What I am presenting here is my oversimplified Theory of Postmodernism and Modernity.
Postmodernism, a terminology that requires no introduction for my present discourse, is a philosophical movement that has rooted itself deeply into every spectrum of academic discipline from which it has transformed the actions and beliefs within institutions of power from governments to corporations around the globe. Postmodernity—is the argued period in which we live within a postmodern society versus that of Modernity (1500-?). I join Jacques Barzun’s timeframe found within his book, From Dawn to Decadence: 1500 to the Present (500 Years of Western Cultural Life). The Protestant Reformation changed the nature of power forever. Humanism and Protestantism shared a three-legged pedestal as Catholicism ruptured underneath the cataclysmic abrasion that has been festering decades prior to the Reformation. Modernity gains its preeminence from the idea that mankind with the use of science, reason, and technology can be improved at a nearly limitless potential. A product of thought that the Enlightenment took forth as their lamp for the future. While Luther, Calvin, Knox, and Zwingli believed that human nature was corrupt under the weight of sin that only Jesus Christ can redeem, it was their revolution that transferred the role of interpretation and potential over to the common. For good and for bad this set into motion our present state of late modernity—a perpetual state.
Perpetual State Theory
Simply put, I am arguing that postmodernism is a reflection of reality, not the actual source but a still water or a mirror that is reflecting the present state of the human mind. Modernity has not ceased to exist. Modernity has successfully entered into a warp state, a state of the hyper-real; hyper-individual; and hyper-sensitive. Postmodernism is the warp state of modernity. Modernity is a product of its own success which solidified four core essential elements of existence into the modern psyche: 1) Secularism; 2) Liberalism; 3) Socialism; and 4) Capitalism.
Out of this cycle, modernity was able to produce an unreal state of human existence outside the last five-thousand plus years of human civilization in only a short span of time. Capitalism slowly removed the old walls of government control and sustenance into a market state. Liberalism prides itself on the might of the individual. Socialism was and remains a reaction to both as it calls for community and regulation outside of a total free-market state. Lastly, secularism alone is not new, however, it gained popularity as cultures shifted from industry to post-industry and decadence. Science and technology play central roles in all four elements of modernity. Lastly, religion remains, almost as an antagonist, yet also a tool in the modern utilisation of puissance. Social justice, Critical Race Theories, Feminist movements, Gender studies are all examples of this layering of the Self as the quintessence of time and fortune.
Anti-liberty entities whether under the names of Fascism, Communism, Socialism, Maoism, or Totalitarianism; it changes nothing in that the present reality stands between two polars, a state of liberty or tyranny, liberalism or illiberalism. Social attitudes are now forced to conform under a perpetual state of flux. Late modernity has birthed neoliberalism, a merger between capitalism and liberalism, that can also include another ism—Corporatism.
Corporations are the High Churches of Modernity; the Cathedrals of yea or nay. Under a neoliberal market state the general public has great difficulty in explaining differences between private or public, real or fake, good or evil. Everything runs together into a stream of confusion at a speed that no single person can maintain without a collision, a collision of ideas and values and beliefs. This is now constantly happening as society is confronted with insurmountable conflicting differences; a wrecking of contradictions.
In a Secular Hyper-state, the only apparent resolution is a totalitarian reaction. Modernity cannot principally escape itself. There is nothing beyond Modernity except Pre-modernity. If liberalism and capitalism represent freedom then all other opposition is bound to represent oppression. Now that is not an absolute statement. There are “third-way” examples of communitarianism or another alternative of Theonomy that argue a way out of the cycle but truthfully they all fall prey to the dilemma of rights of the individual, liberty for all, and freedom without restraints (again not an absolute statement).
So what we are left with, I am arguing, is a discourse of conflicts: nature versus mankind; eat vegan or you are a horrible person; give up your religion; don’t tell me what to do; join the movement; hate speech… it all blends into an in-cohesive state, the perpetual state.
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