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Philosophical Anthropology

Luctis Cogitatio and Noctis Reflectio as the Forms of Consciousness and Human Exploration of the World

Vassily M. Pivojev
University of Petrozavodsk

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ABSTRACT: The task of philosophy in the modern world consists in the construction of a methodology of self-consciousness and self-development in the person-the method of human knowledge. I suggest a binary approach to the development of human reason which is able to understand both the world and the place of the person in the world. This allocates two spheres and two forms of consciousness: 'day time' (practical) and 'night' (spiritual). The basic functions of the former are: cognitive-explanatory; service of the practical, economic, and industrial activity; praxis; methodological for engineering and technology; critical-reflecting control of mind; the blocking of 'night' consciousness and the curbing of irrational instincts; safety and preservation; establishment of norms. Functions of the former include elements related to axiology, teleology, creativity, understanding and mythology. Both forms of consciousnesses differ yet supplement each other and should therefore cooperate systematically through a shared educational dialogue.

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The fundamental basis of researches in the ontology of consciousness belongs to Plato, I. Kant, G. Hegel, A. Schopenhauer, A. Bergson. The traditions of the "philosophy of life" the author considers to be the most fruitful. Romanticism and neokantiants (H. Rikkert) paid attention to the essential difference between methodology of natural sciences and spiritual sciences. In contemporary researches of the problems of consciousness in Russia the basic attention is being paid to the rational-monosemantic and reflexial forms of consciousness objectivation, and irrational and nonreflexial forms of consciousness are being examined much less, due to their difficult introspection (see: Tugarinov V.P. Philosophy of consciousness. Moscow, 1971; Spirkin A.G. Consciousness and self-consciousness. Moscow, 1972; Iljenkov E. V. The Problem of the Ideal // Question s of Philosophy. Moscow, 1979. # 6-7; Dubrovski D. I. The Problem of the Ideal. Moscow, 1983; Problems of consciousness in modern foreign philosophy. M., 1989). The weak point of such an approach is the unilateral exaggeration of the role of the gnoseological approach to the phenomena of consciousness and underestimation of the methods of evaluation. In Russian philosophy of XIX - XX centuries there were attempts to comprehend the problems of consciousness, correlated to the researches of M. Heidegger and E. Husserl. The specificity of the Russian philosophy is closely connected with fact that Christianity came to the Slavic peoples in their own, related language and they didn't have to learn strange and far ideas of it through the Latin language. In the West, the necessity to learn Latin formed the School of the abstract thinking on the one hand, but on the other hand the philosophy has become scholastic and far from life. Philosophy in Russia could solve some living philosophical problem, for example the question of the sense of life and the search of God and safety. The irrational experience is a partial answer to these questions, which we will examine now and consider interesting for the future studies.

The task of philosophy in the modern world is to work out some methodology of self-consciousness and self-development of a human being, methodology of humanitarian knowledge in addition to the scientific knowledge. The basis of our methodology is the idea of mind, based on the union of rational and irrational in exploration of the world by the human being. The detailed substantiation of this approach is given in our article (See: Pivojev V.M. Rational and irrational in methodology of humanitarian knowledge. In: M. M. Bachtin and problems of methodology of humanitarian knowledge. Petrozavodsk, 1999. pp. 7-27). The comparative definition of "rational" and "irrational" may be expressed in the table of the basic characteristics:

The Rational The Irrational
Monodetermination Polisemantic conditionality, synchronism
Objective reliability, may be verified Subjective reliability, may not be verified
Adequate translation, translation into other languages, reproduction Incomplete or partial possibility translation, coauthorship
Discursivity, comprehensiveness May not be completely comprehended, intuitionalism
Connected to the quantitative characteristics of objects Connected to the qualitative characteristics of objects
Used for comprehension of material world Used for comprehension of the spiritual and humanitarian sphere
Connected with the functions of the left cerebral hemisphere Connected with the functions of the right cerebral hemisphere
Discretion Continuity
Expresses mainly spatial characteristics of an object Expresses mainly temporal characteristics of an object

Thus, rational methods (analysis, reduction, objects, comparative method) are targeted onto estimation of the quantitative characteristics of the phenomena of consciousness, while irrational methods (intuition, synthesis, integrated approach, systems, value, subjects) are directed onto the qualitative characteristics.

This approach has been worked out in the previous researches of the author, in the field of mythology and correlated to discussions, during the last decades held in philosophy; for example, in the 70s disputes about the problem of the "double brain" took place, however, many authors have shown the evidence, that it is not fruitful to oppose these two spheres of consciousness. Accepting this position we suggest a binary, combined approach to the perception of the world and of the man in the world, allocating the two hemispheres of the human brain and the two forms of consciousness: practical or rational Luctis Cogitatio ("day") and spiritual or irrational Noctis Reflectio ("night"). They are not really correlated with the two cerebral hemispheres, though there is some connection with the functional asymmetry of the hemispheres. Both forms of consciousness have different features and functions, sometimes they work serially, and sometimes synchronously, so the main task of the author is considered to be development of the new methodology of humanitarian knowledge by developing the modes of the pluralistic vision of the phenomena of consciousness, where examination of the subject might be executed in two or three aspects simultaneously.

Some ideas and thoughts about the necessity to distinct "day" and "night" types of consciousness, Luctis Cogitatio and Noctis Reflectio were expressed by P. A. Florenskij, G. G. Florovskij, N. A. Berdjaev, G. Bashlyar and V. V. Nalimov (see: Nalimov V. V. Spontaneity of the Consciousness. M., 1989. P. 189). Thus, Florenskij wrote, that the Greek philosophy was born from Luctis Cogitatio, and later on the Greek Orthodox Christianity came to Russia as the embodiment of the divine light. Here in Russia, it met the pagan "night" consciousness, Noctis Reflectio, and during some ages the alloy of these two forms of the religion consciousness took place. This way the Russian Christianity was born. Nalimov indicates, that the human being has two measures? of consciousness. Night state of consciousness is connected with somatic, biological being and therefore have forecasting character. We offer to designate both Luctis cogitatio (day) and Noctis reflectio (night) as the two forms of consciousness.

The distinction of two spheres of consciousness is caused primarily by the nature, when day and night change each other, predetermining an extremely various set of vital activities. For this reason, visual perception dominates in the day time and acoustical one - at night. Besides alternating day and night, nature provides an interchange of human daily physical activity and a nighttime rest. It is necessary to take into account, that while the daytime consciousness rests at night, the night one is active around the clock. During the day it just stays in shadow, giving a chance to enjoy the illusion of supremacy over vital activity to the daytime consciousness, though the key strings remain actually in the hands of the "Gray Cardinal". Hence, the dialogue between these two spheres of the human consciousness represents its significant basis.

"Luctis Cogitatio," its Main Features and Functions

The peculiarities of Luctis Cogitatio are caused by conditions of the environment and sufficient exposure to the light of the vital space, as at that time there are favorable possibilities for satisfying basic demands of human existence. During the day the human being is engaged in diurnal efforts to make one's living. Thus it is the sphere for labor and care, the space of determination.

In European culture the domination of the visual way of the world exploration was formed under the influence of the Ancient Greek culture. It was, perhaps, a result of navigation, where the good sight was needed to find the way far from sea-shore. As the Hungarian culturologist Ch. Kerenji wrote, "a Greek is born to see and to be examined. He reflects the world which examines him with an opened and thorough look or, he rather projects his open eye and spirit onto the world" (Kerenji Ch. La religion antiquee. Ses lignes fondementales. Geneve, 1957. P. 96).

The left cerebral hemisphere determining logic operation and functions of the right hand plays the leading role in daytime vital activities. The diurnal state of the human being is characterized by greater safety and security, since a person has got visual contacts with other people who could help him in case of emergency, and one could get ready to repulse dangers noticed in due time.

In the practice performed by representatives of traditional or the so-called "primitive" cultures, there is a law of "trustworthiness", which requires a thorough and detailed analyses of actions and a multiple testing, just as the proverbs say: "Look before you leap" or "Measure seven times and cut off once".

As A. Bergson remarks, the main function of the left cerebral hemisphere is to analyze, and in accordance to it the Luctis cogitatio is guided by the methods of reductionism, discretisation of continuity, decomposition of complex phenomena to simple elements and trend to realize the entity as a sum of components.

The important form of "day" culture is literature and literary texts connected to visual perception. By means of visual perception the human being is getting used to one-dimensional and superficial approach to understanding of a text. The famous science-fiction writer Ray Bradbery in his novel "451 degrees Fahrenheit" has shown the role of the visual culture and its conflict with the spiritual world. The books are not wanted in that primitive "culture", so the society creates special "firemen" to burn them. In order to restore the lost senses of books, the author translates them into the oral speech, which is usually cut off from the books.

The major characteristics of the Luctis cogitatio are:

  • Unequivocal causality (determinism), consistency, indiscrepancy, rationality, conditionality, evidence, simplicity, lucidity, discretion, succession, differentiation, analytic methods;
  • Based on visual perception and material subjects;
  • Critical reflection, based on multiple testing and reliable knowledge, monosemantic purposeful planning, volitional organization of the target oriented activity, discipline, resolution, optimism; confusion is unacceptable and doubts are undesirable;
  • Pragmatism, over-emphasis of practice, self-confidence, dogmatism, power-oriented, directed onto consumption and "possession"; success is interpreted as achievement of the greatest consumption and "possession";
  • Extroversion, sociability, superficiality; lack of time for going to the root of the matter due to extremely hectic pace of life (proverb: "Time is money").

In the view of the above mentioned, the culture connected to the Luctis cogitatio is shallow and superficial. It is the culture of visual perception and literature, dominated by shows, and primitive and rude emotions. The battles of gladiators in the Ancient Rome and corrida in Spain are typical for this kind of culture, as well as over-emphasis onto the practical things, self-confidence, shortsightedness, narrow-mindedness, resolution, efficiency and absence of doubts (there is a Russian proverb saying "the more one is narrow-minded, the more he is sure of his words"). In order to "serve" the economy, natural sciences, engineering, mathematics and rationalism as methodology of exact sciences are being developed in the "day" culture. God is not needed for the Luctis cogitatio. This type of culture is based on other forms of authority, rationally substantiated.

Major functions of the described model of culture are the following: cognitive and explanatory function, normative function, maintenance of the practical order, economic and industrial activity, praxeological function, methodology for engineering and technology; critical reflection of the control of mind, obstruction of the night consciousness and irrational instincts and providing security and retention.

"Noctis reflectio," its Main Features and Basic Functions

The exploration of the world by the human being is effected in reply to the basic requirements of survival and safety. The practical development is accompanied by "emotional protection"; the basic forms of such "protection" already exists in animals. Foundations of the human society and communication are in the first place based on results of emotional and practical exploration of the world. The human being gets familiar with some areas of vital spaces, which he protects from "strangers" and enemies.

It is obvious, that the life of the ancient man was clearly subdivided into the day time and night time. The day-time life is the world of practical, rational activity, relatively safe. At night the world of the human being is full of dangers, irrational fears, doubts and hopes. During the day the rational, practical consciousness dominates. During a night the irrational consciousness is dominated, the man is surrounded by the dark "demons" of loneliness, doubt, fear of death. The death was interpreted by the ancient human beings in a different way, than we do that today: it was the transition from "our" world into an "alien" world, it was interpreted as the certain "estrangement". After death the human being ceases his existence in the former status and condition, but is being revived in another person - in his friend. The confirmation for this idea of the world the human being received in dreams. The dead relatives would come to see him in his dreams, they would give him advises, would warn of dangers and mistakes, predict the future. The external similarity of sleep and death allowed to interpret dream as a kind or version of death, and night - as a temporary establishment of "alien" authority, alien world, temporary "estrangement". Taking into account all that, some social mechanism to be used for the struggle with this alien night world was definitely required.

Visual contact and gesture communication play the leading role in the day time played, whereas sound exclamations are of secondary importance. In the darkness the acoustic dialogue is conceded to play the most important role. It is particularly important for the following reasons. First, the psyche of an ancient human being was more unstable than the psyche of the contemporary human beings. The second reason is that the day-time existence provided rather safe life, the danger could be discovered beforehand, so that there were some time to take care of the self-defense; the night existence did not guarantee this safety. The alien world of night darkness full of unknown dangers which seem greater because of the uncertainty and powerful impulses of fear, influenced the mentality of the ancient man, created that strong emotional and stressful potential, which had lead to the necessary of high self-determination and positive values of the self-confidence (even through "illusions"). It also had caused the appearance of the mythological consciousness. Thus, the mythological consciousness arises at the night time to give hope, to guarantee safety to the existence of the human being. The main functions of the myths are to give hope and meaning, along with the creating function (see: Pivojev V. M. The mythological consciousness as the way to the human exploration of the world. Petrozavodsk, 1991).

According to the psychoanalyst Erich Fromm, the sleep and the vigil are the two poles of the human existence. While the first one is mainly associated with actions, the second one is not, it is dedicated to the perception of itself. We are inclined to accept this model for the vigil period, as in this case our memory functions within the limits of the model. "We remember those things which may be expressed in terms of time and space. The world of night dreams disappears. What happened to us when we slept, could be hardly remembered. These situations are well represented in the majority of folk fairy tales, when kind and evil ghosts and spirits are active at night and fade away at dawn with no evidences left of their deeds" (Fromm E. The forgotten language. In: Fromm E. Human sole. Moscow, 1992. P. 193). Working on this issue N. Malckolm wrote a book "Dreaming", where he tried to find out rational criteria to differentiate the conditions of sleep and vigil. Unfortunately he didn't succeed in it.

Falling asleep is similar to our return back to the dark old shelter of shadows, which is not illuminated by the light of the day world. There we are led by some power uncontrolled by our will. A. Bergson emphasizes that, if the will is one the most significant distinctions of the "Luctis cogitatio", so these feelings of wishing and wanting are almost absent in the sleep, and even if they exist they may not influence the development of our dreams. There are some attempts to direct dreams. Carlos Castaneda and Tartung Tulkku Rinpoche told us about such an experience in their books. However, it requires much practice and not everyone is gifted to master that skill. The typical features of a usual dream are "switching off" or maximum relaxation of the will and control over "super-ego". In these moments the deepest mental phenomena start to developing and try to get out on the surface of the human mind to govern the structures of consciousness.

In ancient times dreams had a great influence on the human life. Tsars and kings received instructions from gods and followed them in their daily activity. Once god Ningirsu appeared to a governor of Lagash shumer city and gave him an order to build a palace. The governor executed the Highest will, having left the appropriate inscription of this fact. Dreams played a special role in the situations of a particularly important choice, when nobody could decide which one of the available options should be taken.

There have been some attempts to analyze both, dream and myth, in the psychoanalysis. S. Freud, searching in dreams latent forms of the sexual interest, considered them to be of great significance. Nevertheless, C. G. Jung was the one who studied night dreams purposely and fruitfully, having discovered common roots of dreams and myths, their common language. He believed "myths to be the essence of the preconscious soul and involuntary expressions on unconscious mental phenomena", which appear "at the time when the mind intensity is reduced (while dreaming, being delirious, daydreaming or having an apparition). In these moments the concentration of the mind and its restraint of everything being kept in the unconscious mind are removed, and the unconscious material starts filling the space of recognition as if through the opened doors." (Jung C. G. To the understanding of the archytype of the baby. In: Self-consciousness in the culture of the XX century. Moscow, 1991. P. 121-122).

Jung's idea of the compensative function of dreaming, where it's possible to fulfill all secret wishes and desires unrealizable in the real life, is very important. In connection to this, F. Nietzsche remarked that "a dream takes us back to the gone epochs of human culture and gives us the instrument to understand them better" (Nietzsche F. Human, too human. In: Works. Volume 2 Moscow, 1990. T. 1. P. 246). This may be referred not only to the passed epochs but to nowadays as well, because the memory of ancient times is contained in the depth of our mind.

It is noticed that "there is a specific logic of dreams, completely different from the logic of our daily consciousness. Nevertheless it is quite strict and coordinated with some basic but unfamiliar functions of our brain" (Voloshin M. Sides of creativity. Moscow, 1986. P. 697). Salvador Dali tried to paint the sequence and integrity of the images in his wife's dreams, when she was awaken from a wasp sting. P. A. Florensky, analyzing the logic of dreams in his book, found out that the dream was constructed teleologically vice versa, it develops from its "final purpose" back to the initial reason. (Florensky A. P. Ikonostas. St.P., 1993. P. 14).

Not so often we come across the evident demonstration of the infinity. When, in a dark room someone puts two mirrors just opposite each other and sits between them with a candle (the usual practice of divination), he can see an endless corridor, leading into darkness. "Don't you believe that there are considerable abysses in the human hidden even from himself? But where do they reside otherwise?" That was a rhetorical question of Augustine. At night a person remains face to face with his fears, doubts and loneliness. The irrational abyss of his soul is being revealed towards the depth of the night sky and at that moment the human being feels balancing at the edge of two chasms.

As it was mentioned above, Luctis cogitatio and Noctis reflectio significantly differ in their opportunities to provide safety to the human life. During the day one might discover possible dangers far in advance and get prepared to repulse them; the night danger can arise suddenly, which fact to a certain extent causes the increased level of anxiety. The lack of social communication with the other people makes us feel of lonely and free, it produces a scale of contradictory emotions, negative and positive, but encouraging for creativity and searches of religious and mystical contacts with the Absolute.

Darkness of the night is a favorable condition to think over the matters of metaphysics, meaning of life and death and other questions, which don't have certain and definite answers. It is not compulsory to prove their importance, as the mankind has been trying to answer such questions for thousands of years. G. S. Pomeranz shows three mental levels of reaching the eternity and the abyss (i.e. God or the Absolute) through these questions. The levels are:

1. Impossibility to live in the reasonable world without being in touch with the Highest Mind.

2. "Unexpected explosive feeling of super reasonable reality".

3. Established contacts with the super reasonable and divine structure.

He supposes, that in the Russian literature the first level is presented by works of F. I. Tutchev and L. N. Tolstoy, the second level is represented in some works by F. M. Dostojevsky and F. I. Tutchev and the third one can be recognized in A. Rublev's and Dionisy's icons.

Night has always been considered to be the time of magic and mysticism. It had really important meaning in the folklore consciousness. As per remarks of the folklorist D. K. Zelenin, it was forbidden to tell fairy tales during the day time and in summer, they could be told only in winter evenings. On the opposite, riddles could not be asked at night as the "master of riddles" could come and take the human being to the kingdom of Gloom (N. A. Lavonen). The fairy tales told in the evening would create a magic ring, a hoop. It was a protected area, which defended home from the hostile world of the night, but these hoops had to be taken off, and that could be done with the help of riddles.

Since the ancient times people have been trying to study the influence of the Moon and other universal bodies on human beings and the biosphere of the Earth. Today their uncertain presuppositions get more and more confirmation. It is known that the Moon affects the development of melathonin and serathonin, which are regulating the human mentality and behavior, the physical functions of the human body and its resistance to illnesses. Not only the moon and sun light, but the flows of space energy affect our life too. The living substance has been developing for a long time under the influence of outer space radiation, therefore it has to find special ways to protect itself and utilize this energy. As A. Chizhevsky emphasizes, a living cell is the result of creative impulses of the whole Universe.

Life continues to be influenced by the space radiation. Changes in the outer space give rises to the processes in human being, which having reached the mental and conscious levels raise impulses and reactions which form its behavior in some contradictory situations. The outer-space radiation can produce mutations in the biosphere, which affects the state of the information and bioenergetic continuum. In connection to this, L. N. Gumilev believed these cosmic influences to raise "personality", an energetic potential, stimulating the establishment of a new nation and its intensive expansion of the biosocial habitat.

The opposition of Romanticism to the previous cultures of Classicism and Enlightenment is shown in aspiration to the night dark and to the irrational by contrast to the rational clarity of the enlightened world. The examples of the special interest of the romanticists to the night and night consciousness are "Hymns to night" by Novalis, Bounventure's "Night vigils" by F. Shlegel and "Gaspar of darkness" by A. Bertran. Every English or German poet-romanticist wrote poems dedicated to the night.

The creative potential of the Noctis reflectio may be proved by the great number of evidences. For example, the English poet Coleridge, as per his own words, composed about 300 poems during his night dreams; unfortunately he managed to write down after awakening only 54 of them. Voltaire wrote in his sleep one of the songs of the "Henriade" and Derzhavin composed while sleeping the last stanza of his ode "God". Gribojedov dreamt the plot of his drama "Touble from the Mind (don't know the real title in English, anyway it's the only one comedy of his which's well known. Irina)" and the archeologist Schlimann saw in his night dreams the place where Troya was located. The composers Berliouz and Tartini composed music while sleeping. P. Tchaikovsky dreamt the theme of his first concert. Dreaming, D. I. Mendelejev got the idea of his periodic system of elements and another chemist August Cekule found out his famous formula in the same way.

The speech and music, which are based on the acoustical perception, are the initial forms of Noctis reflectio. The other essential feature of it is the tactile perception. Noctis reflectio, which is usually subdivided into "awakened" consciousness and "changed" consciousness, is the basis for the "night" culture. The dream is one the most well-known forms of the "changed" mind; besides that there are hallucinatory, narcotic, alcoholic and chemical sources, which influence the human mind (I. Tard). The affected state of mind is very similar to a dream, having at the same time some particular characteristics. The American ethnographers Carlos Castaneda, Michael Harner and Terence McKenna wrote some works dedicated to this issue. The methods and means to affect the human mind are different. In the shaman practice drumming, singing and dancing with tambourine were widely used along with meditation, social and sensory isolation, drugs, alcohol, breathing exercises and psychedelic plants, used to prepare the drinks like "haoma", "soma", "ayahuasca" and "u-cu-khe".

Thus the main characteristics of the Noctis reflectio are:

  • Polysemantic, multidimensional, opened to the abysses of macro space and micro space, irrational, synchronous, completed, continual and undetermined;
  • Based on the acoustical perception, spiritual, ideal, abstract and emotional;
  • Positive evaluative reflection, based on some reliable personal experience, doubts and indecisiveness;
  • Estheticism, conscience-stricken, pessimism and despair;
  • Oriented toward "being", search for hope; success is interpreted as complete "being" and self-fulfillment;
  • Introversion, selective sociability, deep immersion to the semantic spheres of the culture, based on the condition of the "changed" mind (dream, myth, hallucination and meditation).

The leading factor in Noctis reflectio is aspiration to get adapted and to experience an object in its continuality without involving any analytic or differentiating operations.

The major functions of the above described culture are the following: it is axeological, teleological, compensatory, creative, realizing and mythological. In the human history, which has an oscillating character, the conditions called "the times of troubles" appeared rather periodically; it's the time when the previous mythology collapses and it's a period to create a new one. These conditions may be compared with the creative Noctis reflectio, the mind of the night. And right in that condition of the historical development we find the Russia of nowadays.

The main characteristics of Luctis Cogitatio and Noctis reflectio (the mind of the day and mind of the night) are listed in the table below:

Luctis Cogitatio

Noctis reflectio

















Possession, having


Thus, Luctis cogitatio and Noctis reflectio as the two forms of consciousness, in all their distinction and contradictions, should cooperate for their successful functioning in the system of formation and education of the harmonious human being, the dialogue and coordinated distribution of functions is required. The objective of Luctis cogitatio is in the practical activity and consumption, Noctis reflectio embodies itself in the spiritual activity and creativity. The second form of consciousness (Noctis reflectio) is based on the irrationality of the final reasons, on the purpose of the good sense. The sense has the "reason", which is not unequivocal, its logic is called by author "axiologic", where the conditionality is evaluative, it may be designated by such sequence: need/request - motivation - interest - question - sense. The task of Noctis reflectio is to understand the existence of the human being, detection of its deep ontological bases. Luctis cogitatio is superficial and is extensive, Noctis reflectio is oriented onto deep inside matters and it is intensive, and in right in their differences we find the basis for their interaction and complementary.

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