The culture policy

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Extract of the small dictionary published in 1969
Author : Umberto Campagnolo

1. The lesson of SOCRATE

2. Culture

  • Its current role.
  • How can one define it ?
  • Moral and social petrol of the culture.
  • The autonomy of the culture.
  • Historical function of the culture.

3. The culture policy

  • What it implies.
  • Its exemplary demonstrations.
  • Its task
  • Its aspiration with the universal one.
  • Its radical humanism.


That the teaching of Socrate had a political significance, the conium is there to prove it. That it was an expression of the culture policy, the same conium makes it also manifest.

If this teaching had not had in fact a political value, the Athenian government would not have condemned Socrate to drink the conium ; and if it had not been an act of the culture policy, Socrate, according to the council of Criton, would have transgressed the law and would not have drunk the conium. But the culture policy recognizes the laws, while at the same time it tends to create the requirements with their going beyond.

This is why we think that we are founded to regard Socrate as our Master and to make of him our symbol. Its example shows us that the culture policy is a serious commitment, able, on the occasion, to require that the conium be drunk.


Its current role. – The culture represents, still today, the greatest chance to avoid the catastrophe to which humanity forwards according to logic even crisis that it crosses. It is a question of returning to him the conscience of its power, its importance, its responsibility. It is in particular a question of d°obtenir that it realizes of the possibilities which lie in the forces of the culture, intended by nature to carry out the great syntheses.

We know that this assertion will appear utopian and vain with those which know other effective forces only those available to the States or the forces of money. For those, the concrete one is only the tangible one, even the sight and hearing are secondary directions, and the thought an useless Dream. But we should not fear this surface judgement, because we know that if the culture for some time does not play a direct and decisive part in the evolution of the history, that is due to the men of culture themselves, their abdication, their treason sometimes.

(7-8, 32)

How can one define it ? – The fact that there are various manners, not always concordant, to define the culture, was sometimes an argument to prove that it was impossible to give a definition of it. It is supposed obviously that all the concepts are worth, that each one can have his and that a general idea cannot result from their complete inventory. On the logical difficulties of this thesis and limit we pass to recall that our agreement even requires a single concept, clear and coherent of the culture. This concept will have logically to understand the cultural fact under all its aspects and all its forms, and to justify the term chosen to indicate it.

However, it seems that one answers these requirements by conceiving the culture like the activity, or power, who creates values. This design allows, indeed, to extend the cultural character to all the expressions and manifestations of the human one, where one can introduce only empirical distinctions : we cannot consider the culture like the privilege of an elite, artists, writers, scientists, philosophers, even if, because of some of their specific qualities, we consider that they are intended to fulfill a given social function. The word of culture is a metaphor, like are the words of right, of State, to be able ; it is thus as justified as them. By reference to the man, these words acquire an absolute direction ; they mean the right, the State, the power par excellence ; in the same way the word culture, which had at the origin for object the ground, by reference to the man means the culture par excellence.

(17-18, 303-304)

Born from the humanistic claim of the freedom of thought, which often was understood in an abstract and limited way, the culture gradually grew rich by as well contents and increased such in a scale as one could consider it sufficient the intellectual and spiritual needs of the man. Actually, it is made of these values ethical, political, economic and aesthetic whose man always lived, but whose source was formerly placed beyond the will and of the intelligence. The new design of the origin of the values deeply transforms their significance and their prospect. They cannot be any more regarded as the prerogative of a nation or a civilisation ; they transcend all the social systems ; they do not become exhausted in any particular experiment, but, being the expression of what is properly human, they extend to all the history from humanity. To recognize their universality means to affirm the principle of a concrete universal morals, being opposed to abstract universalism and the particularism of the traditional moral systems. Indeed, the culture carries in it, more or less consciously, universal morals.

 (17-18, 306)

Moral and social petrol of the culture.  – A notion of the culture where its moral and social petrol is marked, and where are recognized the unit and the universality of all the values, is certainly one of the primary goals which we must have so that it takes again strength. Entered the spirits, it will drive out these harmful ideas of separation and opposition between the various forms of the human activity, which are at the same time the fruit of a process of social disintegration and the cause of its aggravation. These ideas accredited formulas like “art for art’s sake”, “the business are the business” ; they accredited the assertions of the apolitical and amoral character of the culture, and others still ; they led to the exaltation of the individual, by detaching it from the company and by often opposing it to it ; they established absurd hierarchies of values pushing the elected officials to forget their human relationship with those whose sorrows support them ; they wanted that the poetry and works of art were flashes of the genius, exceeding in an absolute way the common man ; in short, they deeply shook this feeling of solidarity which is the substance of the company, the base of any moral life and, we can from now on say it, of any human creation.

(17-18, 308)

The autonomy of the culture. – By the formula of the double yes, we mean our will to resist the trend that certain men of culture have to today sacrifice the culture to the requirements of the ordinary policy, our will to prevent that the forces of the spirit betray their function and their mission, and to recall to the attention the fact that there is a manner of conceiving the freedom of the culture which is actually dangerous for this freedom, i.e. for autonomy of the culture and its fidelity with itself. Our double yes, we did not oppose it to double not as if we intend to say yes to everyone and with all things : interpretation far too surface, in truth, because it lets suppose at those qui.ont marked the Formula One an excessive degree of naivety or mischievousness. Our double yes wants above all to be a categorical refusal opposed to yes or not, with or against us, that some allotted to the culture. It is because it meant before all this refusal, because it was this nonprecis – addressed to those which would like that the culture was not any more culture – which we should not integrate it into other the nonexplicit ones. We have of other not to pronounce only that which is opposed to the treason of the culture ; all the others are implicit, secondary, indirect. Which direction of nonopposite with spite, violence, the perfidy, slavery, with tyranny, could they have had ? This kind of not, all the involved political adversaries pronounce them the every day to affirm that they are free of the defects with which the enemy, is charged for him. It had been not only superfluous to pronounce it, but this not, deprived of direction, would not have failed to cause new misunderstandings.

(7-8, 30)

By asserting the absolute autonomy of the culture heard like creation, we affirmed his fundamental requirement. Obviously, the concept of autonomy is understood in that of creation ; the reverse, however, is not less true. The two concepts are perfectly reciprocal. Was it thus necessary to also hear Kantian morals like creation ? The bringing together of our design of the autonomy of the culture and the Kantian design of moral autonomy appeared to us of a private interest. It seemed to open new prospects with our doctrines, or, in any case, to offer a useful benchmark for its historical determination. Without any hesitation, the substantial coincidence of the two concepts was essential on our spirit. Universal one and the other, they were to be logically solved in the concept of the man, single prone of all the values. Coincidence was certainly not total, but it was checked under the aspect most important, and historically decisive, of the ethical thought of Kant : the original and inalienable freedom of the human act. The rough Kantian judgment of any heteronomous design of morals could be repeated towards attempts seeking to impose on the culture of the standards and the foreign ends to the creative process of spirit.

(17-18, 305)

The only manner of understanding the creative autonomy of the culture in its historical reality, it is to see the relationship between the individual and the company like a dialectical report. It is the mechanical or biological design of the company, seen like a sum or a synthesis of individuals, who prevented the exact intuition of the creative act. The company is carried out in the individual when this one expresses, through his personality and its work, the social will ; this is why it tests a feeling of plenitude as much more perfect than its work expresses it better. The social will however never becomes, as becomes it, in the constitution of the State, the general will of Rousseau, sovereign law of the activity of the thought. Creation exceeds any law ; much more, it represents the matter and the substance even of the will of the individual as he is man. It is also the base of the human solidarity, conceived absolutely. The cry “we all are of the assassins”, who echoes that of “we are all of the sinners”, is true historically and metaphysically. It is the social will that Socrate wants to respect while being recognized interdependent of its fellow-citizens in the injustice which they make against him ; it is the human solidarity whose Christ is made the witness while carrying on the cross the sin of the man. Nobody runs away himself only, not even wisest or purest ; this paradox finds already clearly and explicitly, in the epistles of saint Paul, his dialectical justification.

 (17-18, 307-308)

Historical function of the culture. – How do we have to conceive the going beyond antagonisms which the culture is, according to us, invited to operate ? To answer, no need to forge a definition. It is enough to consider the development of our civilisation. It is seen that the greatest syntheses of our history all were prepared by this going beyond which the culture operated with regard to political situations which had crystallized. When we say that the man should not undergo the history but do it, we think precisely of this going beyond the particular political situations. It is indeed the man, as a creator of culture, which makes the history, to the clean direction of the term. The man, in his brutal instincts, the stupidity and violence, undergoes the history ; but the spirit of the man, this spirit for which it was known as that “the man is with the image of God”, that one made the history. To make the history is its vocation, it is what gives to the life its moral direction. To exceed a typical location, to make the history, that means to understand and overcome contradictions by raising them on a higher level of spirituality ; in that the creative work of the man resides, of that consists the humanization of the history. Our civilisation knows of another perfection only progress : progress, its ceaseless advance, its going beyond all the positions acquired, conquered, here is its destiny, its perfection, destiny and perfection in time and within the space of a universal idea. In other words, our civilisation can reach the perfection constantly, in infinite forms, and this perfection, it is the universal culture in act.

(7-8, 30)


Umberto Campagnolo

What it implies.
 – The culture policy supposes the moral petrol and the social reality of the culture. The goal of this policy is to contribute to carry out the requirements with the full development of the creative activity of the man. She affirms the autonomy of the culture against conformism, totalitarianism, the moralism, opportunism and all the others – isms which a company in the grip of the crisis can invent. Its object is the dynamic reality of the creation which nourishes itself and changes indefinitely ; she refuses to be fixed in a diagram, whatever it is. None the forms which she assumes during the history is final, none cannot be essential on the political option under the terms of an obvious and undeniable need, reason for which the individual appreciation is the deciding factor of this option. That by no means implies an agnostic attitude with regard to the policy, nor does not exclude the absolute value from the principles of the culture policy, such as that of the autonomy of the creative activity, that of the unit and the universality of the values, that of the social nature of the cultural fact. We could of the rest also adhering perfectly to our thought, to call justice the goal of the culture policy, i.e. the requirements with spiritual creation. Those indeed constitute the ideal towards which the culture policy pushes the established order constantly, order made inadequate by each new creative act. In other words, they represent a goal which moves unceasingly and whose mirage is the effective leaven of what we must also call progress.

The culture policy is thus in espace at the same time ideal and reality which exists between two historic moments, one present and other future, and she is aware of having to contribute to the creation of this last. This is why it is at the same time culture, as a creation, and a policy, as intended to carry out the best conditions creation. The act which creates the city with its laws, its institutions, its heritage material and spiritual is political than cultural as much. The distinction between policy and culture is purely dialectical, each term having to be defined according to the other.

(17-18, 308-309)

The culture policy does not merge with pacifism, whether it is political or sentimental. It does not have its base in a hypothetical good will and it does not call on the ideals of equality and fraternity between the men ; it is not an alternative of this optimism, ingenuous or tactical, which hopes, by exciting the friendship and by raising hopes of happiness, to create a favorable climate with peace. The culture policy is based on a calculation of forces, on the appreciation of trends, requirements sharp, incoercible aspirations. On a side, she considers antagonisms of structures, contrasts of ideas, traditions, interests which divide the men, and she considers the exit of all these conflicts without giving in the illusion which they can be contained, repressed or emptied of their substance through sermons and sermons ; and other, it seeks to measure the importance which are intended to take in the evolution of the situation the positive forces emerging from the impassioned desire of life and progress which led humanity, through fights and sufferings, to release themselves from many forms of slavery and to create this reign of the intelligence human, able to give a direction which is worth with the history of the man.

(25, 84-85)

Its exemplary demonstrations. – Antigone sophocléenne seems to us the poetic intuition of the problem created by the fatal tension between the power and the new aspirations of the man. Socrat is the philosophical solution, concretes, of this problem. The resistance of Antigone, the opposition of Socrate to the power established, the first instinctive one and consequently interfered irrational elements, the second perfectly conscious and, therefore, respectful of legality, so to speak fixed in an obvious representation the essential drama of the company within a universal civilisation like ours : drama in a certain insoluble direction, as a long time as the dialectical nature of the human spirit will be recognized and that it will be deliberately accepted and will not be regarded as the condition even of the plenitude of the human life. At this point in time is born, baptized or not, the culture policy, (i.e. a conscious effort in order to maintain the tension necessary between the organization legal, very contingent, and the absolute of the cultural aspirations, within limits allowing the culture to continue this dialectical development thanks to what the company progresses and the civilisation is able to create. It is under the terms of the culture policy that the history in its truest direction is carried out ; i.e. the man makes the history, instead of undergoing it, that it dominates it, that it wants it, that it carries it out. It makes it with the State, and at the same time against the State, the incentive to be left the limits that this one would have liked to be fixed, hustling its natural inertia, combatant his privileges, while reinforcing it and by enriching it, as well materially as spiritually.

(5-6, 152)

Its task. – The task of the culture policy is to cause the forces necessary to create the 0rdre which will make null and void the existing structures. It will start by showing that these forces can and must carry out the institutions whose existence will mean the going beyond the crisis ; how they can it and how they must. Also the culture policy is it positive and constructive. Because, to prevent violence, it is held to make solve by the reason the problems which force man with violence.

(25, 83)

The culture policy reveals its importance in the most critical moments, as a combatant unjustified fears, selfishnesses, the superstitions, sluggishness of mind it, cowardice, all that is opposed all in all to the walk of the history, all that generates these disastrous stops and these violent reactions which often make pay to the man his progress of an excessive price of blood and pain. It opens at the company the horizons of the new experiments which it has to make, and maintains it in this state of directed availability, necessary to the normal evolution of a crisis.

(5-6, 82)

Its aspiration with the universal one. – If we raise in the aspiration with the universal one, in the research of the truth, the essential source of the various European cultures, we would find the bottom even culture of which we occupy ourselves, and let us find we it so that would allow us to justify the design of this function of the culture with respect to the policy. It is because it is universal that it must be free and to be opposed to the restrictions which the policy would like to impose to him, who has immediate contingent goals. To affirm the unit, yes, but by calling on this idea of the root common in the aspiration to the universality of the culture.

(2, 33-34)

Its radical humanism. – The culture policy is born from the possibility that have the men of culture to dominate the game of the political forces ; but, while dominating it, it takes part there ; its role precisely consists in preparing the synthesis of the forces in fight. Its function could be defined like the humanization of the history ; it is the expression of the attempts of the man to substitute the reason conscious for the rough game of the events, and to make that the history is raised level of natural phenomenon to that in fact unceasingly more human : it is deeply pompous direction of the history.

(5-6, 30)

We wondered whether the term of humanistic would be appropriate for grammarians, to professors or to writers whose one would consider only the occupation. Or rather, if this term would not apply to such men because of the moral and political range of their activity. Humanistic themselves, while referring to the humanae lítterae, would they thus have forgotten the human and civic significance that Cicéron allotted to these studies ? The major nature of humanism is actually moral and political, and one would be wrong, according to us, to qualify humanism the profession of the letters if it were only the business of specialists. If the grammarians, the literary men and all those which cultivated the thought and the classic arts had seen only l°aspect technical their studies, they would not have been entitled any to avoid title the humanistic ones and to compare their trade to the liberal culture of old. Culture – culture of the man and for the man -, here is perhaps the word which now indicates the fundamental idea contained in the expression of humanae lítterae ; and we would be tempted to recognize a rather perfect equivalence between the terms of humanistic and humanism, and those of men of culture and culture policy. Indeed, in view of its historical range, humanism appears like a movement of men of culture tending to establish the intellectual and moral climate favorable to the creative activity.

(15, 27)

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