Since 2012, more or less, I've been looking for a personal stance in the humanities. By personal stance I mean the fact that all theorising effort is somehow connected to a consideration of my own situation in the world, characterised chiefly by an aspiration of mobility and a dissatisfaction with the local, the inherited, the limiting in my own origins. Such a personal justification clashes against all the visions of humanities based on communities, politics or collective destinies. What I am interested in is an insight into radically individualised, idiosyncratic, private sphere of intellectual life and symbolic creativity. In other words, I focus on the position of a non-belonging individual, a marginal searching to affirm and consolidate his or her own marginality and take on all the profits of his or her situation, such as the possibility of unhindered move beyond any achieved state, undetermined by legacies. This vision of intimate humanities is not only a protest against the dominance of politically-oriented humanities across the last decades, but also an invitation to reconsider the forgotten, and yet absolutely central sphere of the individual taken in the innermost of his or her consciousness, spontaneity and creation.
PRIMARY SYMBOLIC CREATIVITY
The aforementioned opposition between intellectual life and symbolic creativity requires an explanation. I am interested in two very unlike levels or spheres of human activity. Symbolic creativity implies the primary creation of basic verbal, visual or other elements to convey meanings (the universe of sound and music as ways of communicating meanings remains regretfully beyond my competences, yet as principle it should be taken into consideration in this kind of research). Such a primary creation is strictly individual before it may be culturally transmitted. Any innovation may have a double source: on the one hand, it can be - and it usually is - a development based on some culturally transmitted element; on the other hand, it may appear precisely as the discovery of a gap, a zone of experience uncovered by cultural paradigms of expression. Moreover, it is easy to suppose that an extensive part of what has been individually created, especially as the exploration of those unnamed and not-yet-conceptualised cultural gaps, never becomes accepted, adopted, comprehended in cultural communities. It may fail to be included in the strain of the cultural transmission or remain in its marginal zones. Most probably, primary symbolic creativity leaves nonetheless some traces that, under new headwords, may be rediscovered and consolidated into a new field of research, contributing for a fuller understanding of our humanness, expanding beyond the frontiers of the cultural understood as a sphere of learning, repetition and mainstream transmission.
SCHOLARSHIP BEYOND THE CULTURED
On the opposite pole in relation to this sphere of primary creation lies the intellectual life beyond the cultured condition. By this expression, I mean the kind of high scholarship attempting to transgress its own frontiers produced precisely by an intensive training. Cultured patterns of interpretation, transmitted in education may easily make one blind to certain dimensions of alien cultures, as well as original creativity. Large spheres of symbolic space become invisible to a scholar who sticks too closely to his or her own cultured paradigm. No wonder that various excellent minds have attempted to fight against these limitations in search of a more comprehensive vision. I am interested in following their footsteps, often lesser known or forgotten, across the margins of the dominant, cultured universe they inhabited.
The notion of symbolic space that I have just brought about is another item that requires explanation. As I try to speak about all these spheres lying beyond what is usually understood by culture, I feel the need of a conceptual tool permitting to name and to describe the "ether" in which cultures are immersed. The all-encompassing notion of multidimensional symbolic space, most probably presenting some non-trivial topological properties, permits to situate all the margins of human creativity stretching outside cultures, oscillations between different cultural systems that cannot be reduced to any of them, and even radical aspirations of transgressing the humanness that are to be connected with various spiritual quests, both attested historically and observed in vivo, in the contemporary world.
In other words, I am concerned with man moving into the cultural void, as I say, beyond the cultured condition. What I am interested in is the transgression of culture as the totality of transmitted and automatised habits, blocking individual spontaneity, authenticity and creativity. I claim that this cultural stance, inherent to every human being, can be transgressed; cultures can be unlearnt. Such a process of unlearning, de-automatising of reactions, usually channelled through culturally determined paradigms, brings about the progressive growth of the sphere of insight, autonomous decision, considered choice.
AUTHENTICITY AND LIBERATION
This emergent condition of man liberated from the cultural automatism that constitutes the main scope of my investigation becomes increasingly important in the contemporary world, in which contradictory cultural codes coexist in the same social and intellectual space. This fact leads, on the one hand, to an unprecedented increase of the symbolic complexity in which individuals are immersed and with which they are forced to deal; on the other hand, the contradictory norms, paradigms and exigences brought about by the overlapping cultures lead to a collapsing stage in the individual faces choices beyond the culturally transmitted paradigm. Emergence of complexity, collapse and the void form thus interconnected aspects of the same situation of man in the symbolic space.
The term "transcultural" becomes increasingly popular, not only gaining several assertions, but also forming an extended family of concepts. Transculturation is still explored close to the original meaning of the term, proposed by the Cuban ethnomusicologist Fernando Ortiz. A new transcultural vogue appeared in Germany in the nineties with the idea of the dissolution of cultures, developed by Wolfgang Welsch. The transcultural writing is explored by Arianna Dagnino, who also attempted, in 2015, to propose an extensive glossary of terms to speak about the literary creation of "transpatriants", writing from a nomadic position in relation to languages and local literary traditions. Finally, the transcultural vogue penetrated into the social studies, focusing on the complex biographies and identities resulting both from displacement and the conditions of cultural mobility as a new exigence inherent to living and working conditions in the contemporary global metropolises.
My understanding of the transcultural is nonetheless radical: I think not only about a human transgressing the cultural boundaries in order to circulate freely between diverse cultural orders, but first of all about a human that aspires to break through the limitations of the cultured condition as such. This understand come close to the "apophatic" conceptualisation of transculture by Mikhail Epstein. The utmost stake of this endeavour is not only a new stance in cultural or literary criticism; even more ambitious, yet urgent aim is to foster the emergence of a new sphere of translingual and transcultural communication of the trauma that may result from the loss of clear cultural inscription. In the contemporary world, this is the fate of millions. No wonder that, oxymoron accepted, the concept of transcultural community, build up by individuals confronted with their unshared, unparadigmatic, non-transmissible experience, should be proposed.
LITERATURE BEYOND THE FRONTIERS OF LANGUAGE
In order to build a theoretical idiom describing this radically new condition of humanity, I've initiated several threads of reflection, dealing with mathematical inspirations (topology), transcultural speech (a specific form of literary communication in which diverse languages coexist, just as one may observe in Joyce's Finnegans Wake, as well as in many examples of post-colonial literature, introducing subaltern voices) and poetics of the void (dealing, among other aspects, with negative, apophatic ways of communication in transcultural condition). In the latter domain, I use an idiomatic concept of Desert, referring in a metaphorical way to the unstructured, primary field of creative potentiality.
In my search for transdiscursive ways of communication, visual tools of reflection, such as sketches, graphs and pictograms acquire a great importance. This is why my vision of emergent humanities implies not only the usual modality of writing new texts, but also an important field of visual experimentation.
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