Universal Reproduction

Universal Reproduction

The world's universal relation to itself (reflection) includes the world's self-reproduction, differently manifesting itself on the inanimate, animate and conscious level.

The primary definition of the subject is universal mediation, and hence the subject will also mediate the world's self-reproduction, which, in this case, takes the form of conscious activity, as expressed by the scheme


with the subject S producing some product P from an object O. Any activity hence implies two complementary acts, consumption and production, expressed by the links OS and SP respectively. Of course, the object in this scheme does not necessarily refer to a simple thing; it may include many interdependent things, or any specific aspects of things abstracted from things themselves. For instance, as an expression of an individual act, the scheme OSP can correspond to using O as raw material for producing P; the same scheme with O being a social relation may describe the dependence of behavior on moral norms or cultural stereotypes. Generally, in conscious activity, the object is the part of the world needed to produce a definite product. Similarly, the subject is not necessarily an individual; there are collective subjects, effective subjects and even abstract subjects (the components of a real subject involved in this particular activity). In the same way, the product P can be either a tangible thing or a sublime change in one's soul, or a hierarchy of social relations.

On the syncretic level, consumption and production are the aspects of the same act. Thus, writing a letter on a sheet of paper, we spend some ink; satisfying hunger, we consume food; attending a ballet show (consumption), we produce certain mental structures inside us. In other cases, production and consumption will be formally separated, with many acts of consumption accumulated for a single act of production, or a single act of consumption leading to multiple products. On this analytical level, consumption logically (and often physically) precedes production. However, syncretism does not entirely disappear, it is only lifted in, as any phase of analytical activity remains a simple unity of consumption and production. On the higher, synthetic level, all the analytical activities are included in the integral process of cultural reproduction, which will also reproduce the objective and subjective preconditions for specific activities.

The product P is an integral part of the same world, and hence it can become a new object O' to initiate a new activity:

... → OSPO'S'P' → ...

The link PO' is not trivial; in conscious activity, it means that the product is intended for something, that it is made to be used in a definite way. Animals can also consume and produce, within their metabolic chain. Still, for a primitive organism, any metabolic products are mere wastes: they can (and will) occasionally be consumed by some other organisms, but this is not why they have been produced. That is, the results of organic metabolism are of the same kind that any natural thing; for an animal, it makes no difference, whether something has been produced by an animal of the same kind or not. More complex organisms can develop various forms of behavior resembling intentionality. In most cases this is a mere collective effect, a by-product of adaptation; however, the very possibility of producing reusable things is a necessary premise for the development of consciousness. In human activity, lifting a product in a new object is socially mediated and can become a special (aspect of) activity, delivery. In the cycle of reproduction, production SP and delivery PO get contracted in a single act SO which looks like immediate production of objects as consumption articles. Many philosophers were thence mislead to the mystical belief that the whole world is nothing but the result of conscious creation.

With the production stage lifted in, the activity mediated reproduction of the world will take the form

... → OSOSOSO → ...

This (potentially infinite) cycle can be equally considered as composed of two complementary acts of reproduction:

... → OSO → ...
... → SOS → ...

The first (primary, objective) form describes the reproduction of the world as an object (nature) and can be further contracted into

... → OO → ...

The second (subjective) form describes the reproduction of the world as a subject (spirit), which can be written as

... ⇒ SS ⇒ ...

It is important, that the both schemes refer to the reproduction of the same world, in its complementary aspects. There are other levels of reproduction other than conscious activity; their description will require appropriate schemes; however, universal reflection is virtually indispensable to restore the world's integrity in full.

Since the product has been lifted in the idea of sequential reproduction, the objective and subjective cycles may look largely equivalent. And they are indeed equivalent on the most general scale, since the subject has to assimilate any part and aspect of the world in universal mediation, transforming the whole nature (O) into culture (P). However, in any individual activity, one should take care to distinguish the primary cycle (object reproduction, material activity) from the secondary cycle (subject reproduction, reflexive activity), and this is how any real activity can be comprehended as the unity of the both.

Instead of eliminating the product in the general cycle of activity,

... → OSPO'S'P' → ...,

one can alternatively fold (contract) the primary sequence OSP, or the process POS. This formally results in two schemes,

... → OPOP → ...


... ⇒ SPSP ⇒ ...,

which can be used to describe the reproduction of the two complementary aspects of the culture, namely material culture and spirituality. No cultural development is possible without extending the range of available objects and enriching the ways of their possible treatment. In particular, in a comprehensive study, the both sides of the cultural phenomena should be considered. For instance, an abstract theory of objective economic development is as deficient as a sociological picture of economic relations; it is only in the synthesis of the both that real economic and societal processes can be properly understood. In reflexive activities, the same principle will stress, for example, the equal importance of empirical and theoretical research in science. That is, the two schemes can be interpreted on a more specific level as the development of the objective and subjective components in any product: objectively, things become more complex, or elaborate; subjectively, their production and maintenance requires more education and skill. In the most general sense, this means that any conscious activity will keep reproducing both nature and spirit, the objective and subjective aspects of the same world.

Conversely, the same two contracted schemes of reproduction explain the development of both the object and the subject as the products of activity, from the cultural determination of any economic or social phenomena to the notions like reference frame and asymptotic conditions in physics, as well the personal experience of a flower or the distress of menopause. The very acts of birth and death are gradually losing their natural determination and shifting towards regular industry; this process is complemented by the development of a keen sense of individuality, of the cosmic importance of any personal attitude.

[Philosophy] [Unism]