Posted 4 апреля 2022,, 11:33

Published 4 апреля 2022,, 11:33

Modified 25 декабря 2022,, 20:57

Updated 25 декабря 2022,, 20:57

Culture as a civilizational crack

4 апреля 2022, 11:33
Алина Витухновская
Culture must exist within civilization, and not on its ruins, covering up intellectual nakedness and material squalor.

Alina Vitukhnovskaya, writer

One of the first impressions of my infancy and childhood was ... a crack in the wall, poorly covered by torn wallpaper. Further - general discomfort - in the apartment, on the street, in institutions, up to the kindergarten, from which I escaped, less than a month has passed. A feeling of fragmentation, narrowness, dullness, fragmentation of space, architecture, which some teacher under the guise of "God" tried to glue into a single application, pouring nauseating compote and semolina. In which children were thrown berries, like animals, in order to attract them to feeding with a disgusting mess.

Then they tried to impose sovintelmascult on all this nightmarish lacework - from Matisse to Modigliani, some Tretyakov galleries, exhibitions - from classical to modern art. But all this did not work. Or went "in the wrong throat." Not in that brain. There was some kind of monstrous block inside me. Apparently, subconsciously, I perceived the culture in the local presentation as propaganda and a total deception. The body demanded comfort, and the consciousness of truth. But there was no comfort, no truth here.

All these memories came flooding back to me now, in connection with a painful conversation about Russian culture in the context of current events. This conversation is carried on for the most part by the reflective intelligentsia.

What is happening around? Deep people are getting simpler and tougher. It merges into a homogeneous mass, something animal-golemic. The layers are thinning, softening. Those who were yesterday - Lesheviks, today - Masyans. From Tolkien to Masyanya - the entire infantile path of the domestic intelligentsia. And now you are beating your chest: “How did we let this happen? How could this happen? With our views, with our culture, with our songs.”

Well, as for the Soviet culture, which is mistaken for Russian, from the dissident “guitar” to many samples of Russian rock, it is a priori helpless and mostly mediocre. In its own message like “It's great that we are all here today” and “Do not become a dragon”, it is only intended to mark vulnerable layers in its technical and political hopelessness. If you don't become a dragon, you'll be Masyanya. Something like this.

In general, of course, culture and literature, in particular, are perceived inadequately in Russia. “If justice does not come now, then everything that we read in books is a lie,” you argue. “Russian literature did not teach us this” (Ulitskaya).

"God"! What a blessing that I understood from childhood that everything (or almost everything) that is written in books is a lie. And that Russian literature taught me nothing. What I wrote for self-affirmation, conveying my ideas and just a quality text. And not for the sake of all this "reasonable, good, eternal" - which is the softened bread crumb of the meanings of a frustrated non-subjective, is a simulacrum, is a lie.

Modern pseudo-humanism is like a soothing pill, an opium for the uncritical. He dictated the image of man as some kind of higher form of being, while forgetting about man as a monster of "God" (Frankenstein) exhausted by doom. Progress is a rejection of the idea of a common man, in principle.

To my survey on the social network to what extent culture and literature, in particular, can influence society, the poet Stanislav Belkovsky replied:

“Writers and cultural figures can go into politics and thus influence reality. Otherwise, the influence is only indirect, niche.”

And here is the opinion of the artist Yana Maslovskaya:

“Culture is a side effect of civilization. There is no influence, there is only a service or a reflection of being.

The writer Denis Dragunsky answered this way:

“Alina Vitukhnovskaya asked: to what extent do culture, and literature in particular, influence the socio-political reality in the 21st century?

I'll try to answer. First a little history:

In 1866 Dostoevsky's novel Crime and Punishment began to be published in the Russky Vestnik magazine. According to the editor of the journal M.N. Katkov, this novel greatly added subscribers to the magazine - as many as 500 more, to the usual 5,000.

A year later, "Crime and Punishment" was published as a separate book, with a circulation of 4,000 copies. Sold for three or four years. That is, the book was read by about 10-15 thousand people. As they put it then, "all of Russia." In which then was under 100 million population. Of these, adult literate Russian people are at least 10 million. That is, 0.1% of adult literate Russians have read it.

Now the picture is even worse.

The circulation is the same as under Katkov. Even less. The circulation of magazines is a maximum of 2,000, the circulation of books is a maximum of 10,000, but this is a rarity - mostly 3-5 thousand. And adult literate Russians - 100 million. That is, they read an "important book" in percentage terms, almost ten times less: 0.01% of potential readers .

Answer: It doesn't matter at all.

I do not agree with Denis Viktorovich about "no way." However, nothing will return culture to the era of modernity. Even (and especially) great upheavals and great sacrifices. Culture must exist within civilization, not on its ruins. Culture should not cover up intellectual nakedness and material squalor. The same crack on the wall that I wrote about at the beginning of the article.