Partisans of culture
I have noticed that certain registers of understanding are rapidly disappearing in society. It is as if the spectrum of waves on which people communicate - references, quotations, examples, the minimum obvious set of references, including rhetorical figures, references to seemingly obvious cascades of knowledge (in history, culture, art, science, philosophy, politics) - is constantly and irreversibly shrinking. What remains common are the weakly formed dots of certain individual communities - residents of Rublyovka [Editor's note: prestigious residential area in the western suburbs of Moscow], oligarchs, officials (of a particular ministry, or even department), office workers, but also journalists, experts, volunteers, war correspondents, patriots, participants in school chat rooms. These semantic patches, like an archipelago slowly moving through the fog, are completely unpredictable: where our statement will go, how it will be interpreted and perceived, it is impossible to know in advance.
Part of the meaning will be cut off or simply erased, the rest will have distorted proportions, and the vagueness and obfuscation of everyone's cultural background (i.e. the actual paideuma) prevent communication. After all, today there is no minimum set of books, authors, teachings, works of art or historical events that everyone is obliged to know. Everything is arbitrary, which means that, strictly speaking, nothing can be known, and that is enough.
Sometimes one gets the impression that certain forces or powers deliberately dismantle the structures of the collective consciousness, dividing it into fragments cut out of the whole and then directing each flow in an even narrower (and moderate!) direction. Networks, including neural networks, as well as the media and other increasingly rigidly censored means of communication, make every society something mechanical that merges into a particular sectoral cluster, a segment. In this cage, there is no longer any room for individuality, freedom or one's own opinion. Hence the growing importance of bots: bots replace people and people become bots.
This is how identity is stolen from the people, society disperses into shimmering atomic units and, in the end, the state collapses.
The question remains: what are these, processes of natural mental degradation or a network warfare strategy? In any case, the situation is getting worse, it is alarming. It is not difficult to extend this trend a little into the future and see that we are approaching a point after which we will simply no longer understand each other. It is a profound crisis of language, a breakdown of culture.
One of the strategies that remains in this situation is to opt for a 'partisan culture'. It is necessary to pursue a philosophical, political science, historical, cultural, religious, art history and scientific discourse across the board, and not to create another group, but to save the whole, to save a nation, because a nation exists when it has a common core, and that is identity. Identity coincides with culture, that is, with paideuma. To be a 'partisan of culture', one does not need to hold any office. It is enough to be (become!) a Russian man [Editor's note: the author refers to his own cultural and social context] in all respects: father, mother, husband, wife, sister, brother, friend, worker, observer, actor, connoisseur. A complete man is complete in himself, and his wholeness is valued and supported. The nation is a whole, a continent, not an archipelago. It is this 'continent Russia' that we must save, and this means that we must understand each other in the broadest sense: listen, respond, object, verify, follow and refute. The expression 'Partisans of Culture' establishes new axes of minimal cultural censorship for the Russian people - in the family, at work, at war, in the media or in the networks. Only then will the state itself change. As long as power is an island or a ridge of fragments fenced off from the people and rival factions, our state will be in danger. The Partisans of Culture are called upon to save it.
Translation by Lorenzo Maria Pacini