We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
One of the things that always struck me about “post-modernism” was the combination of ignorance and hubris embedded in the name. We don’t know what we are, but we do know that we’ve superseded modernity, that we’re well beyond that period. I always thought of modernity – that is, the liberal project of trying to establish a society run according to the basic rule of equality before the law for all citizens — as a long and difficult process. Indeed, it sometimes takes decades, even centuries to confront some of the difficulties that arise in such an endeavor – letting women and other races vote, de-imperializing, creating a safety net for citizens, figuring out how to treat other nations decently.
I've always wondered about post-modernism, too. We gave names to previous eras that expressed what we thought was most important about them. "Modern" used to mean "whatever it is we're doing right now, which is different from what we used to do in some way we haven't figured out yet, except that we're in a mood for peevish rebellion." Then we drifted again, but we still couldn't figure out the salient characteristic of the phase we were outgrowing. I guess we could have called the new era "neo-modern." "Double-plus modern." We don't know what to call it, because the idea that we could impose a collective judgment is out of vogue. The Age of Drift.
Post does not mean supersede. Modernism was the elevation of Aristotelian thought to the position of most exalted. Post modernism doesn't tell us what to believe, so in and of itself it is neither right nor wrong. It's a philosophical challenge to the exaltation of the methods of modernism as the final and only methodology for believing and living. Some post modernist work is quite interesting and some is drivel.
Bishop Wright has some interesting comments on the subject. I know, I'm in the wrong neighborhood for this, but I agree with him. And to expand a bit beyond what he says, the rise of modern humans and, much more recently, the achievement of cultural modernism represent a complete embrace of materialism and a kind of cosmic narcissism. Post-modernism is the recognition that the rise of humankind is also the fall of human kind--original sin is the sin endemic to our modern minds. The rise and fall are not two mutually exclusive events. The peak is also the valley—I know, very post-modern sounding. But what is original sin, if not the sin endemic to the origin of the modern human mind?
Consider, if one is truly a modernist, then how can one believe in the Resurrection? It defies logical analysis and scientific explanation. How does faith make one in Christ and part of his plan for the salvation of the world? How is it that we can be "recreated" in Christ? How do any of these things conform to modernist notions of reality? As Wright suggests, the problem with typical post-modernist thinkers is that they only see the fall, not the redemption—the limitations not the solution. Post-modernism tells us nothing about God's solution. Neither does modernism. But the latter makes human beings the protagonists in creation—God revolving around men. The former leaves a space for God as the protagonist.
There is an ostrich-like response to the challenges of post-modernism that focuses on its failings and limitations, of which there are many manifestations. But, that's a convenient tactical device for denying that modernism has serious problems and that post-modernism, at its best, represents an effort to illuminate those problems.
One other thing to consider: today's most vocal atheists are not typically post modern. They are anything but post modern. They are the ultimate expression of modernism. That is why they ridicule Christian belief and all spiritual belief.
'modern' is a continuum that has no 'post' to it. Whoever chose the ridiculous phrase probably came up with 'politically correct'. Neither phrase makes one bit of sense. Ask any ten people to give you their definition of either phrase and you will get ten different answers.