In the context of social transformation, there is an increasing interest in myth as a result of the organizing activity of consciousness, a fundamental construct that reflects the ways of knowing the world and the forms of interaction with it. As the metaphysical basis of being, myth is included in the social dynamics. At each stage of civilizational development, mythosymbolic structures reveal their potential, actualizing the life-creating resources of a person and society. The purpose of this study is to identify trends in the formation of modern myth, its socio-cultural specifics and role in the life of a person and society. As a methodological basis, we use the sociocultural approach, the principles of hermeneutics and phenomenology, which allow us to carry out a comprehensive analysis at the interdisciplinary level. The authors show that the modern mythosemantic context is in its infancy. Its metaphysical basis is not formed. The factors that constitute the ontological situation manifest themselves in interaction, in the living, active creative process of participation and experience of values by the subjects of cultural creativity. The authors conclude that in the context of global social transformation, a balance is needed between the driving forces of modernization and the sacredness of tradition, which ensures the self-preservation of local integrity, and conventions that optimize interactions and harmonize the states of their participants are important.
At the turn of the millennium, a global transformation of all spheres of human life and society began. The transition stages are accompanied by a change in the picture of the world. In such periods, there is an explosion of eschatological moods, a crisis of collective identity, an increase in interest in the archetype and myth as a narrative structure in which ideas about the fundamental foundations of being are concentrated.
Cyber technologies are beginning to influence the way of thinking and perception of reality. The usual communication models are supplemented and modernized with the help of digital technologies. Digitalization now affects all spheres of human existence, from the interpersonal everyday interaction of individuals to the construction of social and business relations in economic and social systems (Shokhnekh et al, 2018). Based on a systemically holistic mathematical logic that dissonates with mythological perception, the digitalization of being implies a change in a person's way of thinking in the process of communication and interaction using digital technologies.
Myth is a universal cultural phenomenon. It includes ideas about the world order, a cultural attitude, it supports a certain configuration of being, performs explanatory, compensatory, integrating, differentiating functions. Currently, mytho-symbolic structures are significantly transformed both on the content and on the structural and compositional levels (Antipov & Donskikh, 2020).
The article examines the tendencies of the formation of the modern myth, its socio-cultural specifics. It is important to identify the values that contribute to the optimization of human life and society in the context of modern global transformation.
Purpose of the Study
The purpose of this study is to show the dynamics of the formation of modern myth, to identify the mechanisms of its connection with reality and the resources that the forming mythosymbolic context carries.
The socio-cultural approach is used as a methodological basis. This approach allows us to explore the life world in its integrity, unity of activity, communication, and social aspects. Methods of hermeneutical analysis are used, which help to attract the largest possible amount of information to the research field and reach the level of interdisciplinary synthesis. In addition, the principles of phenomenological analysis are applied, which allow us to develop knowledge in the conditions of dynamics, transformation, the absence of fundamental prerequisites and established theories.
According to the concept proposed by Agranovich and Samorukova (1997), myth is the habitat of our consciousness, a specifically human way of creating (modeling the world) and thereby mastering and cognizing of reality, a kind of universal image of the world.
Researchers see the structure of mythological consciousness as a triad of "Subject-Object-Absolute". The subject is a person with all questions and problems, tasks and emotions; a vulnerable being, with a sharpened perception of reality, with a constant assessment of himself, with dissatisfaction with his activities. An object is the world in which a person lives, the phenomena that occur in this world, the reactions of people to the events of the surrounding reality, despite of the scale of what is happening. The absolute is the measure of all things in a given epoch, and at the same time the magical helper of man in his relations with the object, the supreme knowledge that determines the relations of subjects and objects, the universal value of a given period. The history of any nation consists of a movement towards one or another Absolute. Everything is subject to this movement – politics, economics, science, family. The triad is a dynamic mechanism that is implemented in social and artistic processes, being the basis of the genetic code of culture.
As a rule, the myth is locally conditioned, it is tied to traditions, it stores a semantic and ideological code that captures information about the uniqueness of the place, allowing it to be identified, and about the sacred values that regulate the organization of life. Such values maintain the level of order necessary for human society. It is a narrative that predicts the states that can be expected by a person who finds himself in a given part of space. The mytho-symbolic structures formed in the process of mastering a unique part of the earth's landscape fix the natural connection of man, nature and society, their organic integrity, which gives local texts the idea of stability and reliability, making them especially relevant and necessary in times of transformation.
In the context of modern social transformation, as Zamyatin (2010) writes, that the space of local myths begins to expand rapidly, not in the sense of the well-known repeatability of basic archetypal plots, reproduced in completely different civilizations and cultures and in very remote territories, in completely different sometimes natural and cultural landscapes, “but in the sense of their semantic and figurative expansion into such areas of the mental and material life of regional communities, that were previously unattainable” (p. 38). The researcher remarks that in the modern era, the cognitive contexts of the development and functioning of local myths have changed. They began to be perceived, imagined, constructed and deconstructed within the framework of purposeful acts of consciousness, “which seek to fix original metageographic spaces for the purpose of marketing territories and places in socio-cultural design, figurative-geographical design, strategic planning and branding of territories, regional political analysis, etc.” (Zamyatin, 2010, p. 38).
The myth of modernity combines the sacred and the profane. It is open and undergoing a formative stage. If earlier the local specificity of culture was the main one and was based on a stable custom (everyday traditions, language, religion), then over time the cultural specificity becomes situational and is based mainly on the actual interest (usually political or economic). In addition, one can see the incompatibility of local specificity and the acceleration of the dynamics of social development. The stability of cultural specificity was ensured by the slow pace of society's development. With the acceleration of social development, a significant part of the traditional cultural specificity of this society is lost. It can even be said that the local cultures of communities at one stage of development, as they move from one historical epoch to another, become less specific in relation to each other. Moreover, the more the pace of social development accelerates, the faster the signs of local cultural identity are lost.
Ivanov et al. (2020) writes, that local myths are not only traditional mental narratives describing and characterizing certain places and territories, but also:
Fundamentally, vitally, existentially important components of the vision of not only the past and present, but also the future – the future begins to be fixed by the appropriate legendary events and stories, confidently projected into the space of the not yet realized but very possible and desirable. (p. 89)
As is known, the most important role in the organization of modern social space is played by media structures. Mass media create their own logic of knowledge production, their own mode of time and format of space, setting the parameters of social reality organization, motivating social and cultural dynamics on a global scale (Polonsky, 2015). Multimedia technologies contribute to the creation of semiotically complicated (polysemiotic) sign-symbolic structures, which combine synergistically interacting word, image and sound. At the same time, the focus of the multimedia text is in the sphere of the visual message. As a rule the verbal text contains argumentation appealing to intellectual-conceptual and value meanings, while the nonverbal component, including various methods and techniques of communication, stimulates the emotional reaction of the audience and creates, mainly, an attitude – an emotional response to information, events, facts (Strizoe & Khrapova, 2018). Wolfe (2008) said:
Media make the world miniature and gives a specific experience of the world as an image that stimulates the imagination, actualizes creative abilities. Images are exchanged with others, refer to others; they hold only the visual component and assemble the world in a different way; fractal images are created, forming a new entire each time. (p. 47)
The unique ability of the media text formed on the basis of digital technologies is plasticity, that means easy production, fast translation, instant transformation, the possibility of conflict-free unification in a one space of discourses that differ in semantic and semiotic plans. According to Inishev (2020), in the media environment addressed to the mass audience, traditional texts are systematized, transformed, and organized according to the principle of hyperstructure, or a network that allows the addressees to choose their own meanings and create the principles of meaning formation.
Thanks to modern technologies, the text of mass communication has acquired interactive properties: the audience has the opportunity to respond quickly to received messages, comment on them. In addition, the very dialogue of the author's and the addressee's minds becomes available for general observation and evaluation. The specific nature of mass media intertextuality creates a fundamental incompleteness of semantic spaces. Media text is an integrative multi-level formation that combines different semiotic codes into a single communicative entire and is essentially open both at the content-semantic and compositional-structural level (Artamonova & Volodenkov, 2021).
Khorolsky (2013) drew attention to the fact that media texts exist as a spontaneously emerging and self-developing synergetic part of the social macrodiscourse of everyday life. The mass audience is dispersed, indeterminate, heterogeneous, and unrelated to interests, goals, and values. Therefore, media texts intended for a mass audience tend to be closer to this audience. These texts are motivated by the "promotion pragmatics", which is based on an attentive attitude to the cultural and psychological characteristics, cognitive, cognitive, creative, and emotional abilities of people. At the same time, in the media environment, there is not only an understanding of local stories, significant plots and symbols, but also an analysis of the conceptual design of narratives that represent history. It develops an attentive and responsible attitude to the values that should be followed in the process of creating information content.
The media flexibly adapt to requests, subtly tune in to the movement of thoughts and feelings, gently involve people in the field of their action, hold attention and adjust the interests and needs of social groups, determine the vector of the movement of thought. The engaging nature of interactivity indicates the increasing importance of control over the communicative environment, the increasing possibilities of a person in the organization of his life.
The context organized in the media environment does not carry a firmly fixed ideological content, easily connecting the local and the global. Local mythologies and stories metaphorize spaces, contributing to the development and expansion of new semantics of possible worlds, forming a translocal identity. Thus, according to Polonsky (2015), the mental and ontological foundation of a new cultural landscape is being created.
Intervention in the structure of the communicative situation, understanding of the usefulness of interaction both in the search for information and in solving collective tasks, the principle of feedback in real time, noticeable contact with reality, the projection of which is an information and computer network, form a new type of consciousness. The change of epochs, and hence the change of economic, social and cultural conditions of human life, is always a change of myths. According to the laws of myth, a person builds relationships with the world, observing the rules of interaction that have developed in a particular era (Davydov, 2020).
Agranovich and Samorukova (1997) identified two types of culture: the culture of harmony and the culture of purpose. The culture of harmony was formed on the basis of archaic myth and prepersonal consciousness. The culture of intention is associated with the formation of monotheism and the idea of a transcendent personality. The culture of intention implies the necessity of exerting the will, the violence against the natural course of things. But, growing out of the culture of harmony as a result of the transcoding of language, the culture of intention also contains in an implicit form the idea of harmony. The researchers state that after the culture of intention, the culture of the image-concept begins to form, which implies a dialogue between the earthly harmony and the transcendent goal. The current phase of social development corresponds to the state when the culture of intention, having exhausted itself, comes to its logical conclusion. The triad disintegrates, forming a value void. We all wander in search of the code, anticipating “something that will be realized when we come out of the myth that has not yet been offered to us” (Agranovich & Samorukova, 1997, p. 9).
Thus, informatization and global transformation lead to changes in ontological constants. Space and time are leveled, become dependent on the subject (Volokhova, 2020). The research experience of the twentieth century has shown the fundamental importance of description. The universal ritual of our time is communication, and the main mediative value is language.
The innate ability to reflect, the deep ontological need for order, self-realization and presentation are realized in the technological process of constructing mythologems that reflect modern cultural specifics (Davydov, 2020).
In these circumstances, there is a question about the values in accordance with which a new socio-cultural context should be constructed. It is about finding a new metaphysical basis that would become a source of life-creating meanings, on the basis of which life would be built, relationships formed, and directions of development determined (Ivanov, 2019). The code is not known, the myth is not formed, the rules of the game are manifested in the process of interaction in a live dynamic active experience of values. However, more than ever before, the value of life as such is evident, manifested in the tendency to archaize, based on vital values. Archaism preserves the inviolability of the connection between the world and man. Modernization consists in the unprecedented development of high technologies of a person who has liberated himself, who suddenly finds himself in a situation of permanent risky choice and realizes the need to connect with the source of life-creating power, a person who is in search of spiritual knowledge and guidance (Zabiyako, 2021). Throughout the history of the evolution of mankind, the myth as a way of storing and transmitting information has been strengthened at turning points of culture development. It can be explained by the heuristic possibilities of mythological images, their nature and functions. Mytho-symbolic structures create holistic pictures of reality, overcome social and cultural barriers, they expand communication opportunities, activate imagination and stimulate the development of creative abilities. Digitalization as an integral part of modern culture and the mythical as the habitat of human consciousness do not compete in the modern socio-cultural space, but, complementing each other, enrich it with new meanings. In the context of global transformation, a balance is needed between the driving forces of modernization and the sacredness of tradition, which ensures the self-preservation of local integrity. Therefore, conventions that ensure the optimization of interactions and the harmonization of the states of their participants are important.
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28 December 2021
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Culture, communication, history, mediasphere, education, law
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Khrapova, V. A., Shcheglova, L. V., Strizoe, A. L., Latysheva, M. A., & Marchenko, A. Y. (2021). Myth In The Forming Information Society. In D. Y. Krapchunov, S. A. Malenko, V. O. Shipulin, E. F. Zhukova, A. G. Nekita, & O. A. Fikhtner (Eds.), Perishable And Eternal: Mythologies and Social Technologies of Digital Civilization, vol 120. European Proceedings of Social and Behavioural Sciences (pp. 80-86). European Publisher. https://doi.org/10.15405/epsbs.2021.12.03.11