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Phenomenology of the Spirit

Yegor Makharov

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ABSTRACT: The idea of spirit in its highest form takes a gathering character, where all is attracted by what Hegel called the world idea, an absolute spirit, and by what modern science understands as human psychological and social (consciousness) recognition. Included in this are unusual abilities like extrasensory perception, clairvoyance, telepathy, etc. The sensibility of the pointed problems can be more fruitfully realized within a new phenomenology of the spirit. This is distinguished from Hegel by the fact that spirit is considered as non-destroyed attribute or matter’s property (quality). If Hegel considered the absolute idea as the outcoming principle or substantial base of being, then a new phenomenology of spirit must be abstracted from the question stated of the primary and secondary character of the material and ideal in a global plan. But this conception of the materialistic philosophy should be over comprehended, where spiritual is considered as the secondary phenomenon, so as the secondary in comparison with the material side of being. This new phenomenology of the spirit is based on the Hegelian and Marxist traditions’ overcomprehension in a quality of the main idea which takes up the subjective content and spiritual material base — its material-ideal nature.

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Both a society and an individual possess such qualities and properties that cannot be understood only through the conventional ideology of objective, material being. There exist spiritual phenomena as well, understood here as everything linked to consciousness, psychology, feelings, perception etc. These are mostly connected with human beings and human society. At the same time the science actively discuss subjects not connected with human beings and society: space consciousness, spiritual beings inhabiting space objects, extraterrestrial beings visiting the Earth and so on. All these are also a component of the concept of spiritual, ideal. Thus, there is diverse (and at the same time extraordinarily controversial) specter of manifestations of the spirit. Accordingly, there are various scientific, philosophical and parascientific theories and conceptions dealing with the spirit. In the search for the essence of the natural phenomena the main place has been occupied by various arbitrary, fantastic hypotheses that is ultimately fairly normal, as we are at the certain moment of our knowledge development, with all of its contradictions leading finally, for all that we believe, to a real theoretical breakthrough.

The problem of the interconnection between material and ideal, spirit and soul has always been put in the center of attention of different philosophical schools and trends. In the future it surely will not quit philosophical attention; besides, nowadays it is the main question of the Marxist philosophy. The classical idea of the soul has its roots in its immaterial, ideal nature. According to Plato, soul is a matterless and ideal inception. Hegel has left us a completely original idea on spirit. In his view, man and his consciousness are self-estrangement of the world spirit. This absolute idea serves as a prism to look at all the questions of the human existence. The activity of the Human consciousness is getting a form of the activity of the absolute spirit. Besides, Hegel has stood for the unity of the objective and subjective world on the principle of identity of being and mentality. This assumption in its turn serves the basis for the search of philosophical beginnings. The beginning is a logical beginning, pure knowledge being the absolute truth of the consciousness. Pure knowledge is based on the data of empirical sensual consciousness forming the direct truth. Above it there is the faith in divine truth, inner revelation. Pure knowledge is not differential, in this sense being a directness undirected by nothing. In this feature it has no basis of itself, i.e. it is absolute. Only in this sense it can become the basis for the entire science. In the process of cognition of the pure existence there happens the comeback to the basis, original truth. Here there is the ascent from directness towards the absolute knowledge. In other words, the absolute spirit is taking form of direct existence, cognizing pure existence and thus coming back to itself So there is a kind of a constant rotation. Science is going around this axis. As Hegel wrote, main thing for the science is not that it has something direct in its basis, but the fact that the science is in its integrity a constant rotation wherein the first becomes the last, and the last becomes the first as well" (Hegel, Science of Logic, Vol. 1 Moscow, 1970, p. 128/).

Nowadays the concept of the spirit (spiritual) is mainly of a collective character, reflecting what Hegel called a world idea, absolute spirit, and what the modern science understands as the human psychology and mentality. The concept includes also such various human extraordinary abilities as extrasensory perception, clairvoyance, telepathy etc. Besides, the concept of spiritual comprises all forms of the social consciousness, including the philosophy itself that Hegel called an absolute spirit.

The classical idea of the spirit as something completely different from material and the confrontation of material and spiritual on this basis have been substantially altering. In our view, the better understanding of their relations presupposes the awareness of the fact that in the Terrestrial environment the question is connected with the humans and humanity. However, in the space as a whole the problem is not necessarily connected with the humans, though all the arguments are unavoidably made from the point of view of a man, his cognition and his notions. Moreover, in the Terrestrial conditions the solution of the question depends on what we understand by spiritual. If it is understood only as consciousness in its manifestations, this concept has been developed only at a certain stage of the evolution. In this sense, genetically we can speak of material as primary and spiritual as secondary.

If we understand spiritual as not only consciousness but psychology in general, including that of the animals, the question becomes significantly broader being tied not just to the humans but also with the animal world that is known to be much older than mankind. Here the question of material as primary and spiritual is secondary is preserved, as the origin of spiritual is connected in this sense with the certain stage of development of the living world. Thus, in the Terrestrial conditions spiritual is secondary, as it is connected with the living things. Hegel has been known to solve the problem in another way. He through of the spirit as the primary manifestation of life, "spirit is not something natural, but more something contrary to nature."

The question has another aspect. It is impossible to metaphysically presume that matter gives birth to the human consciousness just because of some accident or because the matter is somehow generally pre-oriented at the humans. Now many follow Engels in his opinion that nature comes to appearance and development of the thinking beings due to its essence, but only in some certain conditions. It is interesting to point out that Engels in his work "Dialectics of Nature" uses such terms as "thinking spirit", "thinking brain", "thinking beings", avoiding the usage of the term "man" or "human". Furthermore, Engels told that if, by some chance, matter had destroyed "thinking spirit" in the Earth, it would have inevitably given rise to it in some other place and some other time, where and when there have been necessary conditions for that. Hence, the question acquires much broader dimensions in the sense of the matter's attributive character. In other parts of the matter, due to extraordinary diversion of potential trends of development, the result can be different, not necessarily being treated as a human and a human ability to perceive the world by his consciousness in our Terrestrial sense.

Thus, it seems that spiritual as a phenomenon, as a property of the living matter in the Terrestrial conditions could have existed before the mankind origin. In the cosmic environment spiritual /being treated as coinciding with ideal/ either exists, as an attribute of the matter, or will develop in time, when the conditions are proper for that. The assumption leads us to suppose that spiritual /ideal/ in the life of the matter has always been present as its attributive feature. Hence, the entire existence, the entire matter in the global sense make the question of what has been primary and what secondary senseless, as both are the unity of opposites or, in other words, they can be looked at as phenomena ever coexisting with each other and accompanying each other. The question of spiritual as primary or secondary is thus limited only to some separate individual forms of the matter organization, man and society in particular.

Another aspect of the problem in question is connected with the perception of spiritual /ideal/ as something in opposition to material. In the modern synergetic the self-organization is a universal property of the complex systems, covering both organic and non-organic matter. Self-organization presumes the unity of tendencies towards stability and instability, trend to preserve the entity, or homeostatic stability. One of the manifestations of the self-organization is interaction of material and ideal processes, of the body and the soul. Ideal is undestroyable as a manifestation of opposition; its forms are extraordinarily diverse, and it cannot be limited by some separate known forms. The modern science has much yet to be discovered. With every step forward our knowledge broadens. That is why it is impossible to give some final answer to the question of the nature of spiritual and the forms of its manifestation.

To answer the questions stated /of primary or secondary character of spiritual, of it being the matter s property or attribute, of its opposition to material etc./, the major thing is to find out the nature of spiritual /ideal/ in itself. It should be said that the opposition of spirit and matter is rather relative. Some of the scientific investigations of the field give reasons to state that the manifestations of the spirit that we know of have material basis. They are material not only in the sense of their genesis and their essence; they can be registered and fixed in laboratory as material phenomena.

The idea is supported by another fact. The social consciousness is known to possess various forms and levels. Philosophically the question of their being, i.e. of the place and the form of their existence, is fairly difficult. As to the material objects, it is easy to show their nature and position. Will it be reasonable to follow the same logic considering various manifestations of the social consciousness? If it is, the social consciousness (in various forms, like science, art, religion, philosophy etc.) should be stated to stand apart from the social existence, because it is not the social existence by itself. However, the answer is false, as consciousness cannot stand apart from the social existence; it is the existence and is placed inside the existence. From another point, the social consciousness can be talked about as an independent phenomenon with the real existence of its own. Here we mean the relativity of differentiation and opposition between consciousness and existence. Thus, in the social forms of organization of existence spiritual acts as an immanent property of existence.

The sphere of parascientific interests include today such paranormal phenomena as telekinesis, astrological events, hypnosis, extrasensory impact, influence of the cosmic space on an individual etc. These events touch the phenomenon of the influence, from one side, of an individual upon individual, an individual upon the matter, and from the otherthe influence of non-living matter and the cosmic space upon an individual. There are other unexplored events which are not connected with the human existence but characteristic of the matter itself. For instance, the science discusses the theory of existing lepton fields. Some scientists favor the hypothesis of existing field forms of life. In seems that in the space different forms of life could be combined, protein-nucleic species with field forms in particular. This could provide the basis for another form of spiritual than exists in the Earth.

In this connections the anthropic principle explaining the possibility of the human appearance by the factors presupposed in physical constants, though attractive, have some weak spots. Here is an element of overrating, if not absolutization, of man and human. At the same time, it seems that man and his consciousness (spiritual) have been just one of the probable options /not excluding the other/ of the development of the part of the matter that possessed necessary conditions. Appearance of the humans spiritual in our terrestrial sense seems to be a result of the local peculiarity valid for the Earth and other similar planets. In different parts of the matter, even on the planets with analogous conditions, the results can be different. Nevertheless, spiritual /though not in the terrestrial sense/ as ideal, as a property of the matter reflection and perception, seem to take place there as well.

The frames of our knowledge of man and society as unique natural phenomena are getting constantly boarder. Now it is not enough to speak only of two forms of human cognitionsensual and rational. There exist such forms of existence cognition as, for example, parapsychological and extrasensory, that cannot be classified as purely logical or exclusively sensual.

The above-mentioned problems appear to be more fruitfully interpreted in the terms of a new phenomenology of the spirit. This differs from Hegel's in dealing with spirit as an eternal attribute, a constant property of the matter. While Hegel's phenomenology of the spirit had an absolute idea of existence as its fundamental principle or substantial basis, the new phenomenology of the spirit is keeping away from the question of primary and secondary character of material and ideal in the global sense; it does not put the question of what was the first, idea or spirit, taking reality as it is. At the same time reevaluated should be the concept of the nature of spiritual in materialistic philosophy, where spiritual has been understood as secondary phenomenon, Thus having lesser importance in comparison with the material aspect of existence.

The new phenomenology of spirit, based upon reconsideration of Hegel / Marx tradition, can have as its main idea the subjective contents and material basis of spiritual, in other wordsits material-ideal nature. It seems that in the nearest future such interpretation of the nature of spiritual will become more definite. Nowadays the new data is collected, new ideas are put forward, sometimes lying rather far from a single equivocal appraisal. The intellectual situation of the border of two centuries and two millennia is sometimes thought of as critical, even deadlock. However, the tendency of developing knowledge is such that the current processes will serve the basis for new paradigms of cognition, for the ultimate qualitative breakthrough.

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