There’s a lot of nonsense going on in today’s world, where there’s a hashtag SomethingIsOverParty trending, which never makes much sense. I thought of something that I believe is truly over, and that is postmodernism.
When I was in my last year of high school or so, I was learning in school all about the different literary movements and all that. Of course, at a school level, nothing too deep. When studying postmodernism, I remember thinking that we are kind of out of postmodernism and that a new major movement has begun and that it currently is somewhat overlapping with postmodernism. This was around 2008 or so. The teacher did not pay much attention to me though.
Later, after learning more about postmodernism, I came to see that it was everywhere in the arts and in culture at large: relativism (everything is equal), randomness (tragedy strikes when you least expect it, etc.) and the disconnect from divinity. In one sentence, post-modernism has presented the world as unloveable.
Despite seeing pomo attitudes almost everywhere, I did keep on mentioning that I believe postmodernism is over, as I saw the rise of a different movement. After 2010 or so, one could clearly see that there’s more and more of the opposite of postmodernism going on in society. For example, people are looking more and more for causality and rational explanations. What started out with conspiracy theories revolving around phenomena such as the “Da Vinci Code” have been refined into more sophisticated ways of thinking, some better and some not as good. We look at connections more, may them be purely performative (a la Babel) or introspective (like psychogenealogy, a field that is getting more and more exposure).
Secondly, we see a rise in spirituality: from the plethora of books on aligning your body, mind and soul to TV shows such as Oprah, which focused a lot on new ways of living spiritually to the redefinition of Catholicism. From any angle you look at it, you will notice that people are working on a reconnection with the transcendental.
And thirdly, as of 2016, we have started to see a slow increase in an anti-relativism movement. Between around 2000 and 2015, this part of postmodernism has exploded: any type of lie was considered to be a valid point of view, which is why this anti-relativism movement is advancing so slowly.
While postmodernism can be praised for adding some good elements to the art world and the cultural sphere at large: it showed the flexible nature of the human mind, it proved that people can flex their thoughts way too easily and it showed that one can find value in “valueless” things; it has done a lot of harm too. Postmodernism is to blame for throwing people in a lifestyle that has no structure, no connection with others and no real overlapping with the way humans are made. It has made many people go from rational thinking to irrational thinking, which can only lead to results that lack meaning and do harm both to the individual and to culture at large.
More than that, post-modernism has given birth to fake intellectuals and to bad ways of reasoning. Post-modernist works are more often than not gibberish. Many of them have extremely high pretenses and many follow them deeply. However, once you break them down – sometimes even without breaking them down – they reveal that they are contentless and senseless. In many ways, I agree that post-modernism is one of the biggest intellectual shams to be pulled off.
At one point, I believed that postmodernism would be replaced by something I called “individualism”, a term I then heard others use as well; and in a way it has been replaced by it. The iPod, the iPhone, the i-everything are the best marks of that. The fact that everything revolves around the individual – your account, your page, your phone are the characteristics of that as well. Also, the fact that the technologies such as the smartphones, which enable this culture have become the new thing to be (yes, the smartphone is the new superstar), is also why individualism makes sense. And, while I believe this so-called individualism does exist and will continue to exist, I believe that in the future it will be at least accompanied, if not replaced by a new group culture. I don’t know how this will happen and I believe that there will take place some dreadful things before this occurs, but I definitely see a culture coming up that goes back to classic values. For the people in this niche, the group is also very, very important. What will be important in this new movement is to have groups in which you can be yourself and to feel more or less accepted. It will be important to be approved by your peers and not by the world at large.
To conclude, postmodernism was a good intention, but it went horribly wrong. It has affected negatively fields such as academia, which should know better. The future can be bright, but you need to be a fool to rely on it.
I definitely see that now a new cultural branch I growing. I don’t know what it’s called, but it is the alternative to post-modern thinking, which is still going strong, but which is almost over. I am not sure how things will turn out. Most likely, the new branch that develops will go hand in hand with post-modern thought for a while and, while post-modernism will always keep existing, the new branch could take over. Who knows? The fact is that people are noticing that things can move forward and move them forward.