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Myths and symbols as regulators of combat behavior
Myths and symbols are important mechanisms for regulating the behavior of combatants.
Myth (from the Greek. Mythos - the legend, the tale) - the story of the gods, spirits, idolized heroes and first ancestors, originated in primitive society. They are intertwined with the early elements of religion, philosophy, science and art.
Figures in the figurative sense are false, non-critical, divorced from reality states of consciousness, concepts, representations. From the point of view of the resource approach to understanding the psychological capabilities of a combatant, a myth is a kind of quasi-resource that allows you to find faith and motivation where it is not really there.
In a combat situation, they can arise both spontaneously and transmitted through unofficial communication channels (“soldiers' telegraph”), and they can be purposefully formed by the bodies of psychological support.
In the army sometimes develops a whole system of myths. The study shows that the following topics are among the most popular myths in war:
• about the close end of the war (“discontent grows in the camp of the enemy, which will result in rebellion, revolution”; “The UN General Assembly will decide on ...”);
• about an early victory (“they will enter the war ... and then ...”; “the development of a super-weapon, which is ...”, “now that the commander has become ...”, etc., is completed;
• on the defeat of large groups of the enemy;
• about the unprecedented feats of servicemen of his army;
Myths, minimized in their content, as generalized as possible, elevated to the rank of social or group value, become symbols.
A symbol (Greek symbolon - a sign, signal, sign, sign, pledge, password, emblem) is a sign associated with the objectivity designated by it so that the meaning of the sign and its object are represented only by the sign itself and are revealed only through its interpretation.
In the encyclopedic article A. L. Dobrokhotov justifies the specific character of the symbol and its functions. He emphasizes that, in contrast to a concept for which uniqueness is an advantage (compared to, for example, the word of natural language), the strength of a symbol in its polysemy and the dynamics of the transition from meaning to meaning.
Unlike allegory and emblem, a symbol is not an allegory that is removed by substituting a direct meaning instead: the meaning of a symbol does not have a simple existing existence, to which an interpretive consciousness could be sent. In (unlike a parable and a myth, a symbol does not imply an expanded narration and can have an arbitrarily condensed expression form. Unlike a metaphor, a symbol can transfer the properties of objects and establish certain correspondences not for the mutual description of these objects, but for sending them to indescribable. ”Unlike a sign, a symbol is not a sign of a temporary or spatial phenomenon of supernatural reality, since it allows for an infinitely large distance between itself and its intentional object .
The specific differences of a symbol from all the mentioned sign tropes are its following functions:
1) the ability of the symbol to the infinite disclosure of its content in the process of correlating with its objectivity while maintaining and “non-cancellation” of a given symbolic form;
2) the ability of the symbol, connected with the experience of its interpretation, to establish communication, which, in turn, creates (actual or potentially) a community of “initiates,” that is, subjects who are in the field of action and relative intelligibility of symbols (for example, the church, art direction, esoteric circle, cultural ritual; army, branch of the armed forces); at the same time, the esoteric character of a symbol is balanced by its “democratic character,” since everyone can find his own, accessible to him level of understanding of a symbol, without falling into profanation;
3) sustainable symbol to climb from the data "parts" to the real and the alleged "whole".
The symbol in this case is the meeting place of that which is in itself incompatible.
For example, today there are several peculiar myths about hoisting the Red Banner in April 1945 over the Reichstag in Berlin. One of them says that the scouts of the 150th rifle division, M. A. Egorov and M. V. Kan-tariya, did it. Indeed, at that time several banners were hoisted over the Reichstag and historians are puzzled over the establishment of who should give the palm. However, with the help of official propaganda, the symbol of the victory of the Soviet troops over the Nazi invaders in the Great Patriotic War of 1941-1945. became the Victory Banner, hoisted up precisely by Yegorov and Kantaria.
Thus, the myth, telling about when, where, by whom and how exactly the Banner was established, turned into a symbol - the “Banner of Victory”.
The star of the Hero of Russia means little by itself, but, being a reflection of the feat, it acquires all the properties of a symbol.
The feats of colleagues, honorary titles, belonging to a certain social group (for example, Heroes of Russia), concrete victories of their troops, battle flags of military units, individual commanders, etc., become a symbol of the war.
Considering that symbols are perceived as a social value, they are emotionally attractive and infectious, excite the desire to possess them, belong to the social group of owners and, therefore, are able to produce motives of combat behavior and increase the combat activity of military personnel, commanders, military psychologists should carefully study spontaneously originated and artificially create combat symbols.
Rituals that would transform frustration, anxiety, despair (associated, for example, with unsuccessful fighting, death of comrades, etc.) into a feeling of fierce hatred of the enemy, a passionate desire for revenge, fear (arising, , while waiting for a fight) in a high offensive outburst. Effective means of such transformations are rituals such as oaths on the graves of comrades, mobilizing meetings before the battle, etc.
Thus, the combat behavior of servicemen is polydeterministic. In addition to broad social, group and individual motives, his motivations are interwoven with subjective products of the understanding of myths and symbols of wartime. To know and take into account the psychological mechanisms and the effects of their manifestation means to be able to control the combat activity of military personnel.
Questions for self-control
1. What is superstition?
2. How is superstition different from prejudice?
3. What are the forms of superstition in a combat situation?
4. What is the psychological "trajectory" of the influence of rituals on the combat behavior of servicemen?
5. What is the manifestation of the regulatory nature of myths and symbols regarding the combat behavior of warriors?
Additional literature for independent work on the topic
1. Bacon F. New organon. - L., 1935.
2. Great encyclopedia of Cyril and Methodius. - M., 2001.
3. Zakharik S.V. Formation of psychological stability among the paratroopers to the influence of the factors of modern combat (based on the hostilities in Afghanistan): Dis ... cand. psychol. sciences. - M., 1993.
4. Mezentsev V. A. About superstitions - seriously. - M., 1989.
5. Remark E. M. On the western front without change. - M., 1972.
6. Senyavskaya E.S. Psychology of war in the XX century: historical experience of Russia. - M., 1999.
7. Soviet encyclopedic dictionary. - M., 1990.
8. Social psychology. Brief essay / Ed. G.P. Predvechnogo, Yu. A. Sherkovina. - M., 1975. S. 307.
9. Spinoza B. Selected Works in 2 tons. - M., 1957. T 2.
10. Shumkov G.Ye. Drunk courage, or alcohol in battle // Society of adherents of military knowledge. 1909. № 1.
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