Culture and civilization, Mass culture and anticulture - Philosophy

Culture and civilization

A well-known expert in the field of cultural theory Charles Snow (1905-1980) expressed a distinction within culture as an integral entity in the form of an alternative to two cultures-scientific, technical and humanitarian-artistic. At one time, this distinction resulted in an emotionally charged discussion between the "physicists" and "lyric", representing two "hemispheres" general sphere of culture. These disputes showed the inadequacy of hypertrophy of the one and the other, revealing the rationality of the global unity of culture, in particular its scientific (including natural-science) and artistic-humanitarian aspects, with full understanding of the need for professionally divided work, and hence, the emphasis of intellectual-emotional orientation.

It is known that around the meaning of the words culture and civilization disputes are sometimes held, sometimes becoming acute, and few people confuse these words when the context is unambiguous, although it is sometimes quite legitimate to use them as synonyms: they are so closely intertwined. But between them there is not only a similarity, but also a difference, in some aspects reaching even to a hostile antithesis. Indeed, it is unlikely that anyone who possesses a subtle linguistic flair will, for example, attribute the works of Homer, Shakespeare, Pushkin, Tolstoy and Dostoevsky to the phenomena of civilization, and atomic bombs and other means of destroying people - to the phenomena of culture, although both - a matter of the mind and hands of men.

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First introduced the cultural difference from the civilization of I. Kant, which significantly clarified this problem. Previously, under culture, in contrast to nature, understood everything created by man. So put the question, for example, IG Herder, although it was already clear then that a person does a lot in his work is not just bad, but even quite bad. Later, there were views on culture that likened to an ideally functioning system and professional skills, but did not take into account that professionally, i.e. with great skill, others can kill people, but no one calls this evil the phenomenon of culture. It was Kant who solved this issue, and it's genius simple. He defined the culture as that and only that which serves the good of people or that in its essence is humanistic: outside of humanism and spirituality there is no true culture. Based on his understanding of the essence of culture, Kant clearly contrasted the "culture" skills "culture of education", and purely external, "technical" type of culture he called civilization. The visionary genius of the thinker foresaw the rapid development of civilization and took it with alarm, speaking of the separation of civilization from culture: the culture goes forward much slower than civilization. This clearly disproportionate disproportion brings with it many misfortunes to the peoples of the world: a civilization taken without a spiritual dimension generates a danger of technical self-destruction of mankind. Between culture and nature there is a surprising similarity: the creations of nature are as organic in their striking structure as culture. After all, society is a kind of an extremely complex kind of organism - we mean the organic unity of the society, which is an amazing similarity, of course, with an obvious essential difference.

Mass culture and anticulture

At the very beginning of the 20th century, O. Spengler's gloomy predictions about the "decline of Europe", the death of a high culture, the gradual replacement of cultural-spiritual values ​​with the values ​​of civilization in their grossly material embodiment were sounded. By the middle of the century, culturally-pessimistic sentiments began to be expressed through the concepts of "mass society" and mass culture & quot ;. In general, the pessimism of culturologists is based on the fact that the general background culture of the twentieth century. was significantly lower than the level that the intellectuals who had gone into the past of the XVII-XIX centuries accustomed to. - golden age European culture. What exactly are the indicators and reasons for the decline in the cultural background of the 20th century?

The gradual process of democratization of public life, the achievement of a high material level, the technical equipment of the basic production processes led to the formation of a mass society in which cultural values ​​ceased to be elitist property and received an egalitarian (equalizing) character, which determined appearance of mass culture, ie. averaged culture created by mass media and replicated with the help of a special, technically highly-equipped industry. Mass culture has as its historical goal information to the general public about the possibilities of culture, its language, the skills necessary for the perception of art, but mass culture can not replace the touch of high art. However, at any level, culture in its broadest sense is a humanistically oriented value. And everything that decomposes this value, there is an anticulture.

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Expression mass culture usually use with a sense of neglect, referring to something dissolved in the fresh water of the majority. " But the concept of mass culture can be understood and positive: to the culture there are millions of people. Negative meaning of the expression mass culture lies in the fact that often not the masses are given the opportunity to rise to the level of a real culture; on the contrary, the culture itself, falsified by the primitive tastes of the backward layers of the population, is lowered, simplified and deformed, to a level that shocking genuine upbringing: a smart, highly educated mass is presented with something gray, or even just stupid. The mass culture is not necessarily its low level, if only for primitive thinkers, but a formal characteristic - a kind of art market. After all, and the broad masses of the people can and should be given something real, seeking to raise them to the spiritually high, even to the greatest masterpieces of culture. In order to improve the culture of the people, one must turn to the history of culture, to the entire cultural heritage of mankind, and not to try to pull the highly educated layers of society down-to something simplistic. From time immemorial, there have been, are, and will be people with different inclinations and with different levels of intellectual ability and education. A cultural figure, anyone who chooses to pick up a pen, is responsible to society, to a person. The fate of culture in the hands of man.

Three areas of human culture, - wrote M. M. Bakhtin, - i.e. science, art and life gain unity only in the individual who embraces them to their unity ... For what I experienced and got into art, I must respond with my life, so that everything experienced and understood will not remain inactive in it. But responsibility is also associated with guilt. Life and art should not only be brought together, but also for each other. The poet must remember that in his vulgar prose of life his poetry is to blame, but let the man of life know that his sterility and the frivolity of his vital questions are to blame for the futility of art. "

In conclusion, it should be emphasized that culture really exists as a historically established multi-level system that has its own forms, its symbols, traditions, ideals, attitudes, values, and, finally, the image of thought and life - this centering force, the living soul of culture . And in this sense, the existence of culture acquires a super-individual character, while at the same time it is a deeply personal experience of the individual.

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