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Modernism and crealism



Realism is focused on socio-sphere, economical, social and political relations. The society is stratified in social classes and layers and shaped by their permanent strug­gle for survival and domination. That struggle defines status and behaviors, the form of ideology and morals. The very base of society are production and vital economic interests (production is the fundament of everything, including politics and “science of production” – Saint-Simon). Society has its history (chronology of gradual development), organization, scientific explanation (rationalism, positivi­sm, utilitarianism…), dynamism and logic of changes by evolutionary (Darwinism) or revolutionary (socialism, Marxism) means and steps.

The realists’ man is new zoon politikon (social animal), homo faber, with tran­spa­rent, common nature. Through this magnifying glass realist thoroughly investi­gates eve­rything: social disintegration and breakdown; class confrontations; urban–rural contrast; absence of solidarity and ethics; intellectual retreat and abulia (“super­fluous men”); unscrupulous rise of newcomers and swindlers; trade with life and death (“dead souls”); the fate of “humiliated and insulted”; activism of rebels against social norms (legal, ethical, esthetical…)…

Dominant effects are decay, degeneration, alienation…Naturalism exposes life as “jungle”, men as “beasts”, “puppets” created, motivated and destroy­ed by passi­ons, conditions and laws of human zoology. Dominant tone is dis­content with actual conditions without connotations of returning to the previous state. Generally accepted are progress as “fundamental law of society” (Macaulay) and im­perative of struggle for change. Certainty is based on the conviction that all basic natural and social laws are discovered, including “eternal law of truth and beauty” (Balzac).

For a modernist focus is on psycho-sphere, states of soul, spiritual resources, inter­nal life. While realist relies on sociology, economy, biology… modernist favors psychology, psychoanalysis, phenomenology, quantum mechanics, theory of rela­tivity… He investigates regions and states of conscious, unconscious, arche­typal, primary structures of our mind.

The modernists’ man is homo ambiguous. Everything has the Janus’s face of “dua­lity”, swaying (of reality, arts…). He is tortured by doubt, anxiety, fear, un­cer­tainty, perplexity, melancholy… On one hand, refined, polished, cultivated, poli­te, educated, intelligent, clever and witty… on the other, daring, impudent, explo­sive, shameless, ironic, sarcastic, capricious… all traits of an urban man (homo ur­banus), traits long ago noticed by classics. Sometimes those traits are extremely manifested (futurism, Dadaism, surrealism…).

Modernist’s goal is encounter with himself with an aim to dig up unexplored depths of subjective structure (unknown, unconscious, a dream), to go trough liminal expe­riences (hyp­nosis, hallucination, telepathy, psychic magnetism…), to reach un-real and sur- real, to describe indescribable, to express inexpressible. To do that it is nece­ssary to dramatically sha­ke previous conceptions of reality, sci­ence (only one, probably not the most important instrument of human cognition), to question “ru­ling truths”, to confront with the language, conventions, routine communications, petrified traditi­ons. Subjective realism, psychological naturalism, non-fixed human nature…are ele­ments of new registry of privileged concepts. Posi­tive knowledge is comple­mented or substituted by intuition and para-science (mesmerism, occultism, mysti­cism); observation yields priority to interpretation; recording retreats before ana­lysis, experiment and medium.

Dominant principles are: uncertainty (Heisenberg), relativity (Einstein), ambiguity (Freud). Artists advocate skepticism, (self)irony, parody, destabilization of firm positions (any assertion is incomplete without denial)…We witness transition from dialectic model (thesis–antithesis–synthesis) to ambivalent pattern which is not an old dichotomy or coincidence of opposites, but new, albeit unstable, compound of analysis and synthesis, transformation of everything in its opposite (enanti­o­dromy of C. G. Jung). Within the hot oven of intellectual effort and emotional stress two typically modernist processes develop – Spaltung (splitting, se­paration, breaking…) and Verschmelzung (melting, assimilation, amalgama­tion…). Resting on one of these ends leads to schizophrenia. Both enable artistic integration and su­blimation. Characteristic modernist matrix is affirmation of opposites: to embrace life and to run away from it; cosmos (order) and chaos (disorder); conservation and progress; conventional and innovative; naturalism and ab­stractness; delight and despair; construction and destruction; technophilia and technophobia; radical engagement and isolation

Postmodernism flourishes in the sphere of simulation and manipulation. Mostly interested in sciences of epiphenomena and uncertainty (hyper-relativism, pheno­menology of accidence, pataphysics), it is focused on mediation, on the concept “media is the message” (McLuhan) with decisive influence on both ends of tran­smit­i­on (subject and object). By their “magic” (enabling “implosion” of borders of reality and simulation) media abolish certainty of both the subject (psychological aspect) and the object (ontological and sociological side). What used to be just the “means” and “instrument” became “generator of reality”, of its transformation in hyper-reality, of change of facts in simulacrum, of society in “silent crowd”, of dynamic world in special zone, of class in mass. Everything is fractioned, indifferent, char­med by the kiss of deaths of object and commodity.

For postmodernism the man is homo consumptor, he does not produce but spend (destroys) what is offered. He is the subject turned to object under the in­fluence of mass-media, aggressive marketing, propaganda, display, show, spec­tacle, gigantic political manipulation. But the real hero of postmodernism is homo trico, media magician, master of simulation. His avatars are homo loquax and homo fallax, experts in language games and technical illusions. He is the main “ac­tor” of the world of hyper-reality, in the society relying no more on production of commodity (and values of production), money (and exchange values), but on signs and values of signs – general semiurgy and “symbolic exchange”. In this kingdom of illusion dominates glamour, “nebulous state” leading in “total entropy”. Eve­ry­thing operates on the level different from known (information and disinfor­mation, past and future, factio and fictio…to have and to be, happiness and suf­fering). The mass production is not production for the masses but production of the masses. Dominant moral attitude is indifference.

Under the influence of various thinkers – often mentioned are Bergson, Nietzsche, Heidegger, Bataille, Durkheim, Mauss, Bateson (concept of plateau), less frequen­tly Veblen (conspicuous consumption), Debord (societe du spectacle), Bantam (pan­opticon)… but buried in silence Plato, Kant, Weihinger…– and em­bracing extreme attitude of futility of change, pomo raises its flag: play, game. It is, by its nature, limitless game of signs (language). In this scope, common position is determined inde­termi­nation: the language, itself illusory, becomes the “jail” and the “cage”, worse even than biological, psychological or eco­nomic constraints (Darwinism, Freudism, Marxism); the sign – according to Saussure fully arbitrary – looses the trace of signified and, quite suddenly, installs itself as un­questionable base of com­munication (emptied of the sense of communitycommunion) and organization (society as “plexus of language ga­mes”).

The sphere of crealism is creation. The man is homo creator who creates his ex­ternal and internal world. His basic need and strategy is not production but creative re-production, biological, psychological, social, cultural pro-creation. Homo cre­ator is homo vertator, longing permanently to confirm himself, to continue, se­cure, and enhance his existence. This strive is source of his unlimited curiosity, of all (good and bad) adaptations and actions shaping his natural and social environment, enlargement of material, spiritual and social recourses. The most important successes of this paradoxal being are culture and society, which are interwoven and interdependent. Human socialization is not a mere aggregation (natural “invention” increasing chances for survival). The process and state of hu­man sociality has completely new dimensions and open perspectives. All natural ele­ments of aggregation (integration, communication, hierarchy, specialization, com­­petition and confrontation…) are enormously enhanced and surpassed. The crucial role in this process belongs to culture while the crucial role in cultural development belongs to society. They limit and stimulate each other. They are ge­ne­rically linked: changing one changes the other. Culture consists of ma­ny accomplishments, partially separated “regions” of human creation, vertati­ons. Every vertation has its own domain and dimension, functions and projections, aim and means, dynamism

Still, each vertation is inevitably in native connection with others (all creations of men). This polyphony (“music of human spheres”) is precondition and expression of health of each person and society as a whole. The lack of contacts and convergences among vertations, as well as absence of their divergences and au­tono­my, is clear sign of smaller or geater degree of social deviation. To live in more vertations (worlds, spheres, dimensions, spaces, times, levels…) means to be more cultural, human being. Constant disturbance and reestablishment of harmony is the nature of creative process. Therefore, development is not uniform and linear. Decisive role in this process belongs to creators (individuals) and creative net of society (institu­ti­ons, values, patterns, models, forces…). The choice of crealism is the total crea­tion. In the center of this concept is the creator, with his sacrifices, his boldness and his heretic ideas. He is real fan-attic, fan of Phanes and double of Phaëton, who radically shakes fundaments of personal and social constraints. His unrest and craving for change is inevitably confronted with inertia of preser­vation, dif­ferent barriers, forces and problems, trying to prevent him in his endeavor to cha­nge established order. But new balance, stability, cultural homeostasis could be restored only by creation.

Creation doesn’t separate but integrate people. Crealist does not sacrifice local for global and vice versa, person for the world or world for the person. He favors everything that makes world better. He substitutes irresponsibility and post-hu­manism of postmodernism by new humanism. In this sense, crealist is true homo humanus, equally both homo ludens and homo prudens. His game is not puerilism but the expression of his unbound mind and confirmation of his creative freedom. Being aware of the power of reason, crealist does not renounce the rest of the human abilities and capacities. At the same time, he is not a slave toany ri­gidity or prejudice. He affirms prudentia (responsibility, wisdom, reason, experience, kno­wledge…) as his strategy of enhancing quality of life.

Momir Nikic

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