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The article examines cordocentrism as a trend in Ukrainian philosophical thought that reflects the specifics of Ukrainian spirituality. Cordocentrism presents the “heart” as the spiritual center of human existence, in which the “heart” is a universal category that combines the principle of the unity of the spiritual heart with the mental and rational powers of man. The place of the “philosophy of the heart” in the system of human mental activity, as well as the difference between the definitions of “mind” (“intellect”) and “reason” (“spiritual heart”) are investigated.
Keywords: cordocentrism, spirituality, heart, mind.

Trusei L. G.
PhD student of the third (educational and scientific) level of higher education,
National Technical University “KhPI”, Kharkiv, Ukraine


The problem with spirituality in the modern world is that it has a wide range of interpretations, spirituality is given to everyone as charity, and everyone can perceive spirituality as they can. At the same time, most people cannot solve spiritual problems on their own. Therefore, the issue of spirituality should be addressed worldwide, at least at the state level, as a worldview, as a new scientific paradigm with a priority for spirituality, as the spirituality of society, its ethics, and culture. This approach does not find proper support from official science. At best, spirituality is reduced to the level of culture or religion, and sometimes amateur art. The modern structure of society does not promote spirituality as a category that is more intuitively felt by each person, but rather destroys the spiritual in a person and directs millions of people to consumer ideology [1, p. 149-221]. A huge technological civilization with its incredible power has been created in the world, but we do not know for what purpose it was done.

Ukrainian spirituality is influenced by such manifestations as personalism and pragmatism. Never before has the problem of spirituality been as urgent as it is today in the context of globalization of world social processes and confrontations between states in their most terrible manifestation, namely, war. It has been actualized by the need to overcome the spiritual crisis, spirituality, and social alienation in the modern world, which is the main cause of many problems in the world. The spiritual crisis is the deepest, the most terrible, a crisis of the first order.

In philosophy, the problem of spirituality is considered from different angles. One of the ways of understanding spirituality out of their great variety is cordocentrism, including Ukrainian cordocentrism. This issue is insufficiently covered in the world philosophical literature, including in the Ukrainian philosophical literature.

The study of cordocentrism and its use as an approach in the life of society and each individual can also solve other problems, including the problems of ecology, globalization, geopolitical and anthropological crises, and much more.

Ultimately, all global and individual problems (economic, political, national, environmental) are derived from the problems of the moral condition of people and society as a whole. The condition for human and social development lies in the value and spiritual orientation.

The purpose of the article is to study cordocentrism in Ukrainian philosophical thought as a manifestation of spirituality, as a tool for overcoming the spiritual crisis.

By definition, border-centeredness is a manifestation of spirituality, and as a tool for overcoming the spiritual crisis, it has not been sufficiently studied and written about in the scientific literature.

Over the centuries, many prominent philosophers and thinkers have addressed the problems of leading worldview trends in philosophy, including cordocenteredness. Over time, opinions have changed along with the change in the central idea of philosophy.

The ideas of the German philosopher Dilthey, although belonging to the rational tradition, are close to the cordocentric vision of the problem of interpretation and consist in the feeling of happiness that follows the understanding of the mental states of another person and the feeling of joy from acquiring new knowledge [2]. The philosopher makes it clear that the feeling of the mental states of other individuals can be elevated to objectivity. It is this principle of the objective value of the spiritual component of creativity that is directly related to the philosophy of the heart.

Pascal came to the conclusion that the mind is limited and cannot comprehend the world by rational methods alone, so he believed that reality can be comprehended through the “heart” [3]. He raised the question of the limits of “science” with all the acuteness, pointing to the “arguments of the heart” that differ from the “arguments of the mind,” and thus anticipating a further irrationalist trend in philosophy (works “Geometric Reason” and “On the Art of Persuasion”). Another idea of Pascal’s is the antinomy of mind and heart, because “the heart has its own laws that the mind does not know” [3].

Here, it is advisable to immediately define the difference between “mind” and “reason”. The mind usually refers to the human intellect and the associated ability of logic, which is what science relies on and uses. The mind usually refers to human consciousness as a part of the soul, which includes the mind (intellect) as an integral part, including the spiritual heart. Here, the mention of the heart in the spiritual aspect does not mean the organ that distills blood – it is the spiritual heart. The arsenal of the mind (soul consciousness) also includes intuition, insight, etc. – these are properties of the spiritual heart. Since the language does not distinguish between these two concepts, “mind” and “reason,” using only the word “mind,” it is necessary to explain at the beginning that “mind” means “intellect.” We can contrast the mind and the heart as two parts of the soul, but not the heart and the mind, since the mind (consciousness) of the soul includes the spiritual heart. In order not to introduce confusion into already complex concepts that do not have clear interpretations, we will use the term “spiritual heart” in the article (not in the quotations) to emphasize its difference from the body organ, just as we use “intellect” when the quotations refer to “mind”.

The greatness of man lies in his thought, his spirituality. There is the “wisdom of the mind,” but above it is the “wisdom of the heart,” which consists in love and mercy and ultimately rises to God. In his doctrine of God, Pascal professes not a “religion of the mind” but a “religion of the heart.” The heart feels God, not the mind.

Schelling criticizes any philosophy that is based on the mind; he opposes it to the “philosophy of revelation” that seeks truth outside the mind-in religious experience [4].

Schleiermacher defines feeling as the opposite of cognition and action, since neither knowledge nor action alone constitute a complete life, but only complement each other. They are rooted in the inner life that is given to a person in feeling. Feeling is the process of revealing the soul, revealing its inner connection with the universe, and as such, it is the “highest guidance” [5, p. 210-304].

The main theme of Jacobi’s works is the direct comprehension of the infinite content of the world by the spirit. This is possible only in the form of feeling, not thinking, since the subject of thinking can only be finite by nature objects of experience. Jacobi criticizes rationalism and substantiates a “philosophy of feeling and belief”. The reality of the world around us can only be guaranteed by faith, which is the basis of sensory experience. Religious feeling forms the basis of philosophy; it cannot be understood from the standpoint of rationalism. The main thoughts that are the subject of study in Jacobi’s works are the comprehension of objective reality by the spirit [6].

G. S. Batishchev wrote:

“… a person who is in search, truly aspiring, from the bottom of his heart discovers and finds more and more new and more native homes and involved interaction with others… This is the desire of a spiritually educated heart, not a cold heartless willfulness” [7, p. 191-276].

The philosophical direction of “philosophy of the heart” in Ukrainian philosophical thought has acquired national cultural characteristics, introduced the contribution of Ukrainian thinkers to the world philosophical science and constitutes a whole system in which man is seen not only as a rational being (“homo sapiens”), but also as a spiritual being with the center of the soul – the heart. Ukrainian philosophical thought is a part of world philosophy, but it is based on national cultural traditions, the history of the Ukrainian people, and the peculiarities of the formation of its spiritual world, its culture and traditions.

The author of the concept of “philosophy of the heart” is considered to be D. Chizhevsky. Analyzing the creative heritage of Hryhorii Skovoroda, Mykola Hohol, Panteleimon Kulish, Pamfil Yurkevych, as typical representatives of the national tradition, D. Chyzhevskyi formulated this concept as characteristic of Ukrainian philosophical thought” [8].

And the inventor of the term “cordocentrism” is O. Kulchytskyi. He wrote:

“Our personalism… of the emotional and volitional nature of man – his heart, that is, cordocentrism, as a part of the soul and feelings [9].

The modern definition of cordocentrism is the understanding of reality not so much by thinking (“mind”) as by the “heart” – feelings, inner world, emotions, “soul”. Ukrainian cordocentrism is the Ukrainian doctrine of human integrity, a conceptualization of the trend in Ukrainian philosophical thought that considers the existence and development of an integral person as a unity of spirit, soul, and body, as well as spiritual birth and improvement, to be the basis for existence and development. Border-centeredness has become a hallmark of Ukrainian philosophy, ethics, aesthetics, and culture.

Hnatiuk wrote:

“As for the creative and activist worldview positions of the Ukrainian cordocentric paradigm, the national mentality of the Ukrainian people was only a favorable ground for their development, while they themselves were brought to this ground from outside by the biblical and patristic traditions, and did not come from the depths of Ukrainian spirituality…”

A significant place is occupied by the substantiation of the idea that cordocentrism is a phenomenon of a special order, which has its roots in the Christian and Hesychastian line of philosophy. Thus, Ukrainian cordocentrism is a national philosophy [10]. In Ukrainian philosophical thought, cordocentrism was most clearly considered in the XVIII-XIX centuries in the works of H. Skovoroda, T. Shevchenko, N. Gogol, P. Kulish, and P. Yurkevych. In the 20th century, cordocentrism was studied by Ukrainian researchers V. Petrov, D. Chyzhevsky, I. Mirchuk, O. Bigun, M. Shlemkevych, V. Lypynsky, and others. In the twenty-first century, in independent Ukraine, cordocentrism was studied by V. Khramova, I. Bychko, A. Bychko, Y. Rymarenko, V. Tabachkovsky, S. Krymsky, and others.

H. Skovoroda and P. Yurkevych viewed man as a small world, as a microcosm, with a “center” – the spiritual heart. The heart is the center of a person’s spiritual and physical being. Absolutely all thoughts, feelings, and actions of a person pass through the spiritual heart. In their view, a person means “a carrier of the heart.” Skovoroda considers the heart to be the center, the universe of the human soul, which does not exist anywhere in particular but is everywhere. This proves once again the value and inseparability of the heart from the spiritualized human body and mind (intellect). In the microcosm, G. Skovoroda distinguishes between the “inner” (“true”) and “outer”, the “golden mean” of which is the heart [11].

P. Yurkevych in his work “The Heart and Its Significance in the Spiritual Life of Man According to the Teachings of the Word of God” [12, pp. 563-586] sees the heart as the spiritual beginning of man. As you know, the Bible repeatedly uses the concept of “heart” to highlight the purest intentions and the harbinger of the highest human spirituality.

P. Kulish also emphasized the leading role of the heart in human activity:

“the first thing is a sincere heart and a certain voice from the depths of the soul that tells a man to go up, and the mind is the servant of that voice” [13, p. 112].

О. Kulchytskyi, noting that on the basis of the developed sphere of feeling, “heart”, as well as the function of cognition and desire turned to the world, “tendencies of mental activity in one’s own world and one’s own “I” are strengthened in Ukrainian culture under the influence of historical factors. As a result, such self-oriented attitudes result in a kind of

cordocentric personalism, aimed at the expansion of the individual not into the world, but into his or her own being. The outer manifestations of this cordocentric personalism are most often religious, often associated with existential experience, transcendence” [9].

According to Taras Shevchenko, “to live by the heart” means to live sincerely, truthfully, holistically, passionately, fully. Olha Bihun, studying the work of Taras Shevchenko, argues that the link that connects the Ukrainian mentality and cordocentrism into a single structure is poetry:

“The peculiarity of poetry, in particular philosophical or meditative poetry, and poetry in general, is that in it the emotional is outside the sphere of action of the rational, in other words, in it the heart is free from the coercion of the mind” [14, p. 241-250].

Cordocentrism, as a direction of Ukrainian philosophical thought, as a philosophical tradition, reflects the spiritual and practical history of the nation, the nature of the mentality of the Ukrainian ethnos, the originality of Ukraine with its socio-cultural background, and only understanding all these factors in interaction is a condition for revealing the originality of Ukrainian philosophical thought. Ukrainian thinkers conveyed their views more clearly in the context of human life, purpose, and circumstances.

“The concept of ‘cordocentrism,” S. Yarmus believed, “is new and belongs to the realm of philosophy. This concept means that in a person’s life, in his or her worldview, the main motivational and driving role is played not by the mental and rational forces of a person, but primarily by the forces of his or her emotional feeling, or, figuratively speaking, by the forces of the human heart [15, p. 402-415].

The spiritual heart is nourished by divine energies – it spiritualizes the inner world of a person, his thoughts, decisions, actions, deeds, and has a direct connection with God. At the same time, it is necessary to learn to listen and hear the Highest, to teach this in the education system.

The superiority of the spiritual heart over the intellect is the ability to receive information (answers, decisions) directly from the Higher powers (intuition, insight), instead of long and sometimes incredibly complex calculations of visible (material, etc.) factors – something that the intellect can only do, and in conditions of uncertainty it often simply falls short. Hence the priority of the spiritual over the material in everything. Normally, the intellect analyzes the conditions, develops solutions, and the spiritual heart chooses the best option based on the response from the Highest. Usually, the intellect chooses the best option from the available options (spied on, copied, from personal experience) and implements it often without taking into account the changed conditions and other initial possibilities. As a result, “I wanted it to be better, but it turned out as usual.”

The voice of the spiritual heart is, first of all, the voice of conscience, the distinction between good and evil, the understanding of justice (justice is higher than the law), allowing one to make decisions not for profit but for the common good (the common is higher than the private), then the issue of harming nature will be resolved, there will be no need to fight for the environment, only to control and eliminate the consequences of the crisis, then the government, the state will be an instrument of prosperity for the people, not their exploitation as it is now (power is higher than possession), etc. All this should be taught purposefully in the education system!

The highest feelings – gratitude, respect, devotion, friendship, love – can live in the spiritual heart, which is the basis of high relationships between people, a source of joy and inspiration, and one of the main conditions for happiness. It is necessary to study feelings, learn the art of relationships, become a master in them – this is the key to success in any sphere of life: in the family, in the labor and creative team.
Inspiration for creativity is born in the spiritual heart, not only in art, but in any other field, in any business. Hence the task of studying the laws of inspiration and creativity.

Therefore, the formation of a person’s holistic vision of the world through a rational and scientific approach to understanding natural and social processes makes it impossible to solve the problems of humanity and spirituality in the current situation of the complexity of all processes and their transience only by rational means. Therefore, it is no coincidence that cordocentrism is considered the basis of Ukrainian ethical thought, because the philosophy of the heart is not only a subjective and individual phenomenon, but first and foremost a worldview one. By professing the ideas of the philosophy of the heart, we cognize ourselves, comprehend the highest points of our soul, and thus feel, love, think, and live. The spiritual heart acquires the features of a kind of “instrument” of faith, spirituality, intuition, which has its own logic, different from the logic of the intellect.

There are opportunities for cordocentrism to influence historical events with the aim of continuous humanization of the cultural and anthropological space, solving problems of ecology, globalization, geopolitical and anthropological crisis, and security problems of both individuals and nations as a whole.

It is useful to combine the possibilities of rational-scientific and cordocentric approaches to understand natural and social processes. This idea is the “philosophy of the heart”.

To make the above possible, the following steps are necessary.

In science, especially in philosophy, psychology, and pedagogy, to prioritize the study of the spiritual world of man, his consciousness, soul, personality structure, and methods of its formation, using proven spiritual practices.
At the legislative level, to establish the priority of the spiritual over the material in their inseparable connection (in unity).
Introduce a moral standard into the education system (develop indicators and clear evaluation criteria), and consider the main goal of education to be the formation of a holistic, harmoniously developed personality capable of self-development (instilling a love of knowledge) throughout life.

List of references

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4. Schelling Friedrich. Philosophy of Revelation. Nauka, 2002. Volume 2. URL: https://www.livelib.uа/author/2195/top-fridrih-shelling (accessed September 16, 2022).
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12. Yurkevych P. The heart and its significance in the spiritual life of man according to the teaching of the word of God. Chronicle. 2000. № 39-40. С. 563-586.
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14. Bigun Olga. Chrześcijański kordocentryzm Tarasa Szewczenki. Przegląd Wschodnioeuropejski. Uniwersytetu Warmińsko-Mazurskiego, 2020. S. 241-250.
15. Yarmus S. Border-centeredness is the basis of Ukrainian spirituality and philosophy. UWU. Munich, 1988. С. 402-415.