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    Eseuri: Stefan Arteni. The E-C European Cultural Model. 3. The Neo-Orwellian Madness
    Scris la Monday, April 06 @ 15:32:54 CEST de catre asymetria
    Memoria The East-Central European Cultural Model. 3. Intermezzo. The Neo-Orwellian Madness.
    Czesław Miłosz observes: “If nihilism, as Nietzsche says, consists in the loss of memory, recovery of memory is a weapon against nihilism”. Gerhart Niemeyer has exposed the nihilistic core of Communist ideology found in Marx's assertion that the point is not to understand the world as it is but to change it, by which he meant transforming it into something it is not. Niemeyer says: "Totalitarianism would not be possible in practice if it were not for a long period of intellectual erosion preceding the advent of the activist". He continues: “The fruit of Communist rule must be spiritual chaos and progressive barbarization.”
    Stefan Arteni


    Stefan Arteni

    The East-Central European Cultural Model. 3.Intermezzo. The Neo-Orwellian Madness.
    Motto.
    “Daddy, where there is no morality, there is corruption, and if a society lacks principles, that means it does not have any!...” (Ion Luca Caragiale)

    Czesław Miłosz observes: “If nihilism, as Nietzsche says, consists in the loss of memory, recovery of memory is a weapon against nihilism”. Gerhart Niemeyer has exposed the nihilistic core of Communist ideology found in Marx's assertion that the point is not to understand the world as it is but to change it, by which he meant transforming it into something it is not. Niemeyer says: "Totalitarianism would not be possible in practice if it were not for a long period of intellectual erosion preceding the advent of the activist". He continues: “The fruit of Communist rule must be spiritual chaos and progressive barbarization.”
    Arpad Szakolczai attempts to conceptualize the programme of ‘reflexive historical sociology’. He writes: “There is, however, an even more important...level of explanation. This concerns the conditions under which the civilising process can turn against itself, where the question is no longer simply a paradoxical compromise between the civilising process and its opposite, the impulses set loose by a previous dissolution of order, but where the fundamental mechanisms of the civilising process are effectively, purposefully and explicitly undermined. It is at that level that the totalitarian movements of the twentieth century can be located, with the important caveat that they are very closely related to the...inflections of the civilising process...Once every section of the elite was eliminated, the Communist Party perpetuated the situation by implementing the infamous pratice of 'counter-selection'. This implied that positions requiring any degree of leadership at any level of state, society or economy were filled not on the basis of ability but loyality to the party, controlled by the 'nomenclatura' system...In this, there was an unbroken continuity…The aim remained the same: the prevention of the possibility of the formation of a genuine elite… But the production and reproduction of an elite, a pool of individuals who are ready and able to provide leadership, is different from expertise. It is furthermore a social, not an individual phenomenon, and the conditions that existed during the entire life-span of communism were detrimental to the possibility for the emergence of an elite in this sociological sense. What was particularly missing there has been identified as most central for the formation of an elite in a 1942 article by István Bibó. According to him, the 'calm and creative' activity of the elite requires two things: the existence of a social consensus behind the elite selection mechanisms and the actual assignment of members of the elite to the proper places in the social structure. Bibó furthermore stated that for the successful performance of its tasks the elite has to be self-confident, self-conscious and impartial, without being conceited. In sum, the elite of a society can only perform if it is given stable and calm conditions for its activity, and if its values, its 'chosenness' is generally recognised both by the others and by itself…The puzzling fact that the collapse of the much-hated communist regime was not much perceived as a break in most countries of the region is due to the fact that it did not end transitoriness, the central characteristic of life under communism, only altered its modality.”

    Abram de Swaan describes the inevitable result:Obviously, what occurs under these conditions is the bureaucratization of barbarism.”

    In the case of Romania, the pre-war elite was deliberately decimated and marxism-leninism. contributed to what can be termed culturecide —the attempt to erase and replace the cultural model and the ancient customs and rites. The ‘new’ or ‘postcommunist’ overlords have risen from among the old communist cadres -- collectively known as either the nomenclatura, or the ‚new class’ described by Milovan Djilas, or the ‚communist aristocracy’, that is to say the only ones privileged under the communist regime -- mainly due to their advantageous positioning in the old networks and access to resources. They are inescapably linked to structures, networks, thinking, and practices of the past. The process of recruiting real elites, untainted by involvement with the old structures, was gridlocked by the old cadres. Co-option by Western institutions has helped restore the ‘communist aristocracy's’ past prominence.

    In the field of culture, we are seeing an exercise in authority-building by an elite consisting of the heirs of the communist ‘new class’, mostly saplings grown in the “tree-nursery for party cadres”, the so-called ‘boyars of the mind’ (Radu Gyr preferred the expression ‘cultural jugglers’), an elite bereft of any legitimacy, an elite with a negative image. The postcommunist elites have perpetuated the "they/us" dichotomy.

    There is an old Romanian proverb that says: “The mouth of a sinner tells the truth”. It will then suffice to quote a few lines written by Sorin Antohi, one of the ‘boyars of the mind’, known now as the pseudo-Doctor (he falsely claimed to hold a Ph.D. in History from the University of Iași) who had also served as an informer for Romania's communist-era Department of State Security. In an article entitled “Romanian culture is a fiction”, published in Contrafort 3-6 (77-80), March-June 2001, Antohi has jotted down a short note about his fellow neo-culturniks: “The cultural elite…ultimately a tiny minority, is totally alienated from the society it comes from and which it should help orient itself. From the political and ideological viewpoint, most top cultural and intellectual figures of contemporary Romania have broken their relationship with society (if they ever had any!). Betting immoderately on a sketchy and bovaric westernization, being (like state communism) narcissistic and despising the people’s stirrings and ills, our cultural elite…has failed in its historical mission…” These are the facts we should reflect on. We should also recall Homi Bhabha’s words: “Mimicry and masquerade are born from the desire to be equal, accepted and recognized; nevertheless, mimicry does not bring us closer to the essence, it only creates empty masks and meaningless forms of imitation“.

    The world is becoming more uniform and standardized. Demythization has become dehistorization. Specific cultural models are transported directly from one country to another. Transnational neo-leninism appears to have become the globalizing ‘Zeitgeist’ of the 21st century. The megadreams of situationists and neo-situationists have been transformed into bureaucratic agencies. Never before has the synchronization with one particular cultural pattern been of such global dimensions and so comprehensive. Overload, noise, lack of precision and ignorance, construct their limited and contradictory knowledge under systems of sense that reduce cultural complexity to chiliastic ecstasy. Systematic erasure of all cultural memory is implicit. Leszek Kolakowski had predicted: "The specter is stronger than the spells we cast on it. It might come back to life." It re-appears, it circles, it re-enters the stage.
    Stefan Arteni
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