Question: In the 1920’s and 30’s, a famous Soviet psychologist Vygotsky introduced a concept of a “zone of proximal development,” which, among other things, talks about the difference between an ideal “I” and the real “I.” If this zone becomes too big, then at some point contact between the two systems breaks and a person loses touch with reality. Deception and lies appear, which is what happened in Russia. Do you see any danger in the fact that there is too big of a difference between the ideal picture of an integral society and the real state of people?
Answer: Do you understand what a “natural necessity” is? If at that time all these ideas were simply desirable in Russia, in our current state they are absolutely necessary. If back then it was possible to create a capitalist society, and for those living in the demolished, impoverished, and dejected Russia a free, flourishing Western world seemed like paradise on earth, today this is no longer the case. Today, just one single picture appears before all of us: either absolute annihilation or constructive work on a new level.
This is why I emphasize that it is necessary to constantly galvanize this point in a person. Another solution just doesn’t exist.
Likewise, there is no other solution to the current European crisis. They are constantly trying to dodge it, to postpone decision making until future meetings, promising that they will think of something then. But, of course, there’s nothing to think of. Everything is heading G-d knows where because nobody can calculate and foresee the negative consequences of this never-ending story and the ensuing forced destruction.
There is no other way. That’s first.
And second, the rift. I think that here we must engage in serious work and, most importantly, to progressively develop society. We only have a single mechanism of influence on a person: the surrounding environment. Only the surrounding environment, no other possibility exists. Psychologists, sociologists, all that is good, but without the influence of a surrounding society on a personality, it won’t change, it won’t receive from them a purpose that will live within.
If some expert tells me about all this, I hear him or her out, become frightened for a moment, surprised, imbued with a concept, and I am ready to carry this out, to act and strive towards something right there and now. I make promises to myself. But afterwards, without the social, without the surrounding and obligating force I will never actually do it.
I require a society that would uphold this idea and a movement that would oblige me to its implementation by relying on my personal qualities such as envy, jealousy, the desire to elevate and realize myself, and the feeling of shame: Who am I compared to them, how do I appear in the eyes of my children and loved ones. Here we need to utilize all the resources available to us (and they are all egoistic since they exist around egoism) in order to compel a person to progressively penetrate into this consciously recognized necessity of an integral unification with others.
Specialists, psychologists should spearhead this, and behind them, a social wall, the mass media.
From a “Talk on Integral Education” #6, 12/14/11