Tuesday, 23 September 2008

On Current Crisis of Human Consciousness

On Current Crisis of Human Consciousness

By Bakar Berekashvili

Current heavy discussions among the intellectuals about conformist nature of modern society are closely related with the crisis of human consciousness in the modern world. In my own view, there is no doubt that conformism makes human much more depending or subordinating to something or to somebody. And conformism itself is a logic consequence of uncivil consciousness which definitely separates citizen not only from state but also from world, from nature as such. We are born in this world as free individuals and the idea of civil consciousness asks us to follow this holy value of freedom in order to keep our individual identity and thus to be in eternal contact with world, with our planet with our own beliefs and views.

The crisis of consciousness is not a simply new phenomenon of our time. And this is not also an abstract, unrealistic term which exists only within very definite space just as a part of our inner imagination. But mostly, crisis of human consciousness is a process which has its roots from old time and we still witness it. For example, if the crisis of human consciousness during the middle Ages was human admiration towards the idea of holy wars that should serve for prosperity of their countries, currently the clear reflection of the crisis of human consciousness is conformist and uncivil discourses which dominate over the minds of modern individuals. But here, of course I do not mean that conformism is also new phenomenon, of course this is also old one but point is that new post-industrial and post-modern society presented their own and new character of conformism.

There is a logic question on our minds. So, what are the basic reasons of conformism and why are people striving to gain conformist nature? Well, I would say that no person, as such, is encouraged and devoted to be conformist, but current trends of social and political thinking makes human to be conformist and subordinated one. But, of course we can seek the roots or let’s say the reasons of conformism which made society and individual as a member of society to follow conformist lifestyle.

Well, Georgian philosopher, Merab Mamardashvili thought that economic well-being or social welfare is not absolutely positive phenomenon for human, just because of that economic well-being makes individual as passive citizen with uncivil consciousness because he or she only strives to gain economic prosperity and for this purpose individual may sacrifice everything and thus to be value-free person, which of course is a clear example of conformism. And so, with such attitude, an individual gradually separate himself from nature and from the idea of individual identity and such identity makes this nature and our planet wealthy because diversity as such in many senses and terms is completely useful thing, and diversity of various individual identities is a source of attractive and brave human race.

Obviously, as I have mentioned, I believe that current crisis of consciousness is based on the idea of conformism, but mention should be made that economic benefits are not the only reasons for origin of extremely conformist society of our time. But, I believe that another reason of conformism and especially in contemporary Western Europe is raising and development of bureaucratic character which exists not only within particular institutions but also within individuals. Bureaucratic character for Europe is not new, of course, but this is alerting challenge for such Europe who claims to be democratic to have such strong reflections of bureaucracy. And there is no doubt that bureaucracy stimulates and encourages conformism and just for simply reason, and reason is that itself bureaucracy has conformist nature and bureaucracy can not survive without conformism.

But, if we take into the consideration the case of current Russian society, we can easily conclude that crisis of human consciousnesses and development of conformism is comprehensively related with human fear and this is not only fear of physical liquidation but also fear to loose happy and careless life full with economic wealth and one day you may loose all these if you decline to be loyal with existing political authority or with existing adapted social and political values in Russia. I would say that current crisis of human consciousness is deeply reflected in Russia as Russian citizens lost ability of free thinking and thus declined keeping individual identify, free thoughts and free imaginations, even inner, invisible imaginations.

Currently I am in Georgia, which is my native country and talking now from the heart of Tbilisi where crisis of human consciousness is also, of course, deeply visible. I can list three main reflections of current crisis of human consciousness in Georgia, and they are: passive citizenship, snobbish social identity and of course, I suppose you need not guess it and this is conformism. And this is so pity that especially young people in Georgia are victims of this conformism and passive citizenship, but this is also true that they decided to follow this road of passive activity as citizens just because of that they are motivated to meet economic wealth and to dedicate their life for accumulation of economic wealth and such approaches of course helps young people to be very popular and to satisfy their interest on any social and political level, from sexual intercourse with beautiful girls to holding high political position or probably non-political but proud positions and to be known among the people, and especially among the poor rural people who has a dream to have such family member. Young people, here in Georgia strive to gain education not for sole purpose to live with truth but for very poor pragmatic reasons which is to be popular and desirable person for some clans and snobbish social groups and also, current capitalist system and social thinking made human consciousness of young Georgians as very greed for mass popularity and wealthy.

The crisis of human consciousness with its all negative challenges is a legacy of wars, decomposition of society and social disarticulation which started existence from old ages. This is very clear that current crisis of human consciousness also creates obstacles for social justice, solidarity and common understanding among the nations which should be key foundations for post-modern societies for eternal survival. This is indeed very visible for us also that contemporary world capitalist order for which conformism as a reflection of human consciousness has vital importance damages holy ideals of non-conformist and active citizenship. There is no doubt that capitalism co-exists with current conformist nature of society perfectly and without any serious resistance.

Luchino Visconti, in his brilliant and dramatic film La Terra Trema, tried to show us that this is capitalism which made human consciousness and consciousness of society as such very conformist and loyal with any kind of negative and damaging challenges of life, and if somebody wish to change local social lifestyle he is completely sacrificed and potentially dead if there is no social consolidation within society around the idea of solidarity and common respect of human dignity.

I believe that there is no other way in modern world than to change the crisis of human consciousness with all trends which it contains. And of course, the only way for us is unification, worldwide civil unification for protection of eternal peace, dignity and our individual identity

Thank you very much and as John Lennon said I hope one day you’ll join us and the world will be as one:)