I was born and raised under the influence of modernistic romantic ideals: that Humanity is one, that we are all brothers and sisters and that our common goal is to master the laws of Nature, end wars and all human suffering, expand our mental and phisical frontiers, explore the Galaxy and live in the age of Aquarius. John Lenon and Carl Sagan were my beacons. Their spirit and purpose conformed my cosmovision. I felt it was perfectly solid, self sufficient, indisputable…
… And then postmodernity came and the world became a mess. I had to assume that I was being naive, that things are complex; That there is no universal consensus on what progress is, who we are, what is important in life, what is worth dying for, what’s virtue and what’s bullshit, what is a serious matter and what is a joke. I had to swallow that reality isn’t objective and straightforward but a fast-evolving fluid hyperreality, possibly predicted in the Simpsons, probably ‘promoted’, maybe deep fake but MOST CERTAINLY controversial and offensive from someone’s point of view..
The world may be shrinking but the complexity and transformation pace are on the rise. We are flooded with an ever-more complex reality. We are asked to have an opinion on an increasing number of controversial causes which escape our living experience.
For example: should transgender athiletes compete with women or in a separate category? How to regulate religious symbols at schools? Should people with mental illness adopt children? Should we prevent Chinese from eating dogs? I don’t know! More questions, conflicted social norms and personal needs and rights. New problems on top of old problems thrown in our face. This Information overload in an aggressive political correctness public scrutiny environment produces perplexity, fear and an addaptative self-censorship mechanism. This facilitates [oversimplification alert] a series of undesirable effects both on indivisuals (depression, mental illness, anxiety, isolation) and on societies (populism, extremisms). That’s my worst vision of postmodernism: a freakin’ mess, in which everybody is confronted, offended, intoxicated, angry, neurotic and lying about it. That’s the Postmodern Pioneer Plaque.
Would I erase postmodernism from existence if I could?
It’s a seductive thought, but no. There is no way back, only forward. We have to sort our way through this: keep questioning the old axiomatic categories, recognizing diversity without prejudice and develop a world that works for everybody.
Will we succeed? I don’t know. Maybe it’s impossible. Maybe we’ll descend into chaos once more. Maybe this altruistic endeavour destroys itself or gets destroyed by an external or internal force. Hopefully, with patience and empathy we’ll hold it together.