Man is a social being with independence and creativity and also with consciousness.
What does consciousness mean?
General Secretary Kim Jong Il said.
“Consciousness is an attribute of social man, which determines all his endeavors to understand and reshape the world and himself.”
In a word, consciousness is an attribute of social man, which determines all his endeavors to understand and reshape the world and himself.
Man’s activity to understand the world and himself is the cognitive activity and man’s activity to reshape the world is the practical activity. Consciousness is an attribute to determine man’s cognitive and practical activity.
Because he has consciousness man understands the world and the laws of its motion and development, reshapes nature and society as he desires.
Any living matters except man do not control their activities consciously. They only move by their instinctive demand and do not control their instinct itself. Animals do not have consciousness. Therefore, animals do not understand other things. Animals that do not understand the surrounding world can not reshape it.
For instance, we can see interesting acts of gorillas in zoo or circus.
Gorillas clean their “houses”, sweep the courtyard, prepare tables and eat food with spoons like man does when owners send signals to them. They can also “calculate” simple addition and subtraction. Their actions remind of man’s action.
That is why some people may think that animals can behave purposefully and consciously. But it is not true. However well they behave like man does, that is no more than blind actions that have been made according to conditioned reflex and custom, “the second nature” which are trained through a lot of training. Those gorillas that have no conditioned reflex can not behave as mentioned above.
But man’s behavior is fundamentally different from animals’ behavior. Animals’ behavior is defined by instinct whereas man’s activity is defined by consciousness. As man has biological aspects, in man’s activity there can be unconscious activity made by instinct.
Desire for food or sleep is the demand of biological instinct. For man, the action of biological instinct is secondary, and man’s activities are defined by consciousness in general.
How, then, does the consciousness define man’s activity?
Firstly, consciousness is the attribute that defines purpose and direction of man’s activities.
Animals are not aware of their demand and accordingly can not act intentionally. In general, there is no purposefulness in the activity of life organism. Animals escape from unfavorable circumstances looking for favorable conditions to survive. These behaviors are made not consciously after being aware of their demand but made unconsciously and spontaneously by instinct.
Unlike this, man is aware of his demand and interests and cognizes the law of movement of the world and then makes creative activities.
As he has consciousness, whenever he approaches something he thinks whether that is useful or not and how to make it useful. Nobody works at random without any calculation.
Like this, one aspect of consciousness is man’s attribute to be aware of his demand and interests and act consciously.
Secondly consciousness is the attribute to define will and power displayed in the activities to cognize and transform the world and himself.
These will and power are the main factors that decide the success of cognition and transformation. Such activities accompany complicated struggle so he displays his will and power to score success, overcoming difficulties. But the degree of display of his will and power is defined by consciousness.
For instance, as revolutionaries possess indomitable fighting capacity based on the high ideological awareness, they adhere to the revolutionary principles even when they are arrested and tortured by enemies, surmounting all difficulties and trials without caring for indescribable hunger only for the sake of revolution.
Consciousness makes it possible to set purpose and direction of human activity and defines will and fighting capacity. These two aspects are inseparably linked each other and control all activities of man to understand and reshape nature and society.
What is the reason why man has consciousness?
Man has consciousness.
Consciousness is the high-class function of the most developed brain in the physical organism of man. Brain plays pivotal role in the man’s life activity, and consciousness, the function of the brain commands life activity of man.
As man has consciousness, he conducts his activity purposefully and consciously with a certain desire and understands the essence and its law of the surrounding world and reshapes and develops it as he desires.
It is necessary to mention that consciousness has, in its contents, ideological consciousness and knowledge. Out of them, ideological consciousness takes the most important place.
Consciousness is divided into ideological consciousness and knowledge.
Ideological consciousness is the consciousness that reflects the demand and interests of man.
Since different classes exist in the class society, class character is defined according to which class’s demand and interests the ideological consciousness reflects.
Ideological consciousness assumes class character and there can not be super class ideology in the class society. Ideological consciousness that reflects demand and interests of progressive class is the progressive ideological consciousness and the ideological consciousness that reflects demand and interests of the reactionary exploiting class and ruling class is the reactionary ideological consciousness.
On the other hand, knowledge is the consciousness that reflects essence, character and methods to transform the objective object according to man’s demands. Knowledge that correctly reflects objective object is the scientific knowledge, and truth and knowledge that wrongly reflects objective object is the unscientific knowledge and false. Scientific knowledge makes man to seek rational method to transform the world according to the characteristics of the objective object.
Ideological consciousness and knowledge are independent but interlinked.
Ideological consciousness defines formation of knowledge and direction of usage of knowledge. Ideological consciousness defines the direction of formation of knowledge and enables knowledge to control to serve the realization of man’s demand and interests. The higher ideological consciousness man has, the more actively he works to acquire scientific knowledge and the more actively he uses for the society, collective and people.
On the other hand, scientific knowledge is the basis for acquiring a correct ideological consciousness.
In order to have a correct ideological consciousness, people should, first of all, have correct knowledge about objects. Only then, will they be able to understand correctly whether that is suitable to their demands or not and have a correct ideological consciousness on that basis. And only then, can man convince in the correctness of his idea and firmly hold fast to it.
Thus, consciousness is divided into ideological consciousness and knowledge. Ideological consciousness is more important than knowledge.
We sometimes find that some people devote themselves for the country and people, society and the collective and become patriots and heroes, but some people do harmful work for society and the collective by pursuing only their comfortable life and in the long run, they become traitors and reactionaries.
Where do these two different results come from? This is because they have different ideologies, not different knowledge.
The purpose and method of activities depend on whether one has progressive idea that reflects the demand and interests of the progressive class or reactionary idea that reflects the demand and interests of the exploiter ruling class.
Herein lies the importance of ideological consciousness which is more superior to knowledge which is the consciousness that reflects the objective world as it is.
It is more important to acquire a correct ideological consciousness than to have profound and comprehensive knowledge about nature and society.
As high function of the developed brain, the consciousness includes ideological consciousness and knowledge as the main contents. So the consciousness enables man to act purposefully and consciously and be a social being with consciousness. In the long run, consciousness is the guarantee that enables man to have consciousness and is the proof that he has consciousness.
Independence, creativity and consciousness are expressed in a unified way. It is wrong to think man’s activity as the expression of only one attribute such as independence or creativity or consciousness.
Man’s activity is the expression of independence, creativity and consciousness.
Three characters of social man are always expressed in a unified way. This is because they are interlinked.
What relations do these three have?
Independence is the factor that displays creativity, and creativity is the guarantee for the realization of independence.
Since man lives independently and develops as the master of the world and his destiny, he conducts creative activity to transform the world and shape his destiny. Therefore, the higher independence man has, the higher creativity he can display. The higher man has desire, demands, awareness and will to live and develop as the master of the world and his destiny, the more actively he conducts creative activity.
On the other hand, only when one gives free scope to creativity, will one be able to realize independence. The higher man’s creativity is, the more creative activity he conducts and the better he realizes independence. Without creativity, any independent demands can not be realized.
Consciousness is, next, the premise of and guarantee for independence and creativity.
Without consciousness that defines the activity to understand and transform the world and himself, it is inconceivable about independence and creativity.
Man can have independent demands and conduct creative activity to realize it as he has consciousness.
The higher consciousness man has, the better he can conduct creative activity to have a deep understanding of the world and his destiny and be master of the world and his destiny.
The level of consciousness decides the level of independence and creativity and the level of displaying them.
The process of man’s activity is the process of displaying independence, creativity and consciousness in a unified way, and independent, creative and conscious activity is the peculiar mode of existence of man who is different from animals.