Post scriptum after history
In his study, the author develops the concept of “the end of the history” that, in contrast to the concepts which perceive this end as an achievement of their objective goal or a fulfilment of their meaning, is focused on the analysis of conditions upon which human activities gain or, on the contrary, lose their historical dimension. The author is inspired by the opinions on the same subject presented by the theoreticians of the media Marshall McLuhan and Vilém Flusser. In accordance with V. Flusser, the author perceives post-history as a state of consciousness that has lost the ability to assess its present being from the perspective of future and thus it has also lost the ability to direct human activities towards breaking the existing status quo. In this he finds a certain risk potential since the loss of this ability also presents a grave danger to efforts towards human emancipation. The transition to post-historical mentality is not only tied to the marginalisation of linear codes connected to the phonetic alphabet initiated by the upsurge of technologies able to generate technical images, but also with so called computer culture which destroys historical awareness mainly by enabling the change of a text into a hypertext that damages its linear structure. The author connects this transition from mythology to history to the emancipation of stories (“metanarrations”) with their linear structure and points to the regression of historical consciousness that contributed to their disqualification. The inability to act historically is also connected to the loss of the ability to generate dreams and visions caused by the prevalence of images in the processes of world codification. The author postulates two periods in human history in which these codes significantly determined the way of our thinking, feeling, and yearning and consequently also the human relationship to the world – mythological and contemporary “posthistorical” in which the plasticity of the world is codetermined especially by so-called technical images. Their monopoly position is seen as the main reason of today’s crisis of culture. In contrast to the images generated by mythical consciousness, they lack any transcendence of history. Since they are emancipated from the world of phenomena, they have ceased to be the right indicator of direction for human efforts. They do not direct, but mislead us.
Filosofický časopis, redakce, Filosofický ústav AV ČR, v.v.i., Jilská 1, 110 00 Praha 1, Czech Republic
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