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Culture in the Upcoming Millenium

Date of publication: 2020-03-22 18:08:05
Дата модификации: 2020-03-22 18:08:05
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The article is timed to the date: 1989-01-01
Other articles related to: Date1989-01-01 Articles for: Year1989
by A. V. Prokhorov, K. E. Razlogov, V. D. Ruzin
Questions of Philosophy, # 6, 1989
It is seems appropriate at this point to offer a preliminary definition of screen culture. We think of it as a type of culture whose texts rely primarily on the screen, not on writing, as their material agent. It is a culture based not on a linear piece of writing, but a system of screen (plane) images, in other words, not a written speech but on what is known as screen speech, i.e. a temporal flow of screen images which contain both the characters' behavior and colloquial speech, animation modeling, written texts, and may other elements. The main feature of screen culture which distinguishes it, in qualitative terms, from book culture and which places it near the initial type of human culture the culture of personal contact is a dynamic, forever changing dialogue characteristic of the relationship between a screen text and its user. In this sense, screen culture posits in a new light and with added topicality the perennial problem of the "relationship between the nature of knowledge and the nature of man"; moreover, it formulates before our eyes the problem of the relationship between "knowledge" and "information". This reveals the deep cultural essence of the computer (as the main - for the near future - material agent of "mature" screen culture) and its principal function - to extend the horizons of man's essential potential There is no need to try to pull up the computer to the level of man's intellectual competitor. As Martin Ringle aptly observed, the tasks performed by computers need not necessarily be a typical task for a human being; their inner structures need not be analogous to human psychological structures, and the principles of their operation do not aim at promoting a theory of human Intelligence. The computer is not a machine , but It is neither an intellectual phenomenon; it is a phenomenon of a culture based on sign systems, an interim culture between the "world of things" and the "world of people". But computers introduce to the culture of sign systems new notions of the mediating (in particular, operational and transforming) function of the sign and the architecture of sign systems 20, as a fundamentally new type of literary-audio-visual and self-transforming text; this latter quality is due to programs it contains and its ability to maintain dialogue (moreover, the new "dialogue languages" place mathematics in the "brackets" as regards communication with the computer to the same degree to which present-day printing technology frees man from the need to comprehend the rather complex process of producing a printed page). This brings to a three-level model of the "cultural" universe: "the world of things" the world of texts -"the world of people" (which divides the "cultural worlds" in a slightly different manner than the well-known model by Popper. We regard it as a matter of principle that the meditative layer of sign systems be single out in the cultural universe since developed screen culture transforms it to a new qualitative state. Since we define the computer in such an extensive and culturally significant context as the main instrument of informatics it follows that informatics itself acquires an added significance. If we regard it for what it really is we realize that it is not a natural science (as it is considered by many, scholars), but, strange as it may sound, that is, fundamentally, one of the humanities. moreover, it may wee be a nucleus of a novel, emerging cycle Of communication sciences which are only coming into being. It is not accidental that the main problems of informatics are linguistic problems, the structures of screen speech, problems of dialogue and communication networks, and problems pertaining to users' psychic culture. We realize how profoundly provincial is the attitude to the computer of some workers i.e. culture, an attitude derived from the well -known phrase "noli me tangele!". Or how superficial are the assertions of the computer onslaught on culture. The development of computer-based kinds of screen culture should be interpreted as the search for new socio-cultural space. Undoubtedly, blind search does load to many naive miscalculations and discoveries of "new" lands prove to be conquests of territories. already developed by old culture; nevertheless, the real mission of screen culture is becoming more and more evident - to discover new socio-cultural "ecological niches" which defy development by traditional culture for technological reasons. We are coming to the realization that screen culture is to gain nothing by attacking the two other traditional types of culture. That screen culture can develop only in the unbreakable context of "three cultures"; that by breaking away from that context it will endanger its establishment and self -consciousness. Today we understand that computer technologies add a new dimension to the traditional "pyramid" of world culture. But, it should be stressed, this new dimension is added to the pyramid as a whole - to its base as we'll as to its top. And it is only natural that this addition does not affect the distribution of masterpieces. What, then, are our main tasks as regards the establishment of computer culture? One of them is to perceive the principles governing the functioning of the screen and the broad humanitarian potential of the further unfolding of its new material agent, Its new instrument - the computer - as a self-transforming sign system. Another task, which naturally adjoins the first one, is to forecast development of, screen culture in the framework of world culture and, in particular, in this country. This imparts a completely different meaning to the not ion of "ecology of culture". D. S. Likhachyov unwittingly underscored in this notion the protectionist aspect, the task of preserving the traditional forms of culture and cultural heritage. Let us not forget, however, that in the ecology of culture, just as in ecology as such the problem of protection coexists with the problem of the evolutionary development of relationships between newly emerging cultural species as well as their relationship with the traditional cultural phenomena. In this way the ecology of culture aims at ensuring the optimum functioning of "living culture" as an analogue of "living substance" (V. I. Vernadsky);- It is precisely this broad interpretation of the ecology of culture which takes into account not only the traditions and history, but also the future and the ways of cultural evolution, that constitutes, in our opinion, a transition from traditional empirical -cultural, or "appraising", thinking to what is known as ecocultural thinking, thinking within the concept of the ecology of culture. Since screen culture functions through its own screen language we have to be concerned about linguistic problems inherent in this unusual language problems of its "neorhetoric" and general semiotic problems - all fundamental problems of informatics. Hut if we acknowledge the polylogue nature of the developed screen communications in present culture in principle, we cannot but do with the "communicative analysis", a series of disciplines initiated by R. Jacobson and C. Levi-Straus . When we realize that communication possibilities are inherent in the computer "transtext" we approach the problems of the regenerating "philosophy of dialogue", intertext, and polylogue. Psychological problems of screen culture and, particularly, the problem of human values are one of the most important aspects of future culture. Included here should be the comparison of the values of traditional cultures and screen culture, as well as the comparison the values of science, the arts and everyday life in the frameworks of emerging screen culture (this comparison obviously has to differ from what can be observed in various traditional cultures at present). The psychological problems of screen culture are problems of the qualitatively new stage in the development of the psychosphere of the planetary totality of cultural, intellectual and psychological qualities, a stage when it has acquired powerful and even dangerous instruments of sensual modeling and intellectual image-making both of which make "deep furrows" in human psyche. Problems of the manipulation of man are extremely acute in the relationship between man and society by means of the computer screen as the principal communication system. Since practically all manipulation of man is effected through texts one is compelled to believe that so developed and self-transforming a sign system as the computer possesses a tremendous potential for manipulation as regards man's health, man's attention, man's energy, and other values (above all, 1n the framework of an immense amount of games). Finally, screen culture posits a important layer of problems linked with the ever greater involvement of man in the 'layers of illusory communication. At first, men communicate directly, then by means of books, and finally, by means of a computer system. As a result, illusory reality becomes more and more tangible, which makes the task of "deceiving" man' s psyche all the more simple and a frighteningly attractive for the "creators". It is interesting that even some culturologists link the development of the forms of "illusory reality" with the computer and nothing but the computer. Thus, the well-known European scholar B. Lussato observed that the computer takes man to a perfect but irreal word where he is freed from many responsibilities and where he need not to assert himself . As If the romantic authors of' the l9th century had not described in their books those numerous variations on the theme of a young heroine who becomes totally obsessed with fashionable novels! It is an open secret that society's illusiongenous needs arose a long time before the rapid development of screen culture! And we must see them, understand their origin, interpret their designation, and foresee their,' evolution in the futures. For all that it is precisely the information technologies of cultures which render problems of psychological comfort and discomfort facing man in this world and society all the more acute; this takes us to the question of "psychic culture" (the distinguished Oriental scholar N.V. Abayev was one of the first writers who initiate the debate of this question in this country's. It is possible that psychic culture will become a topical concern of the future only, but in developing screen culture we must realize that acute psychological problems stemming from illusory realities are not so far off in the future ". In other words, there is a host of problems facing us. But as the reader approaches the end of this essay he may unwittingly recall its title and wonder whether these authors know what they are taking about when they discuss culture of a whole millennium. Indeed, our scale is huge. Speaking seriously, we are talking not about the computers or the notion of information society because neither subject can be discussed in terms of one thousand years. This is a discussion of screen culture which is a forerunner of something novel, a type of culture which today can be referred to as a "culture of transformation", a "culture of metamorphosis". We have about when they discuss culture of a whole millennium. Indeed, our scale is huge. Speaking seriously, we are talking not about the computers or the notion of information society because neither subject can be discussed in terms of one thousand years. This is a discussion of screen culture which is a forerunner of something novel, a type of culture which today can be referred to as a "culture of transformation", a "culture of metamorphosis". We have just considered the simplest instance of such transformation And now that we saw the computer from a different angle, i.e. as a self-transforming sign system, we are beginning to understand that the problem of transformability or metamorphoses" is more topical today than at the time of Ovidius. Until now we deal with the transformations of texts. From this level one can move "upwards" as well as "downwards", to either of the poles, both of which are equally hard to attain (as today's' practice shows, both are more difficult to attain than any transformation involving texts). These are transformations of things or objects found in our everyday external reality and' transformation of man's psyche, or of his "inner reality". These two poles of culture prove so difficult to attain because, paradoxical as it may seem, both are equally subtle and intangible. Contrary to the established opinion that the "era of raw material technology" is followed by the "era of information", the question should posited in a different pane by giving up the notion of "in-formation" for the sake of "transformation" (this gives the term "information" an interesting any profound semantic Context). The "era of raw-material technology" is indeed nearing its eclipse but information society seems unlikely to last for an era of its own; instead, it will probably become an introduction to an "era of transformation technologies", which can well fit the framework of one thousand year because of the scope of changes affecting man and mankind it is likely -to effect.
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Article description: It is seems appropriate at this point to offer a preliminary definition of screen culture. We think of it as a type of culture whose texts rely primarily on the screen, not on writing, as their material agent.

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