The Unifying Aspects of Cultures


Culture and Socium and Culture. Problems of Globalisation

Lydia Starodubtseva (Kharkov State Academy of Culture)
Abuse of Memory And Mnema of Culture

Notions "memory" and "oblivion" may by considered as some "semantic focuses" of post-modern retentive and "memories-full" culture. As Henry Adams wittily put, philosophy gives unintelligible questions to insoluble answers. Memory of culture and the boundaries of its historical consciousness is an insoluble and philosophical question, thus generating questions and giving no intelligible answers. Yet it is but natural to raise those questions thinking of the culture horizons on the turn of millennia. The epoch of the boundary between the second and the third millennia is often called "post-modern", "post-industrial", "postclassical", "poststructuralist", "post religious", etc. An attribute with the prefix "post-" is usually used. The culture of the "post-" epoch is being absorbed by memory but the latter, like a system of mirrors looking into the past, gives a new image every time. The mirrors of memory are flexible and instable, and memory itself reminds of Proteus: it is changeable, moving and multifaceted, it abounds in new reflections, images and shadows. Mnemonic peculiarities of the "post-" epoch are as follows:

"Hipermnesia", i.e. superfluous memory, passeism, such conditions of retentive culture when it is "moving forward, looking backward" feeling that it is doomed to unbearable and constantly growing burden of the past. "The loss of time coordinates", i.e. the confusion of chronological sequence of events in historical consciousness. Layers of the past belonging to various times coexist as far as their value is concerned, they make up an a-chronological landscape of ideas where "before" can freely mix with "after".

"Retrograde amnesia" characteristic of again conscience: recent events are forgotten while distant past is perceived more and more clearly. Thus directly preceding culture layers of modernism are negatively evaluated in the "post-" epoch culture, and are ousted by more distant ones. The art of pseudo-reminiscences: present is pressed into illusory past, neo- and pseudo-worlds of the past are constructed in mind, and the culture eagerly believes in their existence. The gaps memory is filled in with imaginary history. Torn of memory, i.e. entropy of meanings of historical existence resulting from the disintegration of the "idea of history" and the loss of the highest meaning. Hence ontological unclearness of world history aims and bearings, scattering of culture memory into a collage, and its movement away from logo centrism towards chaos of meanings. The memory of the "post-" epoch keeps an unstable and changing image of the past - the image of post-history, which inspires but an ironical attitude. What will come next? The transformation of historical vector into a ring? New synthesis? Next Renaissance? The return to the beginning? Disintegration and collapse? May be superfluous retentiveness of our times is a sign of its facing non-being, retrospective show of cultural reminiscences before its turning into nothing? If a metaphorical concept "culture memory" can be termed cultural "mnema" then all above questions are to be addressed to "mnemology", i.e. the teaching of "mnema", its structure and the laws of memory and oblivion in organic and non-organic, natural and cultural media. Mnema is neither the process of memory-oblivion, nor the object of memory-oblivion, but ability of thought, the very possibility of retentiveness and forgetfulness in human mind, history of thought, and historical being of culture.