Modern science admits the possibility of the emergence and coexistence of many worlds, similar to our Metagalaxy and called Vnemetagalactic objects. Their complex relationships form a multi-tiered Universe – the material world with its infinite variety of forms and types of matter. And not all of these worlds can have the variety of types of matter that arises in the history of our Metagalaxy.
At a certain stage of development of the Metagalaxy, within the framework of some planetary systems, conditions are created for the formation of the inanimate nature of material carriers of life from molecules, just like inanimate nature, life has a number of levels of its material organization. The following can be distinguished: doccellular systems — nucleic acids (DNA and RNA) and proteins; cells as a special level of bio-organization, independently existing in the form of unicellular organisms; multicellular organisms (plants, animals). Special levels of organization of living matter form supra-organismic structures. These are primarily populations – communities of individuals of the same species, which are interconnected by a common gene pool, intersect and reproduce themselves in offspring.
In addition to the population, species and biocenoses belong to the superorganismal levels of the organization of living matter. The latter are formed as a result of the interaction of a certain set of populations between themselves and the environment. In a complete system of biocenosis, these populations are connected in such a way that the waste products of some become the living conditions of others. Many populations can live only within a certain biocenosis.
Finally, the interaction of biocenoses forms a global system of life – the biosphere. In this holistic system, various biocenoses interact not only with themselves, but also with the air envelope, through which the heat exchange of the earth with outer space takes place, with the aquatic environment, with rocks. If these interactions are disrupted, the whole sphere of life on Earth changes. In order to maintain its dynamic equilibrium, it is necessary not only the reproduction of certain habitats of various organisms, populations, biocenoses, but also a certain level of their diversity. When this diversity decreases below a certain level, the entire biosphere begins to degenerate.
People are part of the sphere of life on Earth. Thanks to the constantly increasing production impact on the environment, they can bring in and bring disturbances in the dynamics of the biosphere.
The development of the biosphere, associated with the emergence in it of all new levels of organization, is the result of its functioning and evolution as a whole within the framework of an even wider integrity – the developing universe. At a certain stage of development in the biosphere, special populations of living beings arise, which, thanks to the developing tool activity, transform the biological forms of their existence into social life. Within the framework of the biosphere, a special type of material system begins to develop – the human society. Here, too, arise special substructures – family, nation, classes, and others.
As a special level of organization of matter, human society exists thanks to the activities of people and includes as a prerequisite for its functioning and development their spiritual life.
The picture of the interrelation of all levels of organization of matter, including man and human society, the understanding of each material object, including man, as a product of global cosmic evolution, sheds new light on one of the most ancient problems of philosophy – the problem of the unity of the world. Any materialistic philosophy, including materialistic dialectics, upholds the principle of the unity of the world, acting as a monistic philosophy. Idealistic monism considers the origin of all that is ideal, considering matter as just the otherness of this ideal. On the contrary, materialistic monism asserts the unity of the world through its materiality.
At the same time, man, as a product of nature, depends on it, on its natural habitat. But with the development of the productive forces of society, with the mediation of the “second nature” created by man, man increased his protection from the elemental “tumult of nature”. Improvement of clothing, the creation of artificial housing, the construction of large building structures, etc. allows you to provide not only comfortable living conditions, but also to explore new territories of the Earth and the Cosmos.
But along with the marked processes that weaken man’s dependence on nature, with the development of the productive forces, the very development of civilization turns out to be dependent on environmental problems. Increasingly intensively consuming natural resources with the help of increasing technical means, mankind in a progressive form is undermining the foundations of its existence. Forests are cut down, raw materials are depleted, land and air are polluted, etc. From the point of view of Marxism, it is fundamental that the interaction of society and nature is historical in nature, that the forms, scales and tendencies of this interaction change in the course of social development.
Material production, human activity acts as a powerful factor affecting its environment not only in a positive, but also in a negative sense. Human ecology, its relationship with the environment therefore becomes a significant problem, having an independent significance in the development of the historical process.
Thus, material production, influencing the ecology through scientific and technical progress, changes the course of the historical process. The solution of this process is in the scientific and technical progress itself in combination with the spiritual transformation of man, his changing role of the “conqueror” of nature.
K. Marx rejects the views of old materialism. According to these views, the attitude of man to the world, in essence, was represented as the ability to “contemplate” the surrounding world in consciousness, to passively test its impact.
For everyday understanding of the world, the position of passive contemplation seems to be quite natural, initial, and activity, activity from this point of view appears as something secondary.
The naturalism and contemplation of the old materialism is its weak point in the controversy with idealism, which just emphasized the active nature of the attitude of man to reality. Idealism in the face of German classical philosophy opposed the understanding of man simply as a natural body, passively, “contemplatively” responding with states of consciousness to the effects of the external natural world. However, emphasizing the active, active beginning of man, idealism saw the essence of this activity in the properties of the spirit, which is fundamentally opposed to nature. At the same time, the spirit was understood as an internal activity, a spontaneity of human activity, as an ability determining the freedom of a person.
Thus, in the pre-Marxian philosophy, there were two alternative approaches to understanding the essence of man and his relationship to the world: the recognition of the organic inclusion of man in the material world precluded his understanding as an active, active being. In the same place, where this active essence of a person was recognized and emphasized, it broke off from the material world and was viewed as an expression of a supermaterial spiritual principle. A fundamental solution to this problem was given by Marx: “The main drawback of all previous materialism is that the object, reality, sensitivity is taken only in the form of an object, or in the form of contemplation, and not as human sensual activity, practice, not subjectively. Hence it happened that the active side, in contrast to materialism, developed by idealism, but only abstractly, since idealism, of course, does not know the actual, sensual activity as such. ”
The main difference between man and other natural bodies is not that he is able to reflect the material world in the process of contemplation. This ability itself is due to the original, defining characteristic of a person, which lies in the fact that he is practically influencing the real material world, he is actively rebuilding and reworking it. Marxism sees the basis of the specific attitude of man to the world in practical activities aimed at transforming the material world: both natural and social, which is opposed to man.
This transformation of the external world implies the ability of consciousness, the active work of the spirit. Although consciousness is a specific sign of a person, but its origin and essence can be correctly understood only in the system of the practical-transformative attitude of a person to the world. Consciousness arises, functions and develops as a necessary condition for this practical-transformative relationship.
In the process of transforming the world, man creates a new reality – the world of material and spiritual culture, new conditions of existence, which are not given to him by nature in ready-made form. Creating this new reality, a person develops and improves himself, his creative abilities. Thus, it is the real transformation of the material world that is the basis of all other manifestations of the creative active principle, which idealism saw in a special, divorced from the material world, the spiritual essence of man. Marx pointed out that man is a “objective being” that acts “in a substantive way”: “It only creates or believes objects, because it itself relies on objects and that it is its nature from the very beginning.”
Like any living creature, a person is inscribed in the environment, but the way people are included in this environment is fundamentally different in nature than the attitude of animals to the environment. This way of including a person in the natural and social world that surrounds him by actively transforming objectively existing objects and phenomena of the external world is defined as practice.
In order to understand the essence of the practice, its role in the system of the whole life activity of mankind, one should consider its origin in the process of human development and compare it with the methods of environmental impact characteristic of the animal world. Animals seem to be inscribed in a certain “ecological niche”, that is, in the range of environmental conditions in which they can live and evolve as a specific biological species.
The forms of their behavior are formed on the basis of those initial possibilities, which are determined by the structure of the animal’s body, its natural organs. The fact that the possibilities of real interaction of animals with the outside world are limited by the characteristics of their bodily organization and the forms of their adaptive behavior predetermines their reflective, cognitive abilities. Animals feel, perceive, represent the world only to the extent that things, properties, and relationships of the world around them have direct or indirect biological meaning for them. Marx had in mind this limited attitude of the animal to the outside world when he wrote that “animals are directly identical with their vital functions”.
The principal feature of practice as a specific form of being of a person in the world is its openness in the face of the encompassing person and always exceeding the possibilities for a person to master objective reality, the unlimited possibility of developing new ways and means of interacting with it. The achievement of this openness, the ability of a person to develop, to overcome the reached limits was associated with the emergence and development of tools and means of practical influence of a person on his surrounding reality.
The use of natural objects as tools and even their manufacture with the help of the natural organs of the body is in principle inherent in animals. Of course, the tools in animals can only be spoken in a very conventional sense, but nevertheless it is a fact firmly established by science. Many animals use natural objects for food, defense, housing, etc. – in short, to meet their vital needs.
What distinguishes man from animal is not in itself the use or even sporadic production of tools, in the creation of a system of artificial means and tools for transforming reality, which is reproduced in the process of the historical development of humanity and is transmitted from generation to generation as a special cultural reality. It is the creation of such a system of relations to the world, when a person puts between himself and the world certain artificially created and restored upon passing from generation to generation tools and means of influencing reality and form the basis of a specifically-transformative relationship of man to the world.
But by creating, reproducing and perfecting this “second nature”, a person at the same time changes himself, forms and develops the corresponding skills and methods of action. As Marx pointed out, man, “acting on … external nature and changing it … at the same time changing his own nature.”
The emergence of a practical and transformative attitude towards the world as a human-specific method of “incorporating” into the world required, in the process of anthropogenesis, the restructuring of physical and mental organization inherited from an animal ancestor of man. But with the completion of the process of anthropogenesis, further improvement of a person proceeds along the line of development of his abilities, the formation of new modes of activity associated with real practical interaction with the surrounding world of nature and culture, as well as communication with other people.
Carrying out any form of practical and transformative activity, a person acts in cooperation, in cooperation with other people. Thus, relations of people as subjects of practical action to the objective reality transformed by them (subject-subjective relations) always assume also relations of real interaction of people in the process of this transformation (subject-subjective practical relations). Practice is formed, reproduced and developed in the unity of subject-object and subject-subjective relations, it is always a social activity.
Self-change, self-improvement of a person in the process of practically transforming activity is therefore connected not only with the development of relevant skills of attitude towards other people, the development of a culture of communication. Practice assumes the existence of a culture of communication as a necessary condition for its transformation of the external world and forms of interaction with other people in certain norms. The assimilation of these norms by subsequent generations is a specific mechanism ensuring the continuity of the existence of human culture. The existence and development of sociocultural norms to be assimilated by individuals as they are incorporated into human society and culture, serves as a prerequisite for the regulation of human activity on the basis of public consciousness.
Practice is always associated with certain forms of reflection of the world, with certain levels of consciousness and cognition, which reinforce the achievements of the practice and make possible its further reproduction and improvement. The complex dialectic of practical activity and the forms of consciousness and cognition connected with it is the most important factor in the viability of practice, for consciousness can not only consolidate the achieved level of practice, but also improve and develop the practice. The primacy of practice before consciousness and cognition in this dialectical interrelation, but which Marxist materialism insists, does not at all mean that consciousness should always just passively follow practice. This primacy means that ultimately the effectiveness of a real practical impact on nature, on society, on the perfection of man himself is an indicator of the level of development of consciousness itself.
Thus, practice as a specifically human way of being in the world is an activity that has a complex systemic organization.
1) a real transformation of the external environment with the help of artificially created tools and tools (subject-objective relations),
2) communication of people in the process and about this transformation (subject-subjective relations)
3) a set of norms and values ( value-target structures), which exist in the form of images of consciousness and provide a focused nature of practical activity.
Practice arises historically in the process of the formation of humanity as a specific way of satisfying vital needs. However, the specifics of this method have the potential to develop a fundamentally new type of being in the world, which opens up the prospect of overcoming the dictates of the environment in relation to man.
Breaking through the narrow framework of adaptation to the environment, breaking free of the “ecological niche” inherited from animal ancestors, thanks to the production of artificially created tools and tools, man, in principle, is capable of a universal practical transformational attitude toward the world. It was about this universality that Marx wrote, stressing that “an animal produces only what it itself or its young directly needs; it produces unilaterally, while man freely confronts his product.
An animal builds only according to the measure of the need of the species to which it belongs, whereas a person can produce by the standards of any kind and everywhere he can apply an inherent measure to the subject … ”This universality,“ openness ”of a real attitude to the world in practice has its consequence is that, in principle, there is no given limit of human cognitive abilities. Mediating his attitude to reality by artificially created tools and means of its transformation, a person in his cognitive activity identifies objective, independent of his biological needs, properties and connections of the real world. Thus, a person is able to learn the world as this world exists according to its objective laws. And this is its difference from the animal, which perceives the world insofar as the phenomena and objects of this world can serve as a means of satisfying its vital needs. In other words, practice as a way of inclusion in the world provides the objective character of human cognition.
Man-made artificial tools and means of transforming the surrounding reality are a kind of “inorganic body” of a person, allowing him to draw into the sphere of practice all new layers of reality. By perfecting, transforming the world around them, people build a new reality, breaking through the horizons of existing-given being. However, emphasizing actively transforming the beginning of practical activity of a person, it must be remembered that it in a certain way fits a person into the material reality that embraces him and always goes beyond the actual possibilities of its practical development. A person with all the prospects and possibilities of his active transformative activity remains within the real material world and cannot but harmonize his activity with his objective laws. The creative constructive possibilities of practical and transformative activity in the real world are always based on the use of objective laws.
Understanding the conditionality of the practical-transformative activity of man by the objective properties of the world being transformed, that world, with the laws of which he must reckon, the incorporation of the most practical activity into this world, distinguishes the Marxist interpretation of practice from any kind of subjectivistic interpretations of practice, for example in the philosophy of pragmatism.
The pragmatic concept of human activity is characterized by a lack of understanding of the fundamental fact that the true effectiveness of human activity is not only related to the satisfaction of subjective interests or needs, but also involves solving problems arising from the internal laws of the reality that this activity is directed to. A subjectivist interpretation of practice is also given in those currents of so-called non-Marxism, which ignore or underestimate the inclusiveness of a person and his practical and transformative activity in the objective reality independent of his activity. With this approach, the practice itself turns into a kind of absolute, into a substance.
Understanding the dialectics of human activity in relation to the world and the dependence of a person on this world, its integration into this world, its conditionality by the world is a necessary condition for the realization of human responsibility in this practice for the outside world and for oneself arising from this dialectic.
Practice is the basis of all forms of human social activity. Moreover, the openness of practice in relation to the outside world, the ability to master all the new layers of being in the practical and transformative activity presupposes the possibility of the constant development of the subject of practical activity. Within the framework of practice, that activity-creative way of relating to reality is formed, which, in principle, goes beyond the framework of adaptive behavior and which determines the development of the entire material and spiritual culture of humanity, of all forms of human social activity.
The term “behavior” is associated with activity, the system of actions, which consists in adaptation, in adapting to the existing existing environment, moreover, in animals only to the natural environment, and in humans to the social one, this adaptation is carried out on the basis of certain biological or socially defined programs whose original bases are not subject to revision or restructuring. Activity at the level of adaptive behavior takes place not only in animals, but also in the social life of people. A typical example of such behavior is adaptation, adaptation to the surrounding social environment by following the customs, rules and norms adopted in this environment.
But this adaptation itself to the natural or social environment may suggest a different, including very high, degree of activity in the search for appropriate means of solving the problems arising in this process; in other words, it does not necessarily represent an automatic, thoughtless execution of a given program. However, in principle, adaptive behavior is a “closed” system of attitude towards reality, the limits of which are limited by a given social or natural environment and a given set of possible actions in this environment, defined by life stereotypes and programs. And yet, although a person very often builds and must build his connections with the surrounding reality on the basis of adaptive behavior, this way of relating to reality does not at all constitute for man, unlike an animal, the limit of his relation to the world.
The form of attitude towards reality that is characteristic of man only is activity, which, unlike behavior, is not limited to adapting to the existing conditions, natural or social, but reorganizes and transforms them. Accordingly, such an activity implies the ability to continually revise and improve the programs underlying it, to constantly reprogram, so to speak, to restructure its own foundations. At the same time, people act not just as performers of a given program of behavior — even if they are active, finding new original solutions as part of its implementation — but as creators, creators of fundamentally new action programs. In the case of adaptive behavior, with all its possible activity and originality, the goals of the actions are ultimately defined, defined; activity is associated with the search for possible means to achieve these goals. In other words, adaptive behavior is purposeful, expedient.
The activity related to the restructuring of its bases, is goal-setting, is a goal-setting activity. It is with goal-setting, with the ability to determine the goals of the activity (and not, however, under the pressure of external circumstances, but on the basis of the decision of the subject) that the traditional philosophical understanding of freedom is connected. Freedom means overcoming the pressure of conditions set to a person — whether external nature, social norms, surrounding people, or internal limitations — as factors determining his behavior implies the ability to build his own program of actions that would allow him to go beyond the limits of the current situation. relationship to the world, fit into a wider context of being.
The whole history of human society, the material and spiritual culture of a person is a process of unfolding, realizing the active-creative attitude of a person to the world around him, which is expressed in the construction of new ways of activity programs. If we take material production, then people in their time made the transition from the appropriating economy – hunting and fishing – to producing economy – agriculture and animal husbandry, further from handicrafts and manufactory to large-scale machine production;
At present, the scientific and technical revolution is taking place, the essence of which lies in the organic combination of science and production. In public life, the most striking example of the breakdown of old stereotypes in programs of adaptive behavior are social revolutions, with which the reorganization of the whole way of life of people in the economic, political and ideological spheres is connected. In spiritual culture, the creative ability for breaking old programs of activity and creating new forms of it manifests itself (if we take science as an example) in scientific revolutions leading to the creation of new scientific pictures of the world and associated new ideals and norms of scientific knowledge, in art – creating new styles, and new types of art, etc.
The practice has integrative functions in relation to other forms of vital activity. In the realm of people’s attitude to the world – to nature, to society, to other people – initial stimuli for the development of all forms of human culture are formed. Created in culture — both in material production, and in the regulation of relations between people in society, and, finally, in the sphere of science, art, philosophy — methods of activity arise essentially as an answer to certain problems and tasks related to the reproduction of human existence in surrounding human real world. A sufficiently deep theoretical analysis can always reveal, in the seemingly far from the real material existence of man, the cultural forms of their earthly roots, the initial, starting “points of their growth” on the basis of the real problems of material human existence.
And only in the course of the subsequent awareness of these prevailing forms of culture and the methods of activity developed within their framework do the prerequisites arise for the illusory idea of their complete independence from practice. In reality, however, their connection with practice in the integrity of the forms of human activity never stops, there are always a lot of explicit or implicit channels of this connection.
But the point is not only in the stimulation of all types of human sociocultural activity from the side of practice. Organically, their connection with the practice in the culture system also lies in the fact that ultimately all these types of activities have an outlet to the practice and enrich its possibilities. However, such an output should not be understood primitively, roughly, necessarily by analogy with the activity of producing any real object. The most important channel of influence on the practice of indirectly related kinds of social activity is the development with their help of the person himself, his abilities, directed during the practical-adaptive action to the outside world. Take, for example, social and cultural activities such as art and sports. Their relationship with practice, their impact on the possibility of practical transformation of the real world is reflected in the development of relevant human abilities, which, across society as a whole, enrich human activity abilities.
Thus, the integrative function of practice in relation to the entire system of human activity in the diversity of its forms and varieties should be attributed primarily to the fact that the possibilities of the practical and transformative influence of humanity on the world around it accumulate, get their embodiment, their real expression results and results the cultural construction of humanity, the development of all modes of activity, formed in the process of this cultural construction.
Practice is their starting “point of growth” and the “touchstone” at which their real reality is honed. The practical assimilation of reality, the ability to transform a human’s reality into the “life world” of a person, into his environment, serves as a measure of the real abilities of humanity and the degree of its development as a specific form of being of matter.
At the same time, if we proceed from the fact that the basis of the whole cultural development of a person, his improvement is in the activity-practical attitude to the world, then the category of practice is filled with deep humanistic content. It turns out to be organically connected with ideas about the historical destinies of man and humanity, about his responsibility to the world and himself, to future generations. Fundamental boundaries and possibilities for human development are not determined by God, not nature surrounding man, in general, not any external forces, but the dynamics of practical and transformative activity, which expands the range of natural conditions of human existence, improves the social environment of its dwelling and creates conditions for its spiritual development.
The structure of practical activities and its main forms.
Practice is the unity of the objective and subjective sides. Practical activity can be represented as a complex network of various acts of transformation of objects, where the products of one activity become the initial components of another.
The structural characteristics of an elementary practice act can be revealed by taking the analysis of the labor process as a model for Marx. Considering the work “in its simple and abstract moments” Marx singled out the following sides (elements) of the labor process: a person with his goals, knowledge and skills, human operations of expedient activity; objects included in the course of these operations in certain interactions. Objects, in turn, are dismembered according to their functions on the subject (source material) of labor, the means of labor (primarily tools) and the products obtained as a result of the transformation of the object of labor. Labor as a human transformation of the substance of nature involves the interaction of all these elements.
Marx’s scheme can be extended to the structure of practical activity, which can be represented as a unity of two sides: “subjective” (a person with his abilities, goals and appropriate actions) and “objective” (means, raw materials and products derived from starting materials due to the influence of activities).
Moreover, it must be borne in mind that not only fragments of nature transformed into production, but also people whose “properties” are changing, improving, developing, can act as functions of the object of practical activity. Therefore, a person can act both as a subject and as an object of practical action. Taken as a socio-historical process, practice appears as a unity of material and material change in nature and a change in social relations, in the course of which the development of man himself as a subject of practice takes place.
Forms of practical activity are very diverse.
The initial form of practical activity that underlies all other types and forms of human activity in general is material production activity, the mode of production of material wealth. The development of the mode of production of material goods is the main driving force of all social development. It was the emergence of material production and practical activity that was the initial prerequisite for the formation of a specifically human relationship to the world, overcoming the framework of animal existence.
Transforming nature, creating a specifically human environment, people at the same time build their own social relations, transform themselves. The formation and development of social relations is also a necessary form of practical and transformative activity, directed not only at the nature surrounding people, but at themselves, at their relations with other people.
It is important to emphasize once again that this form of practice is organically linked with material work practices. In essence, there is a single practical activity that includes two sides – the attitude of people towards nature and the attitude of people towards themselves. However, in the process of social development, these aspects of practical activity are differentiated. Activities aimed at transforming social relations – social, class struggle, the revolutionary movement, etc. – act as a special form of practice.
The most important form of social practical activity in modern conditions is the process of democratic transformation in our society, which is revolutionary in nature and is aimed at real practical transformation of the conditions of our life, social relations, people themselves.
Along with industrial and social practice, one can also single out its special form, which has a narrower social significance, but is nevertheless necessary in modern society. This is a science that plays an increasing role in society, is becoming a direct production force and becoming a means of managing social processes. Scientific knowledge by its nature is endowed not only with the reflection of already existing objects, which can be obtained and reproduced in the methods of practical activity.
It has a projective-constructive function, that is, it gives knowledge about such objects that can be mastered in production and social activities only in the future. Verification of the truth of knowledge about such objects requires a special form of practice, which is a scientific experiment. Scientific experimentation, although it relies on the possibilities of production and social experience achieved at this stage in the development of society, often goes beyond the existing level and anticipates the principles of technology and methods of social activity management that can be implemented in the future. Modern scientific experimentation, therefore, serves as the most important means of implementing the projective-constructive function of scientific knowledge.
Of particular importance in modern conditions is such a form of practice as technical activity.
In our age of technology, it is becoming increasingly important not only for the creation of material goods and artificial habitat, a special technosphere in which modern man lives, but also in the formation of thinking, culture, and world outlook. The term “technique” is dual in its meaning. This is a set of various devices created by man (machines, tools, buildings, vehicles, etc.) designed to create various substances, energy and information, transform them, store and use them in order to develop production and meet various non-production needs. Technique in this sense can also act as a means of production, and how its final product is the result of people’s productive activity.
It therefore constitutes the most important element of the productive forces, which ultimately determine the nature and content of the mode of production. Technique in another sense is a combination of various skills, sustainable ways of activity, a special kind of skills. An example of this kind is the drawing technique, ballet technique, programming technique, etc. Both meanings of the concept “technique” are closely related and grow out of the same root. Some devices created by man – artifacts – can be practically used for relevant purposes only if there is a certain level of professional skills. Conversely, skills, training and skills are determined and limited to the appropriate type and level of development of artifacts and, in turn, correspond to or hinder their improvement. Thus, at the very core of technical activity lies a dialectical unity between material artifacts, on the one hand, and skills, abilities, and standards of activity, on the other.
Technical activity, especially in the conditions of scientific and technological revolution, is complex, controversial, largely due to the inconsistency, internal dialectical nature of the artifacts. This inconsistency is noticeable even in the most simple and historically first instruments of labor. Stone chisels, scraper, bone needle, wooden club, spear, etc., on the one hand, are adapted to interact with the outside world, with certain natural objects: hewing stone, stitching wild animals’ skins, having to pierce running game, knock down the enemy, etc. On the other hand, they take into account the physiological and psychological characteristics of a person: they are adapted to the human arm, to the human eye, to movement on the hind limbs, to group collective activity, to the division of labor and etc.
However far modern spaceships, computers, and laser devices go from primitive labor tools, they also carry, more precisely, the seal of the original dialectical duality: taking into account the properties of natural objects and the material Environment in which they operate and which they transform, and consideration of human neurophysiological and psychological, social and cultural characteristics.
The ratio of these two sides historically changes, and today in the conditions of the scientific and technological revolution, a person increasingly transfers to artifacts the functions that he previously performed himself. Modern technology is not just a “continuation” of the human hand, a multiple “enhancer” of its muscular energy, but also a tool that allows computers to perform a number of intelligent, above all, computational operations. At the same time, thanks to the possibilities associated with the automation of the most diverse production processes and the transfer of a number of routine intellectual actions to computers, a person is freed up to carry out specifically human, creative, constructive and projective activities.
Technical activity is initially associated with the transformation of the artifacts themselves. Man does not find these artifacts ready in nature, he creates them, but according to special laws – the laws of technical activity, that is, the laws of transforming some objects, types of energy and information into others, in accordance with a predetermined goal. The more complex the objectives, the more transformations are required to achieve them, the higher the level of projects covering both these artifacts and the process of their creation and use. The implementation of these projects requires the development of constructive abilities and special constructive activities.
Thus, the development of technology and technical activity, on the one hand, is accomplished under the strong influence of creative, constructive and projective activity of a person, and on the other hand, serves as its objective basis. It is precisely because of this that work in the historical perspective should cease to be a curse, a hard and exhausting activity of getting bread “in the sweat of one’s face”, but, according to Marx, should turn into a game of physical and spiritual forces, in which the highest creative needs and spiritual human capabilities.
The value of technology and technical activity is not reduced only to the fact that they constitute the core of the productive forces of society and act as a mechanism for transforming the subject Environment in which a person lives. Indirectly, through the system of social relations, they affect the whole way of life and a person’s worldview, and this influence is diverse and cannot be unequivocally evaluated.
Thus, in modern Western philosophy there are different, apparently opposite, concepts of technology. One of them, called the concept of “technological determinism,” considers technology and technology to be the decisive factors in the development of mankind. Politics, art, science and culture are entirely subordinate to the mechanism of scientific and technological progress. All power in such a technologized civilization is concentrated in the hands of the technical elite – the technocracy.
Another concept, anti-technology, is the direct opposite of the first. Anti-technicalism considers technology, technical activity as an evil demon, created by man and subjugating to his creator. Anti-humanism, leveling of personality, loneliness of people, unemployment, creation of a primitive mass culture – all this, from the point of view of anti-antinicists, is the result of the exorbitant development of technology. In numerous philosophical and fantastical works, anti-technicalism draws monstrous pictures of human submission by robots and the advent of a purely technical civilization. Therefore, anti-technicalism recommends a return to a natural way of life, to regress, to escape from a modern urban industrial civilization to the bosom of nature.
For all their apparent opposites, both concepts have a common philosophical premise – recognition of the insolubility of the contradiction between a person with his claims to freedom and unique individuality, on the one hand, and technology and technology, which destroys individuality, freedom and independence, on the other.
These concepts reflect a real contradiction between man and society, on the one hand, and modern technical and technological means, on the other. Constantly expanding the range of human capabilities, the development of technology at the same time confronts people with many new, sometimes unexpected and very complex problems. Modern technology and technology requires a highly responsible attitude to themselves and conscious discipline from all those who design, develop and use it.
Along with this, problems related to the choice of trends in the development of engineering and technology are becoming increasingly important. The recognition of the complete and unambiguous dependence of all social and spiritual-cultural life on the level of technology and the nature of technical activity, characteristic of both supporters of technological determinism and anti-technicians, is often expressed in the so-called “technological imperative”, according to which everything that is technically possible finds its practical embodiment. The development of technology from this point of view is carried out completely independently of human ideals and values.
In reality, however, these relationships are much more complex, and at the present stage of scientific and technological progress, the most advanced technologies are developed with a conscious consideration of environmental and humanitarian requirements.
The materialistic understanding of society proceeds from the recognition of the historically changing, complex, controversial interaction of technology with social structures and culture. Thus, the development of machine industry makes industrial capitalism possible, but the capitalist mode of production and the social relations developing on its basis, and especially private property, in turn, set a certain type of technical activity, have a reverse effect on the relationship between man and technology. This is the true dialectic of the process. Human alienation from technology and opposition to it is the product of certain transient historical conditions, and this is reflected in the internal contradictions and heterogeneity of culture.
This is directly related to the social and cultural context in which technology develops in our society. The confrontation between technocratism and anti-technology is a tangible reality in the modern social life of the CIS countries. In the period when the economy and development of technology acted as a goal, when such technical and technological projects were adopted and implemented that went against the interests of people, their health and well-being, the mood of anti-technicalism was formed.
Such sentiments can be considered adequate as a reaction to technocratic distortions, but not to the accelerated development of technology and new technologies, without which there would be no progress in the development of mankind. Moreover, only on the basis of new technologies with the use of new progressive technology, one can count on overcoming the deformations to which our country has come as a result of Soviet-socialist management.
For thousands of years, creating the necessary material goods and artificial human environment, technology as its negative consequences led to the destruction of the natural habitat and the dehumanization of labor, especially in conditions of early capitalism. However, the same technology in adequate social conditions can serve as a basis for the humanization of technical activities, for the use of modern high technology as a means of rehabilitation and preservation of the natural environment and the liberation of man from heavy routine, uncreative work. The rapid development of information technology has opened up unprecedented opportunities to increase the intellectual potential of each person, which made it possible to combine professional, technologized skills and individual creativity, to humanize scientific and technical progress.
Practice is both the basis and the criterion of knowledge.
In order for knowledge gained in the process of cognition to be useful, to help navigate the surrounding reality and transform it in accordance with the intended goals, they must be in a certain correspondence with it. The problem of the correspondence of knowledge of objective reality is known in philosophy as the problem of truth. The question of what truth is, in essence, is the question of how knowledge is related to the outside world, how the consistency of knowledge and objective reality is established and verified.
There are two layers in the structure of knowledge. One of them depends on the specifics of a person’s biological and social organization, the characteristics of his nervous system, the organs of perception, the brain, the way information is processed, the originality of a given culture, a historical epoch and language.
The other depends on the objective reality, the specifics of the phenomena and processes reflected by cognition. These two layers are in a certain relation to each other. The main thing in this aggregate is: can we highlight in our knowledge the content that does not depend either on an individual person or on humanity, and if we can, in what way, how can we determine the measure of conformity of this content to objective reality? This question is fundamental to the problem of the truth of knowledge.
The content of our ideas and knowledge, which does not depend on man or on humanity, is an objective truth. The information entering the human brain reflects not just natural and social objects and processes in their own right. It fixes them in the process of interaction and change of these objects by a person engaged in subject-tool or a wider social activity. In turn, the knowledge developed by man is used for orientation in the objective world, for the transformation of natural and social situations in one form or another of activity.
The merit of Marxism was the rationale that the basis of knowledge and the criterion for the correspondence of knowledge with reality is the subject-practical activity, the development of a scheme: the object — the subject-practical activity — the subject. The former one-sided models were depleted in Marxism and transformed on the basis of a fundamental component – the subject-practical activity.
In accordance with the theory of cognition of dialectical materialism, practice exists in two perspectives: as the basis for the formation of knowledge and the formation in it of content independent of man and mankind, and as a means of verifying truth, that is, identifying the measure of conformity of knowledge with objective reality. But since practice, by its very nature, is mobile, changeable and is in constant development, then with the introduction of practice into the theoretical scheme of knowledge, the idea of development, variability penetrates into the theory of knowledge itself.
The practice itself is ambiguous and internally contradictory. Snatching and metaphysically opposing one moments and sides of practice to its other moments and sides, it is possible to come to one-sided, limited and therefore wrong conclusions. First of all, this danger is associated with the knowledge of social phenomena that are complicated by the personal or group interest of people, their class, group, ethnic and other ambitions, attitudes, etc. An example is the attempt of a number of governments of our country to carry out democratic and economic transformations based on the experience of Western countries, while having enough experience and knowledge for such actions in our particular country
There was a very definite negative social practice that led to stagnation in the economy and public life. Is the practice of transforming our society, ostensibly on the basis of radical economic reform, without sufficient programmatic justification, can it be considered a criterion of complete and definitive truth?
Practice, as is known from history, including our society, can be changed. Practice does not contradict consciousness. It is its main and at the same time includes conscious activity. Realizing the limited and negative nature of the practice of this limited period of time, realizing its incompatibility with the interests of the majority of the people and the goals of historical progress, people are able to change the practice, move from negative to positive, progressive, revolutionary practice.
Only changing practice can become the basis and criterion of developing objectively true knowledge. And, as Lenin noted, changeable and mobile practice does not allow our knowledge to stop, become stiff and ossify, but acts as an objective content of our knowledge, the conformity of which to the objective world is checked and established on the basis of practical activity.
Thus, as the fundamental principles of the theory of knowledge, in its connection between the material and the spiritual, the following regularities can be distinguished:
1) the objective world, reflected in knowledge, is constantly changing and developing;
2) the practice on the basis of which knowledge is carried out, and all the cognitive means involved in it change and develop;
3) knowledge, growing on the basis of practice and verified by it, is constantly changing and developing, and, therefore, objective truth is in the process of constant changes and development. From this it follows that the knowledge accumulated as a result of material and spiritual production acts as an active component force in the process of historical development, reflecting it, corresponding to it and affecting it.
The direction of the socio-economic development of society, determined by the government of the country, has a great influence on the development of the historical process. For this, it is important to develop an objectively true assessment of both modernity and the historical past, on the basis of which a scientifically based understanding of the prospects for social and historical progress is developed. For this, first of all, it is necessary to work out and make the right decisions defining the main directions of the socio-economic development of society.
And this is impossible without an adequate, that is, true, understanding and understanding of the causes that at one time caused previous transformations of public life. At this point, historical truth and social benefits, understood as something that benefits the overwhelming majority of members of society, dialectically coincide, most contributing to the development of the historical process.
The past, the present and the future of mankind, organically interconnected by the general laws of the progressive development of society, form the ascent of the real historical process to a new level in the development of society, called social progress. It can be neither a simple continuation of the present, nor a cyclical repetition of the past, although they are woven into its fabric. A completely new historical development of society is unfolding, which in turn influences the development of material and spiritual production. This is how the irreversibility of social progress in the scale of world history is realized.
Social, economic and technical progress throughout world history in its evolutionary and revolutionary form constantly overcomes the arising difficulties of a resource, material, natural, ecological and technological order, ensuring non-stop irreversible progressive development of the historical process. Thanks to the scientific and technological revolution in the modern era and the development of the democratic freedom of the individual, adapted to the pace of scientific and technical progress, a new historical perspective is developing, a social system is being developed that will receive its future.
The global problems of our time shape this future in two ways: to die or to survive? If the conscious development of society prevails over elemental social processes, and the person himself ceases to oppose himself to the rest of nature and enter into harmonious relationships with it, reasonable relationships between person and society, between society and his environment will prevail, then the time of anxieties for the fate of civilization on Earth will pass or at least transformed into cosmogenic problems.