Monday, December 04, 2006

Postmoderns-R-Us

Well, in this quest of mine, I have decided to wrap my brain around just what it means to be a postmodern person, and what it the term "postmodern" or "postmodernism" means. Definitions help. So, I went over to wikipedia, which ironically enough owes its very existence to postmodernism. The very concept of an encyclopedia which is "of the people" with anyone able to contribute, the only check and balances being other knowledgeable folks who edit each other is a brilliant example. I would refer my blog readers to the wikipedia article on postmodernism for a very thorough and boring read, links included.

In many many ways, we post moderns are being ye olde pendulum and reacting against modernism, enlightenment, etc. This comes through in our piety, spirituality, our quest for God, in the fact that we don't like Walmart or McDonald's very much (even if we shop there due to limited options etc.). It comes through in the questions we ask and the thoughts we think.

In my life I see that I am a postmodern in a po-mo millieu coming out in the following ways:

-A rejection of enlightenment standards and rationalism as it pertains to things spiritual for a more mysterious approach (but there's still a large element of pragmatism: I look for the mysteries to work, and they do). And I do not mean to say that I do not strive to be a rational person, or a ration follower of Christ, just that I reject Rationalism as an "ism" that then would trump other aspect of the human experience. And I admit (shhhh, don't tell), I also secretly think it would be cool if gnomes and fairies and elves exist in hiding. Perhaps they do. Wouldn't it be fun! The angels and demons I'm more certain about.

-I value continuity with that which is ancient, pre-modern.

-A quest for silence in a world that would bombard me with information, technology and "input".

-A quest for personal silence in a world that tells each person that their voice MUST be heard. (So why am I blogging???? he he he. Good question. I didn't say I was perfect.)

-The creation of original arts.

-Intentional community with those who are my fellow travellers. One act at a time. This is hard.

-Approaching life holistically. This is hard, and I feel like its more in my head than in my deeds at this point. Because we have inherited so much that is compartmentalized, fragmented...I mean the very structures of our society, the fact that one has to drive everywhere to get anyplace and exercise intentionally in order not to get ill because we are so sedentary from all the driving necessitated by the very structures of our cities and towns is a fine example of this sort of brokenness. Living cut off from food sources is another such example. It goes on and on.

-Eastern Religion: tangible, mystical, holistic, involving all five senses, the whole body and the rational mind, challenging.

OK, that's a start.

How do you see yourself as a postmodern in a postmodern world?

2 comments:

Theodora said...

These are rich countries' issues; I think a person in a subsistence agricultural economy would wonder what the hell we are talking about. Postmodernism depends upon having an almost unlimited number of choices, and you pretty much have to be rich.

That said, I experience postmodernism as having no clear role in the community or family (yes, I *do* things, but it is not who I *am*). It "used to be" that each person had certain responsibilities that did not have to be explained, perhaps the most cliche'd of which was "the husband makes the money and the wife keeps the house."

With the choices now available to me, I not only have to choose but I have to justify my choice as being the best one -- to myself if no one else.

And good gosh am I hard to convince.

Theodora said...

Oh, my cliche'd example was of course in no way critical of that particular choice, it was just the thing that came to mind as something we could probably all relate to. I was thinking of Leave it to Beaver and Little House on the Prairie as historical ideals of American life.