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Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Resist the process of "draining off of identity" recommended by Derrida

Monday, April 09, 2007 Battling "postmodernism" down posted by MD
The intuitive free-form on this topic with CJ Dierkes continues. I'm in the battle against postmodernism for the long haul; so poisonous to genuine artistry, this term is. It is a weed, with roots, as it were, more than ten feet deep. Much like bindweed, which is killing my front yard. The funny thing is that all of "postmodernism" is basically a pathological riff under the heading of Opinion, one of the Great Ideas — a fact that "postmodernists" conveniently ignore. One is rightly suspicious of opinions; and, wouldn't you know, postmodernism boiled down means, at best, being suspicious, because they essentially claim that what is centered fact is actually uncentered opinion. But if it were just that, that would be one thing not especially poisonous. For who doesn't believe it sometimes appropriate to be suspicious or skeptical? No, it's the hyperbole, the unscrupulous applications of the term "postmodernism" to seemingly anything "subversive" or "counter-cultural" under the sun; the institutionalizing of suspicion on steroids — the superimposition of taxonomy upon mental life; the stripping away of vitality from language; this is the problem.
In this battle against postmodernism (and for intellectual sustainability, and Great Ideas education), witness this article, with its excellent suggestion about how to battle postmodernism down. The ammunition? Poetry:
Sometimes the best defense [against postmodernism] is poetry which relies on essentialist usages and which is the hardest to deconstruct. Consider the following:
"What a piece of work is a man! How noble in reason! How infinite in faculty! in form, in moving, how express and admirable! in action how like an angel! in apprehension how like a god!" Both the irony and the innocence of Hamlet's exclamation resist the process of "draining off of identity" recommended by Derrida. Great poetry resists the trimming off of the roots of language, the breaking off of that mysterious connection between literal and anagogic of which Dante spoke."
In other words, every new genuine poem bludgeons postmodernism. Which makes me all the more happy that here at POLYSEMY, we have Elegant Thorn Review.
I might add that I think within the integral community, "postmodernism" is one of the main unexamined assumptions. I think it good to have it out, as it were, to get the arguments on the table, and to understand where people's views fall on this matter. I imagine that a lot of people will disagree with my position; for the record, I'm fine with that, because I'm rather used to being disagreed with. Labels: , , 10:25 AM Email This! Questions & Comments (3)

Friday, April 06, 2007 On postmodernism posted by MD
CJ Smith have engaged in a rather free-wheeling dialogue about postmodernism. Emphasis on free-wheeling. My position is that the term is effectively meaningless. I'll probably cull together my perspective expressed in the dialogue into a new essay for POLYSEMY. If you are interested in the raw, organic material, check out the dialogue here.
At the wonky level, I'm particularly interested in the interdisciplinary question of whether the tendency to find the term "postmodernism" meaningful is a symptom of socialism. In other words, whether those who might buy into postmodernism's viability as a term also buy into socialism's viability as a social system. That appears to be the contention, for example, of this book: Explaining Postmodernism: Skepticism and Socialism from Rousseau to Foucault. Until I research that question more, the essay will wait. Labels: 9:02 AM Email This! Questions & Comments (0)

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