The Goods 8/20/23
”I don’t understand post-modern philosophy.” - Me
“I don’t think it’s meant to be understood.” - A Smart Guy
Writers like William S. Burroughs or Don Delillo, who didn’t necessarily perpetuate a post-modern point of view but wrote stories that felt birthed of a post-modern condition, I have hardly any love for post-modern philosophers. Jean Baudrillard is appealing for some reason that I can’t tell. His book America is an interesting read. While he partially inspired the Matrix, he thought it was a brain-dead bastardization of his ideas. The movie is great, and I think it’s funny that he’s probably right in his opinion. I guess the point of this paragraph is that there is something weird about technological society and that we are in a bee-hive of stimulation, world gossip, and low-frequency anxiety brought on by instant connection. The 24-hour news cycle is a very outdated colloquialism. It’s more like a 10080-minute news cycle. I can’t illustrate how invasive it is any better. Even if you shut off your wifi, someone might text you and tell you some terrible thing that has happened in a faraway place that has no immediate resolution.
Marshal McLuhan pointed out all this in the 1960s. A novelist like Delillo was aware enough to create stories that were steeped in the dissolution taking place. I find Delillo’s point of view refreshing and comforting, even if his novels have unsettling modern themes. I feel like the images left in my mind from his books give me a space to breathe and appreciate modernity for all its retardation.
The post-modernists I’m not fond of or sincerely repulsed by are typically French. I don’t know this stuff enough to critique it, but I will.
First off, they’re significantly influenced by Marxism. Strike one. Marxism has some points about how Capitalism can suffocate; any Plumber with a GED and alimony payments can tell you that. Nothing more to say on this point; you see how intellectuals need to convolute everything to feel necessary. Spend time with “regular” people; you’ll learn more about society and economics than listening to someone who has fetishized an ideology.
My second observation: At a glance and without an Art History degree, I believe that Freudianism and World War 1 heavily influenced Dadaism and Surrealism. Europe was completely fucked by two world wars which directly affected the Culture Maker’s thinking overtly and subconsciously. Mix gruesome wars and genocides with an intellectual understanding of Psychology, and you get surrealism. To me, this makes sense.
Still, I feel like the post-modern philosophers of the mid-20th century hyper-idealized schizoid mentalism and projected their theories onto everything. Everything became relative. It’s said that Schziophrenics have an emotional attachment to outer stimulation, like a car driving by with a sputtering muffler which a Schizophrenic will build an emotional narrative around and then spiral into a fictional world. It feels like the P-M Philoisphers took this observation to believe that everyone and everything functions on this basis (*Hits blunt once*). You come to this conclusion by being disconnected, traumatized, and fearful that everything around you is a manipulation.
I understand Post Modernism sounds very exotic and enlightened to a naive 20-something. The way to combat the intellectual narcissism of Culture Makers is to react on gut instinct alone. They cannot let themselves get on that level because they have constructed a Philosophy around inhumanity, not a hatred of humanity, but a nearly autistic bewilderment of it. Truth and science are about testing and being objective. Disembodied post-modernists claim to be objective, but they just aren’t.
If you read White Noise (the movie shouldn’t be your introduction), there is a funny thing with these Professors who create courses on Hitler studies, car crashes, etc. I think Delillo was half fascinated by these post-modern trends and made fun of them. You can create worlds from anything, and I think it’s better to do it in a fictional world than in the real world with impressionable children. The nice thing about stories is they force you to think and come to a conclusion and create your mental images instead of telling you how it is.
That’s been in my head for a while. Some of these Philosophers seem interesting enough, but I’d never take it as gospel. Flawed theories are born from flawed minds, much like everything. Life can be pleasant and not a total hell of manipulation. Maybe try meditation or somethinging; what the fuck.
P e a c e
“I don't necessarily agree with everything that I say.”
― Marshall McLuhan