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The more I study, the more I think post-modernism will die and be replaced with what ultimately looks a lot like Modernism, except bigger, grander, and more accurate. Truth, Reason, and Vision will always remain more powerful than deception, amorality, and paralysis.

The entire post-modern quest to undermine the accuracy of Truth, Reason, and Vision using their own self-same tools is pointless. The whole reason we hold these fixed stars high and resolute is simply that the world is anything but easy to discern, and thus we must expend the extra effort to get as close to the right answer as possible. We may be wrong, but the possibility of being wrong does not negate the value of the increased probability of being right.

A recent example: branding--that is, the post-modern form of business--doesn't work because it is without substance. Read this article about the death of 'brands' http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/12.11/brands.html, which is really the death of lies. The conclusion is right. Provide real value, or get the fuck out of business. Advertising can puff you up, but it's a bubble that will be explosively deflated once the truth is revealed.

Plato ripped apart the Sophists for their deception, their unsubtantive mimickry. Blog culture is sophistry. The passing off of other people's knowledge as one's own; simply copy&paste&link and post. Voila, I am an Instapundit.

In the end, it is the real value generators that will drive the world forward. Propoganda may be powerful, but it sets you up for big defeats. But Plato survives today because he was right, not because he was good at marketing, and it's that repeatability and dependability that attracts people to the cause.

The McLuhan attack on rationality as an outcome of the alphabet is wholly retarded in this sense. It is cynical, really, believing that reason is not compelling by itself, but rather an mistake, an accident, a happy misadventure in the way civilizations worked. I think this is wrong for the very essentialness that Truth and Reason and Vision will always crush disorder, confusion, chaos, and raw emotion in the matter of time. Order vs. chaos. Reason itself is compelling to all people in all times. All myths are an attempt to gain order in the world. They push back the Wild to the edge of the Village. Reason is innate in mankind. The Greeks just were more proficient at it culturally.

What will triumph Modernism is not the death of Reason and Truth and Vision, but rather, the continuing use of Reason and Truth and Vision to reform our underlying structural institutions. Capitalism and Bureaucracy may need to be reconsidered, but the only realistic way to do this is with Reason and Truth and Vision to move towards a better answer.

So, yes, Modernism is ending, that means that unrestrained exploitation of the natural world is ending, and total self-centred individualism is ending, and self-sufficiency is ending, and the American Dream is cracking, but that isn't a bad thing. It's just an opportunity to make all these concepts tempered with a new balance, not to reject them in their entirety.
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From:elise25
Date:November 9th, 2004 07:15 pm (UTC)

wow!

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Sunir,

I had no idea that you've continued with this LJ blog so fervently. I must now use you as my resource, so to speak. By the way, I've forwarded this blog to someone who I know virtually in Montreal, who knows your friend Seb.

elise :)
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From:sunir
Date:November 10th, 2004 06:49 am (UTC)

Re: wow!

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your resource?
From:elise25
Date:November 10th, 2004 01:29 pm (UTC)

Re: wow!

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yes - I think you're a quotable individual! Reputable... I don't know (just kidding) :P
From:(Anonymous)
Date:November 10th, 2004 06:19 am (UTC)

Blog culture is sophistry

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There is no value in Clay Shirky disseminating ideas about designing for groups, because Joel Spolksy wrote about once a couple of years ago. There is no value in other people developing the ideas now, if each learning or accretion is not the definitive treatise on design for groups. Once a single person has an insight, the value of that idea is over and done with; there is no value to having others learn to apply that insight in the world.

There is no value in this conversation about Slacker theme movies: http://alevin.com/weblog/archives/001506.html, because my review is not the definitive treatment. Posting to the blog and sparking an interesting conversation instead of writing a private, paper notebook essay are not qualitatively different acts. Sharing reflections and references with a friend has no redeeming value, because the conversation has not been referreed for original contributions to film criticism.

The only form of valid discourse is a PhD dissertation, where a researcher works largely in isolation for years, the researcher must prove they have mastered the full body of knowledge in the field before daring to speak, and an idea's value is expressed once a single person has uttered it in silence.

You probably don't mean this.

/asl
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From:sunir
Date:November 10th, 2004 06:58 am (UTC)

Re: Blog culture is sophistry

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Plato ripped apart the Sophists for their deception, their unsubtantive mimickry. Blog culture is sophistry. The passing off of other people's knowledge as one's own; simply copy&paste&link&post. Voila, I am an InstaPundit?.


Sophistry is meme dissemination. Plato wrote negatively about memesis. Passing off mere repetition as knowledge is the fallacy he shouts down. Understanding, which means coming to know the divine Forms, is the real value generator. In particular, Plato was tied to a far more ancient oral tradition that was based on logical deduction (dialectic) rather than the simple Simonodean mnemonic device. In Plato's tradition, the progression of ideas in an oratory came naturally; they were not fixed by TheAuthor?.


To Plato, passing on ideas is valuable, but passing on the expressions of those ideas is not.


Blog culture is about one person generating value somewhere on the 'Net and then everyone passing it on. del.icio.us is good because it eliminates the often perfunctory analysis that goes along with link propogation. This was done by design as Joshua particularly disdains the secondary 'insights' as being, well, secondary and therefore noise. But thecommentary is written to invest the author's self into the work, to attach their identity onto the value generated by someone else. Sophistry is about being the originator, the first, about taking human credit for ideas. This is profane. Claiming falsely that knowledge as one's own insight is anathema to Plato. Truth itself is valuable, not the attention that one receives from presenting it. Truth is Divine, Universal, and Eternal.


To Plato, there was no definitive authority. Ideas were accessible by anyone anywhere without there being an original work, simply because Truth was universal. All one needed was the proper mode of inquiry. This is the essence of mathematics, and he was right. By the way, mathesis means to learn, and hence mathematics means the method of learning.


The very structure of blogs frustrate the Platonic dialectic. They are temporal, personal, authoritative, printed, mnemonic, and ephemeral.


Or simply, while blogs are fun, Plato was not. Yet Plato continues to exert quite strongly his LifeInText? today while the Sophists do not beyond the confines of historical investigation.


I actually am starting to see wikis as being Platonic devices, and thus beautiful if boring. But that's a discussion for another day.

From:(Anonymous)
Date:November 10th, 2004 05:45 pm (UTC)

Re: Blog culture is sophistry

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The real reason why Plato attacked the sophists was because they were making a lot of money out of their craft. Commercialism made them corruptable, corrupting, and corrupted. Similar to the way advertising firms are making big money out of brand selling.

I don't think we should just accept that sophistry was bad simply because Plato attacked it. Despite all that attack, sophistry was the medium for which old knowledge was preserved, and old knowledge has been passes down to us. If not why are we reading Greek mythology? As said in our class, or will be said, I think, is that much of writing has taken its form from oral tradition (sophistry) and translated it into the new medium of writing.

I'm afraid I'm a bit confused, reading what you've written above. Sophistry is bad? Blogging is sophistry? But you like blogging? Or Plato is boring? As is wiki? But you like boring? Or is it that you see value in both? Or non-value in either at all?

I did some interesting searches on Postmodernism, trying to understand it, and I found some interesting things under my google search for "beyond postmodernism". In summary, the texts I've read that seemed to ring a bell in me is saying that postmodernism has shown us why analysis of language, and using language for analysis doesn't work. Each language has its own logic. That logic is not analysable outside of its own language, therefore there is a limit in language. What some of those interesting essays on beyond postmodernism hints at is that what happens next is "action". I hope for the sake of humanity, Truth, Vision, etc... is not taken with excess action that we arrive at such times as Hitler's.
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From:sunir
Date:November 10th, 2004 06:31 pm (UTC)

Re: Blog culture is sophistry

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I don't like blogging. I blog for a particular audience. I like wikis. I think boring is good. 'Boring' is something meaningful to Meatballers.

I've heard the argument that Hitler led to post-modernism. The fear that resoluteness would be mistaken for Truth, but that's only because words are taken at face value, even if the words themselves are irrelevant. It's the underlying logical structure that elicits those words that is the value, the Truth. Words express the idea. It's an inability to understand words that is the problem. And hence, the project of discourse fails once discourse envelopes the whole population.

When in Vancouver I heard a man tell me that reading and writing will be dead in 50 years as we have voice in/voice out computers. It's true that literacy is difficult and spoken language is natural, but I didn't believe him for the simple reason that the written word affords certain practices that are powerful. The powerful will always be smarter, one step ahead of the rest of the population. At least they will remain literate. However, letting the population's average capacity for critical thinking atrophy simply because it is 'easier' and more 'natural' is what makes a society soft towards exploitation.

And I understand you can have a similar society as ours with VI/VO computers. The problem is that computers are programmed in code, and people who can manipulate code have an advantage over those who do not. Code is a new form of writing, text that is immediately active, machine. People remain and--more importantly--feel vulnerable to digital technology because they do not understand it and thus cannot control their own destiny. It is incumbent upon the liberalists to infuse digital comprehension to a wider and wider population.

I know that is a very 'Modernist' stance, but it's true enough.

The value generators will be the ones leading, and everyone else will be following. Sophistry and blogging makes it easy for others to follow along, and they are necessary organs in order to knit together society. But they are a substratum. Surely still important, as the medium is the message, but not the place to look for where the content is created.

The essence of the criticism is that blog culture often thinks of itself as where the ideas are happening (e.g. klogs), but really it is very rare that good ideas are made in blogland. They are only disseminated through it.
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From:sarahbubble
Date:November 10th, 2004 09:54 pm (UTC)

Re: Blog culture is sophistry

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so here's another medium through which we can accidentally offend one another. fun, isn't it?

do you not see an irony in writing that blogging is sophistry in a blog? especially as you started the conversation linking to an article that sparks discussion for you? or maybe you see it, but accept it as a necessary evil?

and on plato...plato dismissed ALL mimeses, not just that which is purely "imitative". mimesis refers to all forms of artistic expression, would you have us toss all those out? strip the metaphor off of everything? he starts out by saying that he wants to keep only those forms of art that show the world as it should be, because we don't want our younguns seeing examples of bad behaviour or anything like that. then he goes further and says it's all crap, because a painting of a bed is an imitation of that which is already and imitation of the ideal, so it's three steps removed from truth. do you really think we can't learn from this kind of thing? is it not possible that the reader of a particular article can take it and add something to it with his or her perspective? isn't that what you were doing in this entry? i'm not willing to throw out "mimesis" just because plato said we should.
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From:sunir
Date:November 10th, 2004 11:19 pm (UTC)

analyzing jokes is not the funny

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The whole post is dripping irony, from the title "Prediction for the end of post-modernism" to the form to the forum to the medium to the content to the audience. I think you're taking this too seriously. I'm just satiring the last eight weeks of class, LiveJournal culture, the blog vs. wiki culture debate, the U.S. election, latté culture, and the art of blogging.

I don't know how you got offended. My post after this one is about vampire watermelons. How seriously are you taking my LiveJournal, anyway?
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From:sarahbubble
Date:November 11th, 2004 02:59 am (UTC)

Re: analyzing jokes is not the funny

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oh...i wasn't actually offended, i just figured we eventually would offend one another. guess i missed the satire because i'm not in your class, i know nothing about LJ culture, or about the blog vs. wiki debate, i'm not sure what this has to do with the election and oh yeah because it's kind of obtuse (she says, embarrassed that she's too stupid to figure this shit out).
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