Due to the globalization process, the emergence of an integrated world social system, the destruction of the “old” system, the absence of a “new” morality can strongly influence the moral values of an individual. The value structure of a society is extremely complex, and its elements have different effects on the dynamics of the development of society — they either consolidate social processes or revolutionize them.
Morality in public life is one of the ways and means of adapting individuals to living in the particular society, combining the freedom of the individual with social necessity, as well as responsibility. The set of moral values resolves the contradiction between personal and social needs. Historically, morality is primary in the process of human socialization. It enters the individual’s inner world, and for its functioning, man’s power over himself is enough. The essence of morality is that people realize the necessity of the specific behavior, which corresponds to a certain social behavioral type, while they rely on personal beliefs and public opinion (Brownlee et al.).
A characteristic of a particular system of moral values is that it always has a specific historical content. In this or that period of history, a system of moral values, different from other periods, develops and functions. According to the period of time, specific moral values may come to the forefront: duty or selfishness, solidarity or nationalism, justice or injustice, love or hate. Moral values of each society are formed for centuries and highlighting of some of them is carried out by the fundamental socio-political and cultural values the time and people. They always express the general moral orientation and value sense of human behavior and therefore have a normative character. In this regard, moral values act as regulators both in the relationship between the individual and society, and in the behavior of individuals. They have a motivating effect on their consciousness and behavior (Prodanov and Davidov).
The primitive thinking was irrational and based on superstition. Modern language can characterize the mentality of that period with such concepts as “collective conscience,” “collective unconscious.” All this is understood as a set of feelings, representations, inherent to all members of this community. Carl Jung was describing the collective unconscious as “the part of the psyche that retains and transmits the common psychological inheritance of mankind.” (Mills) The process of individualization of the social being of isolated individuals from the clan community led to a change in consciousness as a form of social regulation. New standards were needed that would affirm the personality as an independent subject of the action. It led to the emergence of the golden morality rule: do unto others as you would have them do unto you.
Significant changes in morality took place with the development of capitalist society, especially at the present stage of its development. Capitalism, with its market relations, the thirst for profit and wealth is often characterized by a moral fall, is seen as immoral and dehumanizing. An uncontrollable desire for profit turns into greed and leads to the deformation of human relations, the goals of man in a capitalist society. This situation leads to the breaking of ties between people, leads to isolation and individualism, immorality and crime, to deepening the split between rich and poor in different countries.
To moral values are: goodness, evil, love, justice, duty, responsibility, conscience, shame, etc. They all have different purposes in the language of morality and fix different aspects of morality. So, the goodness is oriented toward the value-normative aspect of the content of morality, and conscience and shame point to the spiritual and psychological mechanisms and ways that regulate the behavior of the individual. Conscience has a special place in the system of moral values. Morality is not a set of ready-made rules that are suitable for any occasion. A person has something that dictates him to act “according to his conscience” in a certain situation. The imposition of sanctions on oneself is a conscience.
The higher the measure of the social development of the individual is, the greater the role of conscience is in her or his life (Brownlee et al.). Conscience is a unique spiritual ability of a person, a special mechanism responsible for preserving the moral qualities and behavior. Conscience is considered the pivot of a person, and its absence leads to collapse, deforms relations between people, leads to the destruction of the whole system of moral values, to a spiritual crisis.
Of course, one can try to teach a person moral values and norms. However, no one can give the meaning of life to a person other than himself. Therefore, setting the direction of his life, the individual takes into account the intellectual and practical experience of people around him, as well as moral experience, and only the person himself is responsible for what he has chosen. All the qualities and characteristics set by the public moral upbringing only give a result when they pass through the person himself and are developed by him in the process of individual and social development.
Brownlee, Joanne Lunn, et al. Teaching for Active Citizenship. 1st ed., Routledge, 2016.
Mills, John. “Jung’s Metaphysics.” International Journal of Jungian Studies, May 2018, pp. 1–25, https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/2c12/7bf97deded33654d78b97ba8e407d55d6ea2.pdf.
Prodanov, Vasil, and Asen Davidov. Morality and Public Life in a Time of Change. 1st ed., Council for Research in Values &, 1994.