(note this is a work in progress)
Postmodernism relishes in the world’s confusion, the lack of any mainstream, just many streams depositing into the same ocean.
Each stream represents an idea, a way to live, a philosophy. Each idea flows along its own course, seemingly independent and unique, all pouring into the same vast sea of world-thought.
To understand the streams, we must grasp the zeitgeist — the spirit of each age — that shapes world-thought. Like storm clouds pregnant with rain, the mood of the times pour down and form the stream of ideas, our consciousness.
Before postmodernism walked onto the stage, there were two other major characters in this play of philosophy: Modernism, and before that what I call Traditionalism (a bit more descriptive than the generic Pre-modernism).
Traditionalism meant old-school: discipline, patience, work, faith in a better afterlife, religion instead of aimlessness.
Modernism came when humankind became technically enlightened: science ahead of religion, abstraction ahead of concrete truth, Utopia on earth is possible and through earthly labors we will achieve it.
Postmodernism came like an wild horse escaping the confines of the modernist barn. It arrived when the world realized technology may not save the world after all, in fact men like Hitler and inventions like the atom bomb proved technology could end civilization as we know it.
The world had not become better off by casting away tradition.
By definition postmodernism offers no final answer. Answers are subjective realities, different for different individuals. Postmodernism says there is no universal truth, so why try?
To think modern is to understand the chaos of the universe, the loss of individuality in a mass produced society, and to feel a sense of loss for the “good old days.”
Postmodern thought is similar, yet here we accept and embrace the loss of old traditions. The universe is chaotic and meaningless, so why be sad about it? Let us dance in the rubble of old ideas and knowledge, scattered beneath our feet like pieces of a puzzle.
Here we find all our patriotic heroes and even God Himself have hosts of academics who’ve found “holes” in their logic, history, and even existence.
One of postmodernism’s tenets is that all beliefs and systems are only valid to the various groups employing them.
Postmodernism is also just another belief, it is one of many ways we can choose to live, but not an inevitable condition of the universe.
So we must first break down where postmodernism came from, to understand what is next.
JFK’s death ushered in Post Modernism
A perfect day in Texas could not have been more inspiring with the president of the United States and his glamorous wife cruising in the open air under trusting sun: the American dream glistening with the charm of King Arthur’s Camelot. Maybe this man, this embodiment of idealism in action for the betterment of society, of modernism in all it’s high-hopes, would bring us closer to the utopia modernism promises.
Then in a flash it ends, the bullets ends not only the life of a man but of an era of hope in the modern world. On that day the American psyche shifted on its axis and gave up: The world is imperfect and meaningless so why keep trying. Postmodernism is born.
Before Kennedy’s assassination everyone knew of the world’s evil tendencies. Hitler used modern media and technology not for the betterment of humanity but to conquer, kill and enslave. The American psyche wasn’t naive to evil, but we still believed evil could be overcome through virtue and perseverance.
Kennedy personified for many the “good” that could fight the world’s evil, so to see him taken down so suddenly, followed by his brother, broke America’s heart.
The postmodern reality: anything goes, hard work and good beliefs don’t matter unless they benefit you in the moment. In fact, all that mattered became the moment. The McConsciouness was Born.
So now what?
Post-Post Modernism – or Post Modern Realism
Now that every pillar of tradition is toppled, like Humpty Dumpty never to be put together again, where do we go from here?
Postmodern Realism (PR) understands there may be logical holes in religion, but embrace faith anyway because living life based on pure logic is also questionable. Even more, PR does not like the lack of direction, lack of fulfillment and negative consequences experienced by living without any higher consciousness.
Our existence will continue to become more symbolic and representational as digital creations become more liquid and organic: more like us. There will always be a fight between good and evil, personal Armageddons.
Tradition will gain even more value as it appears to be more threatened by technology. It is human nature to protect the past virtues within ourselves as well as the institutions, or pillars, that uplift them. A struggle between change and stability is part of the yin and yang that energizes the universe.
Humans are like computers. Our religions are the software installed within the computers. Either they are time-tested and secure or open to piracy, viruses and worms.
Post-modernism will die as an inevitable end, and become a victim of its own relativity.
Postmodernism believes good and evil is relative, but a Postmodern Realism sees the renouncing of belief as just another belief, to be judged by its fruits like all beliefs.
Postmodern Realism saw the poisoned fruits of postmodernism: the rise of random violence, a dramatic increase in abortion, divorce, suicide and cases of depression.
Post-modernism will be trumped by Postmodern Realism, as it becomes another philosophy from which to gain insight, not end-all enlightened perception of existence.
Minds like Einstein realized that the more advanced we are, the more we prove the existence of God, the original author.
And like Socrates could have predicted: the more we learn, the greater the void of our knowledge is revealed.
Of course there will be many who gain arrogance instead of wisdom when bestowed with new powers that will arrive further down the digital trail.
Advanced societies will breed new forms of vices and viruses as the old forms are finally eradicated.
But after the furthest limits of our digital creations have been reached, there will be more scientific exploration of the fourth dimension, the “spiritual world.”
At best, we could reach a state of enlightenment and understanding that Christians, Jews and Muslims share a common ancestor in Abraham.
Imagine Abraham calling all his ancestors to dinner. It would be quite a family gathering, even if dysfunctional, a great reality show.
- For my satiric take on post-modernism, check out: What if Postmodernism Ruled the Land?