Postmodernism and how it ushered the Age of Dishonesty
Modernity and postmodernity
Modernity and postmodernity are different conceptions of the world. Whereas modernity is based on the Enlightenment and the advances of rationalism and science, postmodernity is based on the break with the Enlightenment and the rigor of rationalism and science. The beginnings of Postmodernism can be traced to the structuralist linguistic school which had emerged within the current conception of modernity, whose ‘structuralist’ idea was an overview of the world based on knowledge and reality. Such idea was absorbed by other disciplines of the humanities and social sciences, where it was targeted by dissenters, giving origin to the philosophical doctrine of ‘structuralism’ which was eventually identified as ‘Poststructuralism’. The latter rejected the modernity world view, and came to be known as Postmodernism. The respective approaches to modernity and postmodernity correspond with Structuralism and Poststructuralism. Thus, modernity and structuralism have become synonymous, as have postmodernity and poststructuralism.
Postmodernism, deconstructionism and constructivism
Postmodernism is an ambiguous ideology that is difficult to define except for its purpose of destroying modernity and replacing it with the postmodernity of Marxist inspiration. The ambiguity of postmodernism has served well to conceal its falsehoods. Jordan Peterson, the Canadian psychologist and thinker rightly described postmodernism as Marxism with a new skin.
The falsehood of postmodernism lies not only in its method of falsifying realities, such as creating media icons, but also on the way it undermines the Enlightenment, rationality, science, etc. These two methods are called deconstructionism and constructivism. The objective of deconstructionism is to destroy modernity and the objective of constructionism is to create postmodernity.
Deconstructionism is the process of debasing the things characteristic of modernism by attacking its metanarratives, reducing them to arbitrary sequences of linguistic signs or words, and then replacing original meanings with others, to finally conclude that no interpretation of these word sequences is more correct than another.
Constructivism is the process of creating abstractions – constructs – through rhetoric. While there are certain commonly accepted constructs, such as state, money, law, and national identities, the constructivism of the postmodernist doctrine is radical, irrational, and dishonest, as it is based on the premise that everything is a matter of semantics.
Deconstructionism began in the midst of the Marxist French intelligentsia, with Jacques Derrida (1930-2004) the recognized father of this movement. Initially deconstructionism was a form of literary criticism, but when absorbed by the humanities and social sciences, it had other applications. Derrida believed that Western thought has been addicted since Plato’s time by a tumor he called ‘logocentrism’, referring to the assumption that language describes the world quite transparently. In Derrida’s view, the description of the world through language is an illusion, and language itself is not impartial and words prevent us from actually experiencing reality directly. What Derrida wants is to tear down the belief in an objective external reality that can be explored through language, rationality, and science, and to show that the Enlightenment’s grand narrative is nothing but a delusion. Derrida’s method of destroying language is deconstruction – a technique that makes us see that the ‘signifiers’ – the words themselves in the Saussurean system – are so ambiguous and changeable that they can mean something or nothing.
The idea of constructivism predates modernity, but the Swiss psychologist Jean Piaget (1896-1980) introduced the concept in modern times, to describe how children create a mental model of the world. Although postmoderns seem to like the connection with Piaget, Piagetian constructivism is positive, while the constructivism adopted the postmodernists is negative. Piagetian constructivism states that knowledge is something constructed by the individual based on his interactions with the physical world and the social world. Postmodern constructivism claims knowledge is socially constructed. In order to distinguish postmodernist constructivism from Piagetian constructivism the former came to be known as social constructivism or socioconstructivism.
What is the intention of Postmodernism?
The intention of Postmodernism is to create a hood to conceal the propeling of a new Marxist socialist revolution. Its main weapons are deconstructionism, which is used to debase rationalism and science, and socioconstructivism, which is used to create political identity groups and leaders through imagery and rhetoric. The strategy of postmodernism is to subliminally create a postmodern disposition or mindset, a postmodern Zeitgeist.
The objective of Marxist socialism is to create an ideal society, and in order to attain that objective it rejects society. The samething can be said about Postmodernism, for it too rejects reality and longs for an idealized reality. The fact that the various attempts to implement the ideal society ended up in genocidal tyrannies has turned many people away from socialism, and postmodernism became a solution to this problem, with sophisticated tactics to win people’s hearts and minds. As Jordan Peterson cleverly pointed out, postmodernism is Marxist socialism with a different cloack.
In the postmodern mindset, reality is what is spoken, and the best way to speak is to appear in the media. That’s where the obsession with fame and famous came from. The postmodern mindset longs for strong identities because they are shortcuts to power. However, an individual’s genuine identity is based on his cognitive abilities and cultural background, and, generally plain and unremarcable. The way the postmodern mindset conteract this is by exchanging the genuine identity for the ‘persona’ – “a kind of mask, designed for the double purpose of giving a firm impression to others, and hiding the true nature of the individual,” as shown by Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung.
The bad consequences of Postmodernism
In the Zeitgeist of postmodernity, authenticity went out of the window, and appearance trumps substance.
In the postmodern Zeitgeist, the loss of the genuineness of the individual has been accompanied by the loss of the spontaneity of social processes. The diminution of social trust is just one of the unintended consequence of the postmodern Zeitgeist, as it leads to two errors of judgment: valuing the undeserving and failing to value the deserving. Basically, it means the end of meritocracy, which is a waste of human capital whose social consequences are yet to be assessed.
The beginning of the postmodern world
The beginning of the postmodern world can be traced back to the 1960s, when the boundaries between high and low culture were blurred. This allowed the emergence of Pop Art and its settlement as a form of popular power. One of its leaders, Andy Warhol (1928-1987), predicted that “in the future, everyone will be world famous for fifteen minutes.”
Wherever postmodernism is found, its entry has been sneaky. Postmodernism entered Latin America via the socialist networks of universities, where it became nested in the humanities and the social sciences. From there it penetrated into the trade unions and various non-governmental organizations (NGOs).
In Latin America, Postmodernism was initially housed in universities, especially in the humanities and social sciences, and from there to non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and political identity groups. Western Civilization is a major target of Postmodernism, and Latin American postmodernists have longed preached Latin Americans to reject it altogether. The result of that was that the postmodernist converts, who are basically the converts of left-wing politics, developed the desire to be defined entirely by internal characteristics. Those who were not converted, continued to take for granted that Latin America was a sub culture of Western Civilization. There is an obvious cognitive dissonance in Latin America regarding civilizational identity, and such dissonance is one of the reasons why the political scientist Samuel Huntington (1927-2008) did not include Latin America as part of Western Civilization in his book Clash of Civilizations (1997).
The rise of Socioconstrutivism
Socioconstructivism became common in Latin America from the 1980s, something that can be deduced from the large numbers of artificially created heroes and heroines. The socioconstructivism method consists of five main steps: (i) choosing sympathetic causes such as the defence of forests, animals, and oppressed groups; (ii) to co-opt leadership from known bases; (iii) increase the profiles of these leaders by persuading journalists to publish stories about them; (iv) indicate the leaders chosen to participate in donor organizations; and (v) nominate the leaders chosen for available awards and lobby them with the awarding institutions.
The choice of cause requires care and attention. For example, in the case of an NGO linked to the indigenous cause, the more colourful tribes still practicing their dances and ceremonies are more promising than those that are less colourful and more acculturated. Once the cause is chosen, the next step is to choose the most promising individuals in terms of appearance and malleability to be promoted to the media.
Backstage machinations to build leadership and to attract the interest of journalists are unethical, and they create a danger for critics or whistle-blowers who do not accept lies and half-truths. Thus, socioconstructivism has a protective cover against whistle-blowers, so that any criticism of the NGO’s financial management or its lies and half-truths is perceived as a vile attack on a noble cause, that is, the oppressed group, the forest, or the charismatic animal, causing the critic to be labelled racist and worse things.
One of the few examples to be reported in the international press was the story of young Guatemalan Rigoberta Menchú, who was transformed into a heroine of her tribe and who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1992. However, when anthropologist David Stoll decided to evaluate the merit of Menchú, discovered that his narrative of the genocide of his people in the early 1980s in autobiographical book I, Rigoberta Menchú (Verso, 1984), was full of inconsistencies and even lies, and that the same book, edited With the help of several people, he had an agenda to help the guerrillas to which Menchú had joined in 1981. Stoll published his findings in the book Rigoberta Menchú and the Story of All Poor Guatemalans (1999), but the truth he expounded was ignored and he himself was considered an enemy of the indigenous peoples. What happened to David Stoll discouraged any similar denunciation. It was evidence of the protective cover of sociocontructivism, analogous to that of viruses. Another example was the transformation of Paulinho Paiakan, a Kayapo indian chief from Southern Pará, Brazil, into an icon to represent the cause of the Brazilian rainforest during the Earth Summit of 1992 in Rio de Janeiro.
Ordinary people, who understand what is known as the public, have a duty to be aware of what is happening around them. The questions they should ask are of the type ‘for whom’, as those below.
i) Is socioconstructivism good for the oppressed individuals to whom they advocate?
ii) Is socioconstructivism good for society?
iii) Who gains with socioconstructivism?
Although socioconstructivism purports to care for the downtrodden and the oppressed, is a paternalistic form of collectivism that robs the individual of his right to be himself and to develop his potential. To society itself, the lies and half-truths of socioconstructivism corrode social trust, creating a society of low confidence that is extremely unfavourable to economic development. Anyone who takes the trouble to examine socioconstructivism will realize that it only perpetuates oppression and that the only persons who gain from socioconstructivism are the socioconstructivists themselves, who win the ears the left-leaning journalists and NGOs, through which they gain unfair advantages in both the public sphere and the circles of power.
Postmodernism is Marxism itself with another skin. Both employ the same language of resentment, anger and envy. While traditional Marxism praised the destruction of capitalism that would occur as a result of the socialist revolution, postmodernism (or neomarxism) planned and launched a coverted revolution. Western civilization succumbed to Postmodernism and became its prisoner. The demeaning of the larger society through its fragmentation into political identity groups, the lack of genuineness and spontaneity, and the abundance of fabricated leaders are all consequences of Postmodernism. Deconstructionism and socioconstructivism, the most potent weapons of Postmodernism serve their leaders, who are the puppeteers controlling their fabricated figureheads. They don’t serve society but themselves. Society as a whole has lost a great deal due to the machinations of Postmodernism, from genuineness and spontaneity to trust among their citizens. There are several reasons why Postmodernism is wrong, but the most abhorrent one is its falsehood.
Joaquina Pires-O’Brien is a Brazilian who lives in the UK. In 2010 she started PortVitoria, a magazine of the Iberian culture, for speakers of Portuguese, Spanish and English. Link: www.portvitoria.com
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