Posts Tagged ‘individualism’

4. Postmodernism has opened the door to radical individualism.  It is paradoxical that we could live in McWorld and yet be individualists – and yet it is undeniably true. It works like this. Postmodernism tends to undermine any larger story or cause that I might identify with. Tolerance is not a cause, just a low-grade ideal. There is no shared bigger picture or larger group that gives meaning to my life and yours.

Trouble is, this dynamic doesn’t stop when it gets down to the level of local community – it keeps on destroying the narratives that hold people together.  We learned it from Inception: if an idea is planted deep enough it will control your whole life. If big stories are suspect and relative, then smaller ones are too, and in fact any story.  In the end the only meaning I can access is the meaning I construct for my own life.

In which case there can be no real ‘us’. For the thing that used to maintain ‘us’ was the narrative. It’s only a short step from this to ‘life is all about me.’ The large metanarratives which postmodernism attacked did not break down into local narratives – they broke down into the individual story. Nor is there any narrative we are following that might give much importance to my neighbour’s life. This leaves radical individualism as the only available option.

The results have been catastrophic. We have seen our communities break down to the point where there is very little left. We no longer know our neighbours. Nowadays when people die, they are lucky if anyone notices. Or cares.

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In finishing, let me say I’m no big fan of modernism either. But in exorcising that demon, seems to me postmodernism has left the house swept and available for seven even worse demons to take up residence.

I am looking for something better.