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Publication Details

Universalism of Spiritual Culture

(Original title: Univerzalizmus duchovní kultury)
Filozofia, 24 (1969), 1, 36-53.
Type of work: Papers and Discussions
Publication language: Czech
Universalistic tendencies of the contemporary cultural developments, mediated by the accelerating convergence, integration and accumulation of cultural values, meet today with the main obstacle in the form of contradictory world ideologies. Plurality of the particular cultural systems found in the antagonism of socialistic and capitalistic culture a new significant dimension, and the problem proper of the universalism of culture, in this connection, a new practical — moral and political — aspect. — The present paper represents an attempt to answer some aspects of the above problem from the standpoint of Marxist thought which has nothing in common with the extremes of the dogmatic Marxism. First of all, the inadmissible absolutization is being condemned in the dogmatic interpretation and evaluation of universalistic tendencies of the cultural developments which, on the one hand, consider the relative and absolute cultural values metaphysically as contradicting each other, at the same time, however, taking the relative values proper for absolute and for the basis of future universalistic culture. In this case, the interaction of cultures is not understood as a dialogue in which universal cultural values are being born from a many-sided confrontation of particular values, but as a contention of opinions in which the victory of one opinion means the extinguishment of the others. In addition to the above, dogmatism approaches the totality of the existing particular cultures also abstractly and, therefore, it escapes its attention that there exists already today an extensive area of cultural values with universal validity, which influences, by means of analogies, the origin of similar values even in the sphere of ideological interests. For all these reasons, the practical significance of the fragmental universal culture, rising in the above way, is an open question; although this question reflects the conflicting political interests of the world social systems and the relation of their cultural specific gravities, it cannot be hastily concluded by accusing the universalistic tendencies of cosmopolitism. Ideologies which get into mutual controversy with those tendencies, give it, in their own way, the truth, and, by the extreme subjectivism of their approaches, underline the objective character of the universal values they attack; However, ideologies do not get into conflict with the universalism of the. spiritual culture owing to their specific form, but owing to the conservativism of their content. Marxism — as an ideology realizing its historical relativity and the inevitableness of a permanent development of its standpoints — must naturally incline to universalistic tendencies (unless they rise already on its own ground) and must endeavor for the maximum mediation of the relations between itself as a „cultural ideology“ and the actively acting universalistic culture. The conflict between ideology and culture is then not insuperable, and it is in the common interest of both of them that it is overcome and that society is not only cultivated in cultural projects but also in reality. In the present world, the elements of the universal culture will not be a renaissance of a social utopism, providing that they themselves also realize the objective inevitableness of the ideological consciousness as a mediating part between them and a socially differentiated society. This realization cannot, however, deprive them of the self-conciousness which is inevitable for a futurist start on the development of the social reality. Culture which does not anticipate the development of reality, has nothing to tell the society and, as a matter of fact, is no culture any more even in that elementary sense of the term that it has anything to cultivate the society with and for.
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