Sunday, August 3, 2008

The Answer to Post Modernism

No matter what academic department you'll find yourself in, this is the most they can or want to offer:


Modernism: Belief that reason is humanity's trump card. Rational thinking and high-cognitive faculties are our greatest potential. With them, we can understand and explain away everything. We can even create grand-unified theories.


Post-Modernism: Reason is not humanity's trump card. Things are much more complicated than that. The world is a dynamic, complex environment which simple abstract thoughts over-generalize and often marginalize many points of view. Science, reason and the enlightenment age are not the answer.


But Post-modernism doesn't provide anything but a critique of modernism: break things down, complicate them, see the dynamics, see how everything is ultimately relative- too complex to ever generalize. 


Well, if you look at that for a few minutes, you begin to notice it's not really doing anything but critiquing its predecessor. 


All it can do is tear down a flawed house, and point out every flaw within it.


But it offers no alternatives.


In a metaphor, it is likened to two men lost in a forest. One of them has developed a close-circle logic on how to get back to camp. It failed, not taking into account the dynamic nature of the trees, the hills, etc. It didn't fit nicely in a box.


So his friend yells at him, telling him, "It's way too wild out here, no way to box it in like that! Now we're just lost!"


But there is a third option here neither are getting.


Say they bump into a third man, who, instead of either build up artificial concepts, or breaking them down, just decides to look at the trees.


And he starts to look at the hills.


And starts seeing natural patterns that arise.


"There is a river, we were by the river. Maybe if we follow it..."


And so he ultimately overcomes the sea of complexity by discovering patterns, and tendencies in the intricacy. 


This is in itself a more evolved form of science, because it requires a more developed sense of perspective. Nevertheless I argue that we all have it.


But, the answer to post modernism is simple: Pattern, tendency, Potential and Correlation.


Seeing underlying causes, roots within the intricacy. Ironically, the best of both modernism and post modernism.


To give one final example:


Notice if you will, that a brain up close appears to be a complex, overwhelming network of cells, organic and not clearly fitting into right angles and grids. It's a mess up close, or at least appears to be.


But if we take a step back, and start looking at the patterns, the net, we see different parts, different functions, deeper parts and more root functions.


We see that the brain has evolved from its former state, the reptilian brain. Yet the reptilian brain stem is not "Inferior" or "oppressed." It isn't over-looked or neglected. It is seen as a part of a larger, functioning whole- in which we don't have hierarchy but obvious layers of increasing complexity, and eventually, consciousness.


And imagine if the only thing we did, was to simply say: Too complex, too organic, too dynamic to understand. We would never have gotten this far in the first place. So I leave you with a thought; that critique, de-construction and dispelling of generalizations is a vital tool for understanding (And in a sense is a way of seeing deeper perspectives), but so too is seeing the forest through the trees. Thankyou.


8 comments:

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