Monday, July 30, 2007

Postmodernism- an Introduction

Ah, Postmodernism.

No other way of thought grips my heart with anxiety the way this structureless thought structure does. I would probably find it simpler to converse in a productive and progressive fashion with a absolutist individual who was under the delusion that he/she was absolutely a refrigerator. That said...

For the sake of clarity I will first isolate the definition of postmodernism which I will henceforth be using in this post.

Sarah's definition of Postmodernism: A way of thought which gains its independence from classical thought by denying the existence of absolute, objective truth. Categories of truth such as "opinion" and "fact" are disbanded, leaving vital boundaries virtually non-existent. Fact is placed in the same category as opinion, and all truth is, therefore, rendered entirely subjective (that is, truth is whatever you want it to be)

Postmodernism is the logical next step from the modern attempt to make man the measure of all things. I will explain.
The modern period, with debatable birth and death dates (around mid 18th century to very recently) was defined by what I will call "reactionary" science. This differed from trustworthy science because it was driven by an intense desire for there to be no God, therefore it was a reaction to a philosophical and/or theological preconception. Darwin's life work is an example, as he was an atheist who desperately wanted to scientifically render God obsolete. It was because he did not check his motives at the proverbial door that Darwin and his like-minded colleagues departed from trustworthy science.

Logically, when man is the measure of all things, and God is not needed/not there, absolute standards to live by are dissolved. In order to reconcile the resulting theoretical chaos, it is dealt with by running to the "safe haven" of relativism. Hence, we arrive at post-modernism.

We are in an era that has given birth to people who say things such as "that's true for you, but not for me", and who champion ideas such as the prized postmodern bulldog; "tolerance". The fact that they use an incorrect definition of tolerance is entirely relevant and often overlooked. (Tolerance is a passive action that does not imply active condoning. The image of a dog with a kitten climbing all over him comes to mind...one can hardly say that he enjoys having little claws digging into him, but as long as he does not attack the kitten, he is tolerating it.)

Anyone who believes in absolute truth is considered by the true postmodernist to be old-fashioned and closed minded. I just try not to smile when I mention that their mantra of "there is no such thing is absolute truth" refutes itself because it is an absolute assertion.

Postmodernism: Birth date: late 20th-early 21st centuries. Death date: hopefully soon

3 comments:

Douglas Groothuis, Ph.D. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Douglas Groothuis, Ph.D. said...

Sarah:

Those are pretty solid observations. My only comment is that Darwin began as more of a Deist and later became agnostic and possibly atheistic. The was trying to remove God from the particulars of biology, since he thought nature was so cruel. This was a highly significant part of his motivation to develop the theory of natural selection as sufficient to explain the origin of species. On that see, Cornelius Hunter, Darwin's God.

You are right that much of the Darwinian ediface is supported more by materialistic ideology than by hard, empirical science.

Best,
Doug Groothuis

Sarah said...

Thanks so much! Correction noted.