Modern human civilization is undergoing fundamental changes in all aspects of its organization and functioning. Their study gives rise to new contents of classical fundamental concepts, based on the concept of a human being, a subject. The content of the concept of “a human being” and its modern interpretation vary significantly in different philosophical and scientific discourses, depending on the accepted theoretical and methodological principles. The philosophical reflection of an individual and human ontological, epistemological, ethical, axiological, aesthetic and other modes in the modern world stimulates interdisciplinary synthesis and the development of anthropological strategies in digital civilization, on the basis of which it is possible to organize effective communicative practices, the formation and development of subjectivity and self-determination both a human being and humanity as a whole. This article will attempt to pose the problem of the formation of a new subject in an emerging digital civilization, necessitating a rethinking of existing and updating new anthropological strategies that take into account the specifics of digital civilization and digital culture in a global technological, communicative and axiological context. The disclosure of new anthropological strategies will be carried out with an attempt to consider them not only as a factor in the formation of self-determination and a change in the method of reflective self-organization of a human personality in the digital era, but also as a means of implementing effective communicative practices in the context of globalization.
Keywords: Anthropological strategydigital civilizationdigital technologyglobalizationman between nature and technologyself-determination in the digital age
Social progress, accompanied by the development of information, communication and digital technologies, the technologization of all spheres of social organization and human thinking, allowed for the development of such a phenomenon, first noted by Jacques Ellul, as the absorption of a human by technology (Nemec, 2018). We are talking about such radical changes in human self-determination and identity as a result of universal rationalization of the world, in which the demand for control over technology and technical development inevitably appears (Coeckelbergh et al., 2018).
Going deeper into the process of controlling technology, a human quickly pursues technical development and new technologies, thus becoming a part of a more complex technology, losing its subjectivity (Chernyak, 2019). Technology, in its turn, becomes an integral part of a human. As Heidegger wrote, technology is not just a tool, it is our internal support, and a human can no longer be separated from it, technology is also a part of a human, like a human body and mind. And a human cannot refuse it at will (Mertel, 2020).
The technique underlying the technology cannot even be thought out, because it will still be present in our thinking as a kind of algorithm, a system of codes, a grid of values, a basis for interpretation. In the meantime, due to the development of technology, technique gains the ability to declare a new reality and transform a human according to its own image and likeness, turning a human into a new object, as well as turning the once-in-demand human requirement of control over technology against a human. “Gradually, the construction of a different form of control takes place which is carried out not from above, but as self-control and self-discipline” (Mironov, 2019, p. 6).
Thus, the universal process of rationalization and technicalization leads to a change in the fundamental ideas of a human about the world, about himself and how people relate to the world and society (Clowes, 2019). And this, in turn, stimulates changes in the very type of organization of society and the management model of such society and through a change in the management model, a process of cultural change takes place, which is updated within the framework of an emerging digital civilization (Gerasimova, 2020).
The emerging digital civilization provides ample opportunities for a new meaningful disclosure of the discourse about a human: a new type of human appears and the opportunity to talk about new anthropological strategies built on fundamentally different ideas of man about himself, his inner world and the outside world, as well as ways of interaction of the outside world with internal (Markov, 2019).
In the conditions of modern civilization, the prerequisites for changes in culture, management models, and, therefore, a human being, are created. These conditions are technological and are reduced to crowding out nature and the natural principle from a human and a human socio-cultural existence by shifting the focus of attention from the uniqueness of a human and individual spiritual path in civilization to technical developments, digital technologies and new communication environments, including the Internet. “The Internet has become “a social landscape” that changes the relationship of a human with nature and technology, acquiring special ambivalence” (Kasavina, 2019, p. 131).
Digital technologies are widely used both to meet the needs of people and humanity, and to search for and implement a new type of power organization through such technologies (Mironov, 2019). Of the many possible models of social management, we single out management through the creation of a global communication space as the most effective and relevant model, in this case the main thing is not the form of management, but the specifics of implementing management technology through digital technologies (Mironov, 2019).
Considering the range of options for such models, we single out the most common one having the potential for transforming reality, as well as suitable for management in a digital civilization. Its essence is that a subject is not aware of the degree of consciousness manipulation, and with an external background of freedom and democracy, an individual is falsely convinced of having expression of will, feeling and perception, as well as in the presentation of own thoughts and understanding the basis of the action motivation (Chmielewski, 2003). This type of management assumes that the manipulation of consciousness becomes a global phenomenon and “transforms the self-awareness of a person as a subject of culture, state, ethnicity” (Mironov, 2019, p. 7).
During the practical implementation of such a management model, social-technical progress is stimulated, which leads to a change in the nature of human relationships with nature, culture and technology (Romele, 2020). Changes in the nature of the relationship between a human and technology with the separation of a human from nature are reflected in the nature of human’s thinking, self-determination and self-identification (Hogan & Sherman, 2020). These changes entail the emergence of a new identity of a personality (Apollonov & Tarba, 2017), or rather identities, with a constant change of those, which ultimately leads to a blurring of the image of the Self and the problem of self-determination. As a result, a need arises for a new approach to a person and essential personal characteristics, for rethinking anthropological strategies in the context of a new digital civilization.
This article will analyze the situation of a radical anthropological shift from the individual Self of a person who is inscribed in the world to a new global Self formed in the global communication network of digital civilization (Chernyak, 2019). It is the analysis of this situation that allows us to talk about its causes and state the problem of ontological disconnection of a human, the philosophical and anthropological problem of the human constitution, one’s modes and strategies in a new digital civilization, which, in turn, is transformed by a new type of a human (Kurbanov, 2018) and global communication.
The following research questions arise in the context of our article:
Purpose of the Study
The purpose of the study is to review possible anthropological strategies in a digital civilization. The stated purpose makes it possible to identify anthropological strategies that allow forming subjectivity, as well as actualizing its creative potential in the global information and communication network of digital civilization.
The methodology of this study is based on a systematic process approach, complemented by a meta-system civilizational approach and tuned by the principles of anthropological, semiotic and axiological approaches. Such methodology makes it possible to take into account the anthropological factor as the leading one in the civilizational dynamics of socio-cultural, activity, and communicative processes, which gives an advantage in identifying the characteristics and foundations of anthropological strategies and communicative practices in the context of an emerging digital civilization.
Since the strategy is understood as the result of a certain type of systematic reflexive activity to develop a systemic procedural picture of reality and a way of preserving and developing human civilization and a person in it, the anthropological strategy is understood both as the result of reflective activity and as a form of consciousness that reflects a certain type of self-determination and reflexive self-organization of a human.
Considering the anthropological strategy from the position of a system-procedural approach, we can distinguish its procedural and structural components. Both components are present even when they are poorly understood and understood by a human. The process approach allows for a consistent record of changes in the anthropological strategy depending on the sequential change in the characteristics of self-determination, reflective self-organization of a person in digital civilization, and structural-systemic vision permits not to lose the usefulness of an anthropological strategy to preserve the psycho-physiological integrity of a person and the possibilities of its harmonious (consistent) development (Kasavina, 2019).
The basic principles of a system-procedural approach to an anthropological strategy in digital civilization can be specified as follows: 1) the principle of logical derivability of the function of an anthropological strategy in reflective self-organization and in the process of human self-determination in the digital civilization; 2) the principle of the inclusion of an anthropological strategy in the framework of the world image corresponding to the specifics of the current conditions of digital civilization; 3) the principle of distinguishing between the two principles of an anthropological strategy (formal and substantive), as well as their synthesis in the integrity of a person (Markov, 2019); 4) the principle of manifestation of an anthropological strategy in the implementation of its function; 5) the principle of distinguishing five stages of updating the anthropological strategy (formation, functioning, improvement, development and degradation) (Kurbanov, 2018); 6) the principle of manifestation of the procedural logic of the internal characteristics of the anthropological strategy in reflective self-organization and self-determination of a person, as well as in individual communicative practices, including their result (Kozyrkov et al., 2018).
The principles of the axiological approach allow qualifying self-determination through acceptance (acculturation) or rejection (deculturation) by a human of the leading values of various digital civilization network spaces and by taking into account the multiplicity of emerging value systems, as well as a detailed examination of some of them, and allow implementing a typology of human self-determination to the new digital era (Nemec, 2018).
Before proceeding to an analytical review of anthropological strategies in a digital civilization, we outline the main characteristics of anthropological strategies per se, based on the methodology of our study. For this we should recall the philosophy of Platonism.
For Platonism, the soul is the essential characteristic of a human, and the essential characteristic of the world is the soul of the world. Soul in this context should be understood as the ability to contemplate, reflect and preserve the image of the reflected. Thus, the human soul allows reflecting the world and preserving the image of the world and its properties. The soul of the world, in turn, reflects the characteristics and properties of the souls of all mankind and preserves this image as a whole, being a three-dimensional copy of the human soul. An interdependent relationship is established between the soul of a human and the soul of the world, similar to the relationships of macro- and microcosm (Claudio, 2020). The actualization of this connection is the meta-anthropological strategy, the path to the improvement and spiritual development of a human, which is implemented in a typical and unique way in a particular civilization.
In this regard, each civilization forms its own anthropological strategies, its own model of a human and the image of humanity, and there is no other task for it. And here “each generation starts over, it has no other task different from the task of the previous generation, and it also does not go any further, since the previous generation did not deviate from this task and did not deceive itself” (Kurbanov, 2018, p. 41).
The anthropological model and anthropological strategies under the conditions of digital civilization believed that the world and an individual are reflected in the consciousness of the subject of thinking, while an individual acts as the subject only in the process when the world and an individual are not simply reflected in consciousness but constructed. At the initial stage of development, a human does not distinguish oneself from the process of thinking, a human identifies oneself with one’s own image, and many facets and dimensions of the images of a human and the world are accepted by a human as obvious. However, the higher the level of human development, the more difficult it becomes to form the image of the world and oneself in it. Moreover, such a development has an individual and species limit.
The spectrum of possible anthropological strategies in digital civilization can be generalized into two polar groups: ontological disconnection strategies (these are strategies aimed at improving a human by developing personal awareness, subjectivity and forming self-determination to synergy with the world of global communication), and ontological closure strategies aimed at improving a human by expanding personal psycho-physiological capabilities through the use of digital technology and the closure of consciousness on the body, sensations, perceptions, emotions.
The basis of anthropological strategies in digital civilization, aimed at ontological disconnection, beyond the species limit, are anthropological practices that are designed to help people transcend themselves, go beyond natural conditioning, improve, make a turn in consciousness, thinking, and physiology regulation. In the human mind there is misidentification with the individual matrices of thinking. The basis of this mental upheaval is the experience of reflecting a change of attention from the content of our thinking to the very process of thinking, which in this case is due to technology and digital technologies. A human begins to distinguish between different levels of consciousness, to capture various shades of the content of consciousness, to form new ones, which speaks of an essential change in a human, because the dimension of the human soul changes.
With the implementation of such an anthropological strategy in the context of digital civilization, a new actor appears in the human mind - technology (AI, a human-machine, neural interface and others). Technology gives a human, who is walking the path of awareness, individualization and the formation of spiritual self-determination, the opportunity to take advantage of collective thinking without the extremes of “social”, which today is manifested in the transfer of some functions of the subject of thinking when working with Big Data, using AI to collect, store and analyze data (Chernyak, 2019). A human gets the opportunity to transfer part of the functions of the subject of thinking to technology. It opens up the prospect of co-creation, co-existence with technology in global communication, where technology is recognized as a possibility of transgression, as a bifurcation point on the path of evolutionary development of humanity, but only under the condition of an active creative position of a person and formed subjectivity.
The basis of anthropological strategies aimed at ontological closure is a non-reflective attitude towards oneself and the world, the exclusion of technology and technology from the process of self-development and self-search, which as a result leads to the enslavement of human consciousness by technology. The most important characteristics of the capture of human consciousness by technology are the change in the understanding of space and time and attitude to them. Time in the conditions of developing digital environments, digital technologies and a continuous stream of Big Data is compressed, subjectively perceived as event-condensing; simultaneously, there is the effect of a lightning-fast change of situations that accelerate one after another, it creates difficulties in adapting a person to new conditions, including those bordering on the species capabilities of man. If such a strategy is implemented, we can talk about the threat of the extinction of humans as a biological species (Kozyrkov et al., 2018).
Knowledge of present-day research on the problem of ontological, epistemological, ethical, aesthetic, axiological and other modes of man in modern conditions allows us to reasonably declare the formation of new anthropological strategies in the contest of modern digital civilization.
Such strategies have a number of specific features and rely on the basic characteristics of the civilization within which they are formed. Digital civilization forms a new type of a person, society, culture and management. Their unifying characteristics are multiversality, poly-discursiveness, synergy and global communication. The conditions of digital civilization make it possible to actualize both positive and negative options for the implementation of anthropological strategies, which, in turn, can be generalized into two polar groups: ontological disconnection strategies and ontological closure strategies.
The most important characteristic of anthropological strategies of ontological disconnection is a special type of human self-determination, in which a human has a tendency to spiritual search for oneself, awareness, subjectivity, a high level of reflective self-organization and a willingness to perceive access to the global communication network as a condition for self-knowledge, self-development and self-realization (Claudio, 2020).
The characteristics of anthropological strategies of ontological closure include the lack of self-determination of an individual, blurred identity, unformed subjectivity, an object position in relation to oneself and one’s life, as well as the lack of ability to stay in global communication due to the existing matrices of thinking.
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27 May 2021
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Trufanova, O. (2021). Anthropological Strategies In Digital Civilization. In E. V. Toropova, E. F. Zhukova, S. A. Malenko, T. L. Kaminskaya, N. V. Salonikov, V. I. Makarov, A. V. Batulina, M. V. Zvyaglova, O. A. Fikhtner, & A. M. Grinev (Eds.), Man, Society, Communication, vol 108. European Proceedings of Social and Behavioural Sciences (pp. 829-836). European Publisher. https://doi.org/10.15405/epsbs.2021.05.02.106