is emptiness; the only thing I move in is emptiness. I don't even feel pain.»
Reason is no longer a salvation from the horrors of life, it no longer acts as a guarantor of meaning and being, as it was at the time preceding the war. These words contain the ideological principles of the new picture of the world. The ugly, the creepy, the low, the terrible are increasingly entering the fabric of life as full subjects. The difference between the era of war and previous eras is that the previously ugly and terrible were localized, they burst into life, of course, were present in it, but never occupied a defining place in it. The horror of war for the peoples of Kazakhstan has become ubiquitous.
War exposes being, removes a layer of idealism from it. Therefore the 20th century was, in a sense, a flourishing in philosophy. A wide variety of schools and trends emerged, and their source was the world wars, which showed the poverty of those values that were previously chosen as leaders. One of the main values is the mind, which has been radically revised. The bearers of elite views on death are scientists who view death as a natural phenomenon of life, seemingly unnatural in its manifestations, but only because of unnatural political goals. Here we mean the growth of totalitarianism with the absolutization of power, which has a violent nature; the spread of the cult of strength and submission. Even modern «developed democracies» use forceful methods of imposing liberal democratic values with sufficient ease, without patience for dissent.
We must not forget history, we must talk about it with an open mind, see the emerging centers of violence in the present, and prevent terror in the future.
No matter how difficult a person’s situation is, their hope for survival should not fade away, and their desire to «live» should not stop!
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