Scientist and monk, physiologist and theologian, he studied the mechanisms of human mental life. Science, culture, life, conscience in its works are inseparable. In the complete absence of moralizing.
Alexey Ukhtomsky – a bright, almost implausible personality in the history of Russian science. Russian prince, candidate of theology, academician of the USSR Academy of Sciences, monk in the world. One of the galaxy of the great Russian physiologists of the late XIX – mid -XX century – Ivan Sechenov, Ivan Pavlov, Vladimir Bekhterev – Alexei Ukhtomsky came closer to the study of the mechanisms of human mental life. A true husband of science, he devoted life to the knowledge of the anatomy and physiology of the human spirit. (Nikolai Gogol would call him a “spiritual anatomist”.) He created the doctrine of the dominant*equivalent from the standpoint of physiology and psychology. He believed that it was the dominants, being both a bodily and spiritual mechanism, that they subjugate our spiritual life, direct our behavior and determine the logic of thinking. This is such a form of causality, which brings us closer to understanding freedom of will, free and responsible action – act.
The main dominant of Ukhtomsky himself was “constant listening to what is being done in our spirit, how it is sick, rises and grows”. Of course, he understood that the biblical sequence of creation “spirit – life is reason” is not a guarantee of such a hierarchy in every person, but he himself never lost sight of it.
It is difficult to convey an unusual aroma emanating from his works, diaries, letters. In them, science, culture, life, conscience with the complete absence of moralizing are inseparable. Therefore, you are constantly returning to them, “you peer into the lines as in wrinkles of thoughtfulness” (p. Rilke) and you learn to penetrate deeper.
* From lat. Dominans – dominant.
in the wolf cemetery of St. Petersburg.
Human face – a new line of eternal problems of philosophy and psychology seen by Ukhtomsky. “The real happiness of mankind will be possible only after a person can find the ability – to understand the closest person as a specific, in no way replaced by the nature of an original creature. In a word, when it is brought up in each of us a dominant on the face of another. And from that moment, as the face of the other opens, the person himself deserves to talk about him as a face. “.
He called everyday communication “empirical” and distinguished him from genuine communication – “interview”. Attention and postinity that we feel during genuine (lively, open) communication, Ukhtomsky contrasted distraction and bustle. “Completely build and earn your interlocutor what you would like! Such unattainable intricacies and intelligence “.
Ukhtomsky made high demands not only to the mind, but also for reflection on the results of intellectual work. “The mind is the highest and only vision of truth, things and being. But it happens that he is the latter notes what is obvious to the most primitive observation. “. A model of thinking was an art for him, in which he saw “a continuation of scientific work, that is, a study of the laws of being in the field of the human spirit”.
Alexei Ukhtomsky has always worried the secret of conscience. “Heart, intuition and conscience are the most farsighted that is in us. This is no longer personal experience, but the experience of generations conveyed to us. Conscience – warns with special excitements and emotions of the highest order about the proper consequences of what is being done before us “. However, Ukhtomsky was not seduced regarding conscience – “it can be completely calm, satisfied and not warning about any troubles, while a person or a whole society is covered by a crime! This is when the crime has become familiar!”
The intuition of conscience determines the steps of personal development, when we consistently move from a step to a step from the ethics of hedonism to care for something else, the neighbor, and then to the ethics of duty, and finally for the ethics of mercy. In the last, highest stage, Pushkin’s “mercy to the fallen” is heard ”.