Asymetria - revue roumaine de culture, critique et imagination


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    Eseuri: Stefan Arteni. The E-C European Cultural Model. 6. Once Upon a Time.
    Scris la Monday, April 06 @ 15:08:45 CEST de catre asymetria
    Memoria Lucian Blaga once said:  culture „is not a luxury that humans may concede to themselves as an embellishment, a luxury which may or may not exist, culture is the result of a complementary outporing from the specificity of human existence as such, an existence within mystery and toward revelation.”

    With gods about I've roamed, solely 
    menwards back to come.
                               (Ion Pillat)
    Lucian Blaga once said:  culture „is not a luxury that humans may concede to themselves as an embellishment, a luxury which may or may not exist, culture is the result of a complementary outporing from the specificity of human existence as such, an existence within mystery and toward revelation.”
    Both writing and painting have been connected to divination and the deciphering of marks,  the form of signs,  the participation in or association with mystery. Setsuzan Tanaka Sensei describes the art of calligraphy thus: “The Gods speak through the brush strokes drawn by the artist.”  The sanskrit alphabet is called 'devanagari' which literally means 'cities of the gods.' Giorgio Morandi affirms: “Galileo remarked: the true book of philosophy, the book of nature, is written with characters different from our alphabet. These characters are: triangles, squares, circles, spheres, pyramids, cones and other geometric figures. I feel that Galileo’s thinking is alive…” The ritual is an actual standing and living within art, a participation in it, and at the same time an active partaking in maintaining the process. Alexei Jawlenski once said that the artistic praxis becomes ritual and the painting itself becomes prayer.
    Andrei Vartic has coined the term ‘Homo Geometricus’ to describe the anonymous creators of ancient ritual graphic notation systems used as sacred palaeoinformatics in pre-Indo-European Old Europe: ”The large Cucuteni pots, superbly painted with geometrically ‘written’ philosophical or artistic poems, or the many faceless figurines incised with geometric signs, all found in Cucuteni-era huts, represent the highest level reached by a civilization before the appearance of official Sumerian writing about 3200 BC. The Cucuteni miracle was based on a millenary knowledge of geometric signs…signs which continue to protect man’s life even now, within the web of the information revolution…A careful investigation of thousands of paleolithic and neolithic incised markings shows that in South-Eastern Europe, ‘Homo Geometricus’ used a perfect alphabet for communicating and storing information vital for his beingness…the inhabitants of Old Europe had knowledge of symmetry, were talking about Heaven and Earth, about Soul an Spirit, about the necessary balance of action and reaction…” (Andrei Vartic, O Istorie Geometrica a Lui Homo Sapiens, )
    Parallel yet independent research pursued by Western cognitive archaeologistis, linguists and neurophysiologists recently confirmed Vartic’s findings.
    Recursive compositional constructs,  patterned incisions and scratchings [grammata] that branched  both into painting and writing, constitute a compelling indication of the need for a combinatorial (syntactic) structure: “As a perceptual phenomenon art is, then, an attempt to render permanent and tangible that which was formally intangible and fleeting, the seeking of order in the midst of disorder, the expression of the sense of pattern, harmony and symmetry synthesised from the immediate, ambient confusionSymbolic representation, as a means of preserving, spreading and manipulating information, provided a powerful way of increasing the capacity of the brain, disengaged from the usual evolutionary constraints… the extrapolation must be that culture is not so much a sophisticated embodiment of evolutionary imperatives, but a realisation of the diversity due to the increased ability to process information in abstract ways.” (Derek Hodgson, Art, Perception and Information Processing: An Evolutionary Perspective, )
    In a culture immanent interactional context graphic notation conventions are culturally evolved higher order cognitions: “…symbolism based on iconicity is cognitively much more rudimentary than a symbolism requiring the link between referent and referrer to be negotiated culturally.”(R.Bednarik, Neurophysiology and Paleoart, ); “There seem to be no examples of representational art without an accompanying geometric tradition in indigenous groups, yet we often find geometric tradition without representational art…” (Derek Hodgson, Understanding the Origins of Paleoart: the Neurovisual Resonance Theory and Brain Functioning, )
    The high-context nature of ancient society allows individuals to use inferences and indirect references. A viewer may require little more than reminders to recall, as much has been absorbed through osmosis in the culture: “In entirely non-figurative arts as well as those that use highly ‘stylized’ versions of iconicity it is impossible to know the referrer, unless one has direct access to the cultural conventions in question. Moreover, in the last-named art form, concepts or ideas involving no figuratively definable referents can readily be ‘depicted’. It is therefore clearly the most sophisticated art genre, and can communicate unlimited numbers of ideas, in rather the same way as written characters.”(R.Bednarik, Towards a Theory of Cognitive Origins, )
    Sign systems are used for mnemo-techical purposes: “The intentions of those who created writing systems did not primarily lie in the exact rendering of speech sounds but in the fixation of ideas and information of which messages were composed. This intentional fixation of information for reuse bears all the characteristics of what we understand as writing, regardless of the missing connection with language…In this pattern, an idea is visually associated with a sign of writing via its representational form (that may be identified with a certain object) or – in the case of an abstract sign – via its conventional use…” (Harald Haarmann, The Danube Script and other Ancient Writing Systems: A Typology of Distinctive Features, The Journal of Archaeomythology, Volume 4, Number 1, Winter 2008)
    Graphic notations were not meant to stand alone, they were intended as a support for memory and ritual demonstration. “From the very beginning, the signs used in Old European writing seem to have been associated with…cosmology, philosophy, magic, ritual, divination, shamanism and healing…All life was lived in a magical cosmology…The script would be a shamanic tool with magical overtones…it was a tool for communicating with the gods.”  (Roger Calverley, The Primal Runes. Archetypes of Invocation and Empowerment, )
    Ritualization increases impact through the use of repetition, high intensity, strong contrasts, alerting signals, and stereotypy in basic units. James W.Carey writes: “Ritualization sees the original or highest manifestation of communication…in the construction and maintenance of an ordered, meaningful cultural world that can serve as a control and container for human action.”  Ritual is communication in a mythic tongue, the expression of a universe of experience, compressed into an economy of symbols overloaded into archetype. Ritual is the performance that binds (‘religare’) the individual and the specific to the universal and archetypal. “This model has its origins in the research into…oral-formulaic high-context cultures of presence vested in repetition and ritual. From a contemporary perspective, this is a technique of cyclical rejuvenation, which, as Friedrich Nietzsche put it, literally burns memory into humans,” remarks Hartmut Winkler.
    Marcel Griaule speaks of 'graphic facts' constituting a shared repository of materialized memory. The function of the concrete mark is conceived by Simon Battestini in an experiential ritual context, ritual being viewed as a crucial process in the texture of memory storing and communicative cultural behavior. Roger Schank introduces the notions of dynamic memory framework and Memory Organization Packet theory, that is continuously refined experience-based memory schemata. Elaborate but thrifty graphic formulaic symbolic clusters of notation and their metrical rhythmic systems are trans-linguistic. Graphical processing re-makes, re-creates, re-members the system each time it is actualized. The shaman-artist is a thoughtful guardian of lore.
    Old Europe was a cultural multiplex which emphasized continuity. Later traditions carry the memory of that ancient legacy. Some markings and the knowledge they embodied remained in use and were remembered down the centuries (Andrei Vartic, Complexul monastic rupestru de la Țipova, uriaș templu solar și observator astronomic al antichității, Presented at: Simpozionul științific „Cucuteni – 5000”, Universitatea Tehnică din Republica Moldova, Chișinău, 3-4 octombrie, 2007). Deep-rooted cultural and mythic patterns persisted. Craft specialization and elaborate rituals survived as substratum features. How do we use the language of tradition to address the present?
    The term Danube script is synonymous with the earlier term Old European script and refers to markings found on artifacts excavated in south-east European archaeological sites. The best known culture groups are Vinèa (between the 6th and the 3rd millennium BC) and Cucuteni  (or Cucuteni-Trypillia; between ca. 5500 BC and 2750 BC).

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