Stick a fork in modernity: it is done.

August 5, 2007 § 5 Comments

In a combox at CAEI, one commenter says:

No good can come from deconstruction, playful or not. “Good post-modernists” is an oxymoron.

I agree with this, with one caution. Like any stopped clock postmodernism is right about one thing: positivism is nonsense. And most modern people raised in the scientific age have a tendency to believe unreflectively that positivism is the opposite of postmodernism. In reality they are both wrong: indeed, postmodernism finds its beginning in the realization that positivism is nonsense. It is in that sense and that sense only that, with delicious irony, postmodernism speaks the absolute truth. The rest of the incoherent nonsense in postmodernism is a result of failing to accept that the modern project of making man into God is over.

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§ 5 Responses to Stick a fork in modernity: it is done.

  • Rodak says:

    “…the modern project of making man into God is over.”Zippy–It may be doomed to failure (nay, it *is* doomed to failure), but I’d say that it’s hardly over. The internet, or world wide web, represents the attempt of man to become omniscient–to have all the information there is available from anywhere, at any time. And the goal of medical science seems surely to be physical immortality without aging. If these projects are not aimed at “making man into God,” then what are they?

  • zippy says:

    You are right of course, Rodak: it is over in a similar sense to how the life of a man who is dying of a terminal illness is over. There can be a great deal of denial of the obvious and suffering in the interim. The project can go on indefinitely, for that matter, and it probably will: man has always been tempted to build a tower to Heaven to be like God. But it can only go on as a postmodern project.

  • Rodak says:

    “…it is over in a similar sense to how the life of a man who is dying of a terminal illness is over.”Well, there is also the fact that we know not the hour when He comes.I.e., this is all temporary, anyway.The name of the game seems to be getting ready, and staying ready, for the End of Time.To the extent that post-modernism is a form of atheism, then, or even just a pernicious distraction from the task at hand, it is a terminal cancer at the heart of humanity. Otherwise, though, as you have pointed out, elements of it can be of use.

  • Jamie says:

    I don’t know if I agree with this, msotly because there is no real definition of “postmodernism.” Nor does everyone or everything lumped under this term agree with each other about what they are doing. Derrida is not Gadamer, who is not Iser, etc. I also would caution that, even if radical social subjectivity is “done,” embracing amyth that we can soemhow “go back” to before the problems of postmodernity…we would only be recreating the conditions that spawned it. I could be completely wrong.

  • zippy says:

    Well, I do think that there is enough of an essence to postmodernity for it to be an identifiable thing. On the other hand I agree that by ‘<>…embracing a myth that we can somehow “go back” to before the problems of postmodernity…we would only be recreating the conditions that spawned it.<>‘ In fact I call those conditions which spawned postmodernity “positivism”. Positivism is alive and well at least in the white collar working class, busily moving New Atheism inventory at Barnes and Noble. Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens are Derrida larvae.

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