Symbolic school in culturology - Culturology

2.13. Symbolic school in culturology

Symbolic school in culturology considers all the processes taking place in culture as purely communicational. Culture is understood as a symbolic system created by man due to his inherent ability to symbolize, and through it - and to mutual information. The first impetus to this understanding of culture was given by the Swiss linguist Ferdinand de Saussure (1857-1913), who argued that the sources of human culture are inherent only in man's ability to create signs, symbols surrounding him reality and transmit them in time and space. That is, he viewed culture as the most complex and rigorously hierarchized "text", bearing the support of which is a natural language that interacts organically with other "languages" - systems of signs in science, everyday life and especially in art with its "languages" music, painting, theater, architecture, cinema, television, etc. Culture is expressed in linguistic symbols and other types of signals and transmits in a time and space all sorts of intellectual (science) and emotional (art) information. Primitive man could express in the language - the system of symbols - only the most primitive thoughts and transmit them in space to no more than a voice distance; and in time, before the appearance of the petroglyphs, he was generally incapable of perpetuating the movements of his soul. With the development of the language and the emergence of fine art and writing, the possibilities of man in this respect have immeasurably increased. And when a man in the XX century. began to widely use the telegraph, telephone, radio, cinema, television, video equipment, his ability to convey ideas and information became almost limitless. Man of the XXI century. surrounds not so much the real, natural world as an artificial information-symbolic universe created by the development of language, other iconic systems, the press and mass audiovisual means of reproducing reality.

Thus, culture is a collection of signs and sign systems, symbols, a collection of cultural symbols (signs, symbols, images, markers, attributes, image, semantic constructs, cultural texts and codes, semiosis, cultural semantics in general), which express different cultural values ​​ (cultural meanings of phenomena, assessments and evaluation criteria, hermeneutics of culture). The founders of the symbolic school in culturology were the scientists E. Cassirer and K. Levi-Strauss. E. Cassirer - German philosopher, author of monumental work "Philosophy of symbolic forms". He showed that the origins of culture lie in man's ability to create some artificial world around us, denoting reality by certain symbols. Verbal and other signs in everyday life, science and art not only transmit in time and space this or that information, but give it a certain form and preserve it for centuries, forming a huge and selectively replenishing world of human culture. Man is, as it were, in a new dimension of reality, lives not only in the physical, but in the symbolic universe. Language, myth, art, religion, all our spiritual manifestations are parts of this universe. They as threads are weaved into a dense symbolic network, which, although it accumulates human experience, but sometimes obscures reality from us. E. Cassirer suggests calling a person not a thinking being, as it has already become traditional, but a symbolic animal that has an inner world, thoughts expressing them through symbols, and designates the external world through signs and symbols. Culture is a symbolically meaningful design of the world. It can be represented as a collection of various kinds of symbolic forms (language, mythology, philosophy, religion, art, science, ideology). Symbolic forms are autonomous and self-sufficient. Symbol of culture - is a sensible object representing some other object, property or relation used to acquire, store, reproduce, and transmit cultural meanings and meanings. Practically any objects and things, natural and social processes, animals and plants, fantastic creatures, etc. can act as cultural symbols. Cultural symbols are a concrete-sensual expression of the ideas, ideals and values ​​that a person lives in, and which determines the development and functioning of culture itself. In different historical and cultural contexts, a cultural symbol can be endowed with different meanings (for example, in ancient mythology, fish is a symbol of fertility, in Christian - a sacred symbol of Christ, in modern heraldry is a symbol of fishing). Therefore, each cultural symbol should be interpreted only taking into account the specifics of its functioning in a specific sociocultural context.

A person experiences and comprehends cultural meanings through existing forms of culture, practical and spiritual activity, and the way of experiencing and comprehending cultural information is conditioned by cultural and historical factors. E. Cassirer emphasized that culture is a variety of symbolic forms, connected and ordered in accordance with their functional roles in the system of levels, each of which (language, myth, science) is not reducible to others and exists in this world on an equal basis with the rest.

French ethnographer and philosopher of culture K. Levi-Strauss - the creator of structural anthropology - notes that all cultural systems: language, mythology, religion, art, literature, customs, traditions, etc. - can be considered as sign systems. The most universal sign system is the language. In his work "Structural Anthropology K. Levi-Strauss shows that at a conscious level, a person manipulates signs, building phrases and texts from them; but does so by obeying certain rules that are worked out collectively and spontaneously, and which many people usually do not realize, do not realize these rules - the elements of the structure of the language. Thus, the unconscious part of the psyche of people contains the hidden mechanism of sign systems. But exactly the same elements of the structure should exist in all spheres of the spiritual culture of the human community: in the field of art, law, religion, etc. The unconscious creativity of the human spirit, according to K. Levi-Strauss, lies at the basis of culture and language, which acts as a necessary condition of culture.

Spiritual cultural activity of a person proceeds on the basis of universal forms, patterns, structures of intelligence - this is a set of stable relationships that act as unconscious mechanisms that regulate all the spiritual and creative activity of a person. These universal forms of intelligence, language, culture are based on the universality of the structure of thinking people of different cultures and eras. K. Levi-Strauss argues that there are common properties of thinking of all peoples - a thirst for objective knowledge of the world, the desire to order, classify objects and phenomena of the surrounding world. Universal and unconscious structures that structure emotions, memories, human representations, giving them a certain structure. At the heart of the unconscious structures lie binary oppositions, or oppositions. Already primitive man tried to order the world with the help of binary oppositions: life-death, day-night, sky-earth, good-evil, etc.

Man - the unity of the external and internal. External - these are the symbols by which he operates. The inner is the unconscious structure of the mind. The inner does not change in man, but the external symbols are constantly changing. Empirical reality changes, and this breaks the structural connection between the external and the internal in man. Therefore, all the dramas of modern culture - this is, in fact, the drama of man himself. K. Levi-Strauss believes that modern man needs "repair", since he lives by conventions and myths, increasingly alienating him from real life. It is necessary to return to the experience of the primitive man, to restore in man the unity of the sensible and rational started, lost as a result of the development of civilization. In structural anthropology (K. Levi-Strauss), the phenomenon of culture is studied as a multilevel integrated structure in the unity of its external and internal links, which are described by means of semiotics. The purpose of this research is the "modeling of the structure", i.e. an anticipated algorithm that defines hidden logic, the invariant connections of cultural elements and the relationship between them.

Both E. Cassirer and K. Levi-Strauss viewed the myth as the fundamental content of collective consciousness, the basis of stable social structures. The culture-forming specificity of myth is also manifested in the culture of modern society. Just as the myth explains, equally, the past, the present, the future, and the modern political ideology pretend to explain the present, the past and the future. Only mythology nourishes the collective consciousness, the culture of primitive and ancient peoples, and the political ideology fulfills the same functions - it affects the consciousness of contemporaries who are highly educated, or rather drowned in abstractions.

Most culturologists (after the scholars of the symbolic school) as the most important sign of culture recognized the person's ability to symbolize. On the one hand, the symbol appears as a metaphor, ordering and normalizing the flow of life; on the other hand, the symbol is understood as the main instrument of cultural development, and the ability to comprehend, to understand symbolic structures, as the main factor shaping culture.

The perception of culture as a collection of meaningful systems (languages ​​of culture) and cultural texts built on universal invariant structures of thought allowed us to concentrate on analyzing the processes of transformation of external influences into individual representations (meanings), and them into symbols, sign systems and texts (cultural material).

Cultural objects of any kind are considered in cultural semantics as a means of translating the culturally significant information realized in signatures (fixing this information - meaning - for an object that acts as a sign - communicative analogue, a substitute for this information) and understanding strong> (comprehension, reconstruction of information, broadcast with the help of this or that sign).

The basic semantic components of culture: the processes generation, functioning and interpretation (understanding) of semantic systems (languages ​​of culture) and cultural texts (meaningful objects).

The process of forming symbolic structures is as follows. At the first stage, the semantic semantic field is structured by thinking. Then a figurative measurement is included, when the verbal and non-verbal borders adjoin, not the object itself, but its predicates, properties, actions grasps. Such thinking is rational, but the subject itself hides behind statements about it. And only at the third stage, which is the result of the work of the imagination, the reality is recreated with the help of symbolic-symbolic systems.

Symbolization - is the result of the influence of the cognitive (cognitive) process on semantic semantic structures. Sign-symbolic structures take place at all levels of cognition. The first level is given by the sociocultural context: it is the level of ordinary communication. Thus, I. Newton's law is perceived differently when studying it in the sixth grade of the school and after acquaintance with the theory of Albert Einstein. One can give an example of the attitude towards nuclear energy before and after Hiroshima, before and after Chernobyl. Perception of the symbol is determined by cultural values. Thus, the swastika symbolizing the unity of all origins in the ancient Indian tradition, with a change in cultural context, acquired a different meaning: the fascist swastika: the removal of a sign from a certain cultural tradition led to a conflict between the sign and the symbol. The sign can be superimposed new symbolic content. As a result, for the post-war generations of Europeans, the sign of the swastika symbolizes not the original, but the semantic content given to it. The second level of cognition requires a theoretical explanation within the semantic rules of the formation of the meaning of the utterance. And only at the third, deep, level the decoding of the meaning, understanding of the objective content of the expression occurs.

Communication in this case does not appear as a simple message move, but as a translation of the text from one language to another. Such a translation is possible because the codes of the sender and the addressee form an intersecting set. Yu. M. Lotman rightly notes that during translation some of the message will be cut off, some will undergo a transformation, the originality of the addressee will be lost, which is the special value of the message.

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