2005/03/10

Painting (11)

About Postmodernism.

Postmodernism is an old concept used to indicate what follows the modern age but it has been associated with so many different ideas that the concept ended up being foggy and perceived as some kind of metaphysical rareness. I'm using the concept "postmodern" in its narrow sense of "what follows the modern age". Another denomination shall eventually impose itself out of the practice of what comes after modernism but only the future will tell.



1. Preliminaries. (post Painting 10)

2. The context of the new societal paradigm in the forming



There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that the way we think and understand, what is reality and our place in it, is rapidly evolving. Our worldview is unifying and shaping into a radically new paradigm. But we still have to face many many more transformations that gradually will give us to see reality from a very different angle than we ever had in the past. This experience will be dramatic and will plunge most of us in a state of deep shock. It just can't be otherwise for the new paradigm that is shaping under our eyes is worldchanging indeed.



1. In term of the form of transformations to come:


We are entering one of the most deep changing human perception phase in our history. What makes me say this?

The changes that our societies are going through are:

  • universal: those changes are affecting all societies on earth and each and everyone of us will have to adapt. There is no going back. The mechanic has been launched and can't be stopped. Earlier changes had been local or at best regional. Never in history has humanity in its entirety been driven simultaneously in one unique adventure. Modernism has largely been the story of the growth of rationality in Western Europe and its canon forced expansion to the 4 corners of the earth. With postmodernism Europe and the West will undoubtedly not count any longer as the dominant forces in the shaping of what comes next. Western culture will be losing the hegemony it imposed on the rest of the world. Postmodernism will definitely not be dominated by whiteman's culture but by new entrants in the rational game of the logic of capital: China, India, Brazil, South Africa,... This time around it is the culture of a majority of the world population that will shine light on our reality. The universality of changes to come is worldchanging by itself but it will be reinforced by the following:

  • fast speed: those changes are coming at us at the speed of a meteor. Such a fast speed of occurring changes in the field of our economies, our social relations and our cultural values has never been experienced before in the history of the human race. Those of us who have an open mind and their eyes wide open, on the depth of the transformations that can already be observed from year to year, are simply amazed at how it drives our curiosity. If you start to understand the depth of what is going on you just can't stay still any longer you long to know more. What seems already clear is that the speed of transformations is such that everybody is taken by surprise by the new developments. What I mean to say is that trends are now firmly established long before we even think to react and this implies that the dynamic of transformations is following its own path out of our capability to interfere. I know that these words will come as a shock for many but those are not of my own ramblings. Vernor Vinge of the Department of Mathematical Sciences at San Diego State University calls this a "SINGULARITY" and he writes that it is as "A black hole in the Extropian worldview whose gravity is so intense that no light can be shed on what lies beyond it."

  • all encompassing: nothing will escape the tsunami and nothing will be the same thereafter. In earlier times transformations touched one or relatively few fields and the interactions between changes from different fields were limited. This time around things look vastly different. The rationality of the logic of capital brought us science and technology that are revolutionizing all aspects of our material life. By helping to disseminate the logic of capital, science and technology is expanding the realm of changes from the industrially advanced societies to the whole world and it thus expands the field of revolutionizing from all aspects of our material life to the cultures and civilizations of this world.


2. In term of the substance of transformations to come:

The process that we are engaged in is a very complex one but what is already clear is that the biggest transformations will result not from one or another particular factor but from the interactions between changes occurring in the following heavy determining factors:

  • The shock between individualities and societies. I have written about that particular aspect in my post Painting (4): "the road of humanity".

  • The shock occasioned by the rapid introduction of new scientific discoveries and applications.

  • The civilizational roads, we all are surfing on, will be put to the task of adapting or perishing at the contact with the dynamic between ["the road of humanity" + "science and technology"] that is materializing very rapidly and in a universal context. I have written extensively about our civilizational roads in my post Painting (5): "The axioms of civilizations" dated February 17th, 2005.

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