I feel it is time to clear the air; the smoke of post-modernism still seems to linger. It is time we come to terms with what Post-Modernism means, what it meant, what it is.
There is no debate in this; any debate that would uphold a sort of PM catch-all has missed the issue. I think it is this apparent problem for which I address by suggesting a divergence is warranted.
Post modernism is a manner of dealing with reality where metanarratives fail. PM Is a response to the failure. But in that it is merely a response, it must itself be based in a metanarrative, albeit and however unsure and undisclosed as it may be. But we need no longer hesitate in this mire of indecision and doubt. Where the post-modern is indeed necessary, it often fails in that it wants to repeat itself, to reify itself, to eternalize itself; ironically, this is a Modern trait that Post-Modernism attempted to confront.
So it is we may see many authors attempting to place this indistinction, this temporal hesitation. This is where Bruno Latour attempts to make an opening: So the PM metanarrative, itself a kind of ‘unconsolidation’, might find the meaning of the void (but only void by virture of the Modern metanarrative, or the metanarrative that is modern) where by PM finds its ability to call into question metanarratives by allowing what has been silent to speak.
The task now is to find that narrative that accounts for the, now twice avoided, silence; which is to say, we need admit that we all have been colonized despite PM, that PM is was an ironic vehicle to establish and reify Modernity.
Perhaps an apparent geology, what mane are calling the ‘anthropocene’, will snap us out of the magical glamour of PM ironic transcendency, and stop fantasizing that ‘I’ have some sort of communion with ‘un-god’, some ‘extra universal’ situation. So we can get back to some sort of ground.
I have read and am somewhat familiar with 4 of the (in)famous PM authors; Michel Foucault, Jean Francios Leotard, Gilles Deleuze, and Jacques Derrida. Of Baudrillard Ive only read tiny bits here and there. Virillo ive not heard of. Of course, there are other PM authors that are not so famous that I have read, and even some that are not considered ‘post-modernist’ but yet are speaking of similar issues.
While i do like and understand these PM authors i have read, i also see that Lyotard was probaly the best at seeing through history. Foucault, oddly enough, was caught in a ‘vertical’ dynamic even as he posed a ‘horizon’, and Deluze was still too high, too near to the event to be able to see past self centrism. And also that at least Lyotard and Deleuze are mis-appropriated as they are mis-applied; this last is the issue Alain Badiou and Laruelle address, as well as Bruno Latour.
It is or should be a fact, by now, that the nature of humans is to have real worlds, or a Real world, as the case may be. The issue of all if not most of many of the Big Names, as well as many smaller names, of the past 200 year of philosophy, but maybe even longer, is the difference involved in what might be called ‘truth baring’, and ‘reality baring’ operations. Every great philosopher addresses this issue, but the issue of this issue is how the telling of the ‘first’ issue often finds itself awash in the second issue, the effect that Badou describes and addresses. Yet these authorial addressings, these worlds, are, in effect, metanarratives.
There is a disentanglement of philosophy that must occur if we are to even get anywhere, if we are to stop having ‘turns’ and ‘eras’ and such. But if we must swim in this pit of eternal denial, then we can say that in a certain sense the Post-modern wanted to propose some sort of new reality, but alas we find that PM was no different than the realities anywhere else or any time, and that this is the fault of the second appropriated issue. The difference lay only in the terms that are used. Derrida said good things about discursive limitation, what for other terms is indeed the Modern/Post-modern paradox, but he too was caught in a vertical situation likewise that inevitably puts him in a modern sorting, which is to say, of a metanarrative. As a witness to this paradox, Lyotard, I’d say, was closest: The ‘post’ thus was is not meant to be some temporal suggestion; more, it was is a description of a situation and its logical defaults based within the ‘modern’ discursive scheme. Yet, that people took and continue to take it as some sort of historical era or attitude, thus shows that mis-appropriation as mis-appropriation (denial as showing what is true) is of the issue of the second type.
I say PM is more about orientation upon objects than it is about some attitude or argumentative position. What I see of PM, and Lyotard specifically, is he was come upon by his experience, his metanarrative, of himself, and found, through an engagement with history, through what is already established for by to bring what is true and real unto a person, with the discourse of reality itself, that his metanarrative could not be justified by this real discourse; upon reflection he finds that what constitutes himself is different than what the metanarrative says of himself and what he should be. This his issue presented in his book “The Differend”. So, ironically, because of this situation, he saw that indeed the discourse by which he came (comes) to know himself is incommunicable, because he must use the discourse that is already there, and by this usage avoids that which he is trying to communicate. This juxtaposition of Being, thus allowed (s) him to bring a critique against the discourse that is not ‘hearing his case’, and thus calls this critique ‘post’ modern, because the real discourse is, or is seen as, ‘modern’ and the metanarrative that is incommensurate with this modern is thus post, or after, posterior. He thus finds this ‘modern’ reality involved with meta narratives (as he was involved) that are ineffective yet being used in a behavior as if they are effective, which is to say, communicating, and moves to expose this ‘human’ facet by (ironically) critiquing it; that is, not only critiquing the metanarrative by which he comes unto the world, but the idea of metanarrative itself. He there by opens the door to the removal of the subject, and the entrance on the scene of the Object, or what has been developed ‘post-post-modern’, SR and OOO and such.
The problem, though, is always the setting aside, forgetting, and then plain mis-appropriation of the ironic paradox. It is not so much that one needs to write with some subversive or double meaning, but that the irony of the situation by which one comes unto reality must remain intact. As even Nick Land seems to notice; one must come upon a certain type of knowledge that orients one upon what reality is, what the case of reality is, such that a critique of reality stems ultimately from an honest confrontation with that route by which one is coming upon that very reality. And this is to say, one confronts ‘the world’ by attacking the basis by which he or she has the world; to segregate the issue into some objective world and some subject-agent-operator is of the second type of issue.
This is the issue at hand, as well as the feature that distinguishes the reason why we need to ‘clean up’ philosophical discussion, as well why I advocate a kind of divergence.