CHAPTER 2: LIFE
In the biological sense, life is the state between birth and death. In a social sense, it is possible to live several lives in parallel or to end one life and begin another.
2.0. GENERAL CONCEPTS
In the biological sense, life is the state between birth and death. At the center of this interpretation is health. In a social sense, it is possible to live several lives in parallel or to end one life and begin another. It can be said that from a social point of view, life is a system of human relationships and their impact. It can also be said that life is a chain of stages arranged in a temporal sequence and events that fill these stages.
Spiritual age is the degree of maturity;
social age is the degree of socialization.
The higher the frequency of events in someone’s life, the shorter their individual minute, the faster their time flows, and the longer their life becomes. If there are few events and the days are like drops of water, time stands still and life is short, despite the number of years lived. Some people are already old when they are young, while others have lived many years but remain young.
There are two possible options — to grow up or to grow old. The elderly may lose interest in themselves and in the world around them. Grown-ups are better able to see the whole and understand that experience is a very valuable asset. In this case, it does not matter that the mechanical memory and the ability to notice facts and details weakens. What is important is that the ability to understand connections and dependencies, the ability to analyze and generalize, to anticipate and recognize gradually increases until the moment when a person begins to grow old. Maturity is achieved through growing up, while growing old is an inevitability.
Education (see also 9.2.) is a lifelong chain of preparedness, and experience plays a role. A young person may not have much experience, but it is experience that is especially important in developing the ability to anticipate, recognize, and perceive.
LIFE AS A SOCIAL PHENOMENON AND PROCESS
When considering life as a social phenomenon, we must consider its characteristics: content and form, pattern and style, importance, meaning, etc. As a process, life is a continuous chain of events (stages) arranged in a temporal sequence, i.e., it is a continuous event.
When considering life as a social process, the characteristics are as follows: time (duration) and place; rhythm and tension; aims, goals, and means; principles and criteria; meaningful connection; goal visualization and feedback. Status and relationships in all important roles, at all levels of regulation, matter. For activities in any of the spheres of life, a person’s health, physical and spiritual abilities, innate gifts and education, experience and information, cultural and social connection, community and family connection, view of the world and worldview, knowledge as a person and as a subject are important.
- Health is the unity of physical, spiritual, and social well-being.
- The prerequisites of life are health, relationships, and communication at all levels of regulation.
As defined by the World Health Organization (WHO), health is a state of physical, spiritual, and social well-being, not the absence of disease or physical defect. This is not easy to take into account, but it is necessary. (See also 2.4.)
In every sphere of life there is a system of dispositions (starting points, see Figure 5.3.3.), which can improve or collapse. The elements of the system of dispositions (attitudes and relationships, values and norms, myths and taboos, ideals and lofty ideas) determine a person’s vitality and willingness to decide and execute, create and explore, work and play, focus and understand, devote themself to something.
As mentioned in the previous chapter, no one can be made happy, but life can be arranged in such a way that people are happy. How to assess the quality of life?
The correspondence between life and results can be taken as a basis:
- expectations and needs;
- stereotypes formed in society and culture;
- existing (established) standards;
- ideals and lofty ideas;
- opportunities and needs that would probably be formed in the future.
If any of these things are left out, the assessment will be superficial and misleading.
SATISFACTION DOES NOT ALWAYS DEPEND ON THE CURRENT STATE OF AFFAIRS
At first glance it may not seem so, but in most cases a person’s satisfaction depends not on what they have, but on what they think they need, what they want, and what they lack. It applies to everything — housing, transportation, relationships, money, etc. It’s not about things. The most important thing is mental equilibrium, position in interpersonal relationships, and faith in oneself, in others, and in the future. In everyday life there is often talk about innovation, building development plans and innovative models (see 11.3.). But gradually everyone comes to the understanding on their own that the main thing is not change, but preservation. Change is secondary, while preservation is primordial, fundamental. Questions about how to preserve health, life, honor, dignity, purity, order, native language, cultural values, freedom, relations with other people are a defining characteristics in human life.
In order to not only know all this, but also to understand it, it is necessary to come to a readiness to navigate, participate, and cope with all the processes that life assumes.
2.1. LIFE AND BEING PREPARED FOR IT
The relationship between citizen and society can be trusting, stable, and fair, and life can seem dignified, understandable, and safe. But it could also be the other way around.
The main indicator of society’s values is the attitude toward a person. The most important thing is a person who is not an object of manipulation or a means, a resource for someone else’s success, but who is a goal and a subject in their own right. All systems, whether economic or otherwise, should serve the person, not the other way around. The goal is the life of the person (every citizen!), and everything around them is a means to that end. If the goal and the means are confused with each other, then there is a tension that can initially be compensated, smoothed out with the help of various conversations, settled by using surrogates. But the onset of depression and apathy, estrangement, alienation and aggression, including self-aggression, is only a matter of time (see 3.3.).
- If the goal is power, economics, or money, then people are just a means.
- If the goal is people and their lives, then power, economics, and money are the means.
Life as a social phenomenon is described by the characteristics above as well as by the factors on which clarity, the ability to navigate independently, to decide and execute independently and in cooperation with others, to make connections between decisions and other actions and systems depend.
In order to simply be in your place in society, it is enough to know how to navigate it. Participating in the formation of serious decisions and contributing to their execution presupposes quite a few prerequisites. One who wishes to participate in progress must create something that did not exist before and achieve a system that allows for qualitative transitions.
LIFE STAGES AND TRANSITIONS
Life consists of stages, but the most difficult thing is the transitions from one stage to another. Often the person perceives them as a crisis. Birth is considered the first such transition. Leaving the womb is perhaps the most dangerous transition in a person’s life.
The next transition comes somewhere around the end of the third year of life, when infancy ends. This transition is also called the period of negativism, or denial, when a child who has been good up to this time suddenly begins to say nasty things and speak out against everything in the world. If the child is told that it’s time for bed, the response is, “You go yourself!” If lunch is offered, you hear the exclamation: “I won’t eat it!”
Transition phases are the early days of kindergarten and school, adolescence, grade changes, and graduation. Girls and boys go through them differently. For an adult, these transitions are marriage, job changes, menopause, retirement, etc. Transition is a difficult moment. An adult approaches this period with an early awareness of what is happening, but in spite of this, there is internal tension, because it is not easy to let go of the past and accept the new. In between these two moments there is a period of time when the person does not belong to either the previous or the new period; the person is excessively agitated, unsure of themself and, in the opinion of others, behaves strangely. This condition is called marginal (see 3.3.).
At each stage of life there are different difficulties, at each stage there are prerequisites for the next. It is important to understand that what has been done (achieved) at any stage will already be useful in the next, while the shortcomings and omissions are likely to affect the stage and manifest in unknown ways and moments.
It’s always worth knowing and considering people’s inherent traits!
MEMBERS OF SOCIETY AND REPRESENTATIVES OF CULTURE
All people are members of society and representatives of culture, and at the same time members and representatives of the community and family. Let’s pay attention to the fact that everyone is a representative of culture, community, and family, at any moment of their life, whether at home or abroad. In order to represent a society, an organization, or an institution, one must have the corresponding authority.
Society (community, see 4) as an institutional system has a discrete structure and functions, it changes and develops mainly according to written laws, while culture exists according to unwritten laws. For a prosperous life, both must be considered. But the primary thing in life is self-regulation!
To participate in public life, it is not enough to have knowledge of just one or the other institution (see 4.3.), because each institution has its own role both in society as a whole and in all the institutions, organizations, and other structural units of society. If any institution is neglected for any reason, the whole society loses effectiveness. It is possible to compensate for deficiencies that have arisen for a while, but it is impossible to do this constantly and for a long time.
- A free person in a free land has the right to do whatever their heart desires.
- You can allow yourself anything that does not violate the same right of others, does not harm your own and others’ health, nature, and culture.
Culture (see 5.0.) and all that it encompasses has a holographic structure (the visible is observed differently depending on the point of view). In societal relations, change is at the forefront; in cultural relations, preservation is at the forefront. In reality, people are not satisfied with one or the other separately, but with their unity, expressed in a dynamic equilibrium. Each culture has its own characteristics, according to which it is formed and in which there is a willingness to behave in a certain way at any of the stages. For example, how and when to go to school, when to get married, build a house, and have children. Embedding oneself in one’s culture is called socialization (see 2.2).
Mastery comes in handy not for management, governance, and administration, but for creating and maintaining the conditions necessary for self-regulation.
A person’s cultural connections are divided into global, national, and local cultural connections. It is impossible to say which ones are the most important. It is important that all three types are strong enough.
AS WE MAKE OUR OWN DECISIONS, SO WE EXECUTE THE DECISIONS OF OTHERS
At every stage of their lives, people can be both those who direct the processes, manage and dominate others, (see 11.2.) and those who obey and execute. In the first place, we try to cope with ourselves (organizing and building our lives); in the second, we interact with other people and processes, while managing and keeping order, making connections, and linking everything into a coherent whole. It is important that people in each of these cases would not show their weakness and would not be superfluous.
Executors can behave like citizens if they do everything possible to participate meaningfully, fully consciously, conscientiously, and responsibly in forming decisions. Everyone, leaders and executors alike, needs training in the management and execution process, since everyone, including, for example, the president and prime minister, are first and foremost executors and only then decision makers.
Some bosses may, of course, think that it is their business to decide and others must execute their decisions, but in such cases there is at first confusion, then passivity, apathy and indifference, and as a result, low labor efficiency. The slave owner will not get high labor efficiency from the slaves, because intimidation cannot achieve love, trust, enthusiasm, or dedication, let alone creativity.
CAREERS ARE MADE BY GOOD EXECUTORS
One might get the impression that those who have proven themselves to be good leaders get promoted. In reality, people make a career and gain recognition (no matter what sphere of life, there are peculiarities everywhere) not through management, but through performance, and not through governance, but through subordination. Usually, good executors are promoted who have the necessary virtues: trustworthy, honest, loyal, intelligent, demanding of themselves and others, and who have achieved a readiness to prove themselves in more responsible positions.
- Individuals with complexes are dangerous.
- Especially dangerous are psychopaths who enjoy harming others, causing pain and suffering, depriving what is necessary, punishing, humiliating, opposing.
- A psychopath who is feared and promoted becomes a sociopath.
A career or the ability to climb the career ladder depends on people’s ability to exceed expectations, to be professional and friendly, responsive and demanding (primarily of themselves). Smart leaders promote those who independently think, create, discover new things, and are able to inspire others to be creative in order to achieve new results, while preserving and protecting the values, order, and traditions already created. It is not good when a career becomes a goal, and climbing the career ladder has been unjustified. In this case, it may turn out that the person will begin to hide, or become rude and indifferent.
There are patterns in careers. In a democracy governed by the rule of law, every citizen should know that unjustified promotion is one of the greatest threats to society (see 12.3.). Many people know from personal experience what happens when an ignorant person is placed in a position of manager. At the same time, bureaucratic paperwork does not play a big role. Severe consequences arise because meaningful and necessary activities are replaced by formal ones, and instead of results, the focus is on appearances. Lackeyism begins to flourish.
If deceitful, unintelligent individuals with inferiority complexes find themselves in positions that require independent decisions, orders, and prohibitions, then society, an organization, or an institution begins to drift or move toward stagnation. One of the nuances of a thriving bureaucracy is that a true bureaucrat avoids all decisions by all means. They put them off indefinitely because that way they are guaranteed not to make a mistake or make a wrong decision. Practice shows that those who have not made mistakes are often promoted rather than those who have made many independent decisions and sometimes made mistakes.
PROFESSIONALISM AND RESPONSIBILITY
Professionalism and personal responsibility are principles of society, to which there is and can be no alternative. The key question is how to organize things so that management wants to be professional, honest, fair, caring, and open to cooperation and avoid promoting, to put it mildly, limited people.
It cannot be done directly, but it is possible to achieve a certain degree of publicity and morality through which social control will be exercised. Publicity is a huge force!
It is impossible to achieve a justified structure of authority through administrative means (see also 11.1.). In normal practice, it should be the duty of every official to prove publicly their fitness and readiness to serve their country and people in the best possible manner, or at least satisfactorily. Parties should not have the right to appoint (promote) to any office persons who lack the necessary training and competency, as well as those whose personal qualities cause contempt rather than acceptance.
Citizens with sharpened visual and hearing acuity are able to ensure that the state moves along the path of development.
If random people are allowed into the decision-making process and the demand for competency is neglected, then the whole general living environment becomes at first comical and then unmanageable, and then it should come as no surprise that people have become apathetic, have lost faith and interest, and the proportion of asocial and reckless behavior has grown among them (see 3.3.).
If people give up and no longer pay attention to what MPs and bureaucrats do, then official promiscuity will begin to gain momentum. If, on top of this, social control ceases, practice shows that this will lead to the flourishing of a system of unjustified authority. It will become the new norm to say and promise one thing, while doing the opposite, or doing nothing at all.
It should be the responsibility of every official to publicly prove their fitness and willing- ness to serve their country and people in the best possible way.
From the moment the words of the management can no longer be trusted, circumstance will begin to deteriorate. In this case, the dialogue may be interrupted. There is also no point in a dialogue when it becomes apparent that cooperation is being replaced by a game of cooperation in the Estonian style of an “ice-cellar” or “people’s council.”
Instead of a dialogue with opposing aspirations, it is worth starting a trialogue. For example, the International Labor Organization (ILO) does not organize meetings only for representatives of employers and workers — a government representative is also invited to the negotiating table.
Everyone knows that the state needs good solutions. Unfortunately, it is not entirely clear which solution can be considered so good that its execution would change life for the better and reduce the number of dangers.
Competency is a necessary but not sufficient prerequisite for good decisions. Also needed are:
- mutual trust;
- the knowledge that the parties are saying systematically thoughtout words, rather than voicing their random thoughts;
- the belief that the agreements reached will be carried out seriously and not crumpled up or left half undone.
- It is necessary to be able to ensure that:
- the course is in harmony with national ideals, interests, and needs;
- the goal is not the activity itself, but the truly necessary results;
- the value of the direct costs and the price of what is sacrificed is in harmony with the value of the result;
- it is possible to cope with the consequences that arise in addition to the results;
- management does not lie or steal;
- the result corresponds to the originally intended purpose;
- nothing is made so weak that it is about to break or so inflexible that it is impossible to respond to the changing conditions of life.
Good decisions require people capable of such decisions — citizens who can see into the future while remembering to look to the past and to the outside; who are willing to think systemically, to consider everything in motion as well as at rest, to distinguish between goals and means, connections and dependencies, interests and needs, causes and possible consequences. The ability to anticipate both dangers and opportunities is necessary.
There are quite a few activities in the world whose results can be used immediately. Basically, something is created that makes possible subsequent processes, the results of which will be needed down the road. (See also 2.8.)
THE FOUNDATIONS OF MORALITY ARE LAID IN CHILDHOOD
It is worth repeating that the basic ordering action of life is morality, a system of moral concepts formed from early childhood through upbringing and experience (see 1.1.). An understanding emerges of what is beautiful and what is ugly, what is appropriate and what is inappropriate. Respect, tenderness, care, love, and an understanding of what shame is. If a person lacks a sense of shame, no amount of social regulation will help them.
It is important to understand how the awareness of the reasonableness of moral behavior is formed in a person’s mind. Already in Aristotle’s time they knew that all values can be discussed: we can create and change a scale to determine what is most important and meaningful, what is valuable for men and women, young and old; but at the center of ideas about values is always the concept of virtue, which is not subject to calculation, but remains in the human soul, within ourselves (see Figure 5.3.4.). People live, exist, make efforts, rejoice, and grieve according to virtues. Only those who are able to concentrate and dedicate themselves to the cause, while abandoning all misleading and time-consuming and energyconsuming things, will achieve anything truly serious. It is possible to devote oneself entirely to a cause through virtues.
Virtues set the scales in motion in life-long choices. Virtues play an important role in choosing a spouse, friends, and colleagues.
Knowledge and skills in any field can be mastered in a certain amount of time. A virtuous person will quickly understand what you need to know, what to do and what to avoid, as well as how to achieve, create, invent. If a person is a pig at heart, a spiteful, reckless, cunning cheat, thief, and liar, it would be a mistake to elect them to any office. The formation of such people is nothing but the consequence of an immoral upbringing.
- Growth and upbringing are lifelong. Personal example is very important upbringing factor — at home parents, at school teacher, at the company manager, etc.
- Personal examples could also be heroes from history, literature, etc.
When choosing colleagues, the determining role is played not by qualification, but by personal qualities and the orientation, motivation, and affiliation resulting from them, in conjunction with the intuition behind them, real relationships and communication, trust and respect (see 9.3.). Qualification is important, but it is secondary; personal qualities are primary: that is, compliance with the expectations formed in society and culture to preserve everything good and right and at the same time confidently resist everything immoral.
A citizen is formed among citizens. In such cases, they say: life will teach you.
Personal example is far more powerful than words; it is people who overflow with love for their country and pride in their homeland, not cowardly talkers, who have an impact. The true national elite is an example.
IT IS THE QUALITY OF LIFE — YOUR OWN AND OTHER PEOPLE’S — THAT MATTERS
It is one thing how a person organizes their life, and another thing how they create prerequisites for other people. Whether they try to live at the expense of those around them, or so that no one around them feels miserable, deprived of all opportunities, cornered or cheated. Life helps generous, open, sincere, trustworthy people. It is worth repeating that an honest and just person cannot be happy if others are unhappy around them.
It is important to come to the point that people, multiplying their knowledge, would like to reckon with common interests, become generalists (see 1.7.), and be able to attract professionals and bring them together to achieve serious goals that no one person or organization could achieve alone. Life and society develop thanks to generalists who simultaneously belong to the national elite (see Figure 1.8.1.), who serve the general and public interests, and who conduct activities that are characterized by the presence of goal visualization and feedback (see 6.2.), and the ability to make the necessary adjustments to it.
What is state treason?
- State treason is any conscious activity detrimental to the future of the state and the people.
- State traitors are those who themselves harm or in any way condone harm to the native language, nature, culture, and independence of the state.
- A state saboteur is anyone whose activities can have consequences that cause irreparable damage to the state.
LIFE IS CONSTANTLY CHANGING
Life is changing. People’s perceptions, dangers, environments, and opportunities are also changing. Deep ambivalence, as well as aimless vanity, are not a sign of great intelligence.
Plans and forecasts matter, but you have to be ready to notice the emergence of new ideas and directions. Aims should be changed in accordance with them (really, not in vain). Life is constantly changing, it must be reckoned with, but this does not mean that you should not plan your life according to your goals and chosen aim. Choosing an aim (expedient direction) is even more important than setting a goal.
A citizen’s life can be called meaningful if they are able to assess quality of life — their own and that of others — and to adequately understand factors.
Decide on an aim before formulating your goals!
Socialization is the process of getting used to a particular society and culture, mastering a system of stereotypes. Children are socialized, as well as immigrants. The biggest challenge for any migrant is socialization in the context of another culture and society. Learning a new language is much easier than feeling the mood of the country and the people, to know its depth and innermost meanings.
Children observe the behavior of others at home, in the store, in kindergarten, at the theater, in the gym, etc., and, to the best of their ability, remember how others behave, what is reasonable, what is considered the norm, what is praised, and what is scolded.
- Adaptation is physical adaptability.
- Socialization is social adaptability.
- Integration is incorporating the preservation of one’s previous cultural connections.
- Assimilation is incorporating the abandonment of previous cultural connections and the adoption of new customs, rituals, and traditions.
A person gradually forms stereotypes or ideas about the rules of behavior in different circumstances, conditions, and situations. Step by step, an understanding emerges of the situation in which the person currently finds themself — whether it is a situation of choice or coercion, a problematic or absurd situation, an actual or playful situation, a conflict or friendly situation, an extreme or calm situation, a stable or volatile situation. (See 3.2.)
If a person doesn’t understand where they are, what rules they should live by at this moment and in the near future, then they lose the opportunity to communicate, whether they know the language or not.
If the system of stereotypes remains unfamiliar, then socialization is impossible and joint endeavors do not stick, because the person simply does not understand what is happening around them. They do not know why they are valued or scolded, when the opportunity for cooperation arises, and under what circumstances they are shunned (although it is not said publicly).
- Language can be more than just a native or foreign language.
- Language can also be thought of as all kinds of systems of signs and symbols — body language, road signs, computer languages, etc.
- All “languages” influence the productivity of communication and the satisfaction of interlocutors.
A person who has become a boss for no good reason, in the absence of an established system of stereotypes, does not know how to organize their behavior with professionals and partners, and feels (justifiably) insecure because, in essence, they have no authority.
Stereotypes begin to form along with the first experiences of early childhood. It’s not what the children are told that matters, but what they see and feel. The children follow everything very carefully, remembering and imitating with precision. The older a person becomes, the greater their baggage of accumulated experience, the more clearly they begin to see the downside of phenomena and processes, begin to comprehend the causes and effects of events: that is, to better understand life.
TIME AND VITALITY IN SOCIETY
We have already talked about time and the individual minute, but it is also important to pay attention to the family and community minute, to the organizational and societal minute. They also have an inter-event timeline.
The well-known right to life exists not only in the biological sense, but also in the social sense.
All interpretations of life only make sense if one understands when life begins and when it ends. Life in the physical sense begins at conception and ends at death. Any interference that threatens it in this entire time frame is in any case a crime. To achieve such a demanding attitude in society, citizens still have a lot of work to do on themselves.
There is vitality not only in the individual, but also in the community, the family, and the nation. The destruction of the vitality of a nation is called genocide. To preserve vitality, it is necessary to know what it depends on and create a sufficiently systematic program to nourish all of its factors. Attention to only one factor of vitality is purely propagandistic.
NB! Left to itself, any system dissipates. To preserve life, it is necessary to act consistently and purposefully, to protect oneself, family, community, and society — everything that life depends on.
CONTINUOUS PREPARATION FOR THE FUTURE
Many nations have a wise saying: a nation that does not know the past has no future. It is necessary both to know the present and the past, and to anticipate the future. Actions in the present at the expense of the future, involving the destruction, pollution, and ruin of the environment, are immoral. We must all make an effort to pass on to the next generation the living environment in at least the same condition as we inherited it from previous generations (see 3.0.).
We should constantly be prepared both for a course of events that we can try to predict or even know for sure, and for what we cannot predict. Unfortunately, the way the world works is that no matter how much you prepare, most things still happen unexpectedly.
Humanity may develop entirely new needs, interests, and dangers. In the information society, along with reliable facts, targeted lies and information noise are also spread. Therefore, we must be especially careful and demanding when determining the reliability and systematicity of data.
A smart citizen thinks both about the present and about the near and distant future. Behavior in the conditions and circumstances of the future depends on readiness. If there is no willingness to defend yourself, you can die. If there is no readiness for marriage, then life together will be hard. If there is no readiness for work, then there is a high probability that a person will prefer to dodge work, and if they do find themself employed, then their duties will seem too difficult to them.
Those who are incapable of benevolent cooperation will remain alone and will be rejected. Especially spoiled children, for the most part, become outcasts. Those whose company is not tolerated by those around them cannot communicate. Such people are often frustrated and stubborn because they cannot do anything special in the company of others. Most people who have grown up alone, rejected, have a thorn in their heart. If possible, they try to take a position that implies power over those around them. Some of them have to give orders to their liking. Others begin to abuse the power they have gained.
Leaders who are willing to cooperate are usually specialists in some field. They are able to understand the whole and appreciate, inspire, and protect all who act with them.
LIFE REQUIRES GENERAL EDUCATION AND CONTINUOUS LEARNING
General education is preparation for participating in lifelong learning. A person can begin their productive activity according to the special, professional, and occupational training they have (see also 9.2.). It is easy to teach a specialty, but the specialty cannot apply itself! The individual as a subject of self- and social governance can apply themself (see 1.4.). In every sphere of life, you should orient yourself, decide and do what has been decided, assess the results and make adjustments to what cannot be continued in the old way.
You can study or teach a specialty, but both professional and occupational training are necessary to apply yourself in life. Otherwise, even a university graduate will be only a senior unskilled laborer.
Life also requires training in cognition, creativity, etc (see 9.3.).
The use of time is an indicator of the level of development and efficiency, as well as a prerequisite for development. Time and space are of equal value for a person, and form a space-time continuum, that is, the unity of time and space. All this makes sense only if there is enlightenment — if something happens that has conscious content and meaning.
In society, the identity of members of society is a factor of life: that is, identification based on gender, age, nationality, marital status, relationships, awareness of the homeland, worldview, and much more. Almost all people identify (equate) themselves with other citizens, representatives of the same culture, with other members of their society. A family identity can be formed by those who know the history of their family and their ancestors to the depth of at least two or three past generations. History is, first of all, a narrative about the lives of people, and not exclusively about rulers and governments, wars and other upheavals.
A person without roots is like a weather vane. A person with a clear and distinct national, local cultural and family identity knows how, on what and for what people used to live, what they strove for and achieved, what trace their ancestors left on the earth. Such people know where the ashes of their forefathers are buried. Generational continuity is an important characteristic of society. Every citizen needs to tirelessly take care of its preservation.
Generational continuity is very important for the prosperity of society and the homeland, and should be highly valued.
A little bit about the role identity. As the reader remembers from the last chapter (see 1.5.), a person is constantly in a role. In order to stay within background of others who perform the same role, as well as against the background of the opposite role.
The prerequisites for identification are codes — cultural, religious, social. Regarding codes, it is important to know the history of culture, in order to understand how to identify yourself (for example, as an Estonian), how various religious systems have been formed and the connections between them. It is a role, you need to know both your own and the opposite role. You can identify yourself against the important to be aware of the eternal connections, the universe, and your place among other people.
- Codes are signs or systems of signs that have a certain value.
- Cultural codes are signs and/or symbols originating in culture, the knowledge of which helps to see the event behind a simple, at first glance, action or text, as well as to understand those events.
- Social codes are all the same in the context of society.
People are members of society and representatives of culture. Also, all events and texts have meaning, significance, and impact in both social and cultural connections. Understanding, responding to, and participating in the actions of others depends on mastery of the codes.
Identity is not formed and does not exist randomly. It takes a lot of work to make it happen, as well as taking care that it doesn’t deteriorate.
If a person does not self-identify, they leave themself apart from others. A marginal state arises, which is difficult for both oneself and others to tolerate. A marginalized person is extremely volatile and can easily become apathetic or aggressive, as well as a victim of various surrogates and people of unworthy behavior. (See 3.3.)
Human health is an important sign of a society, an indicator of its level of development and a prerequisite for its prosperity. The reader already knows that the World Health Organization (WHO) defines health as the unity of physical, spiritual, and social well-being. Once again, we can talk about physical, spiritual, and social well-being, but it makes no sense to talk about physical, spiritual, or social health.
Physical condition is the attention of professionals, and medical institutions receive more and more money from the state budget. This is quite reasonable, but there is not the slightest doubt that regardless of how much money is allocated from the state budget for a private (profit-oriented) enterprise (a hospital, etc.), it will still be insufficient.
If all educational institutions were “privatized,” the same conditions would arise in education. You can go even further. Educational and training institutions, medical institutions, so-called cultural institutions — in a word, the entire public infrastructure (including public services, communications, transportation, energy) can be transferred to a private legal basis. But all this is feasible only if the level of employment and management allows people to receive such an income for their labor and other productive activities that, after satisfying the primary needs, there will be enough money for self-improvement, for the education of children, for health care, for recreation, for the expansion of their horizons, and at least for some small savings. However, this is not possible these days — Estonia is in a wage trap.
- Anatomy is the science of the composition of a healthy human being, its parts and structure.
- Physiology is the science of the functioning, changes, and development of a healthy human body and its subsystems.
- Histology is the science of the tissues and elements of a healthy human body.
As for spiritual and social wellbeing, the situation is difficult to call satisfactory. The human psyche has a delicate organization. Psychologists should understand the psyche of a healthy person — mental processes, mental phenomena, and states. Unfortunately, they lack the training to provide a common understanding of a person, life, and living environment.
mental abnormalities in a form understandable to colleagues, make diagnoses, and prescribe treatment (mainly medication). Both psychologists and psychiatrists need to be familiar with social psychology and sociology to identify the causes of illness (see Figure 0.3.5.).
Just as medical learning is based on anatomy, physiology, and histology, teacher training (and the training of other professionals who interact with people) should be based on psychology, social psychology, and sociology. Everyone would also benefit from knowledge of mental and behavioral disorders, as well as the ability to notice their possible causes.
In today’s information society, every citizen should be guided in human psyche has a delicate organization. Psychologists should understand the psyche of a healthy person — mental processes, mental phenomena, and states. Unfortunately, they lack the training to provide a common understanding of a person, life, and living environment.
Psychiatrists are able to explain human relations, communication, treatment of one another, and interaction between people (see 6.1.). Certainly everyone can benefit from a short course in philosophy and culture, as well as ongoing additional training.
- Just as the study of anatomy, physiology, and histology is the foundation of medical education, the study of psychology, social psychology, and sociology should be the foundation for teachers (and other professionals who interact with people).
- Everyone could use the knowledge of mental and behavioral disorders, as well as the ability to notice their possible causes.
In a condition in which about a third of the population is in shambles, in which bullying of students and teachers alike in school is often a daily occurrence, in which youth gangs hold entire neighborhoods in fear, in which substance abuse is on the rise, it should finally be understood and considered that the health care system needs to change fundamentally.
By the way, as noted in the margin, let’s give here a brief listing of the symptoms of stress and depression.
Symptoms of stress:
- loneliness, unwillingness to be in society and communicate;
- difficulty concentrating, attention becomes distracted;
- impaired memory: it is difficult to remember the simplest facts, things get lost;
- no response to invitations, ignoring phone calls;
- difficulty falling asleep and sleeping, insomnia;
- sudden attacks of aggression;
- rapid mood swings, from euphoria to tears;
- restlessness, inability to finish what has been started, inability to concentrate;
- immersion in work, a person takes on an increasing load, although for a time they haven’t been able to cope with what they already took on;
- the person burdens themself with compulsory activities;
- loss of interest in food;
- there is a fear of silence, a person creates a background of noise around themself;
- attention is focused on one’s own appearance and that of others; appearance is treated as something most important.
You don’t have to be a doctor to notice stress or depression. A sensible person knows the signs of these abnormalities and immediately understands what is wrong.
In the event of overstrain, you should reassess the priorities and structure of activities, as well as change form and content. It is necessary to recognize stress and the causes of the accompanying depression, acknowledge them, and formulate, comprehend, connect, and create a plan for further action. It should be recognized that stress is not a natural part of life, and nothing makes us live under stress.
Alcohol and other surrogates can only provide temporary relief. Maybe we should take a vacation and spend it somewhere else, in different conditions, among other people.
Burnout (bipolar depression) is becoming a frequent phenomenon. Let’s face it, with the triumphant march of information technology, the human burden is not decreasing, but growing. It is becoming increasingly obvious that wealth and happiness are independent of each other.
Incompetence is accompanied by chronic lack of time, mutual mistrust, unreasonable orders and control, and endless meetings in which no one gives advice and no one asks for advice.
The tensions that arise in immediate relationships are local in nature (social psychology). Global tensions are the object of sociology. (See 3.3.)
2.5. MENTAL BALANCE AND COGNITIVE DISSONANCE
Mental equilibrium is called homeostasis, and inconsistency in cognition or a lack of equilibrium is called cognitive dissonance .
Mental equilibrium is an essential prerequisite for the life of people and various human communities. Unfortunately, the human psyche is dynamic and occasionally loses its balance, sometimes less, sometimes more. It can also happen that the psyche gets out of control altogether. That’s when a person gets sick. The equilibrium can be upset by an ill-conceived or forced action, temptations, and one’s own greed, weakness, carelessness, or delusion.
Cognitive dissonance is felt by a person as a mental tension arising from the collision of two or more items of knowledge or feelings. To alleviate the resulting discomfort, the subject must find a way out. Otherwise, events leading to fatal consequences may occur. Dissonance can be reduced by changing one’s beliefs, and attitudes, or by running away from reality. And sometimes it may seem to be enough just to lie (deny your participation), say something contrary to your knowledge and experience (assure yourself and others of the cardinal inconsistency of what happened with reality), justify the act committed, blame others, etc.
- It is difficult to live in a situation of cognitive dissonance.
- One way out of it is to admit it, express regret, ask for forgiveness, and promise that nothing like that will ever happen again.
- If a person asks for forgiveness, they should be forgiven, otherwise they will start lying and hiding.
- If there is no hope of forgiveness, the person gets worse and worse.
- With the forgiveness received, balance returns only to those who are sincere.
It is the nature of humans to shun those people, actions, and conversations that may damage their self-awareness (“self”). People are endowed with unconscious defense mechanisms that come into motion if an event or its description and explanation changes their beliefs, views, attitudes, myths, and taboos.
If a person is forced or tempted to do something they believe is unworthy, it destroys their homeostasis. In this case, you have to do something to restore peace of mind. It may happen that the action that disturbed the balance is so negative that the person is unable to continue living with it, but they cannot escape or ask for forgiveness. This condition can be accompanied by depression or aggressive behavior, including self-aggression and other kinds of desperation.
- A person who went to the polls (who cast their vote) understands perfectly well that in fact they could not choose anyone or anything. Why this is so is a separate story, but in short, they had no opportunity to learn in essence what the various parties and MPs are all about. No one remembers what they talked about before, whether they did something, whether they achieved something. But the job is done, and it leaves a residue on the soul.
To alleviate pain, it is necessary for everyone (and first of all, yourself!) to begin to explain the radical opposite of what is going on in your soul. To say that the only right choice has been made and to advise others to follow suit. It is also possible to seek oblivion in intoxicating substances, or go headlong into an activity to such an extent that you don’t see the light of day and have no time for shame.
However, one can actually find salvation in admitting the unworthiness of what has been done, asking forgiveness and promising to start a study of what is happening in the state — so that what happened this time will not happen again in the future.
- Sometimes people try to achieve changes that lead to development — changes that are accompanied by a transition to a qualitatively new, more perfect state. Often, however, we also see how people resist qualitative transitions, because a person who is out of their comfort zone needs to create a new system of connections and dependencies in order to continue to exist. It’s a whole ordeal that takes a long time for many, and not everyone makes it to the end. It is much easier to live with “rose-colored glasses”, and when someone appears offering to do something, the protective mechanisms exclude the person from the field of vision, nothing happens, and time flies on…
 For those interested in cognitive dissonance, we recommend reading the writings of Leon Festinger.
2.6. SOCIAL STRATIFICATION AND STRATIFICATION INDEX
The social stratification index, or belonging to different social layers (strata) characterizes society in statics. Belonging to strata is determined by a number of factors that, when compiling an index, should be evaluated and the sum of points should be recorded on the appropriate scale.
The stratification index should take into account:
- Unity of volume and structure of material consumption.
- Unity of volume and structure of intangible consumption.
- Ability to be informed.
- Ability to participate in shaping decisions.
- Ability to move around.
- Safety, degree of security.
- Quality of housing.
- Status in public and business life.
In the usual case, the stratification of society has a normal distribution according to the Gaussian curve.
The structure of the Estonian population on the basis of strata has not yet been compiled.
The question is not how to make everyone equally poor through redistribution. The question is for all people to reach a level at which they can find a decent use for themselves and be able to cope independently in life. For children and the elderly, the ability to cope independently with everything is already an achievement, but for everyone else it is not enough — they must be productive, create, learn, make discoveries, and work.
It is impossible to come to the complete eradication of poverty. Life is often cruel, but we should still try to keep the number of people living in relative and absolute poverty to a minimum. (See 13.1.)
The trouble is that poverty breeds poverty, and wealth creates the prerequisites for even greater enrichment. There is nothing good or surprising in the fact that according to the Gini coefficient, which reflects the degree of social stratification, Estonia is in a “leading” position in the European Union.
If Estonia wants to remain among the cultural peoples and become one of the states with a decent standard of living, it is necessary to identify, formulate, and make public the factors that determine belonging to the strata. Then take as a basis for socio-cultural regulation the creation of prerequisites for changing the population’s standard of living. The education system, the communication system, and social and administrative control all play a role in creating a normal stratification structure. Again, it should be noted that administrative methods cannot get rid of poverty. A system in which the rich get richer and the poor get poorer must be changed.
Due to lack of education, a significant part of the population is unable to participate in the decision-making process, as well as foresee the consequences of their own and others’ decisions. The quality of decisions is not due to the number of degrees or courses completed, but the education and willingness to understand, to think with one’s head, to engage in productive cooperation, to recognize opportunities and dangers, and to anticipate one’s immediate and distant future.
2.7. FUNCTIONAL LITERACY
Functional literacy is the ability to understand how life works and how society functions. In society, each system has its own distinctiveness. All levels of regulation and governance also have their own specificity (see Figure 7.2.1.). If you look hard enough, you may be able to find a problem whose causes and other factors are at the same level where the contradiction arose and the problem itself was formulated. Every citizen should have at least a basic understanding of the system of finance, communication, insurance, trade and transportation, energy, water, housing and utilities. It would also be useful to know how proceedings are organized in the police, at the notary, in court. It pays to know more about politics, politicians, and, of course, demagogy (see 12.3.), so as not to fall into the trap of any ideological construct; to be able to separate the wheat from the chaff.
Functional literacy is an important prerequisite for the formation of civil society. A person should not only be informed, they should also understand the current state, which factors affect what, and how effective possible measures are. If there is no understanding, then it is impossible to be informed, because the raw data itself does not create clarity in a person’s head that could be considered information.
WE LEARN ALL OUR LIVES
A person learns the basics of literacy in elementary school, but functional literacy requires improvement for the rest of one’s life. The world is changing faster and faster, which means we have to use every moment of our lives to keep up. The same is true of society as a whole. And, unfortunately, there is no choice. The classic question never loses its relevance: to be or not to be, to persist or fade away.
Self-education is, first of all, a system of self-education, which functions with the support of people who are able to create in society the necessary and sufficient holistic mental structures. In additional training, the goal is one’s own readiness and creating prerequisites for the readiness of others for everything that will obviously begin to happen in the near and distant future. When self-education is thought of as a continuous chain of forming this readiness, there is reason to be satisfied.
- Not only children, but the entire population is involved in the learning process
- The time of learning does not end in youth; it lasts a lifetime.
- Not only educational institutions of all kinds, but all public institutions have an educational purpose.
Allow me to make a small digression here to describe the state of affairs in my home district of Kohila. There are five kindergartens, two schools (a municipal gymnasium and a private school), and an educational center for people of all ages interested in music, dance, visual arts, theater, fashion design, ceramics, textiles, etc. There is a lecture hall and discussion club. The local volleyball team has been among the best in the country for years. The Kohila Stadium hosts soccer games and track and field competitions every year. The winner of the inventor’s contest and the craftsman’s contest resides in our district. The compilation of a book and charter of district craftspeople is in full swing, according to which elderly people, with the support of the district, will be able to invite a specialist to help them. It turns out that we have all kinds of craftspeople. The District Board consults with the people on all important issues.
But this could be arranged everywhere in Estonia!
The basis of self-education is the need and real opportunity to participate in discussions, search for and form solutions, execute and assess results.
The absence of such a real opportunity for a person entails passivity and indifference (estrangement, see 3.3.). People in a state of estrangement can go somewhere deep in grief and listen to something and do something, but they are unlikely to learn something, because they do not see the point in delving into something.
Functional literacy is formed in all spheres of life and at every level of regulation (see 7.2.).
A QUESTION OF WORLDVIEW
The acquisition of functional literacy is not so much a professional as a moral and worldview issue. If people are negligent, indifferent, uneducated, allow themselves to be fooled, or if they lack the courage, intelligence, and desire to straighten their backs, there is no stopping the fall.
The Estonian national epic “Kalevipoeg” shows what happens to those who go first and last — they get slaughtered. Those who stay in the middle return home safely. Caution is not always cowardice, it can also be a sign of intelligence, and it is worth remembering that. It is safe to say that idleness and laziness do not help.
2.8. LIFE AND EDUCATION
Being educated allows a person to be sensible (adequate). Sensibility matters in any activity. Sensibility is a criterion for evaluating a person and a community of people. Education is a state, the pursuit of which is for many a course that they adhere to all their lives.
A person grows up not only through learning, but in the unity of learning, upbringing, and experience.
CONFUSION OVER THE WORD “SOCIAL” CONTINUES
The unity of the words “social” and “economic” already had meaning during the Soviet system. At that time, the word “social” meant only everyday life — apartments, kindergartens, schools, sports facilities, recreation centers. Social tension or discontent could not even be talked about in those days. Today there is no prohibition, but no one is simply engaged in researching and preventing both the causes and consequences of the processes of estrangement and alienation, as well as situations of choice, absurdity, and coercion (see 3.2.). The Ministry of Social Affairs means by the word “social” the concerns of people who, for some reason, cannot cope independently in their lives: i.e., children, pensioners, disabled people, etc.
The social, spiritual, and mental are intangible phenomena that concern everyone, not just the people who need help. Social assistance, social insurance, social jobs, social homes, and support for those who cannot cope on their own, as well as the assistance and care provided to them, are necessary for society. However, with this simple feat, it is impossible to bypass the consideration of social tension and its causes.
It is impossible to achieve economic success by doing business. It is necessary to do everything on which economic success depends. It is necessary to cover and take into account the unity of the economic and social components. If the activity is not systematic enough, it is only good for making an impression. The consequence will be stagnation or decline.
MEANINGS ARE FORMED IN CONTEXT
Education is one of the prerequisites of a person’s ability to make independent decisions. Forming a good decision is impossible if knowledge, skills, experience, information, and the ability to anticipate and recognize are lacking (see 9).
Without the ability to distinguish and relate data and information, the condition risks becoming complicated — poor education prevents people from understanding the system, or they will simply be very poorly informed. The same complicated conditions can arise when people have no experience and do not understand what accompanies their decisions. Or they don’t have the ability to distinguish good from bad.
A key issue of the growth environment is the understanding that everyone should take care of themselves and, at the same time, create the prerequisites for the success of others. In a growth environment, it is necessary to create the conditions for a person to have the courage to think and speak independently, to have the ability to analyze, solve, and generalize. Learning gives us something that is not so easy to get through other channels. You need to remember that what you have learned can be forgotten if you do not repeat it and refresh your memory. However, what is best remembered is what a person has comprehended independently: their own insights.
KNOWLEDGE AND UNDERSTANDING
Knowledge is the result of learning. (See Figure 9.1.3.) The state curriculum stipulates the amount of knowledge that needs to be mastered. At the same time, understanding the curriculum is not provided for in any way.
If the knowledge is not organized, then it will not be possible to use it at the right time. Order is needed everywhere — at home, on the desktop, in the yard, in the garage, in relationships, in various areas of life and, of course, in the mind. Creating and maintaining order in the human mind is a much more difficult task than increasing the amount of knowledge.
Figuratively speaking, it makes no sense to increase the area of the field if everything is planted randomly on an existing plot and weeds are growing. Knowledge must be systematic and connected, for example, to the context of nature, society, and culture. The creation and preservation of order is a specific kind of knowledge and a significant component of education.
- Much (and sometimes most) of the knowledge a person acquires is by chance, through direct experience.
- A great deal of knowledge is gained through study, creativity, and research.
- Skills are formed in the process of grinding drills.
- Understanding is formed in the process of reflection and comprehension.
- The ability to anticipate and recognize is formed through experience and understanding of what happened in several contexts, at different levels of regulation and management.
A person discovers most of the connections and dependencies, dangers and opportunities through experience — their own and other people’s. As for laws and patterns, they should be discovered, formulated and studied.
There are three types of fundamental laws that need to be known and understood: the laws of nature, the laws of society, and the laws of thinking: that is, logic. General scientific facts are fundamental laws. In each specific case, such laws manifest themselves as patterns, which must also be known and understood. Patterns get their meaning from the context — depending on the point of view, the meaning can vary significantly.
Knowledge of laws and patterns (which manifest themselves differently in different spheres) has practical value only if there is a desire to understand the causes of phenomena and processes, as well as to apply this knowledge in practice.
Scientifically speaking, we are talking about a system of causal and functional (causative and concomitant) relationships.
People are willing to make the effort to learn and apply knowledge only when there is great interest, intense pressure, or a serious need. Pressure can be both external and internal, and can manifest in various forms, from a hint to physical force. A person who does not know the laws and patterns can know and be able to do a lot, but is not able to understand the causes of certain phenomena and processes, states and dependencies. As a result, such people cannot navigate without outside help and are unable to make independent decisions.
If society members want to have quality and up-to-date knowledge, we must first find out what knowledge is in general (see also Figure 9.1.5.). Then it is necessary to see how things are now, and how training should be organized so that the desired knowledge in all areas that make up life laws of nature, the laws of society, and the laws of thinking: that is, logic. General scientific facts are fundamental laws. In each specific case, such laws manifest themselves as patterns, which must also be known and understood. Patterns get their meaning from the context — depending on the point of view, the meaning can vary is formed in a specialty, a profession, and an occupation.
- The laws established by people should be known and enforced.
- The laws of society, the laws of nature, and the laws of thinking are objective and manifest as patterns. They should be known and considered.
- Any decision must take
- into account both objective laws and patterns as well as laws established by people.
First there must be knowledge, then the skill to use that knowledge, and, finally, the desire, courage, strength, and faith that make you overcome yourself. There are ideals and lofty ideas behind all this.
Models of skills and understanding should be created in a similar way to models of knowledge. The value is the unity of knowledge, skills, and understanding.
KNOWLEDGE, OPINION, BELIEF…
Knowledge is a thought construct formed by direct contemplation, logical conclusions, research, and expert opinion, often replacing beliefs, assumptions, or hypotheses; a sensible description, evaluation, or conclusion concerning some object of consideration — a person or community of people, an object or a set of objects, a phenomenon or process, or their qualities, connections, or meanings.
Description precedes research. The object of research is a problem, and through research it is necessary to discover the system of causal and functional connections of the problem (its occurrence, existence, extension, and expansion). True facts can be found on the basis of valid (reliable) data. The truth always corresponds to reality and reflects the reasons for the true state and movement.
Belief is the idea of what is possible; what is considered possible is something about which there is no knowledge but no reason to presume otherwise, regardless of the opinions, beliefs, and other perceptions of the people around you.
A dream is a concept of a desired near or distant future that is on the border between possible and impossible. This desire is so great and far away that it is more reasonable to keep it a secret and hope that someday, somehow, we will be lucky enough to find an opportunity to implement this concept. A dream may be an ideal, the pursuit of which forms the content of life, although initially there are neither the resources nor the conditions to achieve it. A dream can hide an overarching task (see 2.12.).
Opinion is an interpretation, a view presented by partially informed people. (An opinion alone is sufficient only for partially educated, poorly informed, and inexperienced people.) Opinions are tolerated in the absence of knowledge or lack of courage to make them public. Opinions are sometimes used instead of arguments as demagoguery and to confirm one’s loyalty.
An opinion leader is a person or group of people whose erudition, education, awareness, experience, social and cultural connections, moral attitudes, and status allow us to consider them a source of reliable information about the causes of what is happening and what happened or is likely to happen in the future.
Faith is a deep feeling, confidence in the rightness or wrongness of something, the conviction that something happened this way and not otherwise, regardless of what others think, know or say or in what they believe. Faith becomes conviction by refuting erroneous facts, opinions, assessments, conclusions, etc.
Faith can be formed as a result of overcoming cognitive dissonance, as well as under the influence of morality, culturally-formed truths, and holistic thought constructs (religious systems, ideological teachings).
2.9. SUBJECT AND OBJECT
If one is the subject, the active actor (see 1.4.), then what one’s active attention is focused on is the object. Guidance is needed where processes are the object and certain results are to be achieved. If the focus is on people, and the goal is to achieve order and respect for order, governance is necessary.
The first thing to do is identify the main processes (see 2.12.), that is, determine which tasks a particular structure is designed to perform. For example, the main process in school should be the development of the child (which implies the unity of learning, upbringing, and experience), and not just one of its components, which is currently considered to be studying as such. And any auxiliary, parallel, additional, or coercive processes that hinder or impede the main process should have no place or time.
The object of management (see Figure 2.9.1) is a process; at the same time, there must be unity of management and execution. The prerequisite of management is execution, the prerequisite of execution is management. Execution without management is as meaningless as management without execution.
The object of governance is the individual; here the unity of governance and subordination is necessary, whether it is governing oneself or governing someone else, up to and including governing the state and the people. There is a need for order, achieved through governance and subordination. Order should be achieved not through violence and coercion, but through understanding, willful action, and respect (this is true at any level, whether we are talking about our own minds, the workplace, an enterprise, or the government).
Disorder in thought, in deed, in behavior, and in principle is one of the causes of poverty. Order is a function of governance and subordination (objective interdependence). Processes are carried out by people whose behavior must obey order. A person (and society) is not an object like a piece of wood that could be handled according to instructions, whittled or moved from place to place. A person is a living being whose behavior can be characterized as stochastic (probabilistic). Knowledge of psychology, social psychology, sociology, and psychiatry, and a willingness to reckon with these sciences are important in governance.
The object of administration is tangible assets, the unity of administration and maintenance is necessary. The purpose of administration is expedient use, the purpose of maintenance is operable condition. Administration without maintenance is meaningless; maintenance without administration is impossible. Tangible assets and their operable condition help achieve the results of this process.
The object of possession is intangible assets, the unity of possession and utilization is necessary. In jurisprudence, the concept of possession is used in the sense of property — possession of rights, a patent, a trademark. In psychology, social psychology, and sociology, possession is an intellectual state — possessing languages, knowledge, a car (for example, a racing driver possesses a car with their whole being and body — seeing, hearing, feeling the vibration and suspension). It is one thing to know a language, it is another thing to speak it: that is, to use knowledge of the language. Knowledge should be possessed systematically. Practice shows that you can manage without knowledge, but in that case, there is a high probability of errors and failures, which for the most part leads to undesirable and disappointing consequences.
The object of forming connections is a system; the unity of forming connections and cooperation is necessary. We are talking about existing systems in society, which can be both self-regulated and externally regulated. Ensuring the formation of connections and cooperation is the primary goal (creativity ) of most managers. They should bring together different systems so that their interaction can form a greater potential than each individual component ever could.
The object of capture is resources; the unity of capture and utilization is necessary. For example, minerals, territories, and markets. Resources can be used if the conditions are created for it. Resources and their use are necessary for processes to take place and to achieve results.
The object of measurement is quantitative characteristics (length, width, weight, depth, etc.)
The object of assessment is systems and their qualitative characteristics (color, strength, speed, accuracy, novelty, etc.)
The object of counting is units (number of responders, workers, errors).
The object of research is problems — perceived contradictions between the current and desired state of affairs (see also 0.3.). Reality can be described, whereas only problems can be investigated. Each problem has its own particular content, meaning, and impact at all levels of regulation and management. What fits on one particular level and in one culture may not fit on other levels and in other cultures.
The object of description is items, phenomena, processes, or their totalities. For a satisfactory description, it is necessary to find a sufficient number of points of view. A description may precede research, but it is not research in itself. For example, you can determine the structure of respondents from the data collected in a survey, but it is impossible to know anything about the subject of the survey. The latter is only possible if the survey was conducted among experts .
One of the well-known methods of description is the SWOT analysis, created as an auxiliary program of the United Nations in order to activate states and peoples with a low level of development (to encourage and awaken them). SWOT is not suitable for collecting data on the basis of which conclusions can be drawn and proposals can be made.
The object of studying is texts — written, spoken, or in video or audio format.
 If interested, we recommend checking out the Delphi method of expert assessment.
2.10. AIM-DRIVEN AND GOAL-ORIENTED ACTIVITIES
All objects in need of attention require activity with a definite aim and goal. For example, the process of upbringing is aim-driven, and the process of learning is goal-oriented. Upbringing has no time limitations, whereas a specific school or course needs to be graduated in a certain time. In society (as well as in production and in all other spheres of life), a significant part of activity follows an aim (a path without time frames), and a considerable part of activity is focused on a goal (which needs to be achieved on time).
AIMS ARE MAINTAINED, GOALS ARE ACHIEVED
It is necessary to distinguish between the aim and the goal (not to confuse them), but at the same time to consider them together (to link them). It is possible to link with each other only those things that are clearly distinguishable from one another.
It is possible to maintain the aim and achieve the goals if the subject has the necessary means (all the necessary resources and the necessary conditions for their use). Something could become a means only relative to the goal and the aim. To achieve the goals, you should launch the appropriate processes that will become the objects of management. The better the level of management, the more the processes undergo self-regulatively, without requiring prompt intervention from the management side.
- The aim is a rational direction that should be followed all the time.
- A goal is a state or position fixed in the future, which should be achieved by a certain date by the subject’s willful action.
- The subject needs the means to achieve the goal, otherwise it is only a dream.
PRESERVATION MATTERS MORE THAN CHANGE
Against the backdrop of practical, effective, and intensive activity, it is necessary, first and foremost, to preserve all that cannot be subjected to change, but, on the contrary, should be protected and strengthened. For example, the most important thing for an enterprise is functioning. Changes to achieve development can be made consciously and only in such quantities that functioning is not disrupted.
For this purpose, a system of activity principles should be created, as well as a system of criteria for assessing both the activities and their participants, results, consequences, environment, and other relevant factors. A prerequisite for management and self-regulation is communication, as well as goal visualization and feedback (see 6.2.).
STARTING POINT AND CONCEPT OF A GOAL
Any aim-driven or goal-oriented process begins with fixing a starting point and a concept of where we want to go or what we want to achieve.
A goal itself is a system, but the qualitative difference between goals can be very large.
Goals can be primitive; such as, for example, evasion, spending, or saving. There are times when activities are mistakenly seen as goals. In this case, the goal is assumed to be some event, and conducting the event is considered “achievement of the goal.” There is no attention on what was achieved as a result of this event.
Before setting a goal, it makes sense to clarify the aim — the desirable direction. Often, finding the right aim can be more difficult and more important than setting goals.
Levels and interpretations of the goal (see Figure 2.10.1):
Spending, saving, and evasion as goals lead to both spiritual and material poverty.
If the goal is spending (time, money, other resources), then the activity is called squandering. If saving becomes the goal, the action would become scrimping.
If evasion is the goal, then the activity is called cowardice. There is a perception that it is possible to avoid responsibility this way, but in some positions, evading decisions can even lead to criminal liability.
Activity as a goal means organizing an activity for the sake of the activity. It doesn’t matter what the result is. Activity as a goal is a sign of a very low level of organization.
The result as a goal is the assessed outcome of a specific activity, with the unity of the quantitative, qualitative, and temporal (deadline) parameters. If one of the parameters is missing, the result loses its value.
- Before beginning each action, think about what needs to be preserved and protected and what can be improved and changed.
- Only after that can you take action.
A process as a goal is a continuous chain of events in a temporal sequence and logical bundle, where the outcome (output) of each previous action or stage should be suitable as input values for the subsequent stage or stages.
A state or status as a goal is the level to which one should aspire and the achievement of which contains all the processes and actions should fix the current state (A) in conjunction with characteristics in n-dimensional space, and as a goal, the desired state (B) in conjunction with characteristics mentioned at the previous levels. As a starting point, we in the same space (the interpretation of this problem is familiar to readers, figure 0.3.3.).
In order to start the processes leading from state A to state B, it is necessary to act effectively. Prudent spending and avoidance of unfortunate consequences are prerequisites for effective action. Before beginning each action, think about what needs to be preserved and protected and what can be improved and changed. Only after that can you take action.
WHAT TO ACHIEVE, WHAT TO AVOID…
It is generally believed that the result is more important than the activity, but we feel it necessary to emphasize that the Jesuits’ motto, the ends justifies the means, entails an infinite amount of suffering. It is necessary to think very carefully not only about what we want to achieve, but also about what should be avoided — that is, the whole process.
It is impossible to achieve anything worthy by unworthy means.
If you prescribe specific actions for a person to take, you can’t demand results from them. However, if you simply specify what result is required, then the executor will have to decide what actions they will take. If we are talking about a capable employee, then they can be required to achieve a state (a new quantitative state in n-dimensional space), and the executor must be able to decide for themself what actions and processes they use. Since a sense of responsibility and activity are formed in the process of independent decisions, it is reasonable to give the executor more opportunities to decide themself (see 11.2.).
A result is achieved through a specific activity. A state is achieved in a process that is a sequence of events. A goal-oriented process is a chain of actions taken to move from the current state to the desired state. The achieved state must be suitable as an “input” for the next process or solution (a directly goal visualized system).
RESULTS AND CONSEQUENCES
A result is what we wished for, predicted, and achieved. Along with it, there are usually side effects (compatible with the main result) and consequences ( incompatible with the main result). Minimization and compensation measures must be considered in any processes. In striving to achieve something, one must first determine what is to be preserved, and see to it that the consequences are not destructive and that there is no shame or pain for them.
- The result is what is desired, predicted, and achieved.
- In addition, there may be side (collateral) effects.
- Consequences are unwanted side effects.
- You have to be able to deal with the consequences.
A process can be judged by whether the outcome meets the expectations. The criterion is whether the result achieved is suitable as an “input” for subsequent processes. Direct communication is key to all processes and decisions (see 6.2.). If this is not taken into account, there will be waste, destruction, chaos, and decline.
THE SYSTEM OF PRINCIPLES AS A SOCIAL CONTRACT
Actions must be subject to a system of principles. Principles are rules formulated in the form of a social contract (generally accepted) and promulgated. When it comes to principles, we make promises, oaths, and vows to do everything possible to preserve, protect, work, and serve faithfully according to our best ideas. In any goal-oriented activity, it is necessary to specify, formulate, and record in writing which principles are accepted by all and taken as a guide to action, as well as which violations are accompanied by punishment, reprimand at work or even dismissal, in conjunction with a claim for compensation for the damage caused. Violation of the principles is sufficient grounds for termination of the employment relationship. If there are no principles, then the qualification also loses its meaning. If the system of principles is violated, then the institution cannot function, and there is disorder and decline.
The system of principles should be fixed as a social contract for activity at any level (individual, family, enterprise, self-government, state). For example, the following principles apply in parenting: purity, consistency, accuracy, safety, honesty, systematicity, order, subject-subject relationship. If there is no agreement on the principles or someone ignores them, then nothing good will come of cooperation.
PROJECTIONS AND FUTURE SCENARIOS
An activity can have an aim and a goal, if it is projected. Based on the projections, scenarios are drawn up for possible developments.
Usually optimistic, neutral, and pessimistic (rosy, green, and black) scenarios are compiled. According to the rosy scenario, things will be much better than they are now (what if everything goes well?). In the black scenario, the condition will significantly worsen (what to do if terrible things happen?). According to the green scenario, things would happen in much the same way as they do now. (See also 11.3.)
PRIORITIES AND MATRIX ANALYSIS
If you need to do one, two, and three, but can’t do it all at once, you have to choose where to start. At the household level, the order does not matter much, but in large organizations and at the institutional level, it should be clearly understood what is the most important condition for achieving success or the most serious danger or obstacle.
When attention is concentrated on the most important, there is a danger that the system as a whole will be left out of consideration. Another threat is that attention will be paid to only two or three factors, rather than a system of factors.
A matrix method (a matrix is a special form of table, where rows and columns have similar values) can be used to identify priorities in an area. You can read more about matrix analysis when we talk about management. (See 11.1. and Figure 11.1.11.).
MEANS AND GOALS ARE EQUALLY IMPORTANT
Often, the goal and the means are confused with each other. It happens that goals are set for which there is no source of funds. NB! Something could become a means only in relation to the goal.
First of all, it is necessary to strive to set worthy and practical goals, and then to create, seek, and obtain the necessary means to achieve them, to plan the environment, resources, and suitable conditions for their use, principles of activity, and criteria for evaluating the activity itself and its participants, as well as the results and consequences. If all of the above turn out not to be done, the likelihood of achieving the goal is extremely low.
The means can be economic, administrative, organizational, legal, cultural, political, etc. The content of the means is realized in a matrix, where the axis of the element as a resource serves as one indicator and the axis of the element as a means serves another.
It is not easy to understand what (as the most significant) to focus on at each of the moments of consideration, while maintaining sufficient systematicity of interpretation. Those who succeed will see their enterprise or organization (family, community, society) flourish; those who fail will look for excuses for their failure.
Often the mistake is that goals are set and the aim has not even been discussed; or in setting goals, no thought is given to the means; or resources are lacking or all the necessary conditions for their use.
NB! Each resource is simultaneously a condition of using other resources. For example, money or time, knowledge, health, etc., are resources if they are acquired and preserved. Their availability is a condition for the use of other resources.
In each moment, while focusing on the most significant, one must keep in mind that it is necessary to maintain sufficient systematicity of interpretation.
A young child sees an object from one side and describes the picture they see. Pretty soon, the child begins to understand the integrity of the subject, although they do not see it in its entirety. They imagine what is on the other side, inside, above, and below the object — they create in their head an idea of the whole.
The formation of a systemic model of meaning in a person’s head is a miracle that must be achieved by creating the right conditions for thinking.
IT IS IMPOSSIBLE TO DEVELOP
Systems are divided into regulated and self-regulated. All of them function and change, become obsolete, collapse, etc., but only self-regulating systems could develop.
None of us can “develop” anything anywhere, ever. It is only possible to create the preconditions for functioning, change, and development.
You can’t “develop” a child in school. But it is possible to arrange things in such a way that the learning environment and the environment the home and school — everywhere you need to find and cherish everything that promotes development, while avoiding that which is harmful and dangerous.
- None of us can ever “develop” anything anywhere.
- It is possible to create the preconditions for functioning, change, and development.
For example, boys and girls at different ages have different needs, interests, abilities, expectations, and assessments. A developmentally appropriate and age-appropriate activity for boys may be of no interest to girls of their age. And girls’ preferred activities do not appeal to boys. They are identical children of the same age only according to the definition of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child; in reality, they are boys and girls, young individuals, and subjects.
IT’S NOT EASY TO SEE THE SYSTEM
The meaning and significance of all objects and phenomena are manifested in context. The next level systems, in the context of which we consider any systems, are called metasystems, and a system of metasystems is called a super-system.
In addition to systematicity, it is also necessary to consider comprehensiveness — one should know how to reveal the system in order to consider the system itself both systematically and comprehensively.
When preparing decisions, always take into account that as a whole.
- Systematicity: a system or whole consists of parts, subsystems, and elements. It is important to understand the structure, function, and quality of the system.
- Comprehensiveness (complexity) is the consideration of the system from all points of view, as well as in both dialectical and trialectic connections.
It takes some serious effort to see the system. It is necessary to think not only about what it is, but also about how the system is formed, how systems of different qualities relate to each other, how circumstances you can affect only some of the elements and parts of the system, or subsystems, but their impact can manifest (affect) the system arise that facilitate or hinder the system’s functioning, change, and development.
Parts of the system are mechanically separable fragments. The mechanisms for influencing the parts need to be thoroughly known in order to understand what is allowed and what is not allowed. For example, if you take the human body as a system, then you can and should cut your nails, but cutting off your fingers is unacceptable.
- A car is a regulated system.
- The human body is a self-regulating system, which in certain circumstances could be regulated from the outside. Sometimes this regulation is called treatment, sometimes it is called upbringing, training, feeding, etc.
Self-regulating systems are born and grow. Everything made by human hands is a regulated system. For example, all vehicles are regulated systems. The human body, on the other hand, is a self-regulating system.
Managers’ competency is manifested in the level of self-regulation of their organizations, the organizations’ functioning and readiness for change. The more it is possible to link rights, duties, and responsibilities in such a way that everyone is willing and able to fulfill their tasks (thereby creating the conditions for other employees to fulfill their work tasks), the more time is left for activities aimed at planning for the future.
THE CATEGORY OF UNITY IN SEMANTIC MODELS
It is imperative that the category of unity be added to the semantic model (see also 7.3.). It is not one or the other component that is important separately — several components must be taken into account at the same time. You can talk about one or the other, but a two-dimensional (dialectic) or three-dimensional (trialectic) model must take shape in your mind as a model of meaning. In the dialectical interpretation, we are talking about the plane; in the trialectic interpretation, we are talking about space.
Spatial (at least through three-dimensional models) thinking is a sign of a generalist.
In order, for example, to make an appointment, it is necessary to agree on the time and place. In reality, people meet not because the time and place are known, but for the content of the meeting. Thus, the value is the unity of time, space, and enlightenment (meaning).
- In the dialectic interpretation, we are talking about the plane; in the trialectic interpretation, we are talking about space.
- The ability to think spatially is a sign of a generalist.
The structure of the elements of the goal as a system is invariant (equal) to the structure of the elements of the means as a system. Interpretation of the goal-oriented process is possible with the help of the matrix of elements of goal and means (see Figure 11.1.11.).
The same classification is suitable for characterizing a matrix of resources and conditions. When preparing big decisions, you have to reveal the goal as a system and attach the means to it as a system. Simply put, it is necessary to bring together systems of resources and conditions necessary for their use. By acting in this way, you can form big decisions.
2.12. MAIN PROCESS AND OVERARCHING TASK
In most cases, it is quite difficult to detect and formulate what exactly is (should be) the main process, and what auxiliary, parallel, additional, coercive, etc. processes are necessary for the main processes to run smoothly.
- A person sets an overarching task for themself in order to give meaning to their being and aspirations and become involved in the circle of intellectually and spiritually pure people.
- A subtask is a task whose solution provides the prerequisites for fulfilling or solving the overarching task.