Social illusions are a complex, a whole system of not always adequate representations of a person within society and society as units, about themselves, about their citizens (when it comes to society), and the relationship – society with each person, and man with society. In addition, social illusions, this social, formed under external influences (the situation in the world, social inequalities, etc.), the perception of man in particular and society as a whole, opinions about the subjects of other societies and cultures.
Most often, opinions based on fantastic (arealous, erroneous) notions and beliefs, to which are often blended overestimated or underestimated assessments of a person’s own status, or society and their role in the history of mankind in general. A vivid example of social illusion is the “specter of communism”, which for many years roamed Europe, and exclusively in the minds of people who supported this political orientation. Europe at the same time, remained in reality free from the “ghost”.
The basis of the illusory view is incomplete (torn out of context), distorted (consciously or implicitly) information, mixed with fictions and falsifications information about historical events, facts, the actual state of things in countries, and their socio-economic and political state, development trends (the “decaying” West has long remained a social illusion of Soviet people).
Scientists and practicing psychologists consider social illusions to be one of the most powerful factors of social mobilization of society, an instrument of fictitious attitudes of the population. The explanation for this is found in the strength of the simplicity of the created images, the possibility of saturating them with symbols and metaphors, which has always been very impressive for most people (in inverse relationship to the level of education and intellect). The difference between rational and accurate constructs of real arguments, expert assessments, and the creation of social illusions lies precisely in the ease with which society perceives more accessible and assimilated allegories, planted with the help of the media and agitators.
Mass consciousness with great excitement perceives illusory symbols than its own attempts to analyze reality, therefore they are increasingly used to “shape” public consciousness and motivate the direction of mass consciousness, easily and simply substituting reality with social illusions.
It is easy to form illusions, it is enough just to realize the configurations and images of the collective latent and unconscious (mythological subjects, biblical truths archetypes, phantom symbols) of imagination into concrete real historical events. They are created throughout the world, in different historical periods, by the prevailing ideology. After that, with the help of propaganda, all these symbols begin to be replicated and broadcast in the media.
And they continue to use public opinion for inferior quality manipulations, to apply for the purposes and interests of a particular social elite currently in power, or forces that achieve a dominant position and total control over the public consciousness in this particular time period.
The result of such manipulation of the public consciousness is the situation in which the real perception of reality becomes impossible. This leads to a number of patterns resulting from manipulation, among the most significant of them, psychologists include elements of uncritical perception by society of imposed social illusions, conscious (and subconscious) ignoring the laws of development of historical phenomena and insufficient attention from each person to real problems of social theory and analytical calculations.
Additional arguments for the harm of social illusion include political control and ideological censorship in the media, inadequate competence of social expertise, artificial closure and limitations created for external and internal social communication. All these parameters of manipulation fall into direct dependence on political myths, religions, national ideologies, and, in the end, pose a threat to the social and economic well-being of any country.
The social illusory view of life, the more widespread among the masses, is far from harmless, unlike funny optical pictures. There is a social collapse of consciousness, as social illusions, the more artificially planted, lead to mental disappointment and devastation, the apology of opinions is replaced by violent criticism, and true and pure faith gives way to dull and sometimes spiteful skepticism.
As soon as a person in particular and society as a whole begin to realize the illusory and unreachable reality of such understandable goals, the utopia and contradictoriness of reality, the detachment of concepts from reality, a change in the social climate occurs. And, as a consequence, there is either massive alcoholism, or fanatical withdrawal to religion. In any case, social illusions are replaced by sobering, revaluation of values, and the search for a new ideal – that is, social illusions in society – is a constant phenomenon, reminiscent of a spiral cycle.
The natural causes of social illusions about an individual are biological, psychological and directly social in nature. But, this division is almost the only factor in which scientists from all over the world converge, working in this field. The true mechanism of the emergence of social illusions in society, as well as the factors that influence their development, psychologists are poorly understood, and scientists have a lot of theories on this score.
Most theories lie in the field of psychology, but some of them embrace philosophical postulates and economic elements. While studying social illusions, one should not ignore such factors as the age and gender characteristics of a person’s personality, personal characteristics and level of knowledge the degree of upbringing and education. An important role in the perception of the social world is played by attitudes (stable tendencies toward a specific form of behavior in a particular situation), social attitudes, value orientations acquired in the family, paradoxes of genetic influence.
The main factors psychologists consider are attitudes, personal paradoxes, social attitudes and human needs in value orientations of the personal orientation. Of course, one can not deny and greatly influence the creation of social illusions of stereotypes, rumors, the emotional state of each person and the general economic situation in the country. These concepts are very close, since regardless of their initial orientation, they indirectly explain the direct connection between the person, the environment of residence and the social illusory perception of reality.
Socium and features of the inner world of man, his upbringing, are inextricably linked and intertwined during not only the life of a person, but also a certain political and economic time span. Therefore, sociologists, political scientists and psychologists confidently determine the influence of social position, society, paradoxical views on the emergence and development of social illusions.
Many scientists around the world describe cases of mass hysterical phenomena, linking their appearance with a special version of manifestations of social illusions. There are cases of mass hysteria that occur both in individual villages and cities, and in countries. At the heart of mass hysteria lies a specific social illusion, caused in each case by certain real phenomena perceived by society erroneously, and unexpectedly interpreted by a large number of people equally.There is no exact definition of the mechanism of this phenomenon, although it is clearly at the intersection of psychology, faith and the internal culture of individuals at the epicenter of the event.
Each nation acquires for a century of its development a paradoxical perception styles peculiar to this people, situations, processes that form “popular” social illusions, the main role in them belongs to the unconscious instincts of emotions, national traditions, and the mentality of the people (for example, N. A. Berdyaev argued that the main characteristic of the Russian national consciousness is precisely paradox).
In principle, social illusions arise from the fact that a person is constantly in a society, and, accordingly, can not abstract from thoughts, how the society is organized, about its foundations and development. And, as a result, under the influence of his own perception of society, a person begins to form his own idea of the layers of the population, classes and groups from which this society is formed. Thus, a thin thread emerges, from which a large tangle of social illusion is unwound.
Most often, social illusions arise among people who, as a matter of duty, have to deal with the structure and development of society as a whole and the individual in particular, this concerns politicians, political technologists, marketers, media workers and social workers. In general, all those who are not only the creators of social illusions, but also their main figurants. It is they who own a dubious “honor” to form an illusory perception by broad masses of real events.
In connection with this need, they acquire the relevant knowledge and experience, which helps them to differentiate the various constituencies so that the effect of achieving the goals is as high as possible (for example, consumer groups, social, gender). However, scientists and psychologists have long proved that by forming an illusory perception of society, they themselves are at the mercy of social illusions, because they see society not as it exists in reality, but as it appears in their personal perception, depending on their party or professional accessories.