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Czech spirituality transformation at the turn of millenium (1/4)

Globalizing Processes and European Identity Quest for

Changes of social reality are consequences to contradictory processes, of movements in different dimensions, they fill more general civilization trends as their antagonist parts. Globalizing process of whole Earth is filled by Europezation - European integration and creating European identity. European process, partly, create the content of globalization, partly, it is contradictory to it and creates its corrective.

Globalization is a category mainly of economic and informatic character. Informatic and communication technologies create conditions for the global village arising with global economy. The created conditions wipe off differencies between states, nations, races and continents that is advantageous for economy. In culture area, the created conditions are, however, favourable for widening mass culture. Mass culture is based on low socio-cultural and educational level of a receiver and it forms receivers of that kind since their childhood. Mass culture of low common denominator (production acceptable by a receiver with the lowest educational and intellectual potential) widens all over the world like a fire because people of low socio-cultural level and of low aesthetic taste preponderate in any country. Traditional functions of culture are missing in mass culture priority of which is a profit. Mass culture widening was connected in high measure with americanization or, by another word, with macdonaldization of society. Globalizing means as well globalizing life style symbolized by jeans, Coca-Cola, hamburgers and by aggressive hunting for success at all costs.

By my opinion, the European process is a little different. Europe involves regions developing their culture continually during several milleniums. Universities exist there nearly for one thousand years and separated national cultures keep their individual specifities in spite of rich contacts. European space is, in both material culture and culture resuscitated in thinking, feeling and acting of people, full of human endeavours after cultivation of self and of its life environment in both individual and social dimension. The culture accumulation is the biggest wealth of Europe and the Europe is aware of it. That is why the idea of European integration is not connected with an idea of an American melting-pot and European culture homogenization but, in opposite, with saving, maintaining and developing national cultures and with their mutual enrichments. They are not their European neighbors who is dangerous for smaller European nations but it is American mass artificial culture what is dangerous for Europe as a whole and for separate nations, too.

Americanization and widening mass culture are a part of globalizing as well as arising European and worldwide multicultural space in which authentic and spiritual values of different cultures are reflected and interiorized out of their own culture domain, too.

Youth is the most dynamic and the most sensitive part of a society. That is why it reacts mainly to those processes and phenomenons being new in the society. As youth is not homogeneous but it is structured after numbers of features, it is understandable that the youth, being both a subject and an object, takes part in social happening in its whole contrastness and in all dimensions. Youth is an important actor of mass culture stream. Teenagers first of all but children, nowadays, as well are a source of huge profits of industry connected with mass culture. On the other side, youth is an active bearer of creating multicultural space - alternative to mass culture.

Appreciating the share of Czech, European and American programmes in Czech telecasting is a certain indicator of an attitude towards European culture and American mass culture[1]. Index denomination over 3 means extraordinary high share of the given sort of the programme., the denomination lower than 3 means an insufficient share. As it is perceptible from the graph, youth appreciates negatively the share of American programmes in commercial telecasting. The requirement after European programmes correlates strongly to education level. Above all, graduated people miss European programmes.

Apreciating the share of Czech, European and American programmes in telecasting, youth between 15 - 30 years
Apreciating the share of Czech, European and American programmes in telecasting, youth between 15 - 30 years

Czech society is often classified as materialistic, secular and atheistic. These classifications are based on some simplifications. Christian is identified with official Catholic or evangelic churches, spirituality is identified with religious life inside a traditional church. Such a conservative optics don´t allow to reflect new facts and development trends. Both contradictory processes intensify in the Czech society and among young generation. Consumption style of mass culture widens and intensifies and, paralelly, activities based on need of transcendence develope among young generation. Young generation differentiates itself strongly, besides others by its basic life attitude. It is a reaction to the consumption society, too, that traditional spirituality developes inside religious organisations and so does the new spirituality.

Czech youth is a part of both the majority consumption society and, as well, different groups refusing more or less the consumption market society. A part of youth adapts itself to the contemporary Czech consumption and market society but a part of youth either refuses to adapt itself to the society or it is not able to do so.

It is interesting that young delinquents, due to their value viewpoint, are well adapted to the contemporary Czech society but they do not cope with instruments of realization of these values. This is caused by their lower level of education, social and economic position. Penetrating organized crime, massive growing corruption into the state and the political system is characteristic for the contemporary society. Criminality of white collars protected by their social contacts, parliamentary immunity and economic power is nearly unpunished. The example of a businessman can be taken for an illustration of moral state of the society if e.g. the manager was declared as the best anager of the year and the exemplar builder of capitalism but, two years after, he was named a criminal by mediums and a number of complaints were lodged against him.

Drug addicts are negative examples of rejecting adaptation. Both their alternative value system and their unability to adapt to market and consuption society are concerned in that group. Examples else of alternative groups are religious and spiritually oriented groups of youth. I am going to consider one dimension in my analysis - spiritual and religious life of the youth, it reflects a range of processes inside the Czech society but of European and global processes, too.

[1]I considered the theme of media in years 1997 - 1998 in the scientific grant Media in Life of Youth. Respondents were put the question: How do you appreciate the share of Czech, European and American (USA) programmes in telecasting in this year. Answering use, please, the scale 1- definitely insufficient, 2 - rather insufficient, 3 - appropriate, 4 - they are rather many, 5 - they are definitely many. For the graph purposes the index used is weighed arithmetical average and may reach denominations of the range 1 - 5.
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