«Работа с сознанием — это прагмема»
М. Мамардашвили

About the Pragmema Project

"Pragmema" is a project by the non-profit organization "The Propp Centre"

Today’s Russian citizen, formed by the naïve positivism of the country’s native schools of thought, knows little about the practices of his or her own daily life, that is the daily business, with which we are all preoccupied — the business of recognizing, controlling, loving, without ever letting go of our electronic ‘gadgets’, accepting and giving gifts, weeding our parent’s vegetable patches at  the dacha, choosing our clothes or our children’s education, adding to our photos in social networks,  tending our graves, and so on and so forth.

Throughout the decades of the Soviet era the life of the body was not discussed openly at all or was addressed in the vulgar language of the streets. The life of the human soul, which is directly connected, on the one hand, with the life of the body and on the other with the life of the world (social, physical and metaphysical), was discussed mainly in the context of ‘moralities’: conscience, duty, guilt. The body was the concern of medicine or social training, while the “working” soul was the object of communal control, and therefore their close connection was not something anyone had a chance to notice.  All this had an extremely important social consequence, namely that we do not have a common language for reflecting on collective day-to-day experience. The goal of the Project is to create such a language for discussing our common life, a language that would be both comprehensible and built on anthropological categories free from Soviet ‘doxies’.

Two such categories have been introduced in the project’s title :

A primary sign is an event of primary perception, by means of which the hologram of reality unfolds.

A ‘pragmema’ is the element which unites the percipient (a human being) with the perceived (an object). According to Merab Mamardashvili, who was the first to employ this term, it is ‘how I perceive’,   ‘how I remember’, which is the real active force, which is in fact reality. And this ‘how’ can vary, and not only in perception but in reality. Reality can vary too, or arise anew — reality, with respect to which any distinction between interpretation and the external object giving rise to the interpretation, between perceived and perception, is pointless. Pragmemas are the primary matrices of perception and interpretation which create reality. And, naturally, it is they which form the scenarios for action. In its narrow, or linguistic sense, the term pragmema means a word into which an attitude to an object has been built in, a word containing an evaluation. These are the words which programme attitudes.