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Self-understanding of the subject as a problem of the psychology of human being

Modern psychology is characterized by many not only areas and directions of research, but also various methods of methodological reflection of the content and structure of psychological knowledge. One of the options for a new methodology for understanding human life is the psychology of the subject. Today, in Russian psychological science, the category of the subject plays a system-forming role, and this is not surprising, because the concept of “subject” is integrative in its essence. It embodies an all-encompassing, broadest understanding of man, generally revealing the integrity of all his qualities: natural, individual, social, social. It is no coincidence that many Russian psychologists to one degree or another turned in their work to the subject’s problems.

One of the most famous among them was A.V. Brushlinsky, who, with colleagues and students, developed a holistic and original version of the subject's psychology. The fundamental novelty of the psychology of the subject lies mainly in three main provisions: a significant expansion of ideas about the content of activity as a factor in determining the psyche; the transition from the microsemantic to the macroanalytical method of cognition of the psychic;

the holistic systemic nature of the study of the dynamic, structural and regulatory plans for the analysis of the psychology of the subject (Brushlinsky, 2003; Znakov, 2003).

The increased interest of modern psychologists in the subject's problem is largely due to the evolution of psychological knowledge: the transition from the classical explanatory paradigm to the non-classical, and then post-non-classical. The classical paradigm was embodied in the idea of ​​comprehending the objective laws of nature, the close attention of scientists to the problem of determinism and the search for cause-effect relationships. At the non-classical stage, the main thing was to take into account the subjectivity of the observer. The way the world appears to the subject depends primarily on the angle of view, the subjective focuses of consciousness. Finally, the post-non-classical understanding of the world and man in the world was characterized by an increase in the reflection of the value and semantic contexts of the human world (Stepan, 2000). In these conditions, the conventions reached by the communicating people are of decisive importance: which values ​​and norms in a particular communicative situation should be recognized as important, significant, and which are of secondary importance.

The subject’s psychology systematically solves the problem of determinism, taking into account both the natural science and the socio-humanitarian nature of psychological science. The subject-activity approach was initially formed on the basis of ideas about the mutual complementarity of the psychic laws of reflection of reality and the generation of a new reality by a person. As a result of this, the subject’s psychology adequately describes the laws of being that describe what is and the laws of obligation that prescribe how certain events and phenomena in the human world should occur.

The psychology of human existence is that direction of development, that side of the psychology of the subject that arose with the advent of the post-non-classical paradigm. The psychology of human life has become a new step towards the expansion of value-semantic contexts, which included the classic psychological problems: morality, freedom, spirituality, the meaning of life. This manifested the desire of psychologists to go beyond the narrow framework of the category of "activity" and turn to the concept of "existence", from being transferred to becoming, the continuous development of the psyche of the subject.

Nowadays, many psychologists observe a shift in emphasis from the cognitive research paradigm to the existential one. The existential approach involves the study of specific situations of human being and their holistic understanding. A distinctive feature of modern scientific methodology is the recognition of the inevitability for any scientific knowledge of the world, taking into account the interaction of the subject with the object, the inclusion of the knower in the knowable. From this point of view, any objective situation includes a person who perceives, understands, and evaluates it. Man paradoxically and opposes as something external objective life situations, and he himself is their internal condition.

The psychology of human existence that arose at the post-non-classical stage allows one to adequately describe and explain many of the laws of human behavior. One of the essential psychological conditions for the formation of a person as a subject is the appeal to the origins of one's being, the reflection of the value and semantic contexts of human activity - activity, communication, contemplation, etc. This implies the development of self-knowledge and self-understanding skills, which provide a person with a look at themselves from the outside. If the subject wants to come to himself, to understand himself, then he has no other way than through the world, comparing himself with others. It is the reflexive attitude of each of us to ourselves that most vividly expresses our attitude towards being. The ability to reflect on oneself is the key to transforming a person into a subject. A subject is one who has the freedom of choice and makes decisions about committing moral acts based on the results of self-knowledge, introspection, and self-understanding.

The psychological processes of self-knowledge and self-understanding not only give a person the opportunity to turn to their origins, answer questions about what he is and what happens to him. Focusing on oneself, one’s essence, on the one hand, inevitably leads to the identification of psychological heterogeneity and even inconsistency of the latter. On the other hand, the result of self-knowledge, self-understanding is not only the resolution of contradictions: they paradoxically contribute to an increase in the integrity and harmony of the psychological manifestations of a person as a subject.

In any interaction of people, understanding of social situations is always based on the self-understanding of its participants. Telling something to the partner, understanding in the dialogue new facets of the meaning of the narrated, the subject simultaneously delves into himself and goes beyond the boundaries of his inner world. He turns to the content of the response lines and psychological characteristics of another person, entering into dialogue with him. Dialogical understanding arises at the intersection of the value-semantic positions of the subjects of communication. It is carried out in two directions and is based on the dialectical interconnection of the processes of reflection and anticipation.

Self-understanding is such a kind of understanding, to which the basic characteristics of the latter fully apply. Self-understanding, like understanding in general, is mainly aimed not at searching for new knowledge, but at understanding, creating the meaning of what a person learned about himself during self-knowledge. To understand oneself means to go beyond oneself and find out the truth about oneself. Not a universally valid truth related to obtaining new reliable knowledge, but a meaning-generating personal truth. The individual truth is based on such correlation of knowledge with the values ​​accepted by the subject, which are consistent with his ideas about what is due. Self-understanding as an answer to causal questions corresponds to the concept of "truth about oneself." In other words, it is not the correspondence of knowledge of the so-called objective reality, but its correlation with the internal criteria for the development of a person, ideas about his ideal Self, that is, ideas about the due.

Self-understanding combines cognitive, cognitive components and existential, existential ones.
The cognitive side of self-understanding is inextricably linked with self-knowledge: these are interconnected, but not identical in content, phenomena.

Self-knowledge is usually understood by most psychologists as an effective component of cognition that a person turns to himself: this is the sum of information about himself presented in the individual consciousness. In the process of self-knowledge, the subject deals with the collection of data, analysis and synthesis of new information about himself.

Self-understanding, like understanding in general, is not aimed at searching for new knowledge, but at understanding, creating the meaning of what a person learned about himself during self-knowledge. Successful self-understanding can be defined as a meaningful result of observation and explanation by a person of his thoughts and feelings, behavior motives; ability to discover the meaning of actions; the ability to answer causal questions about your character, worldview, attitude towards yourself and other people, as well as how others understand it.

The key feature of the distinction between self-knowledge and self-understanding as cognitive phenomena is the type of questions that we ask, knowing or understanding ourselves.

Knowing himself, the subject gains knowledge by answering ascertaining questions such as “What am I?” or "What do I know about myself?" In particular, filling out psychological questionnaires, a person can learn about the degree of formation of his communicative personality traits, indicators of verbal and non-verbal intelligence, etc. Answers to such questions lead us to learn something new, but not necessarily understandable. As a result of this, a paradoxical situation is possible in which a person can know quite well, but do not understand himself. The structural components of the subject’s self-knowledge can be judged, for example, by the temporal nature of issues. The latter can relate to the past (what I was a few years ago?), The present (what am I today?) And the future (what will I be when I grow up or when I return from the army?).

In the process of self-understanding, we answer other types of questions - causal: “Why did I do this?”, “Why is this person not nice to me?” Causal knowledge is inherently a reflection of a deepening in the essence of objects and phenomena, and therefore it never leaves the former psyche of the subject receiving this knowledge. It is not surprising that, understanding something in the outside world, we delve deeper into ourselves and rise above ourselves.

Quite different facets of self-understanding are revealed when considering this phenomenon from the standpoint of the psychology of human being. Thanks to the retrospective and anticipatory orientation of interest in one’s inner world, the subject becomes able to “understand himself in the world”, “existential thoughts about himself”. They are aimed at finding the meaning of one’s existence, one’s actions and mentally moving beyond the limits of not only a specific communicative situation, but also beyond one’s life, including it in some other coordinate system in which life is endowed with meaning.

Studies of higher levels of self-understanding of adults (Cook-Greuter, 1994) indicate that they are achieved only when the subject understands the limitations of cognitive, rational ways of explaining the stability of his inner world and begins to realize the dynamics of changing, temporary value-semantic formations of internal reality .

At the autonomous level of self-understanding, a person thinks of himself as a separate person with a unique mission. He thinks, feels, evaluates, coordinates and interprets his experience, and at the same time, he develops a stable, sustainable sense of self. At the next post-puton level, a more critical position is developed in relation to these “automatic” processes. At the highest post-autonomy stage of self-understanding, adults, by definition, are autonomous and are aware of the possibility of self-deception and protective maneuvers; they do not need to rationally simplify the world and themselves in the world.

Subjects who have reached a post-autonomy level of self-understanding are trying to most objectively represent reality in all its diversity and complexity. They give more diverse answers to the same questions than people who are on an autonomous level. Many of these complex answers are more direct, spontaneous, and less subordinate to common sense than those of "autonomous" subjects. At the post-stand-up level of self-understanding, thoughts and feelings are more often revealed exactly as they actually appear. Conflicts and contradictions are expressed directly. At the same time, at the post-puton stage, rational thoughts and reflection cease to be perceived as given and become objects of doubt and research. The subject has an understanding of the continuity of the process of restructuring the view of the world. Such people want to free themselves from slavery of rational “thought” and be free from restrictive self-determination. They strive to see life anew, without preconceived ideas and mental skills formed throughout life. And this despite the fact that they clearly understand how difficult it is to go beyond the limits of automated rational behavior.

In this new experience of self, it becomes possible to understand the limitations of self-identification through its categorical and concrete definition. The subject experiences his “I” in its constant transformation and consciously refuses objective identification. He understands that the desire for the constancy of individuality is an impossible and unnecessary dream (due to experiencing a continuous stream of changes in states of consciousness).

In conclusion, I will say that, as analysis of the literature shows, as well as the experiments I conducted, self-understanding is a complex psychological phenomenon in which cognitive, cognitive components and existential, existential components are intertwined. The cognitive component of self-understanding is primarily represented by the ability and inclination of the subject to reflection, conscious self-analysis. The existential component associated with the orientation on the values ​​of being not only complements the cognitive, but in a sense is opposed to it.

The results of the first empirical studies (631 subjects from Kostroma, Smolensk and Moscow) revealed the existence of gender differences: men are more likely to be self-understanding than women who are more likely to focus on cognitive self-knowledge. According to the Karpov – Ponomareva technique, such a cognitive ability, which underlies self-knowledge as reflexivity (both in activity and in communication), is statistically significantly prevalent in women. And in men, according to the method of self-actualization, the desire for an existential, existential tendency to self-understanding is clearly higher. In men, the indicators of self-understanding are also higher by the Stolin – Pantileev method of self-relationship.

Interesting and age differences. The results of young subjects (boys and girls of student age) in comparison with the results of adults more closely resemble those of men than women. In other words, the young people are dominated by a non-cognitive orientation toward reflecting specific situations and solving practical problems. Existential questions about the meaning of life and its place in the human world turn out to be very significant for them.

So, studies of self-understanding are, of course, promising, but, unfortunately, the field of psychology of human life has not been studied much.
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Self-understanding of the subject as a problem of the psychology of human being

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