The Archives in the Contours of a Society of Knowledge


Author: Kiss, Endre
Journal: Journal of Globalization Studies. Volume 10, Number 1 / May 2019

While then the basic idea of the archiving keeps up today its relativistic character, the electronic archiving reveals in the same context as an hopelessly constructive and productive entreprise. The PC has undoubtedly made bearable the original problematic of the archiving, if just not made it more harmonious. The so characteristically postmodern appearing idea of the archiving was born at the time preceding the PC and carried from the beginning the sign of a true paradox. This paradox always oscillated between the spectacular main impossibility and the technical feasibility of the archiving. Thus, the whole questioning about the principles of the archiving came back almost totally. The PC made the archiving possible in an effective and economical way, while it covered its own revolutionary acquisitions in a schell of the avowed new randomness. Every knowledge became now integrable, the PC removed "only" all the difficulties of the "physical" integration, did not however bring to the end the randomness of the process to be integrated and of the integration process. The PC even legitimized the idea that the technical integration must not necessarily go together with the conceptual integration. As a result, the archiving developed towards an encyclopedism of the contingency, while the great encyclopedia of the eighteenth century, despite its lexical structure, was interesting for its true knowledge integration. Here we become aware of the fact, that the philosophy (very largely conceived: the whole discipline of the philosophical) has until now little dealt with the knowledge as knowledge. The universal project of the archiving reveals further also all these conflicts and contradictions, that usually articulate between the mediatization and its use, as well as between the system and its accessibility. While the technology allows an unlimited access, the relations of the market economy may deliberately restrict this fundamental non limitation. It appears as further contradiction, that the belles lettres on the net are necessarily at the same time (still) personal and (already) functional-impersonal. Under these circumstances, it reveals as increasingly problematic, if the author intends, also on the waves of the new mediatization, to hold on to the traditional author’s role. A further, no less wide contradiction is, that while the archiving of the knowledge arouses an unprecedented widespread memory, this capacity of memory, effectively not yet imaginable up to now, can be completely destroyed.

The archiving leads necessarily to the socialization of any knowledge. It is however a socialization carried out individually in a curious way. In possession of the present communication means, under the conditions of the present forms of life and on the basis of the structure of the present cultural needs, the situation generates, that every individual draws up individually his (her) mass culture. The archiving also socializes the knowledge on the way of innumerable individually socialized knowledge files. The so occurred category of the social becomes thus not only a new category of our years, but also a new category of a new type of the present.

Keywords: archive, world net, social change, democracy, Borges, Foucault, knowledge integration, post-modern mass culture, socialisation of knowledg.

Endre Kiss, professor for history of philosophy at the University Eötvös (Budapest) more