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Essence of basic principles of society’s spiritual values reproduction (sociological analysis)


An interest in the revival of the concept of “spirituality” tends to increase in today’s society. By the beginning of the 21st century the concept of “spirituality” has firmly established itself in various social sciences contrary to the forecasts and hopes of some scientists, having stood the test of time. The today’sworld is in search of new educational programs on universal values, and Kazakhstan is keeping pace with the world community, thus, the Self-Cognition Program, which is a domestic brand representing the production of spiritual values, has been introduced. Spirituality is considered a crucial criterion that determines the progress of society and all-round development of the personality, since only when spirituality is developed, social, political and economic stability reigns in society. Within this article, the author reveals the core principles for the reproduction of society’s spiritual values: the principle of humanization of values, the principle of self-formation of problem-based thinking, the principle of reduction, the principle of emotional experience of values, and the principle of universal value identification. 


Spiritual values are a specific spiritual capital of mankind, accumulated over the millennia, which does not only depreciate, buttendsto increase. The nature of spiritual values is studied in axiology, i.e. the theory of values, which establishes the correlation of valueswith the existential world of human life.

When determining society’sspiritual values, we relied on modern discourses of the “spirituality” concept, which is inextricably linked with the development of secular conception. Many scientists around the world, such as sociologists, psychologists, philosophers, and educators, recognizethe 21st century as a new Renaissance, a return of a human being to his own self, to his true essence. And the social policies of many countriesare aimed at humanizing society and changing human qualities. Thus, at his numerous meetings with the young people of Kazakhstan N.A. Nazarbayev emphasizes that: “Every person should be taught how to do, how to learn, how to live, how to live together in the modern world” [1].

We emphasize that spirituality in our research is regarded as an objective reality that is not a product of human activity; it is a single, inner essence of the whole universe and a human. In the context of the universe, the Spiritual Reality is manifested as life, movement, development, and sequence. In human consciousness, the Spiritual Reality is manifested as universal values, higher ideals: conscience, love, truth [2].

Spiritual activity is a creative process of production and reproduction of spiritual values (ideas, knowledge, images, etc.), as well as their preservation, distribution, dissemination and utilization. Specialized types of spiritual activities are science, art, religion, and education [3].

In today’s context, it is education system that is the key factor in the reproduction of society’sspiritual values. Traditional school is successful when it comes to students’ intellectual development. In the age of pragmatism, domination of money-focused interests, success of pragmatic people and egotists, the issue of younger generation’s morality and spirituality becomes as urgent as never before. Harmony and balance of secular spirituality and intellect are very important for a modern human. If we get a glimpse of the future, the 21st century students are getting ready to live and work in conditions of grand challenges of the third millennium. The Next generation will have to deal with environmental, physical and mental health, stress, and multicultural coexistence issues, and this is just the beginning, because then it will go to biorobotics, outer space exploration, etc. These areas are associated with ethical, moral and spiritual issuesthatcan be successfully solved only by changing human qualities through teaching the “new humanism”, including globality, love to justice, and aversion to violence [4]. Thus, the British education system gives pride of place to personality, not intellect. And it is believed that personalityshould be judged by person’s actions, not his views. Hence, the English school attaches huge importance to teachingthe standard of behavior.

Moreover, many countries include spiritual and moral disciplines in school curricula. For example, in France, teaching religious subjects at schools has been allowed since 2006. German schoolchildren have an option, they may choose between religion classand ethics class. By the way, religionis the only subject in German schools, which is mentioned in the German Constitution. In Kazakhstan, teaching “Self-Cognition” as a secular doctrine of spirituality is based on ideas of the 21st century pedagogy, personal and sense-bearing development, awareness of the unity of all that exists and new teaching strategies.

Within this article, the authors wish to disclose the essence of the principles of society’s spiritual values reproduction, which spiritual and moral education can be based on.

Main Part

In recent years, the works of Kazakh scientists have been devoted to the study of spirituality and culture: G.Yessim, T.Kulsariyeva, S.Syzdykova, A.Nysanbayev, A.Abuova, B.Tolepbergenova, K.Kotosheva, G.Nurgaliyeva, E.Urunbassarova and others. It is worth mentioning that relevant studies of society’s and personality’s spirituality are conducted in all social and humanitarian subject areas: history, philosophy, pedagogy, sociology, etc.

Thus, the issues of globalization of society and interethnic dialogue, intercultural communication, and multicultural education have been studied by domestic scientists, such as A.Nysanbayev, K.Kotosheva, M.Nadyrova, A.Kodar and others. The problems of study of national values are reflected in the works of G.Yessim, A.Abuov, K.Kozhakhmetova, S.Uzakbayeva, and others.

In terms of our research, K.Kotosheva’s study on mental spiritual integrity of the Kazakh peopleis of particular interest. The research group believes that the process of globalization can lead to the destruction of spiritual integrity of the Kazakh ethnos, and to the extinction of its unique ethnic and religious values. Therefore, there arises a challenging social problem related to conflict resolution between the conservation of the unique historical integrity of the Kazakh ethnos, based on our people’stolerance, and preserving the spiritual integrity in the process of globalization [5].

The process of spiritual values reproduction is based on their cognition, which is possible by using the following principles:

Spiritual values reproduction principles  

Fifure 1. Spiritual values reproduction principles 

It should be underscored that these principles should aim at understanding, preservation and development of each nation’s identity and ideals, includingour own values that are not similar to another nation’svalues, even if they are called nearly the same way. Each nation or state has its own historical, national and sociocultural background and traditions, values and features, ideology and mentality, which generally determine the current state of public consciousness and influence the vision of the future. A forward-looking optimism should not be perceived as disregard of the present or the past; on the contrary, the present must learn from the past and shape the future [6].

The principle of universal value identification is the core one, because spiritual nature of a person is manifested through the disclosure of such values in himself. This principle is described in detail in the Self- Cognition Spiritual and Moral Education Program, the essence of which lies in the fact that the content of education should be based on eternal universal values, understood as a manifestation of the highest spiritual nature of a human. Absolute universal human values are inherent in a person since birth: Truth, Love, Righteous Behavior (Duty), Inner Peace (Peace), Nonviolence, which are manifested as personal qualities. Thus, the universal human value of Truth is revealed through formation of such personal qualities as responsibility, honesty and gratitude.

It is obvious that inclusion of universal values in the content of education contributes to the formation of humanistic qualities of a person and leads to his spiritual growth. The person’s aspiration to perfection implies increase in his virtue. Hence it appears that changes in spiritual growth and personal perfection are truly realized in the system of values that make up a diverse and rich world of moral qualities. 

When determining universal human values within the context of Self-Cognition Spiritual and Moral Education Program, the authors rely on classification of the system of values proposed by Petrakova, according to which all values can be divided into natural, acquired and absolute [7].

Natural values are the values of natural power and capabilities of the soul, i.e. mind, feeling, and will. They are given to a person since birth. These are: clarity of mind, quick thinking, memory reliability, sincerity of feelings, and durable will.

Acquired values are the values acquired by a person in the course of intellectual and moral formation, they are the result of education and upbringing; they become the second nature of a human being and allow him to do his best in any situation. Acquired intellectual value is the power of mind as a combination of wisdom, knowledge and competence [7].

Absolute universal values are the values that do not change over time and are significant not for a limited group of people (social group, class, party, state or coalition of states), but for all of humanity. As described above, this group of values is the one that triggers interest forSelf-Cognition Spiritual and Moral Education Program. The principle of universal value identification, according to whichthe content of education should be based on eternal universal values, understood as a manifestation of the highest spiritual nature of a human. It should be emphasized that moral and spiritual education, carried out through teaching Self-Cognition, is not religious but secular education, treating physical, mental, spiritual and moral nature of a man in the unity thereof. Absolute universal values that a human is born with are: Truth, Love, Righteous Behavior (Duty), Inner Peace (Peace), and Nonviolence.

Truthremains unchanged and is the fundamental life principle: the spirituality that permeates the entire Creation of the World, the unified essence that is inherent in the whole universe. There is only one absolute Truth, which is the source of all the others. When one finds it, his actions are co-tuned with it. Truth is not limited by time - past, present or future.

Righteous Behaviormeans acting according to duty and obligations, and the inner voice of Conscience.

Lovemeans pure, unselfish and unconditional love, it is energy that creates and sustains life.

Inner Peace is the perfect peace of mind, the underlyinghuman nature.

Nonviolencemeans not to inflict harm to anyone, not in thought, not in word nor even in deed.

Thus, regarding absolute universal values, we can say that a human is born with them; they are embedded in the heart of every human; they have permeated all things; they are one single thing for all people, and they do not depend on nationality, confession, race or habitat; and they are constant. Universal values include natural and acquired ones, which when viewed through the prism of universal values become the qualities of a person. Identification of universal values leads to manifestation of the virtues [8].

We conducted a small survey among undergraduate and graduate studentsmajoring in “Pedagogy and Psychology” and “Social Pedagogy and Self-Cognition” after they had attended Self-Cognition classes. The purpose of the survey was to figure out if their understanding of human qualities changed. We offered the students to write a mini-essay about their previous and today’s understanding of such human qualities as responsibility, honesty and gratitude, which reflect the universal human value of Truth.

Here are some excerpts.

“BEFORE: Responsibility is a duty, social commitment, and compliance with society’s requirements and criteria. Honesty is an alternative to lies and hypocrisy. Gratitude isa duty and a feedback for help or favor.

After Self-Cognition classes, the understanding of qualities such as responsibility, honesty and gratitude underwent quality changes: Responsibility is a duty, social commitment, maintaining public order and harmony in public life.

Honestyequals to honor, conscience and dignity.Gratitude is “giving good”, “bliss” and “glorification”. Here is an excerpt from one essay: “... now my thoughts are positive, life ideals and values are closely entwined with absolute values ... responsibility meanspersonal leadership, being held accountable for one’s actions and deeds, and undertaking commitments; honesty, in the first place,means being absolutely honest with ourselves, pure thoughts and a clear conscience; gratitude means beingthankful, first of all, to our relatives and friends, those around us, teachers, and, of course, to ourselves, so that we do not stop and go forward”.

It is obvious that inclusion of universal values in the process of education contributes to the formation of humanistic qualities in a person and leads to his spiritual growth. The person’s aspiration to perfection implies increase in his virtue. Hence it appears that changes in spiritual growth and personal perfection are truly realized in the system of values that make up a diverse and rich world of moral qualities. 

The principle of humanization of values – it is only human who makes values influence the world, let us repeat once again that only a human being is able to become aware of his spiritual nature and inner relationship to the whole universe.

There are different ways to understand the “spiritual” and it is often considered as a product of human activity. Studies of the Kazakhstani school of thought, represented by A.Nysanbayev, A.Kossichenko, G.Solovyeva, A.Khamidov and others, show the exact antipodes of opinion: “Philosophy as love of wisdom should not state the fact of disruption between the material and spiritual components of a human being...” [9]. In latest philosophy textbooks by A.Spirkin, a leading expert of the Soviet and post-Soviet periods, we can find a new concept of human: “A human is embodied spirit and spiritualized physicality, spiritual and material creature having a mind. At the same time, a human is an entity of labour relations, social relations and communication” [10].

At the present stage of development of philosophy, psychology and pedagogy, perceptional unity of a person as a trinity of body-soul-spirit is being restored. In this case, the interlocutory principle in education will transform into a polyphoning principle, where there is an interaction based on dialogue not only between a teacher and a student, but each of them may receive information from the spiritual channel (Figure2).

 The polyphoning principle as means for humanization of education 

Figure 2 – The polyphoning principle as means for humanization of education 

The essence of polyphony echoes the idea of “conciliar nature of human consciousness” by S. Trubetskoy, who explained this notion as follows: “I keep the council inside with everyonewith regard to everything” [11].

In sociology, one of the key methods of determining the structure of society is the dichotomy “center- periphery”. The center of society consists of those social groups that define the main symbols of society. The symbols of society, nation, ethnicity, class or any other social group mean ideal and material objects, characters or historical events that express and represent a social group. Speaking of the Kazakh people, their symbols arenomadism and all related material objects (Kazakh horse breed, the yurt and its structural parts, winter and summer nomad camps, etc.). The most essential Kazakh symbols are the Kazakh language, music and musical instruments, and other items of folk culture. The figures of Kirei and Janibek khans, Abylai khan, Abay, Chokan Valikhanov, Kurmangazy, Akhmet Baitursynov, other Alash party members, etc. are among the most significant symbols of the Kazakh people. The war between the Kazakh with the Dzungar people, the annexation of Kazakhstan to Russia, the popular uprising of 1916 led by Amangeldy Imanov, the communist regime campaign called “Little October” and the famine and mass death of Kazakhs in the early 1930 s. associated with it, as wellas a number of other historical events are the paramount national symbols for the Kazakh people. The Kazakhs consider their land, ancestral territory with its steppe landscape and such localities as Sary Arka, Altai, Alatau, Aral Sea, Caspian Sea, etc. as the main symbols.

Symbols play a pivotal role in the formation of any human community, including the nation. What makes a community of people sustainable in social time and space? The main condition here is public consciousness - these are symbols, values, and traditions that are shared by all the community members.

In Soviet period, the Kazakh people were in a semi-peripheral position. It’s not that they were pushed to the periphery of society, as Soviet national policy sought to represent the union republics if not as national states, then at least as establishments reflecting the national identity. However, this identity occupied a subordinate position in relation to the ruling ideology of the regime and its symbols. Therefore, the symbols of the regime were regarded as the main symbols of Soviet society. For example, the flag and coat of arms of the Kazakh SSR mostly contained Soviet symbols, repeating by far the symbols of the Soviet flag and coat of arms, for example, the red color of the flag and almost complete similarity of the Soviet coat of arms with the Kazakh SSR’sone. National symbols were of a decorative nature and of secondary importance in relation to the main symbols of Soviet society. For example, a thin blue strip at the bottom of the red flag of the Kazakh SSR [12].

Since 1991, the Kazakh people started torealize that now they are no longer a semi-peripheral group, still being not in the center of the new society, butclose enough to it. The symbols of the Kazakh ethnic, or titular, nationalism gradually became symbols of the entire Kazakhstan. Thus, a thin light blue strip on the main red background of the Kazakh SSR’s flag turned into the main color of the national flag of the Republic of Kazakhstan. According to experts, pure blue color is closest to the soul, nature and world outlook of the Kazakh people. It shows cultural and ethnic unity of the Kazakh people and simultaneously highlights the idea of the state indivisibility.

In accordance with the logic of titular nationalism, the Kazakh people strive to ensure that their symbols become a constituent basis for Kazakhstan’s social life and political system, so that the ethnonym “Kazakh” would be the name of the entire multi-ethnic national community of Kazakhstan. Thus, the above-mentioned journalist Serik Maleyev, commenting on the preliminary results of the 2009 Kazakhstan population census, which showedincrease in proportion of Kazakhs in the general population of the country up to 67 percent, concluded as follows: “Today we see aclear outline of emerging new, extended, united, and modernized community composed of various ethnic components, which, if desired, can be called Kazakhstani, although in fact, if we rid the mind of any politesse, calling us Kazakhs would seem more appropriate” [12].

Until the Kazakhs themselves feel love for their homeland, respect for the state, history and language, it is obvious that other ethnic groups will not do it. If authority and self-esteem of Kazakh people increase, other nations may feel a desire, a need to learnthe Kazakh history, language, and traditions.

The principle of self-formation of problem-based thinking problem-based thinking allows a human to perceive the meaning and the content of universal values.

Hierarchical levels of a personality’s structure; let us start describing from the very bottom [8].

Physical level, a visible levelof human existence related to development and activity of the physical body. Psycho-emotional level is the feelings, emotions, temperament arising in the subconscious mind. Through the five sensory organs, information comes from the outside world into the subconscious mind (sometimes consciously, sometimes bypassing the conscious level), where it takes on the psycho-emotional nature. Born in the subconscious mind, feelings and emotions are perceived at the level of the conscious mind [13]. The mental level and the level of intelligence are the levels of the conscious mind. The mental level (intellect) is the lowermost intellect, i.e. thoughts, desires, impressions, and preferences related to the individual existence of a person. Daily and mundane reasoning of a human belongs to this level. Thelevel of intelligence (reason) is the highest intellect expressing the universal and eternal values and distinguishing between good and evil, true and false, the eternal and the temporal [8]. The spiritual level is a level of Superconscious, the universal “Self” of the macrocosm, which is a single Higher Self of man. Thus, at this level the diversity of the universe merges into the Single Spirit.

At each level there are patterns; levels influence each other, yet the higher levels possess certain capabilities to manage the inferior levels, rather, involve them in solving the problems arising at the higher levels.

The principle of emotional experience of values the need to investigate facts from the inner side, which is not necessarily clearly marked, but is always the crucial one.

We tend to support F.Vasilyuk’s viewpoint, who proposes to consider the emotional experience as an activity. Emotional experience is an effective process, a special meaning-producingwork; an activity, i.e. an independent process that correlates an individual with the world and resolveshis real life problems. The mechanism of emotional experience, once formed, may become a common means of solving real-life problems and be used by the individual even in the absence of an impossible situation [15].

So, it is obvious that the practice of universal human values is most clearly realized throughthe last type of emotional experience of values. The purpose of the practice of universal values is to live in the unity of thought, word and deed, in other words, there isan active process of self-creation and personality building. In his book “Man’s Search for Meaning”Viktor Frankl emphasizes the importance of emotional experience of values: “The first question I was asked by Professor Smith was whether we, the professors, could give our students the values or something like a reason for living in the process of teaching at the university. If yes, how could we possibly do it? My reply was that values werenot the thing we could learn, but experience. Similarly, we could not advise the meaning of life to our students. What we could do was just to show them an example, an example of us devotingourselves to our scientific researches.”

The principle of reduction such reduction (return, simplification, clarification) allows to collect the concepts of values “scattered” in space and time in a certain zero point, sort of original position, making them focus on a thought that, in its turn, is focused on the being itself [16].

The emotional reaction of consciousness causes additional signals to be sent to the subconscious and consolidates the emotional content of the past experiences. Every time we are experiencing an emotional condition, we anchor a stronger emotional response for the future. From this mechanism, we see that it is imperative to learn how to control the consciousness (mind) so that it does not amplify the emotional nature of previous experiences [8].

Now it is clear that all the emotions such as anger, greed, hatred, fear, jealousy, etc., are in the subconscious mind, that is, within us all the time. They are part of our past. They cannot be destroyed, so we have to learn how to live with them.

Besides, our subconscious mind may be “polluted” by the modern media, which provide coverage of mainly negative events and very little positive narrative. Well, in reality there is a lot of positive news, and we just cannot see that. We are used to concentrating on our problems and difficulties and we are not aware of the positive things that surround us; we ignore the benefit that we can derive from the difficulties, because it is due to the difficulties that we grow and progress.

Therefore, we should learn to see the good things in anything, anywhere, any time. Modern psychologists clearly state: we turn into what we think of. What we are today is the result of what we thought about before. So, when we see bad things and, therefore, think about the bad things, we become bad!

The Superconscious is another important factor that influences our personality and which needs to be developed in recipients. We all have something inside us that helps and guides us, and provides us with the understanding of conscience, and allows us to distinguish good from bad. This “something” is our true highest spiritual nature (Superconscious), which gives us knowledge and wisdom (Figure 4). The information comes to the consciousness from the Superconscious through intuition and the voice of conscience [8].

Indeed, whenever we cannot find a solution to a problem, we just sit down calmly and appease our brain. Quite often it is the intuition that gives us the answer. For example, Maslow, describing techniques that help people come closer to self-actualization, believed that one of the most important techniques was to “listen to yourself” – turn in upon yourself, turn off the voices of the outside world, and sit in the silence of the mind [13]. That means the process of purifying the consciousness is very important. How do we clear our minds? Let us draw an analogy with a glass of dirty water. How do we clean the dirty water in a glass, if we cannot just pour it all out? We just need to put the glass in the flow of clean water, and the water will gradually become clean. Our consciousness may be cleansed if we clear the subconscious mind – already colored in emotions such as fear, anger, envy, etc. – from negative information by relying on positive examples, using only humane and positive practices of educating, influencing, etc.

Conclusion. Spiritual and moral education of Kazakhstani people is one of the crucial objectives of the country’s education system that implies the disclosure of humanistic values oriented at kindness, charity, compassion, mutual aid and should be directed at cultivating the following qualities in young people: worldview maturity, humanity-oriented thinking, behavior and activity, which presupposes national identity preservation, love to thehomeland, selfless service to the fatherland; the ability to show intrinsic activity and independence, to take responsibility for the decisions made, to self-cognition, self-education, and self-development; the ability to think positively, to live in the unity of thought, word and deed, to control emotions, etc.



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  8. Mukazhanova A. A guide for the coach: the basic level. – Almaty 2015
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  12. Kadyrzhanov National identity of Kazakhstan and ethnocultural symbolism // Republican socio-political magazine "Thought". - October 13, 2012
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