speak with the hand, because the palm is deafList of Grievances
So after so more thought, I’ve got a few more things to say about modernity/modernism/postmodernism. If anyone cares.
First, a few qualifiers. Instead of differentiating between modernity and modernism, as I did in my last post, I’d like instead to define strands of the modern outlook. We’ll call modernity Enlightenment project modernism (EM), and artistic, avant-garde modernism (AGM). It might sound stupid, but it’s all I’ve got at the moment.
Defining a thing by its faults
What I’ve found most interesting lately, is that when critiquing EM, the critiquer is coming from a background that rejects most of or all of EM. Because of this, the critiquer defines modernism is a way that is easiest for them to attack. As it stands, maybe my confusion about EM/AGM is due to the fact that different paradigms or thought-strands have different definitions of the modern condition or the modern outlook.
Perhaps then a better way to define modernism is to delineate who is defining said modernism. We could then define modernism in many different ways: Nietzschian modernism, Kierkegaardian modernism, avant-garde modernism, literary modernism, existential modernism, Foucalt's modernism, Derrida's modernism, or possibly even postmodern modernism. There is no single definition of modernism any more, which makes the study of it confusing.
Modernism today cannot simply be seen as EM because it has had 200 years to grow and evolve as a system of thought. It has become something else entirely, almost as diverse as the strands of thought that make up postmodernism. What is interesting to note is that there is not much of a modernist critique of modernism, that is to say a modern definition of modernism. Maybe a better way to say that would be neo-modernism, a rational discussion of modernisms fault, but within the context of a modern worldview that seeks to correct its faults as it defends itself against the assault of postmodernism.
And maybe we’ll see this sometimes in the future. And maybe (just maybe) what comes out of it could be a synthesis of modernism and postmodernism. A system of thought more concrete than PM but less rigid than EM (if such a system could exist). What effect that could have on theology might very well unburden the debate between the Josh McDowells and Brian McLarens of the world (or, worst case scenario, both could reject it).
The next big thing
As I see it, there are two ways this could go.
1) As I’ve mentioned before, a new system of thought that borrows the best ideas from EM and PM, and rejects other ideas that really don’t make the grade. It’s a bit Hegelian maybe, but envision modernism as the thesis, postmodernism as the antithesis, and whatever comes out of it as the synthesis. What the heck does this resolution look like? We can’t talk about it in a concrete sense because it doesn’t exist (yet).
2) This would be an extension of and a transcendence of PM, a new system of thought that rejects both EM and PM. This is even harder to talk about. But that doesn’t mean we can’t try to talk about it. Remember, there was no discussion of what might come after EM because the Enlightenment philosophers were constructing an ultimate view of reality and the world that could not be overtaken. Reason was king, science led to progress, and progress (eventually) led to utopia. But as we change from EM to PM we don’t have the same qualifications about PM (even PM don’t, because they don’t make universal truth claims like EM did). So as PM takes shape, we can start to critique it. But instead of critiquing it for the purpose of defending modernism, we critique in hopes of discovering what comes next: post-postmodernism, for lack of a better terminology. We can arrives at PPM (which, hopefully will have a much cooler name) before PM even gets off the ground and into the vocabulary of the typical westerner.
Maybe 1 and 2 are the same thing. It's getting hard to tell (and harder to care).
You dummy! You cad!
But that’s all theory, and might just turn out to be bunk. Am I talking mumbo-jumbo? Yes! But that doesn't mean we can't still pretend it has important meaning for all our lives and the lives of those to come! Raise your fists America, and question what the heck I'm talking about.