The decline and rise of culture |  Gulf newspaper

The decline and rise of culture | Gulf newspaper

Abdelilah Belkeziz

It may be correct to say that the phenomenon of cultural and intellectual decline is a global phenomenon, not just an Arab one. Perhaps the difference was a difference in degree between culture and culture, but today, the whole of all world cultures suffers from this state of decline and contraction that they have witnessed for decades. And the evidence for that from the reality of cultural and intellectual production, in the whole world, is endless. It is a fact that no one working in the fields of knowledge production and culture can no longer hide, although the opinion among them about the causes of this cultural crisis is different.

By our judgment we do not mean to say that the proportion of the cultural and intellectual product or its quantity has diminished than before; At this level, it is still abundant in areas of culture more than others. This is evidenced by the volume of publication of literary and artistic works and social studies, which continues to increase with the increasing number of writers and researchers in the world.

If the judgment is true in the field of knowledge (non-natural and mathematical) and culture – and it is true in what we claim – then its sincerity in general does not negate the ranks and disparities between fields in the extent of the damage that befalls each of them; Likewise, he does not deny that some races of a culture, as a whole, or in a large part of it, are excluded from the scope of their judgment of regression or regression. The meaning of this realization, from the point of view of critical thinking, is that we need detailed analytical studies for each field of culture and thought, to find out what problems and crises it faces, or what it is rich in, so that the judgment is objective and scientific, not just impressionistic.

It can be said, for example, and without further ado, that the fields of culture in the world (the arts and literature) are less afflicted with weakness and regression than the fields of knowledge (thought or philosophy, social sciences and humanities). But this general provision, in turn, needs to be allocated and assigned. As not all branches of literature and art have blossomed and escaped from dryness; Rather, there was a significant decline in fertility, just as there was a failure in the will of fertility. Likewise, not all fields of knowledge were to the same degree of contraction; This affected some of them more than others, while some of them remained more able to survive in the vital minimum.

On the stage of culture in the world, the fields are not equal in terms of competition and advancement: literature and arts. In literature, for example, three genres of literary writing are about to erode, and some of them are almost extinct; They are: poetry, short stories, and written theatrical scripts. Thus, we no longer witness waves of literary creativity in these genres, comparable to the ones we used to know, nor distinguished pens like we knew them forty years ago. This, of course, without talking about the scarcity of published poetry and short stories and theatrical texts.

On the other hand, the novel is experiencing the peak of its impulse, in the last forty years; In its quantity and quality, it is almost the only literary expression that dominates the world cultural scene unchallenged. The culture of narration has turned into a dominant culture in the world, helped by the fact that the culture of the image fed it a lot and outweighed it over others.

In the arts, theatre, singing, music and architecture declined from what they were before the middle of the last century. The decline in the level of theater is due to the scarcity of its contemporary texts, and the exhaustion and recycling of modern/old texts. But it is also due to the dominance of cinema and the formation of a general aesthetic taste inhabited by the cinematic visual text, and the audience’s withdrawal from it (the theater) to the cinema. As for modern singing, which inherited opera singing, its major waves ended since the seventies of the last century, to dominate a shabby American style of singing, while music – in its post-symphonic era – rarely made new and distinguished progress. The same was said about the art of architecture, which has deteriorated all over the world, and separated from its ancient aesthetic artistic style, to turn into stylized engineering recipes based on benefit, not beauty.

Only cinema – and to some extent plastic art – continued to impose its cultural hegemony on all arts and absorb them at the same time (such as the novel in relation to literature).

This is due, in the first place, to the dominance of the image in the cultural expression, but it is also due to the cinema’s becoming a field for a huge industry in which fantastic investments are pumped: in production and marketing commensurate with the level of general demand for the cinematic product all over the world. The film industry has benefited from profitable means of transportation and promotion, such as television stations, to transform into the first mass culture in the world.

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