The article analyzes the philosophical and anthropological approach to understanding cultural transformations. Using the methodology of system-synergetic analysis of socio-cultural systems, the authors reflect on the crisis of cultural identity of a modern person associated with the loss of the ecological foundations of culture in human activity. The existential characteristics of culture are considered, which are expressed in the categories of “life”, “death”, “sacrifice”, which makes it possible to pay attention to the prospects of overcoming the crisis of alienation of a person as a creator of culture from its material and spiritual wealth. The authors argue the need for philosophical reflection on the anthropological foundations of culture as an actual way for a person to acquire his identity and stability in the conditions of destructive challenges of modernity.
The historical path traversed by mankind from antiquity to the present has been complex and contradictory. Progressive and regressive phenomena, the desire for the new and the commitment to traditional forms of life, the desire for change and the idealization of the past, were often combined along this path. Besides, in all situations, the main role in people’s lives has always been played by culture, which helped a person to adapt to the constantly changing conditions of life, find its meaning and purpose, preserve the human in a person. In modern humanities, the concept of “culture” belongs to the category of fundamental, but there is hardly any other concept that would have so many semantic shades and be used in such different contexts. This situation is not accidental, since culture is the subject of research in many scientific disciplines, each of which highlights its own aspects of the study of culture and gives its own understanding and definition of culture. Culture itself is multifunctional, so each science identifies one of its sides or parts as the subject of its study, approaches the study with its own methods, eventually formulating its own understanding and definition of culture.
The term “culture” itself is of Latin origin and originally meant the cultivation of the soil, its change as a natural object under human influence, as opposed to those changes that are caused by natural causes. It can be noted that, in this case, the most important feature of culture was fixed in the language, its fundamental characteristic — its inseparable connection with the existence of humanity, with human activity to transform the surrounding world under the ideas of the man himself. Therefore, in the future, the word “culture” received a more generalized meaning, and they began to call everything created by man. This understanding of culture reflects its essential features and characteristics. Culture is understood as a world created by man, unlike nature, which exists independently of man. Culture is a system of human values, life ideas, patterns of behavior, norms, a set of methods and techniques of human activity, objectified in objective, material media, transmitted to subsequent generations. The transformation of these values is obvious. Culture is the basis that allows people to interpret their experiences and direct their actions in accordance with certain goals, which distinguishes a person from the animal world. Accordingly, where there is a person, his activity, relations between people, there is also culture.
The problems of the methodology of the study of culture are paramount and relevant. The complexity of studying culture is due to two factors. Firstly, culture is a complexly organized system that covers almost all human activity. Secondly, culture is a developing, dynamic system. For this reason, culture can be considered as a historically developing real social process and as a theoretical and methodological model that functions and develops according to certain general laws. Therefore, the study of cultural phenomena should be based on the dialectical principle of the unity of historical and logical analysis.
The diversity of cultural manifestations determines the multiplicity of approaches and aspects in the methodology of its study. The most complete picture of a particular cultural phenomenon can only be given by a comprehensive analysis that integrates both traditional research methods — philosophical, axiological, phenomenological, hermeneutic, and modern methods of studying culture — mental, semiotic, structural, informational.
Therefore, the authors of the proposed study rely on a system-synergetic approach, in which a person becomes the central link of the scientific picture of the world. The present is seen as a stressful process of choice. There is an opportunity to create a new synthesis of paradigms of causal and target determination, identify previously little-studied causal dependencies and consider cultural interactions through the prism of their evolution. It is necessary to consider that any socio-cultural system is complexly structured, non- linearly, variably developing, and the basis for its functioning is value-oriented human activity, which, in turn, involves the use of the principles of logical-historical reconstruction and cultural-historical interpretation.
Results and Discussion
J.G. Herder in his work “Outlines of a Philosophy of the History of Man”  for the first time raised the question of the active adaptation of peoples to their natural environment. At the same time, the cultural creativity of different peoples finds original answers to the challenges of nature, which makes it possible to study different cultures as alternative answers to the requirement of adaptation of human nature to the environment. The thinker stated the unity of humanity as the unity of human nature, where the natural in man is opposed to culture as a function of the adaptation of human nature to various conditions in which people live. Being a cultured being means a) to be an insufficient being; b) to be a creative being.
The insufficiency, Herder wrote, lies in the fact that man, deprived of the unmistakable instincts inherent in an animal, is the most helpless of all living beings. However, it is this lack of primordial adaptability that makes him a creative being. To make up for his own insufficiency, missing abilities, a person produces culture. Culture for a person has an instrumental character; it is an instrument of adaptation to nature and the conquest of nature. With the help of culture, a person masters the environment, subordinates it to himself, puts it at his service and adapts it to meet needs. From myth to modern technical devices, from poetry to fundamental social institutions – everything that a person lives by is a cultural reality, born out of meaningful social behavior and meaningful to every human being. Society as a whole is also a cultural institution, because it is based on meaningful behavior, and not on the instinctive reaction inherent in the animal world.
N.A. Berdyaev drew attention to the special connection between culture and man in his religious anthropology. Considering in his work such issues as the relationship between God and man, the meaning of human existence, creativity, freedom, the philosopher wrote: “man is very limited, and huge, and small, and can accommodate the Universe… He is a living contradiction, a combination of the finite and the infinite” [2; 35]. At the heart of the development of culture, the philosopher saw the growth of “humanity”, defined as the disclosure of the fullness of human nature, i.e., the disclosure of the creative nature of man. Humanity is connected with spirituality and opposes objectification, in other words, humanity is the spiritualization of a person's entire life, and therefore a person must constantly perform a creative act in relation to himself. In this creative act, the self-creation of the personality takes place. Spirituality is always connected with God, it is the acquisition of inner strength, resistance to the power of the world and society over man. Renaissance and Enlightenment humanism, from the point of view of the thinker, was far from genuine humanity, because it sought to establish man, but not to the end, did not give him independence from the world, society, nature. True humanism is only in the creation of a “God-man”, free from any earthly enslavement.
P.A. Sorokin, based on the sensual and supersensible perception of the human world, built his sociocultural dynamics. Taking the value approach as a basis and defining culture in accordance with it as a unity, all the components of which are permeated with one fundamental principle and express one and the main value. Sorokin develops this approach in his own version of the history of world culture. He distinguishes periods of sensory and supersensible perception of the world, alternating with each other. Thus, the main value of the Middle Ages was God, and hence the perception of the world inevitably became supersensible: Such a unified system of culture, based on the principle of supersensibility and superintelligence of God as the only reality and value, can be called “ideational”. The medieval value system began to collapse under the pressure of a new value, “which consisted in the fact that objective reality and its meaning are sensual. Only what we see, hear, touch, feel and perceive through our senses is real and makes sense. Outside of this sensory reality, either there is nothing, or there is something that we cannot feel, and this is the equivalent of the unreal, non-existent” [3; 429]. The “ideational” type of medieval culture was replaced by the “idealistic” type of the transitional Renaissance era, in which, according to Sorokin, “a new principle collided with the declining principle of ideational culture, and their merging into an organic whole created a completely new culture...” [3; 430]. The basic premise of the idealistic culture of the Renaissance was the following: objective reality is partly supersensible and partly sensual. Since the XVI century, the new sensual principle has dominated European culture.
In the context of these conceptual approaches, the development of culture appears as a way of constant search for a measure, violations of a measure, finding a measure temporarily, partially and for only a moment, transferring samples of this experience from one epoch to another. With this approach, the main function of culture becomes the correction of “human activity” not by imposing norms and stereotypes, but by correlating with something immeasurably greater than everything finite and temporary, with the eternal and unchangeable. The importance of the individual and personal principle in culture increases immeasurably, which, in turn, is associated with the concept of freedom. Culture is a matter of free initiative, and the latter is possible only as an initiative of individual people, as a personal initiative.
The need for an anthropological approach to culture has been felt and expressed to varying degrees by many generations of cultural researchers. After all, culture is a purely human phenomenon, in man lies the key to understanding culture. For many years, we have been trying to “reveal” the history of the formation of culture through the human problem. The “man of the axial epoch”, formed in the VIII–III centuries BC is just the type of personality that Jaspers proposes to preserve with all his might in the modern conditions of cultural decline .
The relevance of the philosophical and anthropological approach to understanding the essence of culture and the prospects for its further development can be considered as part of the general process of humanization of scientific knowledge. However, this approach takes its origins in the “new philosophical anthropology”, which appeared at the beginning of the XX century in the era of “homelessness” of man, according to M. uber: “In the era of well-being, a person lives in the Universe as at home, in the era of homelessness — as in a wild field… In the first epoch, anthropological thought is only a part of cosmology, in the other, it acquires a special depth, and with-it independence” [5; 50]. For the development of anthropological thought, it is necessary, according to uber’s observations, an acute sense of “loneliness in the Universe”, a sense of homelessness in an incomprehensible and unsettled world. It was in the era of homelessness in the early XX century that the question of what a person is was re-posed.
Today, a person painfully perceives the fact that neither his great religions nor numerous philosophies give him that powerful inspiring ideal that provides the security he needs in the face of the current state of the world. However, no matter what state the culture is in, as long as it exists, there are prospects for development that cannot be predicted using rational methods. At the same time, the trends of cultural development considered by us in connection with human activity allow us to hypothesize that its future depends on the ability of a person following the path of rationalization to become a Spiritual Person. The history of culture demonstrates the change of the leading branches of culture, each of which has its own borders. It can be assumed that when the spirit of science reaches its limits and its claims to universal significance are refuted by indicating the existence of these limits. The general line of development makes it possible to imagine with a degree of probability that a transition from a stable state of order to a zone of instability is possible, the way out of which will be either the disappearance of humanity or its radical renewal. According to C.G. Jung, “real change must begin within the person himself, and this person can be any of us” [6; 92].
Culture has moved away from the integrity of being, from the wisdom of nature, and this is one of the reasons for its crisis. “A person no longer hears the voices of stones, plants, animals and does not talk to them, believing that they hear. His contact with nature has disappeared. And with it went the deep emotional energy that this symbolic connection gave” [6; 86, 87]. Man seems to himself omnipotent, thinking that he has conquered nature. However, firstly, it cannot be defeated, and, secondly, all our actions are still guided by being and unconsciousness, and the mind fulfills irrational desires.
It is possible to overcome both crises — culture and nature — only not by contrasting, but by combining these two principles in the human spirit. Man aspired to victory over nature, and when it supposedly came, it turned out that “victory over nature is also a victory over human nature, its dislocation, mutilation and, to the limit, its spiritual and physical death” [7; 286]. The prospects for the further existence of mankind should be the ecology of culture. Not only ecology should be included in culture or culture — in ecology. Ecology, in this sense, will be a new branch of culture, linking culture with what it has traditionally been opposed to, that is, to nature. This should be a new understanding of culture as the sacrifice of humanity for the sake of nature, as the ability to curb their needs and aggressiveness. The understanding of culture in the ecological sense and the understanding of ecology in the cultural sense come together, which is the key to the formation of ecology at the highest level of the pedestal of culture. Before the advent of the era of the dominance of ecology, a new cultural picture of the world can be created, in which there will also be an ecological component. This is not faith, as in religion, not knowledge, as in science, and not material interests, as in economics, this is a new level of spiritual development of a person in harmony with nature, and both the environment in relation to a person and his own, organically inherent in him. Ideology, which dominates today and subordinates culture in many ways to its interests, is focused on enmity, ecology — on love, on nonviolent communication with nature and other people. Spiritual culture has always strived for this, and ecology will allow us to complement this aspiration with the following important principles.
Firstly, recognition of the equivalence of all living things, reverence for life (according to A. Schweitzer). Man is the most paradoxical species on Earth, but he has no value advantages over other species, since nature needs a variety of ecosystems for sustainability, which includes man, living and inanimate components.
Secondly, the recognition of consumer aggressiveness as a threat to the further well-being of nature and humanity as a single interconnected organism.
Love for nature does not mean abandoning culture, because it is necessary for the person himself. From an ecological perspective, the role of socio-natural progress as a synthetic concept rooted in the history of culture is highlighted. Ecology is a synthesis of previous branches of culture. With ecology, the development of spiritual culture reaches a qualitatively different level. It begins to prevent the destruction of the biosphere and unites man with it. A person deliberately refuses to kill the weakest. He loves nature not as an allpowerful God, but as a suffering object, thereby becoming like Christ, who sacrificed himself in the name of a moral ideal. In this self-sacrifice, the Russian space civilization can say its weighty word. Here, both Russian all-humanity and the limitation of needs will be needed. A low material level, if one does not think about the “golden calf”, helps the spiritual impulse. It is necessary to go through the steps of culture in order to come to ecology as a new paradigm of culture. Through sacrifice: first nature, then man — culture responds to the challenge of the situation.
The place of traditional archaic initiation should be taken by the individual's personal selfconsciousness. “Everyone has a natural talent,” wrote F. Nietzsche, “but only a few are born or instilled by education that measure of perseverance, endurance, energy, by virtue of which he really becomes a talent, that is, he becomes what he is, which means: he reveals himself in works and actions” [8; 381]. F. Nietzsche's argument about the macrocosm and microcosm of culture is interesting. A person creates a cultural building within himself, in which various forces and directions are reconciled. “ ut such a building of culture in an individual will have the greatest similarity with the structure of culture in whole historical epochs and serve as a constant lesson for understanding the latter by analogy” [8; 387]. Culture is complete and incomplete. By combining everything we know and do, we can get the desired truth, which at the same time will not be final, because life goes on. All branches of culture have a structure that gives them the highest meaning — through sacrifices to eternity. The child’s thinking is purposeful, but not causal and logical, and it is thinking about death that will lead the child to leave the stage of pure representation that everything has a purpose and learn the concept of statistical or random causality. Man’s first duty so far is still to suppress fear. We must free ourselves from fear. Now, as always, he is only as human as he conquers his fear. The destruction of one’s self is the highest wisdom that heaven has revealed to our earth. Since the axial period, the nature of the victims has fundamentally changed. It becomes the creator himself and the mythological sacrifice is replaced by self-sacrifice. Since a person realized himself as a person, and there was a desire to sacrifice himself. Every philosopher, religious figure, scientist is tested for the authenticity of his idea by his willingness to sacrifice himself. The individual is surrendered into the hands of a culture that demands sacrifices.
Sacrifice is a way to break through to another through culture. When the sacrifice is creative, a person finds happiness and eternity in the eternity of culture. Creating, a person forgets about himself. An artist, a researcher, a founder of religions — all of them can accomplish a truly great thing only when they devote themselves entirely to their task and, while working on it, forget about their own existence. In a narrower sense, culture is a way to stop self-destruction, from which a person, unlike predators, is not protected by saving instincts. Culture then achieves its ultimate goals when it provides a person with an understanding of the meaning of his life and death. The meaning of life transcends life. As on the physiological level, life is a constant reproduction, and therefore living means at the same time more than living, so on the spiritual level it generates something more than life: a goal that carries value and meaning in itself. This property of life to rise to something greater than itself is not something that comes in it, it is its true being, taken in its immediacy. Sacrifice is one of the variants of the beyond, which determines the meaning of life, which is not in life itself. Having solved the question of the meaning of life, which in the cultural realization of its individuality is aimed at the benefit of people, one can try to answer the question of the meaning of death.
Awareness of mortality is the beginning of consciousness, and from that moment on, fear and the desire to answer the question of the condemned to death: “For what?” turn on. The fear of death is experienced only by a person, but only he creates culture. Under the fear of death and out of a thirst for being, we must and want to create culture, both spiritual and material. Culture is an attempt to postpone death, to get away from fear, to satisfy the thirst for happiness and immortality. Every nation, as well as every person, is valuable only insofar as he is able to turn his experience to eternity. Culture struggles with death, although it is powerless to defeat it. Our social progress is mainly based on death; this means that the successive steps of humanity necessarily imply a constant, rather rapid renewal of the active forces of the general movement, which, being usually almost imperceptible in the process of each individual life, is only conspicuous when passing from one generation to another. Death is the source of culture, its energy. Culture as a whole solves the problem of death. Man, through sacrifice, creates the world of spiritual culture as the eternal from the temporal, i.e., from his life. The sacrifice gives birth to the eternal, conquering death and being its meaning, since a new life is born from the sacrifice. Culture is constantly fueled by victims. “It is only possible to live for oneself in the world, but it is possible to die for others” (N.A. Nekrasov).
In culture, human energy concentrates and freezes for subsequent generations. In this sense, any work is a bundle of cultural energy, a concentrate of the spirit. A cultural tree grows out of the victim’s seed. Culture gives a glimmer of hope for immortality, justifying its existence. This is a kind of way to get away from the time leading to death, without destroying the personality. Culture feeds the world of life. There is no unsurpassed line between life and culture. Culture teaches us to live and overcome the fear of death. A person becomes a person in the full sense when he understands that culture is immortal, and all his actions in the field of mysticism, art, etc. are attempts to approach immortality. In this sense, man is by nature a cultured being, although there are skilled people, but uncultured. Only man can overcome death in culture, and history shows that culture is stronger than death. Culture is a way of growing into immortality. It follows from this that immortality should not be perceived as survival post mortem (after death), but rather as a situation that a person constantly creates for himself, for which he prepares, in which he even takes part from this moment onwards from this present world. Hence, the immortality must be presented as the final state, the ideal state, to which man strives with his whole being and which he tries to achieve by constantly dying and being resurrected.
There are two philosophically grounded approaches to understanding culture in ancient Greece: as a way to distract from the search for meaning and the inevitability of death and as a search for the meaning of life and preparation for death. With the first, the main thing is to forget, and a person dies as a child; with the second, he realizes that he has survived death (as in initiation) and finds meaning through it. Currently, the first way is preferred.
Culture develops according to its own laws, and there is no death for it (in the sense of it, lack of culture is the opposite). Unlike material goods, it is easy to divide it into all, it is able to spread over vast territories. Material destruction contributes to its flourishing. Selfless service to culture creates most of the surplus value appropriated by those in power. Culture provides immortality to the human race, bought by the exploitation and death of creators. Culture begins with the awareness of mortality, and is confirmed by voluntary death. The fear of death leads to its awareness, and then to a cult and culture. The genesis of consciousness coincides with the genesis of culture .
Life sacrifices itself, but for the sake of establishing culture, not power. The meaning of life and death is to reveal the inner creative potential and “cultural dying”, i.e., to sacrifice ourselves for the benefit of culture, which requires us to sacrifice. In the willingness to develop inner potencies there is heroism; in the willingness to sacrifice oneself — holiness. A person is able to give up his own life for the sake of his beliefs. Therefore, sacrifice is the triumph of culture over life and death. It is impossible to conquer death without conquering life by giving it up. The paradox is that one can defeat death by giving up life in favor of culture. The value of life lies both in itself and outside of it. Through the understanding of value in this second sense, a person is able to end his life. Can death be the value of life? From the point of view of common sense, life and death are opposites. However, in dialectics, opposites converge. Death is the basis of life — this is how Plato’s words can be interpreted, that philosophizing is the art of preparing for death, and other similar statements. Death as a sacrifice can be the value of life. In other words, the value of life is in the possibility of sacrifice. Cultural sacrifice is a sacrifice for the sake of meaning, which is not in life itself, but on the border of life and death. Going beyond life is, at the same time, going beyond death. If we take into account that life has a cultural meaning, we can repeat after F. Nietzsche: “The most beautiful life is the one who does not care about it”. Let us also recall Lao Tzu: “The one who neglects his life, thereby values his life.”
So, the meaning of culture is to overcome the fear of death, and sacrifice is the way to achieve this. Culture appears as a series of victims, which allows us to highlight its basis, which is deeper than the differences between industries and types of culture. The purpose of material culture is to increase the strength of a person, starting from primitive clubs with which he hunted a mammoth, and ending with an atomic bomb with which he threatens his own kind. The purpose of spiritual culture is wisdom, which does not allow a person to destroy his own kind and the whole Earth. The principle of sacrifice can be formulated as follows; the driving force behind the development of culture is sacrifice, which creates the spiritual energy necessary for this branch of culture to achieve a dominant position, after which the process of replacing its goals and objectives begins. The sacrifice that occurs at the bifurcation point is a concrete way and result of overcoming the fear of death in these conditions. It can be concluded that the essence of culture is the need to overcome the fear of death and the victim realizes this need. The main problem that led to the emergence of spiritual culture is the problem of death. Man differs from animals in the awareness of mortality, culture «heals” him from the shock of awareness. The progress of culture is associated with the constant change of industries and types in order to find an adequate medicine that will make one stop being afraid of death. The meaning of the sacrifice that each branch of culture forced itself to make was to overcome the fear of death.
Thus, from our point of view, the connection between man and culture is the primary and most essential connection, starting from which, it is only possible to get close to the understanding of such a complex phenomenon as culture. As the phenomenon of man, the phenomenon of culture is equally difficult to interpret unambiguously. The “solution” to a person with the help of culture will be incomplete since a person is more complex than his culture, but with the help of a person, it is possible to get close to understanding culture. Two nebulae, two paradoxicalities, two infinities begin to clear up when approaching each other as if looking through culture into oneself, a person understands better what he is, and looking into culture through a person, we are approaching the comprehension of the latter .
Observing the socio-cultural realities of today's life, it becomes obvious that modern man is almost completely at the mercy of forces that seek to take away his confidence in his own thinking. Spiritual independence reigns in literally everything: in the books he reads; in the people who surround him; in the political parties to which he belongs. The matter is aggravated by a multi-sided material dependence that affects his mentality in such a way that, in the end, he loses faith in the possibility of independent thought, and does not see any sense in it. Modern man can be characterized as an over-employed, unassembled, fragmented being. The main problem is that we do not know what to do. Technologies that have given a person many opportunities only reinforce this problem. Value transformations contribute to the change of culture.
In conditions when there is a total emasculation of the concept of “man” and the reduction of its content to an economic category (human capital) or a social function (executive employee; valuable personnel), philosophy can become the resource that can restore a person to his spiritual dignity. This is the first point of practical applicability of philosophy in order to form a new (rehumanized) world order. Indeed, from the very beginning of its appearance, the distinctive feature of philosophy was the emphasis on independent thinking. The figure of the philosopher is also remarkable in this respect. A philosopher, unlike a priest– is not a unique person chosen by the supreme power, but simply one of us, ordinary people, who simply understands the lessons of everyday life more deeply and formulates them in memorable sayings. At the same time, it is important that everyone can learn this if there would be a desire. That is, there is not necessarily a superhuman component, God’s choice or destiny. In gaining wisdom, everything depends only on the person himself: his desire, diligence, and determination.
The problem of modernity is the problem of misunderstanding. There is a paradoxical situation: on the one hand, the growth of human knowledge has reached unprecedented heights, on the other hand, we do not know what to do with all this, or how to use it for everyone’s benefit. The content cannot exist in isolation from the form. However, the vast content of various sciences today functions outside of an axiological form capable of combining them into one whole. Thus, there is a destructurization of scientific, cultural, and social processes. The second point of practical applicability of philosophy can be its integrative potential. Philosophy in its transcendental dimension can constitute the general value framework of socio-cultural activity, thus creating a vector of social development, that is, fundamentally different from the political one.
The third point of practical applicability of philosophy can be the establishment of a dialogue between the “incomprehensible”. Since philosophy, among other things, is the ultimate reflection on cultural values, it is able to see at the level of causes (and not only at the level of consequences, as the bearers of culture themselves do). Seeing the cause frees a person from the position of condemnation or rejection. In other words, philosophy is culturally metacontextual. In this sense, it can create a “third” communication space of cultures in which their differences do not seem so incompatible. Ultimately, each culture is a collective way of creating answers to life-meaning questions that concern everyone. The content of the responses may vary. This difference becomes the main cause of the conflict. However, this difference still grows out of one question, from one existential need. That is, there is one reason, but there are many consequences. It is enough to shift the focus to the cause (essence) and see its common nature for all so that the level of conflict potential of the variety of consequences noticeably decreases.
Finally, the last paramount point of the urgent need to apply philosophy in the creation of a new world order is that only philosophy can reach the level of ontology, considering not only individual types of existence, but all that exists in its being. This ability gives the integrity of the vision, which protects from false paths, giving the possibility of a more accurate forecast for the future and a more sober attitude to the present.
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