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Cultural memory of humanity

Updated on December 18, 2014

Library of Alexandria

The legacy of creation

The development of humanity without a cultural memory is inconceivable. But cultural memory is not a genetic thing, able to inherit from an individual or a group to another one. It is the legacy of creation, experience and training of knowledge that is continuously processed from generation to generation. It is a legacy transmitted by via oral and written expression, or through other ways that provide the possibility of its tangible conservation.

Cultural memory is also not an object that a collector saves for his own delight in a private place of their own. It is the management, control and safeguard of the fruit of painstaking work of the peoples. A fruit of intelligence and hard work, where the new and successive generations need to interact to keep reaching higher stages of development, material and spiritual welfare.

Destruction of the Alexandrian library

People have understood the need to maintain cultural memory alive. This is an old lesson learned from the times of the Library of Alexandria, a center of learning in the ancient world, and world's first university. The Library of Alexandria was burned up. The causes for the fire is still unknown, and yet humanity mourns the loss of their cultural heritage. This fact has been billed as the biggest cultural disaster suffered by mankind, a disaster that left the man lost in a limbo of amnesia, with the trauma of being unable to recover the priceless cultural memory of the ancient world.

The Library of Alexandria treasured all accumulated knowledge by mankind until the third century a.C. She was nourished by the great thinkers, scientists, philosophers, artists and writers of all time that preceded it. But cultural memory that stored the library was not only due to the great talents who possessed special skills and techniques to produce and develop the knowledge, art and culture. It was also the result of other great talents who were dedicated to their preservation and safeguard. These talented intellectuals were Demetrio de Falero, who was its founder in the early third century a.C.; and Eratosthenes, Callimachus and Apollonius, who was its directors.

From the destruction of the Alexandrian library, mankind developed the awareness that the performing arts, music, dance, drama, theater, sculpture and rites, among many other cultural manifestations, are intangible works, formless physics. They are works that need to be reflected in some support for preserving cultural memory. They are high cultural fruits of knowledge and human intelligence, without which there would be identity of peoples and the high social development achieved.

The new spirit of responsibility for the preservation and safeguarding of cultural memory, led to the creation in 1993 of the UNESCO program on living human treasures. Human treasures are intangible cultural heritage, created and constantly developed by community sectors and social groups, depending on their interaction with nature, the production of material goods and their own history.

UNESCO

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UNESCO, urgent responsibility

The new spirit of responsibility for the preservation and safeguarding of cultural memory, led to the creation in 1993 of the UNESCO program on living human treasures. Human treasures are intangible cultural heritage, created and constantly developed by community sectors and social groups, depending on their interaction with nature, the production of material goods and their own history.

From the point of view of conservation and use of cultural heritage, UNESCO becomes the continuity of those conservative par excellence that were Demetrius Falero, Eratosthenes, Callimachus and Apollonius. Since then, UNESCO has undertaken with great sense of responsibility its task of formation and preservation of intangible cultural heritage, and in 1999 launched the distinction Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity. And later, in 2003, adopted the Paris Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage.

In recent years the unstoppable advance of digital technology, with its golden era of the Internet, has provided an unlimited possibility of expression and communication of knowledge, art and culture. However, the range of information and knowledge collected and processed by the network of networks is so large and diverse that seems out of judicious control. This inordinate amount of information that circulates at high speeds by sites like Google, Yahoo, Amazon, and Facebook, among many others, urges apply rules and regulations to permit the organicity, cataloging and control of humanity’s cultural memory. The infected internet, hackers and other representative figures of malware, may be the Library of Alexandrina of our times. And humanity is not prepared to fall back into the limbo of amnesia that produced him in the third century BC the ashes of the first university in the world. We pray that the efficiency of UNESCO endorse this urgent responsibility and we do not regret partial or total invaluable cultural memory of the modern world lost.

UNESCO

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UNESCO was created In 1945 to respond to the firm belief that peace must be established on the basis of humanity’s moral and intellectual solidarity.

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