Raivis Bičevskis

The Number in the Outlook of Kulturkritik: Language – Society – World

At the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries, the optimistic expectations of modern science and the Enlightenment that the mind can know the world and its laws, and construct a new model of a perfect society, are radically questioned. As a result of these dreams, a human becomes rather alienated from the world and faces the increasingly complex and deeper socio-political problems of modern society. Many authors approaching the prophets of the 19th century cultural crisis (Romanticism, Bahofen, Nietzsche, etc.), and cultural criticism (Kulturkritik) emerged in the early 20th century, creating a special genre and style of analysing the general cultural situation. Not all of them will call themselves cultural critics. However, in their works one can find persistent themes and common approaches that form the discourse of cultural criticism in the first half of the 20th century. Several thinkers, writers and publicists of this time address the decline of cultural themes from different perspectives, where the important topics of cultural criticism are calculation, computation, and the focus of modern sciences on numbers.

Linda Gediņa

Number and Division: Subordinate Order

It seems obvious that numbers are abstractions. That we primarily experience the world as a lifeworld, hence, as “before”, “after”, “before”, “with”. That is why I chose to talk about the division of space through the work of art, with time playing a role. The subject matter is quantum as a matter of synthetically a priori description and philosophically legitimate justification, I will express it in the language of Heidegger’s hermeneutic-phenomenological philosophy: existence is time, where time is understood in the sense of having “already been” (bewandt) – that is, experienced and therefore understood, and because of this understanding or significance involved in the world-worldly relations of “before-then-after”. Accordingly, the theme defined by Heidegger’s ontology as the ontology of Western Christian cultural anthropology is: the primary mode of time is existential lived time. That means to speak of time as of “already was” and in terms of a certain purposiveness. Is it to speak of death?

So, regarding art it is very difficult to say something new when everything has already been said and already has been, and hence, for the most part, boring. What remains: repetition? a photographic aesthetic? the undermining of the learned bond between signature and image? – thus redefining the meaning and understanding/interpretation of perceptual metaphoricity. By making it emphatically one’s own, adapting it to one’s own understanding and environment, without trying to preserve the [possible] original meaning, sense, and reason.

The possibility of art to remain genius art is the perspective of the new vision. What makes something interesting is the way in which it is presented; even the most familiar. – And isn’t it? – Plagiarism is the negative extreme of this thesis.

Can such repetition and subversion be seen as worthy of the monkey described by Kandinsky: the monkey turns the pages of the book as he bends over it and looks absorbed in his reading, “but the movements have no inner meaning”. There is also a similarity with Heidegger’s description of the supposed experience of death: you understand something by judging how it happens to another, e.g., how it looks like.

Sensitivity to one’s surroundings, inner experience, does not much distinguish a human being from an animal. Nor are there states of feeling, in which man can approach the experience of death. For Heidegger, one of the states closest to death is fear, when participatory engagement with the world closes, but so is boredom (Langeweile). Boredom often comes from too much of the world, satiety. Hence, the temporal role of the work of art, or its effect on spatial division – opening and preserving the space of the individual’s performative freedom and possibilities for successful involving action – would also be to prevent boredom, thus preserving, opening up different ways of accessing the world and distancing death – the closing of the world to human participation, just as in fear.

The existential-ontological aspects of performative freedom would then be characterized, as follows: one should ask about the place of morality, meaning, consciousness and spirit, as well as possibility (modality) in the surroundings allowed by the various existing explanations and the behaviour, action, environmental organization. The role of modalities should be particularly emphasized, assuming that possibilities are extensions of actual spatial events, or in other terminology, places of [static location], which transgress the limits of behaviouristics and include imagination, morality, art, meanings of meaning as equivalent components of spatial formation, thereby negating naturalism in the mechanistic sense.

Gunta Jaunmuktāne

About History of Calendars

Since the 7th century BC, Roman calendar consisted of ten months. The year started in March and the first month of the year was called “Martius”, followed by “Aprilis”, etc. In the 6th century BC, two additional months were added to the calendar: the 11th month called “Januarius” and the 12th called “Februarius”. As of mid-1st century BC, the days in the calendar had drifted out of alignment by 80 days.

Julius Caesar, the Roman general and statesman, proposed the reformation of the Roman calendar, based on the designs of Greek astronomers, including Sosigenes of Alexandria. In this calendar, today also known as Julian calendar, January was established as the first month of the year, a month in which during that era the statesmen were elected.

During the medieval times, the calendars were not compiled for a single year, instead, the calendars were permanent, designed to function for a long period of time.

The first permanent calendar to be used in Riga dates back to 1554, and has been compiled by Tarquinius Schellenberg – the physician to Riga archbishop. However, no copy of this calendar has survived. A copy of a subsequent calendar to be used for Riga in 1565, compiled by physician and astronomer Zacharias Stopius, and printed in Koenigsberg has fortunately been still preserved to date. This calendar is titled Schreibcalender auf das Jahr 1565.

The Latvian names for the months in the calendar along with the Latin names were included in the calendar for the first time by Paul Einhorn, a historian and Lutheran pastor, in his historical book published in 1649 under the title Historia Lettica. In this book, he referred to winter month “Janvāris”; candle month “Februāris”, etc.

The first Latvian calendar bore the title “Peasant or Latvian Time Book” and the titles subsequently of this calendar changed to “New and Old Latvian Time Book”, “Old and New Latvian Time Book” and “Time Book”, printed in Jelgava, Latvia.

The wide range of Latvian calendars can be divided into several groups: generic calendars, local calendars (dedicated to certain cities, towns or districts), Latvian calendars published outside Latvia, specialised calendars, such as those dedicated to literature, jurisdiction, music, trade and manufacturing, children, religions, including specific congregations, farming, medicine, crafts, love and women’s activities, sailing, humour and many more, designed to suit the needs of multiple activities and professions.

Ineta Kivle

Polyphony of Numbers: Imitation and Simulation
111111111 × 111111111 = 12345678987654321

Number relates to intelligible reality: it gives a clear reference to quantity and demonstrates how mind is connected with sensitive world, or how numbers simulate self-referential codes and signs. Numbers as metaphysical order, element of ontological structures, measure of harmony, movement and transformation are applicable for comparison of various philosophical approaches. Philosophical approach seeks abstract and universal being of numbers that connotes with ideas, shapes, and forms – the number always is something definite. On the one hand, numbers are independent of capacities of subjective mind, whereas on the other, numbers are constituted by human mind as a measure of order, proportion, harmony, quantity, etc. As the main philosophical characterizations of number are considered the stances permeating all spectrum of human activities, elucidating functions of being and justifying rational order of the world, as well as constructed realities – simulacrum, hyperreality, digital world, etc.

Simulation, as well as imitation relates to reality in different ways, it depends on what is thought by reality. Reality as being of actual existence always changes its horizons from real objects to images and words, from intellect and emotions to signs and images, from signs to signs, etc. Faculty of ancient cosmos to be imitated is not more real than hyperreality with its functions of simulation – they both are realities of philosophical environments of different cultures. The main difference between imitation and simulation confirms existence of two realities: one is concerned with human’s activities that imitate nature, cosmos and other peoples and make references from intelligible to sensitive, from perceptual world to intelligible; another is hyperreality with its own realm that is without references to real human life and activities.

Ancient philosophy concerns several aspects of number from cosmic dimensions to sensitive and calculative world, reaching different realms of human activities – democracy and politics, music, harmony of spheres, sounds, rhythm, relationship between cosmos, music and mathematics, etc. Baudrillard creates a new condition of society that have no ground – that is hyperreality, simulacra determined by the force of the code of numeral correlations. Baudrillard gives the examples of consumer objects as codes and shows how one numeral correlation of signs is constituted by structural relations with other signs. Self-referentiality of signs stimulates a separation from real objects, coding systems manage society through signs and digital logic of code. Signs simulate signs, numbers simulate numeral codes – in such flux of data, the subjectivity of human is deconstructed.

The concept of number shows two different models of society: one is hypostatic – coming upwards and downwards with a reference to another reality and respect to corresponding truth; the other is a horizontally generated multiplicity – the deconstruction of the real into details without references to another reality and rejection of corresponding truth. However, there is a common stance: Ancient Cosmos as well as Hyperreality are created exploring typical mathematical operations, where numbers justify stability and clear order of created realities. The question is: how do we see numbers in reality?

The “polyphony of numbers” works differently in each of these realities. The generally accepted definition that polyphony forms a complex and multi-layered simultaneous process of different components applies equally to the imitation and simulation of numbers, as well as to ancient philosophy and postmodern theories of hyperreality. The difference is in the direction, sequence and understanding of polyphonic reality. The polyphony of numbers explains not only the realities of thoughts that can be separated in historical time, but also the different manifestations of numbers in sounds, colours, and objects.

The primary resources of the study are Plato’ dialogues; Plotinus. The Enneads. Tractate On Number; Jean Baudrillard. Simulacra and Simulations.

Inta Līsmane, Ilze Ruža

Numbers and Facts: Foreign Students in the Context
of Latvian Language Learning

The twenty-first century with its rapidly changing socio-economic and cultural situation has introduced the necessity for transformations in higher education. Language and education must be viewed in close relationship. The 21st century is characterized by the necessity of multicultural paradigm in education. When different cultures meet, it becomes necessary to solve communication problems, to understand universal values, as well as various languages and cultures, ways of communication.

Quality education is a precondition for successful development in the contemporary society. The learning society has broadened the meaning of education, learning and knowledge. Currently many students choose to work abroad. In our rapidly changing situation, the main priority is the New Man, who will live, work and be able to operate productively, contributing to a process of the development. Personal and professional competence is named as an important factor for every student and specialist not only at present, but also in the future. This article analyses the results of higher education, as reflected in the knowledge, skills, social aptitudes and values of university graduates, looking at the extent to which these are in line with the demands of the labour market.

The purpose of the paper is to analyse the Latvian language as a means of society integration and cohesion, and on the basis of conducted analysis and the best practice review to elaborate suggestions for further society integration opportunities. The study applies evaluation design as it provides an overview of the corresponding legal enactments in the field of official language and society integration policy and implementation thereof, an analysis of educational opportunities in the context of language learning with aparticular emphasis on non-formal adult language learning. The paper also considers the examples of best practice in the field.

Language learning is offered both in formal and non-formal education. Significant contributors to developing people’s Latvian language competence are higher education institutions providing both formal and non-formal language learning opportunities for inhabitants of Latvia and foreigners.

The findings of the study indicate that in furthering the Latvian language competence it is necessary to develop comprehensive programmes that focus on creation of open and integrated society. It is necessary to continue conceiving and implementation of language acquisition projects, which would result in creation of methodological and methodical base for language learning that would enhance education quality and serve as a basis for further society integration and cohesion.

Iveta Nātriņa

Coordinates of Utopia

The utopia of modern period as a rational construction is characterized by its “inner” architectonics of thought. It was modelled on Plato’s Politeia. For example, both in Thomas More’s Utopia and Francis Bacon’s New Atlantis, the exposition begins with the story told by an experienced sailor about the adventures on a hitherto unknown, distant island. It is depicted as a special place where good virtues prevail, and life has a different, more excellent quality than amongst the society of that time. At the beginning of modernity, these are the so-called utopias of space, which, instead of the future, describe coexisting societies somewhere else on Earth. They have location pointers, although they lack consistently accurate coordinates.

T. More’s remarkable innovation – the concept of utopia – includes two original meanings (a place which does not exist and a good place), which refer directly to a place whose coordinates are not known in a geographical sense. The meaning of utopia includes the always present human dissatisfaction with the current quality of existence, thus looking for alternatives – the places worth searching for.

One of the most striking phenomena of utopian discourse is the island of Atlantis. The search for its geographical location has gained not only theoretical but also practical manifestations.

It is in the discourse of modern period culture that the utopia of space is born as a genre and there is a marked turn towards the active search for various utopian islands, isolated and lost territories. Such a turn is related to significant changes in culture, creating an impulse to discover new worlds, including mythical utopian constructions in the horizon of expectations (R. Koselleck).

George Psalmanazar’s false utopia Formosa (the 18th century), which, according to all fake news criteria, exhausts the spectrum of credibility in the discourse of utopia of space, opening up the scene for the utopia of time, is considered to be the sarcastic end of the era of space utopias.

Anna Strode

Time and Space: Wedding Restrictions in Livonia in the 16th–17th Century

In the 16th–17th century, the public and economic processes in Livonia were controlled by the Baltic German nobility. The Livonians of both German and Latvian origin had different regulations in accordance with their belonging to particular group of society. Regulations promulgated by governing authority stated obligations and rights of every citizen, including the right to get married and take part in a wedding celebration. Each aspect of the process of wedding was subject to the local laws – time, place and order of the ceremony and celebration, number of participants and the allowed activities – musical performances, dances, etc.

The description of weddings in Livonia is primarily based on chronicle by Balthasar Russow (1536–1600) Chronica der Provinz Lyfflandt, the wedding and clothing regulations issued by the Riga City Council in 1593 Eines Erbarn Raths der Königlichen Stadt Riga in Liefflandt Reformierte Kost und Kleider Ordnung and 1598 Eins Erbarn Raths der königlichen Stadt Riga, erneuerte Hochzeit Ordnung, as well as on the research on the 17th century weddings in Riga (Rigasche Hochzeiten im 17. Jahrhundert), written by historian Alexander Buchholtz (1851–1893).

Viesturs Zanders

New Insights in the Publishing of Calendars by Latvian Communities in Exile (Personalities and Trends) 

The publishing of calendars in Latvian language began already in the middle of the 19th century. However, with some exceptions, this phenomenon has not gained sufficient attention of the specialists in the field. The same can be said concerning the calendars in Latvian published after the WWII by Latvian communities in exile. Due to objective reasons, the range of the calendars published in exile is not as wide and varied as in Latvia before occupation. Nowadays, the only value many of them still retain is that of a testimony of their specific time and cultural situation. Nevertheless, one can find calendars intended not just for some recreational reading and those have an enduring place in the history of calendars published in Latvian. Some of them bear the characteristics of one-man enterprise: e.g., Bitītes kalendārs (The Bee’s Calendar) (Eslingen, Germany, 1946–1958) composed by the Archbishop of the Latvian Evangelical Lutheran Church Teodors Grīnbergs (1870–1962) or Ārstniecības kalendārs (Calendar for Treatment) (Chicago, USA, 1954–1964) composed by Dāvids Bīskaps (1879–1972). In case of some others, we find a more extensive group of authors and the touch of an experienced editor, e.g., P. Mantinieka apgāda gada grāmata (The Annual of P. Mantinieks’ Publishing House) (Brussels, Belgium, 1950–1952) composed by Arturs Bērziņš (1882–1962) or Latviešu almanahs (Latvian Almanac) (London, Great Britain, 1952–1957), as well as Dzimtenes kalendārs (The Calendar of Motherland) (Vesterosa, Sweden, 1972–1988) compiled by Kazimirs Vilnis (1907–1988), a Catholic dean.

There is a special place in the history of calendars published in Latvian for Tāvu zemes kalendars (Fatherland’s Calendar), published by Vladislavs Locis (1912–1984). Its publication started already at the end of the 1930s still in Latvia, afterwards it was continued in Germany, and finally, in 1991, resumed in Latvia.