Midnight Pub

Modernism, Post-modernism, and Neo-modernism.


(Repost from my blog, but I felt like sharing it)

Lately I’ve been thinking about three philosophical paradigms that have largely defined the twentieth and twenty-first centuries and how they influence many of the social conflicts in the world today. Many (if not all) of these conflicts can be boiled down to a disagreement over whether we all inhabit the same universe with the same rules, or if we inhabit our own special (but interconnected) universes with different rules for all of us.

Post-modernism brings some legitimate criticisms of early-twentieth-century modernism to the table, but that is its only contribution to thought. As a movement on its own, it is responsible for much of the lack of cohesion among people today. You can’t account for relativism when discussing the shape of the earth.

Relativism has its place in accounting for differences in taste and preference, but not when dealing with things like phyiscs, morality or ideology. As a student of anthropology, I have seen many abhorrent practices defended under the guise of cultural relativism, from Mesoamerican human sacrifice to female circumcision. Any ideologies based in human rights or equality must be based in modernist ideas of universal truths. To believe in equality, you must first believe that all humans are equal on some level. You cannot justify honor killings or other forms of misogyny with cultural relativism.

Early-twentieth-century modernism was infested with racism, ethnocentrism, sexism and other bigotries and predjudices when discussing which ideas were in fact true, (and this criticism is perhaps the only real contribution of post-modernism to discourse) but that doesn’t suddenly mean we can’t all inhabit the same universe with the same rules. These criticisms must be discussed, and the paradigm must be refined according to which of these are legitimate criticisms and which are just nonsense. This is why I advocate a sort of neo-modernist paradigm in which these ideas and criticisms are evaluated with open minds and a rigorous scientific method. One can criticize modernism and science without devolving into hippie magic woo nonsense.

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~veleventh wrote (thread):

You are a very strong dogmatist. philosophy, unlike religion and science, does not even have special methods for finding out the truth. when you give birth to your own idea of consciousness and matter, when you offer something of your own, when you see where solid and soft fit together, then write me a smiley face.

~pink2ds wrote (thread):

I also kinda basically think that fundamentalism (things like JW, 7DA, LDS, and the equivalents in Islam like salafism) is kind of also rooted in modernism. Early modernism, I see as sort of "the view that there is a Silver Bullet worldview that fixes everything". Sometimes I also see followers of Dawkins, Hitchens etc in this "silver bullet" worldview category, or Gamergaters also (with their quest against what they saw as "pandering"). IDK if I'm right about that, it's more a general vibe or feel.

I'm rereading "All that is solid melts into air" by Berman, which is one of my fave books on modernism.

I see postmodernism as a kind of needed cure against the "silver bullet"/"universal truth" worldview. Yeah, there is only the same rules for all the universe, but those rules are a lot more complicated and misch-maschy and messed up than they first appeared. The hippie magic woo nonsense is sort of… a pretty good part of the scientific process. You generate hypotheses and then you test them. The hippie bull is one of several pretty good ways to generate hypotheses. Thinking pretty far outside the box.

Is there a silver bullet, simple single truth, that we have within our grasp? Or is it instead a tangled messy web of perspectives that we kind of need to shift between in order to be "least wrong" about the universe we're in?

Postmodernism at its best questions everything, questions all kyriarchy. Questions the old village rites as much as it questions colonialists with their books.

Postmodernism has also contributed wonderfully to aesthetics. Basically everything Gaiman or Tarantino has ever done is absolutely soaked in postmodernism. All modern pop culture basically.

To believe in equality, you must first believe that all humans are equal on some level.

OK, but it might be awhile until we discover what level that is.

~veleventh wrote (thread):

my friend and I are developing ideas for metamodern.

science is not friendly with philosophy. science has no right to enter the field of meanings about meanings, and therefore leave science for technology and biology. Science will never say what thought is ... or rather, it will say that there is no thought, and you and I are not, and all these are just vibrations in the ear membrane. science serves power and philosophy has long been replaced by science in a false way.

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