Historically, Western culture can be divided into "high culture" and "mass culture", which is sometimes called "popular culture". However, Dwight MacDonald in Theory of Mass Culture argues that the term "mass culture" is more appropriate, since it aptly expresses the essence of mass consumption and likens it to "chewing gum".
Historical causes at the beginning of 1900-x mass culture as a parasitic, cancerous education on the basis of "high culture" - are quite obvious. Democratization of society and the popularization of education led to a weakening of the monopoly of the aristocracy in the field of culture, and the cultural needs of the awakened "bottoms" became a fertile ground for the production of books of a pocket format and an uncomplicated plot. Modern technologies contributed to the emergence of light music and periodicals of superficial content, frivolous TV programs and films with a simplified plot. Development of publishing and television broadcasting in 19 and 20 centuries. favored the widespread dissemination of mass culture.
According to the definition, Mass culture Is a complex social phenomenon of the twentieth century, representing a special type of production and consumption of cultural values, characteristic of mass society.
Concept "Mass culture" includes different concepts: fashion, lifestyle, health care products, architecture, professional sports, mass art culture, pop music, literature (easy reading), audiovisual production (American cinema, television series and talk shows, entertainment radio), art (including the Biennale), compulsory secondary education, political movements (including the system of national ideology), Science (in the "light" edition), advertising, image creation, political technology, folklore, gaming (from desktop and computer games to virtual reality systems).
Before the Industrial Revolution, folklore was considered to be the main cultural mainstream of a local scale. With the development of the Internet in 1990, the boundaries between mass culture and folklore are blurred, although the differences between them are quite significant. The formation of folklore occurred "from below" as a spontaneous expression of the will of the people themselves, corresponding to its own interests and needs. Mass culture is imposed "from above", fabricated by technologists-technologists at the request of business. Its target audience is the passive consumers, limited by the limits of a limited choice between "buy" or "not buy".
Many culturologists maintain that, on a global scale, there is a tendency to create a unified thinking when English is a lingua franca of a mass character - it is the source of the formation of "of politically correct thinking". This single-pole thinking system offers thousands of choices between "the same" and "the same." This leads to depersonalization, ignoring the needs and tastes of small social groups, to imposing a stereotype of a beautiful tasty life and a glamorous image.
Consequently, through the system of mass communication, mass culture embraces the absolute majority of members of society, dictating and establishing its rules in all spheres of human existence: from the deterministic way of life and the style of clothing to a certain type of hobbies; from established ideological preferences to specified close relationships. Possessing revolutionary nature and dynamism, mass culture destroys all kinds of barriers between classes, traditions and tastes; it dissolves all intercultural features, mixing and shaking everything in its path. At the same time, there is a collapse of all values. This is how homogenization occurs in culture and the subsequent cultural "colonization".
What are the theoretical grounds for the harmfulness of mass culture? Taking as an axiom the fact of the existence of culture for man and thanks to man, one should take into account the phenomenon of loss of human qualities and identification of personality when organizing people into the masses. People lose the ability to express themselves when they are among a large number of their own kind. They turn into a sort of distant "humanoid abstraction" - whether it's a football team or a political party. A person among many other people is like a lonely atom, no different from a thousand and millions of other similar atoms that together form a "lonely crowd".
What is the relationship between an individual - a "lonely atom" and society - a "lonely crowd"? Jiddu Krishnamurti reflects on this: "It is quite obvious that society exists for the individual, and not vice versa. Society exists for people to enjoy the benefits; it exists in order to give freedom to the individual, to enable him to awaken the highest intelligence. This intelligence is not just the cultivation of technology or knowledge; it means being in touch with that creative reality that is beyond the surface of the mind. Reason is not a cumulative result, but freedom from achievement and success. Reason must be open in freedom.
What are the reasons for the lack of freedom of a single human atom? Krishnamurti sees them as a direct consequence of the loss of human connection with nature. "Civilization causes a tendency for more and more cities to grow. We are becoming more and more urban people living in overcrowded apartments and having very little space, even to see the sky in the evening and in the morning, and therefore we lose contact with nature, with most of its beauty ... Having lost touch with nature, we, naturally, we try to develop intellectual abilities. We read a great many books, we visit a great number of museums and concerts, watch TV shows and have many other entertainments. Why is it that we are so dependent on art? Is not it a form of flight, simulation? If you are in direct contact with nature, if you follow the flight of a bird, with the wings of its wings, see the beauty of every movement of clouds, shadows on the hills or the beauty of someone's face, do you think you want to go to a museum to watch a painting? Perhaps, precisely because you do not know how to look at everything that surrounds you, you resort to some kind of drug that would stimulate you to see better. " Is not mass culture such a drug?
Thus, to date, in the era of globalization, it becomes quite obvious that mass culture is an integral part of our society. It covers almost all spheres of human life. Despite the polar assessments of the role of the mass culture in the development and formation of personality, it continues to be an integral marker of modern civilization. And here is the choice of the person himself: whether to take blindly the conditions of a mass game or at the same time show "the highest intelligence".