THE 21st CENTURY
Where does the 21st century begin? The borderlines of chronological time and spiritual time do not necessarily overlap. 1792 was the year of renewal, then the century of the „common sense” lasted for 150 years. 1848–49 was the end of the utopia. The 19th century was very short, it was the century of accelerating time. It is the fourth – so far the last – peak in human history after the Egyptian, Greek and renaissance periods. The times of peace brought great boosts in culture and civilization – in the period between 1890 and 1910 more inventions were made than ever before –, and the new century continued this upspring. Amongst the centuries, the 20th century was particularly packed and aggressive, producing many miracles and many horrors: the great depression, two world wars, and the third, the longest and most devastating of them all, the Cold War – at the same time the parade of the Modern, the modern culture. The new century presents itself quite early, 1905 is already Einstein with his theory of relativity, Marie Curie – radioactivity, Graham Bell – telephone, Fleming – penicillin, Ady Endre’s poetry, Henry Ford – automobile, after centuries-long endeavours, finally success in flying … – and the line of important inventions and innovations just goes on and on. The 21st century begins naturally with the evaluation of the previous century and millennium, and we can see that the very strong 20th century still continues in every field: science, arts, technology as well as everyday life. We use the improved versions of what they invented, the car, the airplane, the means of voice and image recording, all the important innovations in the millennium-long history of arts and sciences – has there ever been anything like this?
What happened, happens at the turn of the century, of the millennium? 2019 – has the 21st century brought anything new?
Flash – flashing light, lightening, mob – crowd. This phenomena has been observed in the overpopulated big cities (with several millions of inhabitants) of South America. A bypasser starts it and in seconds more and more people join him. For example a person takes off his shoe and starts hitting the asphalt with its heel, and he waves with his other hand. Any initiative is continued within seconds, crowds gather spontaniously. The people of a flash-mob do not talk to each other, participating in it is not an occasion for making friends. Participating in it is the essential thing. Because it feels so good to belong somewhere, to belong to someone.
The world where such phenomena appear and become more and more important, is a very alienated place. The effects of the overdriven industrialization are starting to be balanced by the new century. It is a fact that the flash-mob is a typical phenomenon, which can be seen all over the world. Psichologists say that the first level in human existence, the base is the level of substance, the next is the level of security, whilst the peak is the level of belonging somewhere. So it is not surprising that the Latin blood ...
In Cluj-Napoca we have knowledge of two flash-mobs: one was in front of the Central department store where young people held newspapers with holes in them in front of their faces and looked at each other. The other one formed in Manastur district. But don’t be afraid. This is just mockery, just a game. Radio studios also organized flash-mobs, for example in the memory of Michael Jackson or other famous people, but that was neither a flash, nor a mob. It wasn’t spontaneous, but an organized concert with audience, the event was only given the name of flash-mob. We are making progress, but we still have our human relations.
They say that not too long ago in Rio de Janeiro two flash-mobs got bigger and bigger, until the two met.
The story starts with the fact that Goldwyn Samuel, a Polish jew immigrant in the USA bought a ranch with five wooden cottages in ruins. The ranch with the five ruined wooden cottages was called Hollywood. Goldwyn started building and what he built influenced the history of humanity. We must state that in the beginning Hollywood meant eight studios, many of the founding members were Hungarians. The “XXth Century Fox” film studio was founded by Transylvanian jews, therefore the birth of Hollywood took place in Transylvania. The story was written by many in many ways, let us just say that Goodwyn saw the greatness of Hollywood in his life. He was asked: what were the goals and possibilities of the film at that time? What is the film? Golwdyn answered: “Dream factory”.
Throughout centuries arts imitated life, but as a result of the dream factory, of mass-manipulation, now life imitates art. Because the film offers models of behaviour. In our days, the different kinds of film fiction form the world to their image, new genres appear, that change the basic characteristics of the author-status.
The film meets the history of literature, arts, photo and music, and with their genres in a new context, they created a new art form – as a matter of fact each of them contributed to the new, common art form. Just about one and a half century after the millennium-long history of the other art forms… And this relatively young context is already revolutionized by the computer. As far as literature is concerned, we can see that at the turn of the century and of the millennium the shorter genres become more characteristic as well as a mixture of genres. Then the computer … It can receive and process a huge amount of data in just about seconds. And with the “intelligent media” the process of creating is also altered. The sequence of subject – creator – creation would be naturally followed by reception, however the receptor is not a mere viewer of finished monuments, but he becomes part of the creation. He cuts a well-known, successful film, puts the snitts as mosaics together in a different way, thus he makes a new film and uploads it to the internet. It is a reproductory activity, which sometimes results in ingenious, witty creations. Nietzsche said that the creator is a curse for people surrounding him.
English languages 1.
“Pigeon English”, “Tarzan English” – both notions are very expressive and perfectly characterize our times.
In the 20th century the domination of the English language was obvious, English was the “lingua franca”. Let’s see: the latin term comes from the middle ages when the universal language was the Latin. Why is it “franca” then? That is because in the 19th century the universal language was the French. Contradiction after contradiction – a centuries-long history.
Universal, meaning that billions of people use it all over the world. Far from England, the original cultural area of the British English. And the origin is not even the original English. I asked Joanna, a student in Germany from the Philippines, what is the language they speak in her country. She answered that they speak a mixed language. The base is the aboriginal language, then there is a Spanish stratum, but an even stronger influence than the 500 year of Spanish colonization is the American language and culture of the last 50 years. So this English language, these English languages develop independently from the origins, and they change due to the local character.
Speaking English in Central or Eastern Europe – wow, that has a special taste, a special scent. “People of your kind are highly praised around here” – tells one of Jókai’s characters to an English traveller. But for a long time … that Central and Eastern Europe repeats what Western, preferably English authors write, how they write, what is their life accomplishment. This means status and progress for Central and Eastern Europe. While many of us think about themselves that they speak English well. Yet this is all “pigeon English”.
English languages that are far from their origins, flew away, like pigeons.
English languages 2.
“Tarzan English” – we understand the labelling. The life of Edgar Rice Burrough’s character changes in such a way that all his ties to the human world are torn, thus he can’t “learn” it.
The novel was successful enough that the question arose: could it be turned into a film? The answer from filmmakers was no, as it had zero artistic value, and zero moral value, so it was out of the question. But a few determined people turned it into a film anyway, and the result was an unhoped for success. A huge success. Obviously, we can say now, as the formula is a mythical symbol. The character fights for what is right and he is a defender of women and children. The accomplishment of the writer is that he took his character no one else did before: in the jungle. Every decade creates its own image of the character ever since. Tarzan’s story is not limited to a jungle anymore, we must speak about a real Tarzan-phenomenon, a real world-phenomenon. He became a symbol which is present starting from computer games to the characterization of the state of languages at the turn of the century and of the millennium. Because these English languages are so basic compared to the original, beautiful English, as the speakers were just starting to learn a language, but then… But then. The story does not end like this. The real ending is that these English languages have an influence on the original English, and a unified blend is being born – and we have also known for centuries that a language rule is a rule, yet the language use is more important in the long run.
And the communication is alive, and people are not isolated by any kind of distance.
Genres of the Internet
The present genre structure has been valid for hundreds and thousands of years: with all certainty poems have always been written, it is absolutely sure that our ancestors have always recited cadent texts with rhymes either for ritual purposes or just because they wanted to express his joy to the universe. Novels have been written since antiquity, short stories since the renaissance, since Boccaccio’s Decameron, so for about 600 years, sonnets since Petrarca and Shakespeare. So it is a tradition which has been in action for centuries, millenniums. Innovation? Revolution?
The thousand year old genre structure is being disrupted by a new communicational means, which is the internet: blog, blogprose, blognovel – a “chain world” – Chat, Skype, Facebook, Like, Comment etc. It replaces the phone, the letter, the map, status sharing, places for discussion, shopping in stores. Actually a person sitting in front of a computer has the possibility to organize his life needs with just a few moves on the keyboard.
Obviously I don’t want to deny the possible advantages of Twitter, Facebook, Chat, Snapchat etc., as in some cases they are really useful sites for communication. First of all, they are free of charge within the Internet package, and they offer numerous possibilities: they are suitable for the creation of different groups, applications, the most recent events, news streams, news can be followed on them. They offer the possibility to find old acquaintances, to get in contact with them. The contact supposes communication between two or more people, and Facebook enables a very divers materialization of this communication. Like chat, comments, likes, the expression of private opinions are all examples of the possibilities given by Facebook. These possibilities can easily lose their positive character, as for example a private comment shared accidentally with everyone can be hurtful to anyone. Most of the thoughts shared on Facebook are informal texts. – Thus new genres come into being at the beginning of the IIIrd millennium, which have never existed before.
ONCE AGAIN: OLD GENRES ARE RENEWED OR MIXED TOGETHER, AND NEW GENRES ARE BORN AT THE BEGINNING OF THE IIIRD MILLENNIUM.
This fact, more precisely the story can be and must be valued through the distance of hundreds and thousands of years. It raises numerous questions and we don’t have answers, moreover we haven’t even formulated the questions yet. What can the 21st century bring?
This question and possible answers to it are presented in the articles on the https//:www.kortarsmuveszet.com website.
Blog and interactive diary
Google, I’m the son of Google – say the people of the 21st century. And they are right to say that, as it’s not a paraphrase of the Poet anymore, but they are truly spending most of their lives in front of the computer.
The world of images of the internet, the universe of information in general is so easily accessible, and nowadays everyone is given the great opportunity to … To … expose themselves. “Create your own blog” – sounds the encouragement – and then anyone can present their feelings and thoughts to the general public. And they receive comments, which they either accept or not. In the world of the internet, in the virtual space anyone can become an author at the beginning of the 3rd millennium. Everyone who is willing to show his own story, stories.
So this is an upgraded version of the diary. It’s history dates back hundreds and thousands of years ago. The literary history has already accomplished its mission, as all cultures research their own history, they want to know everything about the beginnings. And in order to have an even longer history, they included the diary within the literary genres.
The diary – the most personal text of authors, meditation and reality, inventory and reflection on their own work and age. Originally the diary is a private dialogue, a one-person performance. And what has never ever been seen before in the history of human kind: in our days the interactive diary makes it possible that author and reader create and shape the text together.
It is yet to be seen which type of text will disappear and which type of text is useful, therefore enduring. And the theory will rethink its basic notions.
The graffiti 1.
Yes, we know, it is forbidden by the law – I must write it here.
The graffiti is a complex empire, which continuously surprises us. It is a flourishing phenomenon; if we regard it as a genre of urban folklore, it is definitely one of its strongest and most viable. There are a few shorter articles that deal with it, but lacking a professional approach, the world of graffiti is still virtually untouched.
What will be the method which can be fruitfully applied in its research? What will be the discipline that can ensure the necessary means for the research? Folklore? Social psychology? Aesthetics? Yes, yes and yes, and the enumeration could go on. Why were the ancient cave paintings created? We research the mysteries of human creative power, that elementary power, that we have to deal with here.
Subculture? “They painted my walls!” We can’t simply say that, as it is a manifestation of public opinion, a recording of current events. Szeged, Anna-well: on the wall of the house on the other side with big, colourful, rumbustious letters: “BROOKLYN”. Next to it smooth, black lines: “ÉDES ERDÉLY” (sweet Transylvania). The effect is breathtaking.
We must regard the graffiti as special forms of contemporary chronicles, everything is on the walls from the scores of football matches to presidential elections, the years after 1989 of the Hungarian regions, of Hungary, of Transylvania. Cluj, the wall of the Academic Library: “LIFE STINKS”. The palette is so wide in puns, wisdom, bitter cries. “Compact pleasure” said Kolozsvari Grand Pierre Emil about the expressive power of argo.
Regarding the aesthetics of the graffiti, the main question is why are the fonts similar from Hamburg to Nurnberg, from Budapest to Oradea and Cluj and so on.
What is their background? They are the fractions of the funny, bitter, angry monologues, dialogues of young people of all times – this is the life experience that just simply can’t be researched with questionnaires.
Can we hear the laughter, the music, the song, the cry, the roar that comes from the painted walls?
Yes, we know, it is forbidden by the law – I state it here.
The graffiti 2.
The graffiti is a worldwide phenomenon, it is the same age as humanity itself, and it is continuously renewed. It could never and nowhere be regulated by any law, yet the lawmakers always make efforts for it. What is that original, elementary drive in people to go to a surface and draw a line? Then another. More, ever more. And probably the work will never be finished, the author doesn’t even want to finish it most of the time. That drawing is a momentary or transitory release of a state of mind or life situation that the creator wants to escape from.
The graffiti is renewed, it survives in the age of the internet: it already appeared in the virtual space. To leave a trace to the world, to have a dialogue – it is an everlasting drive in people. And there is the new technology to support it. The same happens on the “Wall” of Facebook, it is the same elementary drive. The same communicational necessity and opportunity – with new technology. Graffiti. In a different way.
And the law … The law has no clue what to do, there are no regulations yet. What we see on the monitors of our computers on a daily basis is so far chaos. Most probably out of this chaos – and immense energy – a beautiful new world will be born in time. “Only law can give us freedom” – wrote Goethe. We trust that in the 21st century we will raise to this real freedom.
William Shakespeare’s signature
Who was William Shakespeare? Everyone knows and uses this name, everyone is happy when they can mention him, he has been continuously written and talked about in superlatives for five hundred years. But who was William Shakespeare actually – up until now we only have theories about this. Conventions – that are more or less grounded through theories.
Solid ground? Ground? That … we even know his signature. That he lived in Stratford, that is where the document is from. Document! Written document. However – claim researchers – first of all there are six Stratfords in Britain – so which one? It is the one upon the river Avon, Sratford-upon-Avon. That is why the master is also referred to as “the swan of Avon”. Whether he lived there …
No, absolutely not – claim other Shakespeare-researchers – he, who wrote king dramas, who wrote such great texts about courtly love, who had such thorough knowledge of courtly intrigues and of courtly life – must have lived close to the king. And couldn’t have been a nearly illiterate person from a remote town, who could barely write his own name. The situation is further complicated by the fact that the signature was found on a testament. The late Mr William Shakespeare only wrote about assets. There is nothing about texts or theatre. So this is not the signature? Or this is not the man? Who was William Shakespeare?
Let’s take a closer look to the signature to see what we can find out. It has a clear start – as it should, then the second half, last third of the writing starts to fade. “A man living in a remote town, who can hardly sign his own name …”… - We have seen graffities with the same type of characters. In a large field rumbustious letters appear. It is a clear sign of the intelligence level of its writer from the beginning to the end.
The name William Shakespeare contains three letters of a, the first two are ok. So not just one. If he had been almost illiterate, then … We are talking about a testament – about a man preparing for his death. It is possible that he was dying when he started signing his testament, and he couldn’t finish it. He couldn’t pull it off. Hence the skewness. Because of that, “only” because of that.
It happened five hundred years ago, so we may never find out the truth. We are not even researching the unresearchable – but the research itself. Because one thing is for sure: no one should be called illiterate based on a superficial impression, no matter who the person is. Theorists, self-showing go-getters, dilettants, reproductive minds, frustrated people always try to find who and what to dispraise. This has nothing to do with professionalism.
So: whether it was the Master or not, the question remains. What are we really talking about? About the research itself? Because in this case it is only a casual collection of still-born thoughts. Who was William Shakespeare? Does the 21st century come up with new conventions? Were these only conventions? All the theorists did was to choose from them? They researched – the theory is looking for its own status, for possibilities and methods in order to state something. To tell the truth.
Telling stories about Loch Ness
Legends! People have always wanted legends.
We have been aware about the existence of the Loch Ness monster for 1500 years, it became the subject of a legend, then adaptations of the legend followed in literature, arts, and films.
Let’s take a look into the basic story. Taking into consideration the basic rules of life on earth, there is a very slight chance that the creature could be 1500 years old. Whereas if there are new creatures born, then there must be male and female individuals. Hence – talking about lake Loch Ness and its resident – we should refer to an entire population. And we keep referring to it as “monster”. But this “monster” has never committed anything dreadful. At all – actually nothing at all. So what’s going on here? They say that periodically it shows up, and then the observers hurry up to … to … to do what? Take photos, make films, capture it, study it. “They are making science”. That’s it, nothing else. Who is the monster here? It isn’t, that has been certain and obvious for 1500 years. Let’s take a look at the observer and the birth of the story. Many people moved to the shores of the lake only to see the famous creature and to capture it. According to statistics, 600 hours of observing the lake are needed to spot – something. And if a person spent such a long time with the subject, he is eager to tell that his efforts were worth it. The creature has never given a chance to anything, it always manages to disappear successfully. For 1500 years. With no mistake. That is an achievement! The human intellect has come up with dragons, and next to it that the human defeated the dragon. The hero. These stories are not really about the dragon, but the human compensates, nurses its frustrations. Nessie awakes many.
To tell a story about Loch Ness, the lake and its mysterious resident… The subject is fixed, but the story-telling is already at the point where the legend is torn from its subject – as it is continuously ungraspable, unattainable, unprovable – the legend generates itself further in the story-telling, and the will of story-telling.
Nessie and its mates awake many in the 21st century. We are not looking for – and defeating heroically, of course – dragons and monsters anymore, but we are presenting ourselves and the world in a different way. The creation of symbols and the birth of legends represent two similar roads, the symbol is born on a subject, and then the effect is more important: the process as we unite or defer under the sign of a symbol. At this point the subject itself can already fade away. It can disappear. Come on, Nessie, live your life! Remain a mystery. The making and chasing of symbols works anyway!
The 19th century travelled at 6 km/h, at the beginning of the 20th century, the American Henry Ford invented the automobile, and the news programmes soon exclaimed: “Mankind has reached the breathtaking speed of 60 km/h”. The 21st century starts off with more than 7000 km/h, whereas spaceships research far-away planets and celestial bodies with more than 40 000 km/h.
“Accelerating time?” We have inherited the expression known and used by everyone from the 20th century, the century which called itself “fast”. Well … First of all, it doesn’t accelerate, it does not change at all: 60 minutes, 24 hours, 7 days and so on – a frame that is so stable. It does not accelerate. The well-known expression – is not true. We only notice at the second glimpse that we can do more in the same amount of time – and that gives us the illusion of accelerating time. Thirdly: our subjective time is „accelerating”, we try to change that, our small subjective time within the great, universal time... So one must talk about different types of time, the time of existence and of storytelling are matters of philosophy. So at the moment let us just say that time is a mere notion that only exists in our thoughts. It can be rethought anywhere, anytime, anyhow.
And we have never done a good job measuring it. Let’s just take a look: we measure distance, weight, anything in the decimal system, with one exception: time. 60, 60, 24, 7, 4, 12 – a series of attempts to get a grasp of something ungraspable. We have divided our world in time-zones based on conventions. We start from Greenwich – we know the valid conventions, because we have learned them. And it does’t even cross our minds to question them.
The 21st century started off with a new finding. One minute is not 60 seconds, one hour is not 60 minutes and so on. The „Universal time code” already speaks of „leap seconds” and „leap time”.
Ladies and Gentlemen!
One more year, and we live, moreover produce something that the European man has not done for centuries. In the first two decades of a new century, in our case a new millennium PEACE, PEACE and PEACE again. And in this peaceful period such a fast civilizational and cultural development that has never been seen before. Hallelujah!
This is not only a mere opinion, but looking at the historical dates, it is fact. Europe is still troubled, there is still no complete, continental order, because ... because of what’s going on... Let’s take a look at the TV news. It is stressful to watch the news. But there is peace. And what can I do? – might anyone ask. I go to work, then home, I take care of my family. „Everyone is a piece in the chain” – says Gyula Illyes in his poem.
We achieved that the 21st century did not start with a continental war, destruction, devastation like the other centuries. We have come with peace, the peace of the first two decades, of the new century, of the new millennium. Peace is not the lack of war, but the tranquility of the soul – says the philosopher.
We are in the home-stretch, let’s jitter for ourselves.
Even if the finish will surprise us.