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The concept of "life's work" and acme

When considering man and civilization in the mirror of acmeological science in the context of the methodology of studying its object and subject, a group of authors led by A.A.Bodalev pointed out that the object itself is the achievement itself, and the subject is a global mental analogue of the object (Bodalev, Ganzhin, Derkach , 2000, p. 94). We use this approach in our psychological practice, but in a more substantive interpretation. In order to adequately reflect and satisfy the psychological needs of the client with psychological characteristics characteristic of our culture, we have come to the necessity of introducing into psychological practice the concept of the “work of life”, which is being developed both in practical and in theoretical terms. In the general understanding, the work of life is considered as the destiny of man, which he must realize in his life. This is a certain spiritual substance that conditions and ensures the spiritual development of a person in a certain direction. In fact, this is the realization of the spiritual development of man and humanity. In our understanding, the work of life is an external purpose that is determined from without and independent of the will and desire of a person, the fulfillment of which objectifies his spiritual essence.

As psychological practice shows, the work of life, like the meaning of life, is individual and unique for each person. It is the realization of the meaning of life, it requires a higher level of development of abilities and capabilities, defined as “acme”. “The work of life” can become a defining concept in acmeological science, its main object; the subject of it becomes the meaning of life as the main substantive content of the work of life. “The Work of Life” is considered by us as the concept of an object of acmeological science and denotes the unique purpose of man as an external spiritual authority. Only it fills the real life of a person. If a person does his work of life, he lives and develops as a spiritual substance, leaving a corresponding “trace” in life. Otherwise, a person exists only as a biological substance, without leaving a spiritual “trace” in his life world.

The following characteristic signs of the work of life can be identified.

The work of life determines the spiritual life of a person and objectifies him in this world. In a simplified form, the human life world can be considered as consisting of a “business” framework and “semantic” content, or, more precisely, “activity-semantic” content implemented in the psychological sphere of a person.

The “work of life” and the “meaning of life” as psychological life phenomena are different vital substances, but they are also inextricably linked. The work of life is the realization of the meaning of life and its objectification in the life world. The meaning of life is the psychological content of the work of life that connects it with a person.

The acquisition of semantic intentionality (noted by V. Frankl) does not mean the appearance of business activity.
The acquisition of the meaning of life does not yet mean its adequate embodiment in the form of the work of life. Experience indicates that this requires serious psychological work aimed at the so-called “life-long” self-determination. In our practice, this work is referred to as a “psychological analysis of the deed and the deeds.” Here, the psychological analysis of the “deed” is associated with the detection of “defects” in the human life world that have occurred in the past, and the psychological analysis of the “deeds” is aimed at the prospect of the development of man and his life world.

Using the analogy with the classification of life values ​​proposed by W. Frankl (1990), we can distinguish the following gradations of the work of life:

a) the creative work of life, characterizing the creative creative product of a person, under certain conditions, associated with his most productive professional activity;

b) the matter of experience (meaning the active understanding of experience proposed by F.E. Vasilyuk (1984)). It is a kind of general quantitative characteristic of the “useful mass” of life lived, including parenting, family life, communication (including professional);

c) failure to do as failure to perform certain cases that are not aimed at the creation and development of the vital spiritual world of a person, or the impossibility of performing any tasks aimed at this. To a certain extent, Tolstoyan “non-resistance” can be attributed here.

The work of life can be found between the subject and the world:

a) in the psychological plane, where there is a simple realization of meanings in the form of ordinary affairs;

b) in the life plane, where the action is performed for the sake of human existence and survival, and the primary is objective activity, also aimed at ordinary business;

c) in the spiritual plane, where spiritual substance independent of a person is realized, standing above the first two and most likely belonging to the objective world. Here the direct fulfillment of the work of life as the work of spiritual perfection, spiritual development and service to God takes place.

As our studies and observations show, a person “falls into” the matter of life in the state of a psychological “child”, and performs it already in the state of an adult, “mature” person. In our psychological practice, all this was associated with "getting" into the "spiritual-natural psychotherapy." That was the name of the phenomenon described in the monograph of the author (Tkachenko, 2001) and which, in fact, became the impetus for further psychological work, which now required the definition of the concept of the work of life.

Thus, the concept of the work of life in psychological practice acts as an important meaning-forming factor in the external orientation of a person’s spiritual activity in achieving his professional and moral heights and, ultimately, in his survival.
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