Stop the modern loop with postmodernism

Year after year I end up defending postmodernism first from hostility and second from misunderstanding. It isn’t really my job, nor am I the most qualified (far from it) to be doing this. But I agree with a lot with what postmodernism has to offer.

Last year, I had to defend against truth. Truth it was claimed to be out there, pure and obvious. Universal Grammar, modules and Language Acquisition Devices are like this kind of truth. That there is a brain, and that many creatures have it, I will not argue with. I will even agree with there being part of the brain that is especially good at language. But that anything outside of that – for example, language – is universal would mean that we should have the same concepts and forms for these. The fact is we don’t.

Language is a general and ordinary physical process in the same manner as vision is a process of the body. To see does not require exact identical machinery. Just as bees have differently structured eyes, spiders with their array, or rainbow mantises with their colour range, we human beings have a system that is unique to us. It solves a common problem to all sentient things – that of knowing how to relate to things in space.

Returning to postmodernism, it attempts to describe the nature of the world, including our own nature as a human being thing. It describes how we operate, as though we are in conflict with one another. In a way we are. Survival of the fittest, perhaps. But by not fearing we may have another way (not a better way) of surviving. Postmodernism is saying that rather than sounding like broken record forever looping we should fix the scratch and get on with the rest of the song. In other words, postmodernism is a way to move forward from centuries of repetition.

But this repetition isn’t accidental. It was a consciously (or at best subconsciously) perpetuated one. The strategy is one called by Lyotard a metanarrative or grandnarrative. In order to maintain a perceived advantageous position one uses a narrative which eliminates all objection. Not only this but also does so without drawing attention to the fact that is doing so. Broadly speaking, we can term this kind of strategy modernism.

Modernism hasn’t disappeared. Postmodernism wasn’t meant to replace it. It was never its intention to do so. Postmodernism owes much to modernism. It is indebted to it, and for this reason postmodernism includes modernism in its term. For without pointing out the strategy and tactics employed by modernism, postmodernism would not be necessary.

Postmodernism happily operates within a system of difference, while modernism operates a system for hiding differences. Postmodernism is like the YouTuber telling you how tricks are done. Modernism is like the magician keeping up the illusion of no illusion. But just to be sure, both are making money from you.

3 thoughts on “Stop the modern loop with postmodernism

  1. landzek

    Oh that’s right, Craig Hickman is not a retired philosopher, he’s a retired engineer who knows a lot about philosophy. But for some reason if you don’t regurgitate back to him the same terms he uses in his philosophical discussions, then all the sudden you don’t know what you’re talking about and you’re an idiot. Maybe it’s the engineer in him. Lol

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  2. landzek

    Still walking my dog. 🙂. And here is an even more obscure way and strange way of thinking about things:

    When I talk about the subject being an object, a universal object, I am suggesting that you do not have a subjective Opinion that I disagree with. If I disagreed with your particular opinion or argument about anything, I wouldn’t even be able to have an opinion on it at all, simply by the fact that I would have no manner to understand what you were talking about.

    So when I talk to you and we discussed things, I don’t really see it as an argument as much as I totally understand what you’re saying and I absolutely agree with it. It is by virtue of my agreement in totality to what you are saying, that I am able to say something more about it. This something more, I might suggest, because you see your opinion as indeed “yours“, as a subject, as a relative subjective postmodern person who’s making meaning which is different from everyone else’s, you axiomatically automatically and intuitively see me as arguing against you. When I add something more on to what I’m agreeing with you about, by virtue of the fact that I understand what you’re saying, you see this adding more to it as if I am negating or arguing against your personal subjective righteousness.

    But I’m not. I am absolutely agreeing with every proposal that you put forth, and then I’m saying something more about it.

    I’ve encountered this a lot over the years on various philosophical forums.

    In fact, I don’t know if you know the guy who does the “dark ecologies“ blog, Craig Hickman. For some reason every time I would read his post, which I think are really insightful and have a lot of really good things to say, I would comment how various ways that I am agreeing with what he saying and then I would kind of bring in something more that I saw at significant to what he was saying.

    Now, this guy is like a professor or a retired professor of philosophy or something like that. And the comments I would get back from him would be I don’t know what you’re talking about, and eventually they would turn into personal insults. I have no idea why. To this day I don’t even know where his offense came from or why he had such a strong attitude against my comments, because I was absolutely confirming and agreeing with what he was saying and then saying a little bit more about it in the context of my work.

    It truly was baffling that he would be a paid philosopher and completely be unable to understand how I was relating to his posts, but then also to keep himself from insulting me personally. And this guy is some sort of esteemed philosopher in certain circles, it’s kind of disgusting and offensive to me. It makes me question what PhD or having some professorship at some university really means, because I encounter so many people that are employed as professional philosophers who are I’m sorry fucking stupid as shit and pompous and get offended easily and it’s just mine boggling to me.

    This is not to say that all employed philosophers are morons; but it seems like I encounter more professional philosophers who are morons then I do professional philosophers who actually engage with what I understand his philosophy, which is open discussion and considering of other peoples ideas

    Again mine boggling.

    Anyways I just wanted to kind of add an analogy to where I am coming up with the object of the subject.

    It is because in this rejection by an author of something that I am understanding is inherently a part of what I’m commenting upon, it defines a space.

    In the same way that it doesn’t matter what meaning I want to make of a baseball bat, if I hit you in the head with that you’re probably going to get very injured. The true objectivity, the truth of the bad and the truth of your head and the truth of your inability to think clearly after that true striking of the head, does not disappear once we start thinking about it.

    OK I’m done.

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  3. landzek

    Yes. Thus. Modernism and postmodernism inscribe the modern human being to its objectivity.

    The two modes function cooperatively to inscribe a true world. Together they complete the modern world. They enclose it.

    We can find the same kind of examples in what we understand as “ myth“, and “religion”. Postmodern is the completion of what is modern; By closing off definition of one part of the human being, by critiquing it, which is to say by creating the opening through which the first part maintains its mythological power, so to speak, to uphold a particular kind of world.

    it is not that modernity found anything new, nor that post modernity found anything new.

    What we understand or understood as religion in a modern sense, say 100 years ago or whatever, in the context of that people get to choose their religion… The idea where we come upon religion versus secular…They by demand a proof. This proof comes in the form of deconstruction or postmodern or whatever you wanna call it. The proof that acts to contain the mind, to contain the possibility of conception within two parameters: Truth and it’s Deconstruction or not-truth, relativity.

    And example is exactly Judaism, which leads to the deconstruction that is Christianity. The world of Christianity becomes a thing onto itself, which is then deconstructed by scholasticism, which is a deconstruction of the “modern” christianity, back then.

    Likewise we can see the same process in what we know as Greek mythology. And likewise anything we want to term religion as if we are not thinking religiously, that is, that we can point to something else and say that I am not that, The way that I’m thinking is not occurring in that way out there.

    Our case now, with postmodernism, is a way to point to something else to say that I am not that.

    This manner is exactly the modern manner. To say that I adhere to some postmodern reality and that a modern reality is not true, and scribes the whole world within the modern context.

    To understand what human beings actually are is to understand what the human being as a universal object is actually doing. There is no argument that can be made that will get to what the human being is actually doing unless one understands that the truth of the matter of being human is not found through a reductive process, not found in the community of people that are asserting themselves in that particular mythological context, in our case, the modern context.

    So it is with the issue of truth that we have to be honest with what we are really trying to do in philosophy. The first question we have to ask ourselves is what is happening when I do any thing philosophically.

    Again, this is not a reductive process. The reductive process is a modern process By the mere fact that when I talk to you about what I might be doing today or what you might be doing in driving your Prius or your Hyundai or whatever, we say that these cars are modern. We don’t say that I’m driving my postmodern BMW unless I’m being particularly pompous and ridiculous.

    anyways. I was walking my dog.

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