Knowledge Is The Enemy Of Postmodernism Essay

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Knowledge Is The Enemy Of Postmodernism Essay, Research Paper Michael Drach December 8 Philosophy Research Essay Society currently exists within a sphere of “reality” that can be classified as post-modern, or superseding the modern. This is a social condition that has come under much scrutiny and criticism in recent years, and its very being has been the subject of a great deal of debate. It is a very difficult concept to understand and classify, due to its endless interpretations. However, there is a somewhat general consensus that is considerably easier to agree on. As Dick Hebdige pointed out in the mid-1980’s, the term “postmodern” now applies to just about everything we take for granted in society. It can refer to things as specific as the decor of a room, or

to the broad societal and economic shifts in the media. Postmodernism can be defined, in the sense that this essay will focus upon, as an evolution of modernism, in art, science, and philosophy. It is opposed to the Enlightenment, the period beginning with the Renaissance, and ending with the modernism of the early twentieth century. According to Jean-Francois Lyotard, postmodernism is classified as “incredulity towards metanarratives.” (Jameson 124) The “Grand Narratives,” as they are also called, with their emphasis on artistic genius, reason, virility, and individuality, were the brainchildren of thinkers such as Marx, Freud, Kant, and Bacon. In the postmodern world, their ideas are met with scepticism and extreme criticism, and replaced by a general preference for

eclecticism, anti-historicity, cynicism, hyperreality, political correctness, reproducibility, and “zero-consciousness.” Postmodernism is marked by an ironic, apocalyptic stance that either predicts the End of an era, or the impossibility of an End. While there are many different facets of postmodernism that can be looked at, the pressing question is whether this condition has an antidote. The answer, of course, depends on whether one extols this situation or not. This essay intends to prove that the extent in which our society is postmodern is limited by sporadic changes in the human understanding of how our culture functions. Therefore, knowledge must be considered the enemy of postmodernism. Knowledge is a powerful, inevitable force that has stood the test of time, and

when pitted against the deceptiveness of postmodernism, could prevail. The widespread awareness of the postmodern condition and its symptoms could lead to its non-existence, theoretically. Furthermore, knowledge and ingenuity can lead to visions and ideas for the future, which are lacking in (post)modern philosophy. Finally, since postmodernism sets itself against Enlightenment, the opposite stance must therefore be essential in defeating it. A general public awareness, or rudimentary knowledge of the postmodern situation could lead to its discontinuity. Therefore, the first step is recognizing its existence. As Linda Hutcheon asserted, postmodernism’s existence can be proven merely by the existing literature written about it. The problem we face, is that many contemporary

intellectuals simply review the topic without changing our conceptualization of it. Several stances have been taken on it, but society as a whole will need tolerance, solidarity, imagination, and consciousness if we are to deal with the new diversity of postmodernism. (Hutcheon 8) Postmodernism, according to Baudrillard, is inherently deceptive. It is a societal condition in which the public cannot see the illusion for what it is, and we trick ourselves into thinking that there will be an “end” to it. If this is true, then postmodernism as a sociological phenomenon does not appear or disappear by itself, but is rather something conceived by the people, and yet we are not aware of the “monster” we have created. It stands to reason that as a society we should come to our