Jun 11, 2009

Postmodernity Defined

Following on from modernity came post modernity, or life after modernity. This era of time begun around the year 1989. Postmodernism is the age of redefinition. It rejects everything about modernism and is redefining how people think. Modernity did not work so a new worldview has arrived. The western world became very disillusioned by modernity. “All the ideologies, all the utopian promises that have marked this century have proven utterly bankrupt. American has achieved what modernism presented as life’s great shinning purpose: individual autonomy, the right to do what one chooses. Yet this has not produced the promised freedom; instead, it has led to the loss of community and civility, to kids shooting kids in schoolyards, to citizens huddling in gated communities for protection. We have discovered that we cannot live with the chaos that inevitably results from choice divorced from morality”.[1] Postmodernism is a movement attacking absolute truth in all spheres of life; it is a way or method to analyse life and ideas. It is correct to say that postmodernism is a ‘mood’, a mood that distrusts human reason, a mood that distrusts the modern mindset. Postmodern thought categorically rejects absolute truth, stating that there is no one truth that is consistent to all of life. Rather there are many truths to life, all of which are acceptable to your own personal circumstances. Truth is relative to the community you live in. Postmodernism champions the ideas of subjectivity, intuition, diversity, relativism and nihilism. The postmodern culture is one of ‘tolerance’. She tolerates many ideas and thoughts and does not allow the putting down of another’s thoughts. She accommodates a variety of notions bringing them all together in a world that now embraces many philosophies, each seen valid in its own thinking. Political correctness therefore emerges in this postmodern culture to appease the thinking of the time, to not offend the culture. No universal truth or justice exists in a postmodern world. There is no one foundational truth for the world to operate from; there is no one moral basis for life to be built from. Postmodernism is a complete ‘feel good’ society. If something feels good to you then go ahead. There are no guideline or rules to life except the one that says, ‘people believe many things and all these are truthful, there is no one truth’.

Postmodern people, unlike moderns do not want idealistic answers to life; they are looking for something that is practical and something that works for them. The postmodern person is not so much the intellect wanting an academic argument on life; they want a practical demonstration of how life can be successfully lived out. These people look disfavorably on society that puts down others beliefs and believes in being tolerant and accepting of others. Postmodern people have a strong desire to live in community and share common values with their friends. The postmodernist is open to many ideas on truth, including the many spiritual insights that are presented in the world today.

[1] Colson, How now Shall we Live, xi