Tag Archives: postmodernism

An object is an object is an object; the world is the world is the world.

No matter what (pun intended) an object is an object. Be this a single atom, a group of atoms, a non-sentient cluster, a sentient cluster, or any other way an object can be.

I am not even talking qualities, but only existence or being. Unobserved, objects are just objects. The world (or reality) is just is, or simply, the world is.

I am not promoting anthropocentrism. But any differentiation discerned is done by a sentient (in the “sense” sense; again pun intended) object. We should neither privilege nor disparage it, because an object is an object is an object. I would be more than happy to let a rock philosophise. And I am sure a rock couldn’t care less that I can philosophise either. So let it be and let us get on with philosophy.

On Music

1.
We are surrounded by culture, that is, we are surrounded by people. In various ways we express ourselves, and we recognise these expressions. We express ourselves because we recognise others will recognise our expression. Communication is a vicious or un-vicious circle, depending on who you ask. And music is but one of the many ways of expressing ourselves as human beings.

2.
I wasn’t born in the eighth-century. I wasn’t even born in the 19th century. My time is the late-twentieth-century. I heard disco. I heard new wave. I heard pop. I listened to post-punk. I clubbed. I read Smash Hits and Face. I even read iD and watched a bit of Top of the Pops. I didn’t have complete control of my musical environment. I took in what was there. This was what was there.

Musical “taste” is different for everyone. No two people have the exact same music experience. Like everything else, we must necessarily see things differently. My favourite song can only come from what I have heard. We can try to have as wide a music experience as possible but we can never have the entire music experience. It isn’t even worth trying, unless you do so as a professional. I cannot imagine the knowledge of someone like Ryuichi Sakamoto or Mozart. My knowledge of music is limited to pleasure.

3.
As I said, my Top 10 songs can only come from what I have heard, what I know. And sometimes it is not worth expanding your knowledge.

Think of your musical knowledge as objects filling a room. At some point not much more can fit into it. We loathe to throw these things out. They “do the job”. They bring joy and sometimes sadness. Anger even. They belong to the history of me, the owner of this room.

Sometimes someone asks you to listen to this or that. But I already have the love songs to remind me of long past romances and present loves (plural because love is not for one but many: wife, child, parents). The newly introduced song, without sounding cold, means nothing to me. It reminds me of no one (except for the introducer) and no time except (for the present). But that song must mean everything to that introducer. And that song is all that matters. That is his or her song.

My room is filled. That person’s room may not be. He or she may be only starting to fill theirs. And yet others like you may also have filled rooms like yours. Finding people with similar rooms is a near impossible and almost futile task.

4.
Sometimes I would like to take out a particular song and play it. But why I chose that song to play is never clear. But once it starts it would bring back memories of the past, of people, places, and time. The associations are specific to me. It is immediately clear in the sense that I enjoy those memories, but would require much explanation to all others who do not have privileged access. That is the meaning of being me, and the meaning of others.

5.
Temptation by New Order.

Forty years have passed. But the days I would listen to this song are vivid to me, at least the general atmosphere, light, feelings. Joy. Discovery. Freedom. It is by no means a great song, but it reminds of all those things mentioned and more. It reminds of my friend to whom I had played it and it please me that he liked it too. That feeling is all that matters and mattered. And as I listen to it now as I write this, those same feelings return.

I will stress again this point – it doesn’t matter who has heard or likes the song, only what it means to you. The link to the past is so important that everything else matters not. Perhaps if you take that link away the song will no longer have that power over me.

In some ways it would be a mental assault. Reality would be changed in a way which would hurt greater than perhaps physical pain. This point I cannot confirm but only imagine to be so. Even imagining this now is painful and it has not even happened. Such is the intensity of music, and of experience in general.

Philosophy is not above and beyond analysis and criticism

I do like postmodernism. It was the staple of late twentieth-century intellectualism and thought. I don’t particularly think it was saying anything new. Others have noticed what postmodernism was saying. But it said it differently, and in a more appealing less confrontational way.

When postmodernism says nothing is truly sacred, it means everything operates from the standpoint of its difference to all other things. Sometimes Man stands in contrast to animal.  Man with a big ‘M’ may even stand uppercase man. And man often stands against woman. But really there is only these series of differences. Nothing has meaning in itself.

Science, religion, and philosophy are ordinary activities, and not beyond analysis. One can think of the idea of paradigm put forward by Thomas S Kuhn as an example of science. Atheism and agnosticism as examples of religious analysis. And Wittgenstein’s Philosophical Investigations as a meta-philosophical analysis.

For philosophy to be reflexive is important. Any ideas to truth-claims are dangerous and need to be carefully analysed and understood in order not to fall into complacency. One’s own self-righteousness leads to not only metaphorical blindness but generally ends in conflict. The only shared world there is the physical one. Mental ones rely on it, not the other way around.

Band-aid Philosophy

It would be very wrong to think we are objective beings able to be absolutely impartial. No amount of trying will we ever reach complete objectivity. We view everything from the very bodies we inhabit never being able to leave it as much as we believe we can. Imagining that we do is of course possible but in reality that imagined objectivity is coloured by the entire experience of being who I am. To exactly know who or what I am is an impossible project. We must not exactly give up on this but to let the mystery be just that, an eternal mystery. Only then we will be content and be able to move on. To accept that we contain and never cease to perform value-judgements is the first step to move on to understanding ourselves, others and other things. We must always ask what are our values and how did we arrive at them. Only then can some of the problems of the world can be, like a band-aid to temporarily cover a wound, imperfectly solved. We can only hope for band-aids. We should celebrate the band-aids.

Does not a belief in a flat earth imply that the planets are flat as well?

I love looking at the moon. I love watching it slowly change from a full moon to a new moon. I love half and crescent moons also. But they are all the same moon in different light.

By observing the moon and watching it change I can confirm that it is indeed a sphere. By looking at the shadows I can point to the direction of the sun, and infer its location relative to us.

But why should the moon be spherical? The more we look out there the more we realise that the other planets are spherical as well. So maybe the planet we live on is as well.

That thought probably prompted man to sail away from the coasts and literally venture out into open waters. The evidence increasingly pointed to the world as being round, or at least not being flat.

This also prompted us to think about how and why things do not fall off a round-edged world into whatever is beyond the horizon. Perhaps everything is falling into the centre – gravity. Eureka! All problems solved.

The fact is we have observed, with our own eyes, the planets and planetary satellites out there, and they are not flat but round. Things don’t fall off the planets because they are round. And the Earth is not special. It is not flat. And we, human beings, are not special. The world neither figuratively nor literally revolve around us, just as the Sun does not revolve around the Earth. It is only ignorance and arrogance that makes us think the planet and us are special. And sometimes people are kept ignorant for reasons of maintaining this power and control over them. This is not unlike the flat-earthers’ narrative that the Sun revolves around the flat Earth, all the while telling you that you are their Sun.

Modernism

Modernist movements believed their own movement could replace all others, that there was no question of their perfection, and no question of their progress.

Postmodernism, on the other hand, believed they owed their existence to Modernism, that perfection was impossible, and they were no better than or worse than the Modernism that came before them.

While Modernism believed it was internally consistent and readily self-definable, Postmodernism saw itself as play and a system of difference.

The faces of Foucault

Not many people know it but Michel Foucault had (at least) a public and private face. I will not elaborate. But perhaps it is only important to remember that we are protean in nature.  Everyday we play many roles. Most are chosen. Some are not. Many, you may see. Others are unnoticed, camouflaged or outright hidden from you.