[FRIAM] Postmodernism for Rationalists

Steven A Smith sasmyth at swcp.com
Sat Nov 18 13:15:28 EST 2017

Glen ☣-

A Postmodernist trying to Rationalize Postmodernism to Rationalists?

Actually I found it somewhat interesting...  and was (nicely?) put off 
by the formatting... the ragged use of bullet points... a "bulleted list 
of one" seems very symbolic of my caricature of PoMo aesthetic.

As for the summary you included here from the presentation:

Best of Times:

         A) my introduction (informal) to PoMo presented significantly
    as both dogmatic and ideological... but that may have been partly
    projection and partly the selectivity of what I *recognized as* PoMo.
         2) The "focus on human values" is a tautological statement?
    PoMo seems to be centered (to the exclusion of all else) on a
    subjectivity that is intrinsically "human" and maybe even more
    acutely "self" as in "self-centered"?    I'm not trying to say that
    I don't find the PoMo perspective useful and even appealing in many
    ways, but in it's purest form, it would seem to degenerate to pure
    narcissism (without judgement of that)?
         c.) Definitely seems to help "expand the mind" in roughly the
    same manner that hallucinagens do?  I also don't mean that to be
    acutely dismissive, but the mechanism seems to be similar to this,
    and/or maybe "annealing" with repeated (arbitrary?) randomizing of
    the smallest elements with thermal excitation?
         IV) This one feels like the most useful (or least challenging?)
    of his observations.

Worst of Times:

         0.0 My earliest introduction to PoMo was exclusively (selective
    hearing?) used to push shoddy agendas...  I observed it being used
    as a turd in the punchbowl more than anything.  I think I'm (well?)
    past judging it by that early introduction, but I think the author
    cited here is (in other text) pointing at the abuses of the
    Alt.Right these days.
         II.) I like the allusion to Cargo Cult...  and it fits the
    superficial approach of PoMo as I apprehend it...   elevating
    correlation (free association)  to the level of causation. Ignoring
    the implicit commutativity in the Form/Function duality. I don't
    mean PoMo is intrinsically superficial, but rather that it is often
    invoked in that mode and perhaps (too) often apprehended that way in
    an attempt to dismiss it's confrontational style (nature?).
         c.a) 0.0 above exhibited in this way more than not... it was
    the tool of self-styled "young Turks" who, in some ways, like the
    Anarchists of early c20, recognized that it is easier (and can be
    more satisfying) to toss a bomb into things than it is to try to
    deconstruct/reconstruct thoughtfully.
         Zed ☣) The existential loneliness of PoMo seems to associate it
    with Nihilism and may drive the worst aspects of it's presentation
    in culture?

PoMo seems "mature" enough now that it, itself is wanting to be received 
seriously (trying to rationalize itself to rationalists?).   It's 
(unfortunate) association with the Beat culture (my experience growing 
up was that the Beats were mostly the over-30 dropout men who were 
trying to horn in on the youth culture of the Hippies, especially 
(surprise!) the girls) and aspects of the (subsequent) drop-out culture 
exemplified by the Merry Pranksters.

But what comes after/follows-from PoMo?   Post-Postmodernism? 
MetaModernism?   A plenitude of *modernisms (as suggested by the PoMo 

 From the Wikipedia Post Postmodernism entry:

    /Salient features of postmodernism are normally thought to include
    the ironic play with styles, citations and narrative levels,//^[6]
    <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Post-postmodernism#cite_note-6> //a
    metaphysical skepticism or //nihilism
    <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nihilism>//towards a “//grand
    narrative <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grand_narrative>//” of
    Western culture,//^[7]
    <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Post-postmodernism#cite_note-7> //a
    preference for the virtual at the expense of the real (or more
    accurately, a fundamental questioning of what 'the real'
    <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Post-postmodernism#cite_note-8> //and
    a “waning of affect”//^[9]
    <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Post-postmodernism#cite_note-9> //on
    the part of the subject, who is caught up in the free interplay of
    virtual, endlessly reproducible signs inducing a state of
    consciousness similar to schizophrenia./^/[10]

All I know about PoPoMo I just read in Wikipedia (how non-PoMo of me?) 
but recognize some of the ideas and names referenced there. Eric Gan's 
PostMillenialism struck me for it's dismissal (judgement?) of PoMo as 
"victimary thinking"... a corollary of nihilism?   I don't really take 
Gan's Generative Anthropology seriously (though it has interesting 
ideas) and DO (against my personal convenience) believe in a 
postCapitalist/postDemocracy (r)evolution on the cusp of happening 
(perhaps even in my lifetime?).

I also find something interesting in this description of metaModernism 
(same source):

    /As examples of the metamodern sensibility Vermeulen and van den
    Akker cite the 'informed naivety', 'pragmatic idealism' and
    'moderate fanaticism' of the various cultural responses to, among
    others, climate change, the financial crisis, and (geo)political

    /The prefix 'meta' here refers not to some reflective stance or
    repeated rumination, but to Plato's //metaxy
    <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Metaxy>//, which intends a movement
    between opposite poles as well as beyond.//^[25]
    <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Post-postmodernism#cite_note-25> /

Fire away!
  - Sieve

> https://palegreendot.net/rrg_notes/2017/10/09/rrg-reading-notes.html
> PDF:
> https://palegreendot.net/assets/2017-10-09/postmodernism_for_rationalists.pdf
> I appreciated these 2 slides:
>> • Postmodernism at its best
>>    · Not dogmatic and ideological
>>    · Focuses on human values
>>    · Allows you to approach and understand other subjects and viewpoints
>>    · Acknowledges that the territory might require multiple maps
>> • Postmodernism at its worst
>>    · Used to push shoddy political agendas
>>    · Cargo cult ideology
>>    · Used to rationalize and excuse asocial behavior
>>    · Results in existential loneliness

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