ISSN 2227-7242 (Print), ISSN 2304-9685 (Online)

Антропологічні виміри філософських досліджень, 2020, Вип. 17

Anthropological Measurements of Philosophical Research, 2020, NO 17


UDC 130.2

O. V. Marchenko1*, L. V. MARTSENIUK2*

1*Dnipropetrovsk State University of Internal Affairs (Dnipro, Ukraine), e-mail, ORCID 0000-0002-2069-9942
2*Dnipro National University of Railway Transport named after Academician V. Lazaryan (Dnipro, Ukraine), e-mail,
ORCID 0000-0003-4121-8826




Purpose. Research of the phenomenon of human destructiveness in the context of metaphysical images and violence practices of late Modernism. Theoretical basis. The problem is that the philosophical reflection of violence as objectified, realized destructiveness of man is usually contextual in nature and is on the periphery of understanding its external manifestations. Accordingly, anthropological crisis remains behind the scenes, as evidenced by the devaluation of the humanistic potential of modern culture. That is why one should turn the focus from the obvious, objectively conditioned incarnations of violence in the XXI century (armed conflicts, local wars, terrorist acts) to the internal factors that are in the realm of existential. The departure from the consideration of violence as an abstract, faceless or ideologically colored evil allowed us to focus on man, his way of thinking, life and social orientations, feelings and internal contradictions, which find their expression in one or another form of destructiveness. Originality. Based on the works of M. Scheler and E. Fromm defining for philosophical anthropology and psychoanalysis, for the first time the conceptualization of positive and negative forms of manifestation of human destructiveness against the background of sociocultural transformations of late Modernism was carried out. It has been proved that its ontological principles are rooted in specifically human existence and relations with other members of society, while anthropological ones are directly connected with the endless struggle of the life, the vital with the spirit in man. Conclusions. Violence is a tool and a product of man’s transition to more mature and complex forms of existence. The interdependence of the violence and nonviolence practices ensures the progressive movement of humanity towards society humanization. This progress is accompanied by a natural internal conflict of personality, which can be both progressive and regressive. At the metaphysical level, destructiveness appears as a connection between the entropy of world existence as a whole and the instability of human existence itself, which is a complexly organized and open to the world system. Self-transcendence as an anthropological prerequisite for human destructiveness has a dual nature and combines negative and positive characteristics, the content and significance of which were revealed in the study. The authors are convinced that there is no other way to overcome the negative, malignant destructiveness, except for the incessant, daily gathering of life meanings around them and their development. After all, the loss of such core structures of the existence as the meaning, purpose and value of life has become a truly global problem for the modern world. Emphasis is placed on the need to keep in harmony the trinity of body-soul-spirit, which will allow a person in any social transformation to preserve and increase his integrity.

Keywords: man; destructiveness; violence; era of late Modernism; self-transcendence


Comprehension of violence as a phenomenon of human existence is inseparable from the knowledge of man himself. Changing only its form – from archaic incursion and sacrifices to high-tech wars and acts of terrorism – violence remains an inherent attribute of human existence. At the same time, in the scientific discourse related to the issue of violence as a social phenomenon, the image of a man mostly remains behind the scenes. It is giving way to more important political actors in terms of scale and degree of influence on the course of history. Philosophical thought and society as a whole, despite the passage of centuries, continue to search for a man like Diogenes. The question formulated by I. Kant in his time: "What is man?" as the key one for philosophy, in fact, informed humanity of the disappearance of the classical world and the beginning of the dehumanization era.

If we analyze how modern philosophy characterizes modernity itself, the predominance of the pathos of anxiety, negativism, confusion or militant nihilism becomes obvious. Anthropological crisis, technicalization of thinking, crisis of legitimacy, uprising of masses, crisis of self-identity, existential vacuum – all these are signs inherent in humanity in the XXI century. The manifestation of the anthropological crisis is aggression, and the events of recent decades – terrorist acts, outbreaks of local armed conflicts and "color" revolutions – indicate a growing social tension in societies. This tendency is inherent in countries, regardless of territorial affiliation. The anthropological crisis caused by a malignant mutation of the human genotype itself went unnoticed by economic, political and environmental crises. The impetus for this crisis was the modernization shock that arose as a result of the disintegration of traditional patriarchal culture and unleashed destructive anti-social impulses.

The actualization of the projects of the so-called post-crisis societies testifies to the growing metaphysical weakness of man and his loss of control over his own evolution, over his way of life. Without thinking about the consequences of information technology revolutions, humanity has created an artificial environment for its existence, a kind of lifeless reality. The obviousness of the crisis is that meanings have been pushed out of human life, and any axiology is already perceived as superfluous. The transformation and loss of such core structures of existence as the meaning, purpose and value of life have become truly global problems for the modern world. The search for new pleasures, which are unable to satisfy the inner spiritual "hunger", leads to increase in society crime level, terrorism and extremism, suicide, aggression in general. These tendencies are especially evident in the youth environment.

The desire for disintegration and self-destruction is one of the specific features of public consciousness at the stage of transition to a new level of complexity. S. Freud (1987) explained this phenomenon in his essay "Civilization and Its Discontents". He emphasizes the desire of mankind to avoid the horrors of history through the mythologizing of the mind. "The death instinct", according to S. Freud, is only a philosophical path, which is resorted to by both individual and collective consciousness. Post-Darwinian psychoanalytic studies of the reasons for humanity’s desire for war, for the highest assertion of identity at the cost of destroying its own kind, are still relevant today.

Modern researchers warn that violence takes on new, hybrid forms. Thus, T. Fry points the changing nature of the aggression manifestations in society, in particular its specific characteristics, temporal and spatial scales. In his book "Unstaging War, Confronting Conflict and Peace" (Fry, 2019), he argues that the pluralism of war has destroyed the usual binary link between war and peace. In fact, the conflicts themselves, as manifestations of open aggression with the use of weapons, are no longer an obvious fact. There is an interiorization of violence, a shift in the processes of corrective restraint of arbitrariness from the external to the internal dimension. The explanation for this process lies in one of the cognitive attributes of Homo sapiens – the ability to indoctrinate. In other words, to construct such a disposition that ensures the acceptance of group characteristics and identification with them. And this, in turn, contributes to the consolidation and demarcation of "we – they". The state uses this biological mechanism, instilling in social groups an identity of devotion through the systematic repetition of certain moral and religious imperatives. According to Freud, due to this influence on consciousness a stable structure of conscience or super-ego is formed. This feeds the repressive format of culture as one that transmits its violence inside the individual and, thus, assumes no responsibility for him. As a result, we have a cultured person who using self-violence forbids himself what culture (most likely, dominant groups, the state) considers harmful.

In our time, indoctrination has become total due to the ubiquitous media and the active development of technologies of psychological impact on the individual. As an example, we can recall how quickly the formation of the "Aryan nation" and homo soveticus took place. Or, as in the ХХІ century, yesterday law-abiding citizens (including a significant number of Europeans) join the ranks of Islamic "martyrs". All this is clear evidence of the vulnerability of the inner world of modern man. Accordingly, external, public manifestations of violence decrease in their quantitative indicators, because its main array, like an iceberg, is hidden in the depths of the spiritual life of already supercivilized individual.

That is why in order to explain and in advance neutralize such violence outbreaks in the modern world, it is extremely important to shift the emphasis in finding the most optimal ways to counteract these phenomena. Namely, from the obvious preconditions – poverty, lack of opportunities for economic development, political instability – to domestic ones. This is an anthropological crisis, as evidenced today by the devaluation of the humanistic potential of modern culture and the assertion of the destructive nature of man. The situation of human death, which follows the death of God, seems increasingly inevitable, poses a direct threat to the existence of natural and cultural worlds as such. The actualization of this issue is worth noticing in the works of modern researchers of the violence phenomenology: M. Barber (2019); Baron et al. (2019); J. Dodd (2017); J. Davidovic (2016); M. Staudigl (2019).

Analysis of the conceptual and theoretical basis of research on violence in classical philosophy and modern scientific discourse, gives grounds to argue that in fact this issue itself is overloaded with socio-political meanings. This greatly complicates the conceptualization of the anthropological dimension of the violence phenomenon, and as a result, we are unable to see the forest behind the trees. Accordingly, one of the main shortcomings of modern philosophical and socio-humanitarian studies of the phenomenon of violence is still explicit or indirect schematism. It is explained by the ideologemes of liberalism, socialism, etc., enshrined in the public consciousness, while neglecting the deep root causes of violence in the realm of existential. Note that the question remains open: Whether violence is the ontological basis of human existence, or does it express the phenomenal configurations of the spiritual development of the individual?

Within the framework of metaphysics, which covers a wide range of philosophical currents of the ХХ century, including philosophical anthropology and psychoanalysis, important aspects in understanding human destructiveness are comprehended. It finds its direct expression and objectification in different manifestations of violence in public life. The classics of philosophical anthropology M. Scheler (the opposition theory of vitality and spirit in man), H. Plessner (theory of positionality), A. Gehlen (theory of biological non-specialization of man) not only gave a general description of human development, but also substantiated the specifics of human nature which is fundamentally destructive.

An analysis of the works of the German thinker M. Scheler, "Resentment in the Structure of Morals", published in 1914, as well as "The Genius of War and the German War", "War and Death", which were published a year later, allowed identifying philosophical and anthropological principles of transformation of the inner world of the individual in conditions of war, other crisis situations of "meeting" with violence. The constant struggle of hatred and love in man, the desire to destroy the world and self-destruction with the Christian worldview – is an endless process that reflects the desire and effort of man to reach his "center", according to Scheler, to know himself, his essence in its entirety.

The founders of psychoanalysis as one of the sources of understanding destructiveness – S. Freud, C. G. Jung, W. Reich, A. Adler – and their followers, in particular E. Fromm (some of his works we used to reveal the problems of research) tried to penetrate "dark recesses" of human behavior. Psychoanalysis, on the one hand, focuses on the issues related to the existential principles of human destructiveness, which are different in nature conflicts (biological and culturological). On the other hand, it outlines both its positive and negative aspects (Freud’s "struggle of life and death instincts", Reich’s "characterological shell", Jung’s "shadow of the person", Adler’s "inferiority complex", and Horney’s "basal anxiety"). Fromm attempted to combine social, biological and psychological aspects in understanding the destructive nature of man and the phenomenon of violence. In his "The Anatomy of Human Destructiveness", published in 1973, he rethinks the problem of destructiveness at the individual and social levels. His analysis of the manifestations of human destructive behavior as a result of degradation of society and violence against human nature is important for our study.


The aim of the article is to study the phenomenon of human destructiveness in the context of metaphysical images and violence practices of late Modernism.

Statement of basic materials

To reveal the essence and specifics of the destructiveness phenomenon in the context of modern violence practices, a similar modern historical epoch was chosen. In it, violence as a sign of the times appears in the most concentrated form, and the level of social aggression shows pronounced tendencies to increase – the second half of the XIX – 20s of the XX century. It is a period of profound ontological and socio-cultural transformations associated with the destruction of the foundations of traditional society, the spread of totalitarian practices and the catastrophe of World War II.

At the same time, chronological and territorial aspect is secondary to our study; these are objective factors adding certain shades to the "portrait" of a person of this era. They do not explain the deep driving motives of his destructive behavior and the subconscious desire not only to destroy his own kind, but also to self-destruction. Thus, reference to historical events is necessary for the full disclosure of the world of feelings and experiences of man.

The perception of violence as a way of self-affirmation of a person who builds a new world, destroying the traditional way of life, in the period of late Modernism is becoming increasingly relevant. The polarization of the individual and the collective is actively taking place in society, which is reflected in the works of contemporary thinkers. In public discourse, the concepts of "natural selection" (Charles Darwin), "class struggle" (K. Marx), "will to power", "Superhuman" (F. Nietzsche). S. Freud at this time explores the phenomenon of violence in the context of instincts, complexes ("Thanatos", "Oedipus complex"). The idea of violence rootedness in human nature and its positive impact on the development of society is actualized.

The philosophical anthropology of Max Ferdinand Scheler of 1874-1928 was formed during this period, in the epoch of violent social upheavals, the First World War, and forming the preconditions for the Second. Scheler set himself the task of revealing the essence of man, i.e., providing an answer to the question: what is a man? "Both religions and philosophemes", he wrote, "have so far tried to study how and where man came into being, instead of determining what he is" (authors’ transl.) (Scheler, 1994, p. 129). All the social problems faced by mankind at the crossroads of two centuries, the philosopher explained by the misunderstanding of man, who can be understood only in the context of hid relentless development, constant search for himself.

Scheler acquired his "philosophical power" and authorial originality only during the First World War, the philosophical understanding of which became the most important prerequisite for the formation of his philosophical anthropology. The emergence of Weltkriegsphilosophie (Philosophy of World War II) was caused not only by a certain historical event, but also by the need to reflect on the spiritual crisis that split Europe not only into two warring military blocs, but also marked the crisis of the ideals of Modernism and led to a rethinking of values, underlying the European civilization (Popov, & Popova, 2018).

He understands war as a "dynamic principle" of historical development, as opposed to a "static principle" – peace. From this "point of view" war is presented as a certain function of the process of formation of nations and states, which is realized in accordance with their inherent a particular historical segment of spiritual opportunities. Consequently, it is a spiritual and cosmic principle of society development. Scheler argues that war has its origins in man, the history of the development of his spiritual world, thus, refuting in advance all the biologization concepts of man that appeared later. Moreover, such an approach is a worthy response to the assertions of early Modernism thinkers about violence as an integral and completely natural, given the laws of the animal world, component of human existence.

Let us note that the conceptualization of violence in the philosophical discourse of early Modernism combines incompatible, at first glance, pragmatization and mythologizing. We can observe the design of the two-faced image of the "natural man". On the one hand, he opposes the social contract by virtue of his natural desire for freedom, and on the other, he conceives of violence as a tool for maintaining power and order. Thus, in the philosophical and political theory of T. Hobbes, man is by nature selfish, subject to passions and pursues his own interests, striving for self-preservation. The philosopher constructs a "natural" state, which presupposes a "war of all against all", and a "natural law" as a way out of the absolute state of war. Violence, therefore, does not preclude non-violence, and war and peace are the natural principles of human life in the state. Hobbesian statism affirms the need for both freedom and peace, violence and coercion in civil society. At the same time, the violence of the "Nomos" – a rationalized idea of the law that limits the arbitrariness of power, is opposed to violence in the natural state.

Like T. Hobbes, I. Kant considers violence using a category of war, but at the same time, it acquires other meanings. Thus, if for Hobbes the "war of all against all" and, consequently, the violence accompanying it, is a conceptualization of civil war, Kant builds a different concept of war, based on the realities of religious confrontation during the Reformation and the Thirty Years’ War in Germany (1618-1648). However, despite the differences in socio-historical contexts, philosophers are united by a common fixation on the rationalization of sensory experience. It should be noted their inherent effort to justify morality and law in the relationship between state and law. Presented by Hobbes as "artificial" and "natural" man, they are also understood by Kant as "rational" mechanisms. Accordingly, wars between states are, first of all, human violence against another person. The state is presented as a "moral person" (i.e. a man), because it is a certain community of people. For the same reason, states are autonomous and must independently dispose of their freedom. The "morality of the state" must become the basis of its policy, which will inevitably lead to an end to wars and violence. The reason will obviously make violence unacceptable.

Describing the transition from the "natural" state to the "legal" one, Kant appeals to the minds of people who, in order to get rid of violence, must come to terms with coercive laws. The freedom of the natural is replaced by the coercion of the law, and, hence, the violence of the law. Kant is convinced that such coercion is inevitable and necessary, including for the education of man, because it teaches him to morality. It is important that this coercive law be transformed from external to internal, which will make a person free.

According to Hegel, the unfolding of violence is connected with the circular movement of the spirit, the instrument of which is quite naturally the revolution. This is one of the forms of manifestation of the world spirit, which in its dialectical movement strives for the general, and therefore denies the singular. In revolution, force and violence are always closely intertwined and come into conflict. The power of the revolution from these positions is presented as an unrealized possibility of the spirit, absorbed by political and ideological violence.

The concept of "spirit" is key for M. Scheler. He distinguishes two components: "great cosmic forces", which determine the development of mankind and man in particular. They are "impulse" and "spirituality". Harmony as the ultimate goal of development and the realization of the desire for freedom becomes achievable when the "spirit" prevails over the "impulse". It is the "spirit" that is understood as the "center" of man, and with its help he opposes all animal and actually natural principles in himself. The philosopher emphasizes the cognitive function of the "spirit", its ability to special knowledge – religious.

In the study "Resentment in the Structure of Morals" Scheler (1999) presents a new, different from Nietzschean, vision of the concept of "resentment" as a hidden grievance, unconscious feelings of hostility, disfavor, envy. F. Nietzsche interprets the resentment from the standpoint of the cult of Christianity, which, in his opinion, is the religion of slaves, oppressed and weak individuals (differentiation of morality into "morality of slaves" and "morality of masters"). To illustrate the resentment worldview Scheler, as an example, gives a fable about a fox and sour grapes. According to him, a person who falls under the power of resentment, although internally focused on happiness, wealth, physical strength, cannot achieve this, because he rejects them as values and chooses the opposite.

Scheler comes to see resentment as a pure phenomenon and emphasizes that the entire history of mankind is accompanied by powerful outbreaks of violence. Their cause is poisoning by resentment or, according to its definition, "slow-acting poison of the soul". Accordingly, the understanding of resentment takes place in a broad sense, and it turns from a narrowly specific (Nietzschean "slave morality") to a general social phenomenon: "Resentment is the source of upheavals in the primordial order of human consciousness, one of the causes of delusion in the knowledge of this order and its implementation" (authors’ transl.) (Scheler, 1999, р. 175).

The essay "The Genius of War and the German War" (Der Genius des Krieges und der Deutsche Krieg, 1915) written during the First World War became significant in Scheler’s work. His key idea is to state that only in the conditions of war real "love communities" are being formed: "The most important objective goal of war is, first of all, to create and expand one or another of the many possible forms of true love communities" (authors’ transl.) (Scheler, 1915, p. 10).

Since war is the most efficient means of forming the love communities, participation in it, according to Scheler, is a sacred duty of every citizen.

In the same year, 1915, another work by Scheler, "War and Death", was published in the Zeit-Echo Almanac, which did not have a significant resonance and was not properly appreciated by researchers of the thinker’s work. The Almanac was formed as a military diary, in the pages of which cultural and artistic figures freely expressed their position on the events of the war. In this work there is no reference to the legitimacy of the German war, which is discussed in "The Genius of War…". Scheler emphasizes not only its metaphysical but also its religious meaning: the death of soldiers on the battlefield is a religious sacrifice, similar to the sacrifice of Christ. In this sense, it is not vain, because the nation unites, thanks to this sacrifice, the willingness to make it. Understanding of life as a gift, understanding of the true value of which is possible only during the war dominate in the text. War appears in the form of a kind of "sacrificial altar", through which the individual can fulfill his higher purpose. We can state that the object of study for Scheler in this case is the metaphysics of death: "Life overcomes itself by sacrificing itself. Through sacrifice, life becomes something more than just life. In the case of war, sacrifice is a sacrifice for the sake of the nation-state and its culture" (authors’ transl.) (Scheler, 1982, р. 41).

Such an insight into the essence of war, according to Saulius Geniusas (2019), a researcher of Scheler’s work from the Chinese University of Hong Kong, naturally makes one think about the question: should Scheler’s theory of suffering for a high purpose be considered phenomenological, metaphysical or religious, but, first of all, ideological? And isn’t his goal to justify war? The answer to this question is found in the philosopher’s reasoning about various forms of pacifism (heroic, Christian, Marxist, etc.), which makes clear Scheler’s belief that humanity can achieve Eternal Peace as the highest value only through pacifism based on morality. In his work "Vom Sinn des Leidens" (1916) we can observe the liberation of the idea of sacrificial suffering from its militaristic interpretation.

In general, in Scheler’s works there is a distinction in the structure of two basic components of the subject: spirit – spirituality – the subject in God and the power of the unconscious – impulse – resentment. Spirituality influences the formation of the subject more than the cultural, social, ideological factors. If impulse is dominated ("wins") in a subject, the social order, values, consciousness are formed in accordance with this priority, which becomes a favorable ground for totalitarian practices, manifestations of aggression in society. Under these conditions, the thesis of unlimited freedom is actualized, which destroys the usual norms and way of life. Such freedom "from" is chaos caused by resentment. Violence is justified precisely in relation to the "impulse" and not to the "spirit". After all, where the "spirit" prevails, freedom is understood as the released inner potential of creativity. Thus, the identity of the subject may be uncertain or distorted due to the "substitution" of the value system of the subject.

Taming the "impulse" and establishing the "spirit" – this is the most efficient formula for leveling the violence practice. At the same time, the late Modernism is characterized by sharp "pendulum oscillations" in a person’s choice between "vital" and "spiritual".

One of the reasons for this division and the formation of a radically new, non-classical way of thinking was a leap in the science and technology development in the second half of the ХІХ century. It caused the spread among the masses a kind of euphoria from their own omnipotence and the deceptive belief that the principles of building a perfect machine can be transferred to human society. Just as in the mechanism, there is a certain number of details, each of which performs its function, putting into action the whole, so in society the infinite multiplicity of individual wills is possible and necessary to subordinate to some single plan. Such an ideologeme has become a "time bomb" for modern society. If the principles of the machine become the standard of social order, then a person eventually becomes a "cog" of this machine, becomes non-self-sufficient part that can be easily replaced by another. Thus, a person loses his individuality, "objectifies", becomes a soulless component of a certain universal mechanism.

Thus, at the turn of the ХІХ–ХХ centuries, a new picture of the world emerges, in which the scheme of determination radically changes: chance becomes a regularity. This new, quantum-relativistic world picture owes its appearance to A. Einstein, M. Planck, N. Bohr. A new type of non-classical rationality is being formed, which leads to a rethinking of key phenomena of human existence.

This period is characterized by strong migration processes, which resulted in the assimilation of urban and rural populations, the concentration in large industrial cities of a large number of migrants. Man, forced to explore new territories, to form a new way of life, felt as if "snatched" from the usual social center, the natural world for him (Shymko, 2018). The life of each individual undergoes significant transformations in time and space. He has to abandon the usual worldviews, the established understanding of his "home", cultural and moral values, religious principles inherited from the ancestors – all that provided a full perception of the world and his role in it.

The desire of society to form large areas of housing is explained by the internal, usually unconscious desire of man to subordinate himself and his life to a strong social order, to give up on freedom for the sake of a system that gives the illusion of strength, confidence and security. Striving to become an element of a strong structure, a person instead gets a feeling of growing loneliness. As a result, there is a contradiction between the desire to dissolve in a whole, to submit to a strong system and the desire to assert his importance as a unique individual, his right to freedom. This was the heyday of humanistic philosophical thought, which was embodied in the works of M. Berdiaiev, S. Hessen, M. Drahomanov, P. Leshaft, V. Soloviov. New ideas and concepts are spreading in the society, which are based on an active, free personality with pronounced individual characteristics.

In the search for the most optimal and at the same time "natural" model of the development of society and the individual, radical detraditionalization is absolutized, the Christian image of man is denied, and his naturalistic vision is affirmed. Such a model aimed to establish a socio-political order without the help of Christian religious principles. The union of man and nature was opposed to the idea of creation, performing an anti-Christian function. The so-called "non-pagan" modernist thought represents man in a world governed by natural laws. These laws are opened by the mind, and it obeys these laws. There is an identification of society with the social body, which functions in accordance with the established laws, and which must get rid of "unreasonable" forms of organization that appeal to the transcendent (Marchenko, 2012, p. 108).

Thus, there was a contradiction between two different types of worldview. The Christian worldview was based on the accentuation of the individual in the context of his moral assessment of the world. It postulated personality as a reflection of the Absolute Personality, and the Kingdom of God as a reality rooted in the transcendent, not the immanent. Proponents of the "natural" model of society had clear naturalistic priorities. Both positions could be reconciled only under the condition of radical changes, which became the slogan of late Modernism in its final stage, when return to natural collectivism, dissolution in faceless matter was proclaimed an ideal of human existence (Marchenko, 2012, p. 101).

The October coup of 1917 had ambiguous and contradictory consequences for all the peoples of the then Russian Empire. On the one hand, the social order hated by a large part of the population was destroyed, which gave hope for a better future in a democratic society. In the context of these events, the lowest strata of the population received deceptive proof of their own strength and power, which abolished the age-old social orders. On the other hand, there was a devastating blow to the life ideals and values of people who faced the need to find new spiritual landmarks (Bazaluk, Fatkhutdinov, & Svyrydenko, 2018). The events of October testified not only to the physical but also to the spiritual weakness, the helplessness of the masses before the element of revolution with its violence cult.

The problem of man’s search for a defining core that would allow him to preserve his individuality in the outside world has become more acute. If the ideal of the previous era was self-improvement of the individual, his ascent to the heights of spiritual existence, including religion, the basis of the new social formation was the idea of universal happiness based on socio-economic equality, social justice.

Thus, the key contradiction of Modernism is caused by its inherent polarization in the human understanding. On the one hand, the derivation of destructiveness and "instinct of death" from human nature itself, and as a consequence, the assertion of the inevitability and regularity of violence as a manifestation of the "force" of the stronger, and, hence, the cult of the superhuman (F. Nietzsche). On the other hand – leveling of the individual, self-destruction of the "I" in favor of the collective and for the public good. Both vectors, as the history of the ХХ century shows, intersected in the practices of Soviet totalitarianism and German Nazism.

The invariability of the presence of violence in human existence is explained by the limitations of human destructiveness – being both "outside" and "inside". Man is always the interaction of the immanent and the transcendent, the inner and the outer. In his evolutionary development, he "falls out" of the natural order, ceases to be part of nature and opposes himself to it. Thus, he becomes autonomous and realizes itself no longer by an entity, but by a process. In "The Anatomy of Human Destructiveness", Erich Fromm (1999) reveals destruction as a process of degradation of society, which led to and, in fact, in which destructiveness took root. It is the result of violence against human nature. The destructiveness analysis involves addressing the essence of the phenomena of aggression and violence. Based on the instinctivism and behaviorism critique, Fromm substantiates the difference between benign and malignant aggression forms. By benign aggression, he means the protective reactions of the individual to the threat to his vital interests. These threats need to be eliminated to minimize benign aggression. However, this can be achieved by providing everyone with decent living conditions, which would nullify the desire for domination of some people over others. As an intermediate aggression form, Fromm (1999) identifies the so-called pseudo-aggression: "actions that may cause harm, but they were not preceded by evil intentions" (authors’ transl.) (p. 232). As examples of pseudo-aggression, he cites play aggression and aggression as self-affirmation, which do not carry destruction as such. That is why benign aggression and pseudo-aggression are not destructive in nature. In contrast, malignant aggression is not generated by instincts and is unique to humans. It is the result of social dynamics and the process of socialization. This type of aggression is not related to the problems of human survival, however, feeding on human passions generated by love, hate, envy, etc., it becomes one of his ancestral characteristics: «Specifically, the human desire for absolute domination over other living beings and the desire to destroy (malignant aggression), I distinguish in a special group and call "destructiveness" or "cruelty"» (authors’ transl.) (Fromm, 1999, р. 13).

Thus, destructiveness is a purely human quality that is formed as a consequence of existence in society. Man, through mind, creates safer living conditions for himself, while losing instinctive mechanisms of self-defense in the course of evolution. At the same time, it is the mind that becomes the source of the destructiveness of his nature.

To the question of who is to blame for the destruction progress, E. Fromm answers unequivocally: the man himself, because his ancestral characteristics imply a tendency to murder. Man, in the true sense of the word, is made by the ability to control himself and control the inner desire to destroy and murder his own kind. Accordingly, destructiveness as a natural predisposition to violence is a biologically abnormal and phylogenetically unprogrammed malignant aggression, which, of course, poses a threat to human survival. Moreover, given the technical progress, killing is becoming easier, and therefore, methods of deterrence must become increasingly rigid. Destructiveness has so deeply penetrated into human nature that the illusion of its innateness has arisen. In fact, as the philosopher emphasizes, destructive manifestations have a biosocial, historically determined nature, that is, society itself creates favorable conditions for its development in man.

Violence as the destruction of human nature is a vicious circle. The destruction of social relations is due to the lack of conditions for self-realization, resulting in the deformation of the inner world of man, his values (Danylova, 2016). In turn, this is an impetus for aggression against those who try to resist society and avoid destruction. This process is continuous, and gradual human construction on the new basis with comprehending and using those elements that were valuable, necessary for further formation at the highest level takes place and it is quite natural. Thus, self-transcendence is ambivalent: it represents both a negative and a positive destructiveness forms. Negative has a destructive nature, leads to disintegration and death. And the positive, through "removal", reconstruction provides preservation, development, multiplication of human.

Despite the differences in views on the root causes of destructiveness as a defining characteristic of human nature, both M. Scheler and E. Fromm agree on the need to revise the values of humanity in a dehumanizing society and increasing the threat of existential vacuum. That is why Scheler’s opinion on the priorities that humanity must assign, expressed more than a century ago in the work "Resentment in the Structure of Morals" is still relevant today:

The spirit of modern civilization is not "progress" in the development of mankind, as Spencer thought, but decline. This spirit led to the domination of the weak over the strong, cunning over the high-minded, quantity over quality …weakening of the core, dominant forces in man, in his struggle with the anarchy of his aspirations, i.e. neglect of goals for the development of means. (authors’ transl.) (Scheler, 1999, р. 204)


For the first time the study conceptualizes the positive and negative aspects of human destructiveness in the context of late Modernism violence practices. It is proved that its ontological principles are rooted in specifically human existence and relations into which the individual enters in the process of life. Whereas anthropological principles are directly connected with the endless struggle of the "vital" with the "spirit" in man. The mechanism of realization of human destructiveness is self-transcendence, which combines "humanized" and "extrahuman" in various forms of manifestation. Self-transcendence is ambivalent: it represents both negative and positive destructiveness forms. Both ontological and anthropological principles are the basis for man to construct his existence, to form his unique and inimitable essence, to search for the meaning of his existence.


The appeal to the conceptual foundations of philosophical anthropology and psychoanalysis in the context of violence practices of late Modernism era allowed placing important "accents" in the understanding of human destructiveness. Violence as a result of the collision of "nature" and "culture" in man, as a destructiveness that is filtered by the socio-cultural environment, is a natural internal conflict. Its development can have both progressive and regressive vector.

At the metaphysical level, destructiveness appears as a link between the entropy of world existence and the instability of human existence itself, which is a complexly organized and open to the world system. It is rooted in instability as a constituent feature of the modern picture of the world. Accordingly, it can have both a negative color – ontological "non-guarantee" and predictability of the human, and positive – unlimited opportunities to overcome the desire for destruction and constant self-improvement. Man leaves nature, realizing his incompatibility with it, and himself – not an entity, but a process whose purpose is to search and find his "center". Taming the "impulse" and establishing the "spirit" – this is the formula for leveling the violence practice. The ability to manage one’s own life is nourished by destructiveness ingrained in human nature. Self-transcendence as an anthropological precondition of human destructiveness is a kind of destruction "alloy" (going beyond the existing form with its subsequent destruction), and reconstruction (restoration, construction of the basic characteristics of the human phenomenon on a new basis).

The discovery of the meaning of a particular human life in a "then and there" situation is a manifestation of positive destructiveness based on self-transcendence. There is no other way to overcome the negative, "malignant" destructiveness, except the incessant, daily "gathering" of meanings around you. Only the ability to keep in harmony the trinity of "body-soul-spirit" will allow a person to preserve and increase his integrity in any social transformations.


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1*Дніпропетровський державний університет внутрішніх справ (Дніпро, Україна), ел. пошта,
ORCID 0000-0002-2069-9942
2*Дніпровський національний університет залізничного транспорту імені академіка В. Лазаряна (Дніпро, Україна),
ел. пошта, ORCID 0000-0003-4121-8826




Мета. Дослідження феномену людської деструктивності у контексті метафізичних образів і практик насилля пізнього Модерну. Теоретичний базис. Проблема полягає у тому, що філософська рефлексія насилля як "опредмеченої", реалізованої деструктивності людини носить, як правило, контекстний характер і перебуває на периферії осмислення її зовнішніх проявів. Відповідно "за кадром" залишається антропологічна криза, свідченням якої є девальвація гуманістичного потенціалу сучасної культури. Саме тому необхідно змістити акценти із очевидних, об’єктивно обумовлених "втілень" насилля у ХХІ столітті (збройних конфліктів, локальних воєн, терористичних актів) – на внутрішні чинники, що перебувають у царині екзистенціального. Відхід від розгляду насилля як абстрактного, безликого або ідеологічно забарвленого "зла" дозволив зосередитися на людині, її способі мислення, життєвих і суспільних орієнтирах, почуттях і внутрішніх суперечностях, що знаходять своє вираження у тій чи іншій формі деструктивності. Наукова новизна. На основі визначальних для філософської антропології і психоаналізу праць М. Шелера й Е. Фромма вперше здійснено концептуалізацію позитивних та негативних форм прояву людської деструктивності на тлі соціокультурних трансформацій пізнього Модерну. Доведено, що її онтологічні засади вкорінені у специфічно людському бутті й відносинах з іншими членами соціуму, тоді як антропологічні безпосередньо пов’язані із нескінченною боротьбою в людині "життєвого", вітального із "духом". Висновки. Насилля є інструментом і продуктом переходу людини до більш зрілих і складних буттєвих форм. Взаємозумовленість практик насилля та ненасилля забезпечує поступальний рух людства на шляху гуманізації суспільства. Цей поступ супроводжується закономірним внутрішнім конфліктом особистості, який може мати як прогресивний, так і регресивний характер. На метафізичному рівні деструктивність постає як зв’язок між ентропією світового буття в цілому і нестабільністю власне людського буття, що являє собою складно організовану і відкриту світові систему. Самотрансцеденція як антропологічна передумова людської деструктивності має подвійний характер і поєднує у собі негативні та позитивні характеристики, зміст і значущість яких було розкрито у ході дослідження. Автори переконані: немає іншого шляху для подолання негативної, "злоякісної" деструктивності, окрім ненастанного, щоденного "збирання" навколо себе життєвих смислів та їх освоєння. Адже саме втрата таких стрижневих буттєвих структур, як смисл, ціль і цінність життя стала для сучасного світу дійсно глобальною проблемою. Акцентовано увагу на необхідності утримувати в гармонії триєдність "тіло-душа-дух", що дозволить людині за будь-яких суспільних трансформацій зберегти і примножити свою цілісність.

Ключові слова: людина; деструктивність; насилля; епоха пізнього Модерну; самотрансценденція


1*Днепропетровский государственный университет внутренних дел (Днипро, Украина), эл. почта, ORCID 0000-0002-2069-9942
2*Днипровский национальный университет железнодорожного транспорта имени академика В. Лазаряна
(Днипро, Украина), эл. почта, ORCID 0000-0003-4121-8826





Цель. Исследование феномена человеческой деструктивности в контексте метафизических образов и практик насилия позднего Модерна. Теоретический базис. Проблема заключается в том, что философская рефлексия насилия, как "опредмеченной", реализованной в бытии человека деструктивности, носит, как правило, контекстный характер и находится на периферии осмысления его внешних проявлений. Соответственно, "за кадром" остается антропологический кризис, свидетельством которого является девальвация гуманистического потенциала современной культуры. Именно поэтому необходимо сместить акценты с очевидных, объективно обусловленных "воплощений" насилия в XXI веке (вооруженных конфликтов, локальных войн, террористических актов) – на внутренние факторы, находящиеся в области экзистенционального. Уход от рассмотрения насилия как абстрактного, безликого или идеологически окрашенного "зла" позволил сосредоточиться на человеке, его образе мышления, жизненных ориентирах, чувствах и внутренних противоречиях, которые находят свое выражение в той или иной форме деструктивности. Научная новизна. На основе определяющих для философской антропологии и психоанализа работ М. Шелера и Э. Фромма впервые осуществлена концептуализация положительных и отрицательных форм проявления человеческой деструктивности на фоне социокультурных трансформаций позднего Модерна. Доказано, что ее онтологические основания определяются спецификой человеческого бытия и отношениями с другими членами социума, тогда как антропологические – непосредственно связаны с нескончаемой борьбой в человеке "жизненного", витального с "духом". Выводы. Насилие является инструментом и продуктом перехода человека к более зрелым и сложным бытийным формам. Взаимообусловленность практик насилия и ненасилия обеспечивает поступательное движение человечества на пути гуманизации общества. Это продвижение сопровождается закономерным внутренним конфликтом личности, который может иметь как прогрессивный, так и регрессивный характер. На метафизическом уровне деструктивность выступает как связь между энтропией мирового бытия в целом и нестабильностью собственно человеческого бытия, представляющего собой сложно организованную и открытую миру систему. Самотрансцеденция, как антропологическая предпосылка человеческой деструктивности, имеет двойственный характер и сочетает в себе негативные и положительные характеристики, содержание и значимость которых были раскрыты в ходе исследования. Авторы убеждены: нет другого пути для преодоления негативной, "злокачественной" деструктивности, кроме неустанного "собирания" вокруг себя жизненных смыслов и их освоения. Ведь именно потеря таких стержневых бытийных оснований, как смысл, цель и ценность жизни стала для современного мира глобальной проблемой. Акцентировано внимание на необходимости гармонизации триединства "тело-душа-дух", что позволит человеку при любых общественных трансформациях сохранить и приумножить свою целостность.

Ключевые слова: человек; деструктивность, насилие; эпоха позднего Модерна; самотрансценденция

Received: 30.10.2019

Accepted: 14.05.2020

CПрямая соединительная линия 4reative Commons Attribution 4.0 International

doi: 10.15802/ampr.v0i17.206686
O. V. Marchenko, L. V. Martseniuk, 2020

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