“All Sciences are now under the obligation to prepare the ground for the future task of the philosopher, which is to solve the problems of Value, to determine the true hierarchy of Values.”
For those of us who are conscious that Mankind have entered in to a new paradigm, and that Modernism can be now be named as a period in our past History, and the we now face a totally Post-Modern state of affairs, were a new consciousness it is not quite born, but yet we start feeling the pains of labor, were old structures are crumbling, but when at the same time people desperately try to cling to them as an anchor that protects them to the unknown of the future, and what it seems a chaotic state of affairs, a quicksand of undefined uncertainty…
The use of the Post-Modern term is due for a better word to describe the change in the nature of our Cosmological views that have shifted over time through History, since the end of WWII when we thought Modernism was here to stay, the word Post-Modernism it is utilized in many ways, from the movies we watch, the way we eat, the art we like, the music we listen to, the way we dance, the Architecture that is reflected in our cities, our own aims in life, or our view on History, and our philosophy of Life, and almost every issue you can think off! From Economics to Literature, or political thinking.
It is not my intention to analyze Postmodernism as a whole, the small format of this article would be a great impediment, however I will present bit and pieces, that will help me to further present my thesis.
“Situating his analysis of signs and everyday life in a historical framework, Baudrillard argued that the transition from the earlier stage of competitive market capitalism to the stage of monopoly capitalism required increased attention to demand management, to augmenting and steering consumption. At this historical stage, from around 1920 to the 1960s, the need to intensify demand supplemented concern with lowering production costs and with expanding production. In this era of capitalist development, economic concentration, new production techniques, and the development of new technologies, accelerated capacity for mass production and capitalist corporations focused increased attention on managing consumption and creating needs for new prestigious goods, thus producing the regime of what Baudrillard has called sign-value.
On Baudrillard’s analysis, advertising, packaging, display, fashion, “emancipated” sexuality, mass media and culture, and the proliferation of commodities multiplied the quantity of signs and spectacles, and produced a proliferation of sign-value. Henceforth, Baudrillard claims, commodities are not merely to be characterized by use-value and exchange value, as in Marx’s theory of the commodity, but sign-value — the expression and mark of style, prestige, luxury, power, and so on — becomes an increasingly important part of the commodity and consumption.”
MOORE’ S LAW
Gordon Moore was a mechanical engineer , founder of the Intel Corporation. in 1965 he come to the conclusion that the price of electronic components would decrease and their number would increase by a factor of two every eighteen months. And this way launching a revolution on information. The flood of information seems to be the new paradigm of the Twenty-First Century.
“In addition, his postmodern universe is one of hyperreality in which entertainment, information, and communication technologies provide experiences more intense and involving than the scenes of banal everyday life, as well as the codes and models that structure everyday life. The realm of the hyperreal (e.g., media simulations of reality, Disneyland and amusement parks, malls and consumer fantasylands, TV sports, and other excursions into ideal worlds) is more real than real, whereby the models, images, and codes of the hyperreal come to control thought and behavior. Yet determination itself is aleatory in a non-linear world where it is impossible to chart causal mechanisms in a situation in which individuals are confronted with an overwhelming flux of images, codes, and models, any of which may shape an individual’s thought or behavior.
In this postmodern world, individuals flee from the “desert of the real” for the ecstasies of hyperreality and the new realm of computer, media, and technological experience. In this universe, subjectivities are fragmented and lost, and a new terrain of experience appears that for Baudrillard renders previous social theories and politics obsolete and irrelevant. Tracing the vicissitudes of the subject in present-day society, Baudrillard claims that contemporary subjects are no longer afflicted with modern pathologies like hysteria or paranoia. Rather, they exist in “a state of terror which is characteristic of the schizophrenic, an over-proximity of all things, a foul promiscuity of all things which beleaguer and penetrate him, meeting with no resistance, and no halo, no aura, not even the aura of his own body protects him. In spite of himself the schizophrenic is open to everything and lives in the most extreme confusion” (1988: 27). For Baudrillard, the “ecstasy of communication” means that the subject is in close proximity to instantaneous images and information, in an overexposed and transparent world. In this situation, the subject “becomes a pure screen a pure absorption and re-absorption surface of the influent networks” (1988: 27). In other words, an individual in a postmodern world becomes merely an entity influenced by media, technological experience, and the hyperreal.”
Well, I believe it is up to the individual to become a screen, that mirror the images he is transmitted, we can assert our choice to reject what it is offered to us, in a Matrix style, and become the Hero that travels Xibalba, (The Underworld of the Maya) we can become the Horus, or Orpheus of our own Solar Myth, and be re-born again!
“The notion of a collapse between the real and the apparent is suggested in Nietzsche’s first book, The Birth of Tragedy(Nietzsche 1967a), where he presents Greek tragedy as a synthesis of natural art impulses represented by the gods Apollo and Dionysus. Where Apollo is the god of beautiful forms and images, Dionysus is the god of frenzy and intoxication, under whose sway the spell of individuated existence is broken in a moment of undifferentiated oneness with nature. While tragic art is life-affirming in joining these two impulses, logic and science are built upon Apollonian representations that have become frozen and lifeless. Hence, Nietzsche believes only a return of the Dionysian art impulse can save modern society from sterility and nihilism. This interpretation presages postmodern concepts of art and representation, and also anticipates postmodernists’ fascination with the prospect of a revolutionary moment auguring a new, anarchic sense of community.”
Of course this is the problem of contemporary society, our Government, and our Institutions, like Education, had become so Apollonian, left brained, that they resemble fossils! Were the individual impulse get lost in a morass of bureaucracy, rules, and regulations, procedures, and conventions that stifle the Dionysian impulse. On the meantime other more urgent matters of survival as a specie should occupy our consciousness, if there would be any future for Mankind…
The two dominant currents of the second part of the Twenty Century seemed to be Technology, and unbridled Capitalism, combined with a demographic explosion, due to new Technologies of production, and better drugs to prevent mortality, and prolong life. Now there is a hidden cost to all this, and we are starting to pay the price, as a result of this explosion of people around the world, and the abundance of capital to feed, and provide with sustainability to all this billions of people, we have practically pillaged the Earth of it’s resources, rendering field exhaustion, by over-exploitation, and producing Ecological, or Environmental degradation on our wake, producing zones of Ecological collapse, where life and the productions of goods are null.
“An ecological disaster, such as world crop failure and collapse of ecosystem services, could be induced by the present trends of overpopulation, economic development, and non-sustainable agriculture.Most of these scenarios involve one or more of the following: Holocene extinction event, scarcity of water that could lead to approximately one half of the Earth’s population being without safe drinking water, pollinator decline, overfishing, massive deforestation, desertification, climate change, or massive water pollution episodes. A very recent threat in this direction is colony collapse disorder, a phenomenon that might foreshadow the imminent extinctionof the Western honeybee. As the bee plays a vital role in pollination, its extinction would severely disrupt the food chain. ”
Should we say; not a rosy future?
Or should we realize we can’t sustain this growth nonsense, and take practical measures to make our World if not a better place to live, at least a safe place to do so?
Of course the rotten problem is consensus, and the willingness of a majority to change our ways…
Well, here are some of my views about Postmodernism:
First it is a transitional view of the World from and old frame of mind in to a new Paradigm.
However unlike many thinkers I do not hold the view that Postmodernism will unleash the breaking of all Meta-narratives for the simple reason that Meta-narratives are the product of our Mythological mind, something that is wired in the way our mind functions, I wouldn’t go as far as to say it is Genetic, but definitely it is in the hardware of our way to view the world in an Anthropological, or Sociological ways, there may be there individuals who believe to be free of Meta-narratives, but this view is naive, even if you do not believe in nothing, that is also a Meta-narrative, just like being apolitical is to pretend it is not a political stance!
As long as individuals have to participate in Society, our stance, place, negative, or positive beliefs, or lack of them that in itself define us one way, or another, and builds our Weltanschauung, and since as Humans we are linked to a particular family, group, tribe, town, city, state, country, etc. With it’s History, Language, race,values, or lack of them, that shapes who we are, and gives way to our personal Mythology, same that is shared by the social environment we live in.
We can deconstruct to infinity Language, race, religion, country, etc. But that wouldn’t subtract us from who we perceive us to be…and the values we choose to follow, giving reason to our actions!
Rather than denying this fact, it would be profitable to wonder what new values we should embrace, if the old values are not good enough?
I do not see the end of Capitalism as long as we have need of goods in order to live, however the excess of it with it’s endless pursuit of the object of desire with the childish Madison Street techniques of selling us what we do not need, will form part of the nature of mature individuals, that just like adults who have outgrown the constant consumption of candy of their child days. A more conscious, and better inform individual, and the dismissal of the word “consumer” and our opposition to be treated as such, along with an environmental consciousness, that would allow us to question what we buy, this may be goods, ideologies, religions, or philosophies!
And of course we need a Real Education, I mean the study of a career that would provide us with an income to live it is all right, but that is not a Real Education, being a cog in the machinery of production, so we can feed the system insatiable hunger, if you think about it, shouldn’t be an end, but a means to achieve something greater, that would transcend our materialism, and go beyond giving in to Cesar, what belongs to Cesar…Man shall live, not by bread alone. The unexamined life is not worth living, etc.
It will be too long in the scope of this post to define each of this new values, but, there is no doubts in me that this new values are anything but new; Virtue, and the pursuit of excellence, as individuals are the Eternal values of Mankind, this the great sages of every civilization through History; Socrates, Plato with the Greeks, the Rishis of India, the great Sages of China Lao-Tse, Confucius, the Egyptian Hierophants, The Quetzalcoatls and Viracochas of ancient America, the Prophets of the Middle East, and every Solar Hero of antiquity. In every Age when people and society are in confusion, and darkness, a new breed of Men rise to the task of encouraging, and guide humans, and societies to the pursuit of Virtue, their work, our work since every Human Being is responsible of excellence, this, no doubt will bring a New Paradigm, and Postmodernism would be just another historical period no different than Modernism, or any of the previous periods of History.