PoMo Study notes 2

Topics:

The slog continues. Often I wonder why I submit myself to this drudgery. But each time, I suit up, grab a lance and head into the public square to meet Don Quixote in search for another windmill.

A simple search "defense of post modernism" belched forth much. I have waded into one youtube video: https://video.search.yahoo.com/search/video?fr=mcafee&p=defense+of+post+....

Also
https://www.skepticink.com/atheistintermarried/2013/09/01/a-defense-of-p... offers a written defense.

https://www.physicsforums.com/threads/postmodernism-why-is-it-so-vilifie...
resonated most closely with my reasoning process.

Simple summary, I am incapable of wrestling meaningful or constructive insights about myself, my community nor my society from the narratives offered my postmodernism.

What is disturbing for me is that the narratives and rhetoric introduced by the postmodernist movement are precisely the narratives and rhetoric used each and everyday in social media. They are narratives that resist counterpoints like Teflon. They are narratives completely immune to what many might consider 'reason'. They vilify non-accepters. They offer nothing beyond the havoc they wreck on all western institutions past and present. I submit we see the consequences of this movement daily in social media and political discourse.

With adequate microphones in the hands of those who would depreciate all social values, disrupt meaningful discourse and reduce reason to relativistic pablum, I see 'No Exit'

Hoping someone has noticed a firedoor out of this spiral to anarchy.

Comments

yahoo search link

The first link you provide is a yahoo search link. It is unclear which video you are referring to. Can you provide a direct link to the youtube video, or at least its exact title so that we can search for it?

Response to reply

The intention of the link to my yahoo search was two fold; first to illustrate the range and diversity of opinion on the topic of defending post modernism and second to offer the reader the opportunity to proceed to the material of greatest personal interest to them. Perhaps this is unfamiliar or unwelcome protocol in social media. If so please inform and then forgive the transgression. I could have been much clearer as to intent in the body of the blog and apologize for the shortcut.

My mistake.

Your contribution is great.
I had misunderstood your intent. Thanks for the clarification.

Going back to the beginning

Tags:+Postmodernism

You seem stuck, but unfortunately, as I said earlier, I am the wrong person to ask about postmodernism. Maybe you are simply looking for something that just isn't there.

I think we should go back to the beginning of the discussion.
You wrote earlier:

It has always been my belief that constructive dialog (multiple opinions expressed and debated in a way that leads to increased understanding and productive outcomes) is a product of mutual respect and a common mutually accepted vocabulary. I am now beginning to wonder if the concept of a mutually accepted vocabulary has been undermined by the pernicious effect of a phenomena known as post-modernism that emerged in academic circles in the early to mid 20th century. [...]

It is my fear that the post-modern phenomena eats away at the heart of all vocabularies. It seems to turn all communications (audio, video, textual) into relativistic tracts relevant only to the author not the audience. It seems to "deconstruct" words and concepts into adversarial dichotomies that render both words and concepts meaningless. It is my sense that our vocabularies have become honeycombed with double entendres, "narratives", "dog whistles", ambiguities, fallacies and "relativism". A honeycombed vocabulary has no structural strength, it has lost its power to explain or enlighten. I suggest that Use of a honeycombed vocabulary is an invitation to misunderstanding and disagreement. I suggest that a honeycombed vocabulary leads to disrespect and conceptual segregation.

There are a lot of insightful comments above, and you allude to many topics that I would be very interested to cover more in depth. Fortunately for both of us, we do not need to take postmodernism into account to discuss those topics. Developing the Political Discourse project ( http://en.minguo.info/wiki/political_discourse_project ) is one of my priorities, and your comment above fall right within the scope of the project.

Could you express more clearly your personal objectives? What in our current society leaves you the most dissatisfied? What would you like to see instead? What would you like to achieve?

After your recommendation, I got myself an audiobook of The Righteous Mind. I've just started listening and I'm hooked. Soon, I'll create a wiki page and a discussion thread to discuss it. It is a book that I'll probably end up reading (listening) many times as it appears to be full of important concepts that are mightilly relevant to what we're doing here. Thanks for the recommendation. I am also slowly working on this TODO item: #17165: Create wiki pages for Ken Stern & "Republican like me".

On being "stuck"

The Cambridge Dictionary offers several definitions of "stuck", I will list 3 in response to your observation:
1. unable to move, or set in a particular position, place, or way of thinking - No, I do not feel as if I am unable to move nor that I am set in a particular way of thinking.
2. in a difficult situation, or unable to change or get away from a situation - Yes, I do believe that I am in a difficult situation and I am unable to find a way to change or get
away from that situation.
3. not able to continue reading, answering questions, etc. because something is too difficult - No, I do not think that PoMo is 'too difficult' but I do find understanding the
movement to be very challenging and I lack the knowledge to adequately answer questions on my own. I seek the insights of others to engage this root cause of disunity.

Augustin, you and I may have to work through a couple of differences in viewpoint.

1) Is post modernism "really there"? I currently believe that postmodernism is the bedrock root cause of political segregation and moral outrage. I posit that the historical context, philosophical underpinning, rhetoric and tools of argument of the postmodernist movement are resident in institutions of higher learning and are being dispersed from that locus to all aspects of civil discourse. Further, I posit that one consequence of this movement is the limitation of Paul Graham's Hierarchy of Disagreement to the first four levels of discourse (up to contradiction). Finally, I posit that the increasing ferocity of discourse at the second level of Graham's Hierarchy (ad hominem attacks) on social media is a direct consequence of postmodernist thinking. I am interested in learning more about your viewpoint on the root causes of these phenomena.

2) Where is the 'beginning'? It is my view that we are at the beginning. I am unclear what you are recommending that we go back to. If root causes are not the beginning of constructive discourse/debate, I am prepared to entertain other viewpoints.

Now to answer your four questions:
1. What are my personal objectives? - To find and contribute to a vibrant discourse in the public square that addresses the points of weakness in my society.
2. What in our society leaves me the most dissatisfied? - The quality of discourse/debate.
3. What would I like to see instead? - A reinvigorated society bonded by a few incontrovertible principles (e.g. transcendent respect one for another).
4. What would I like to achieve? - I prefer not to be limited by tangible achievements. I aspire to a legacy of having contributed to a stronger society.

Thank you for your kind comments.

legacy and methodology

Tags:+Graham's Hierarchy of Disagreement

I take back my reference to being 'stuck'. Your rebuttal is correct. I am looking forward to your insights as you keep investigating the topic.
By "going back to the beginning", I was simply referring to the beginning of our discussion in this site, i.e. to one of our very first comments. I agree with the essence of your comments, and I am also interested in better understanding root causes.

I currently believe that postmodernism is the bedrock root cause of political segregation and moral outrage. I posit that the historical context, philosophical underpinning, rhetoric and tools of argument of the postmodernist movement are resident in institutions of higher learning and are being dispersed from that locus to all aspects of civil discourse. Further, I posit that one consequence of this movement is the limitation of Paul Graham's Hierarchy of Disagreement to the first four levels of discourse (up to contradiction). Finally, I posit that the increasing ferocity of discourse at the second level of Graham's Hierarchy (ad hominem attacks) on social media is a direct consequence of postmodernist thinking. I am interested in learning more about your viewpoint on the root causes of these phenomena.

I am not sure about the root causes, but like you I certainly would like to uncover them, understand them so as to be better able to deal with them. These phenomena that we both denounce are obviously pervasive in our society today, and I'd be happy to be working with you on promoting better alternatives (see notes on legacy below).

1. What are my personal objectives? - To find and contribute to a vibrant discourse in the public square that addresses the points of weakness in my society.
2. What in our society leaves me the most dissatisfied? - The quality of discourse/debate.
3. What would I like to see instead? - A reinvigorated society bonded by a few incontrovertible principles (e.g. transcendent respect one for another).
4. What would I like to achieve? - I prefer not to be limited by tangible achievements. I aspire to a legacy of having contributed to a stronger society.

Thanks for your answers. I see a lot of common ground between us. The poor quality of discourse/debate was not my original, much less primary concern. My starting point was much more tangible, urgent concerns like humanitarian crisis, environmental degradation and human suffering. But then dealing with those issues becomes very difficult if we cannot properly discuss their root causes and agree on a proper course of action. How can we discuss policies that have a bearing on those issues if any disagreement ends up in ad hominem attacks? Thus, I was somehow forced to lower my expectations and I came to see our collective inability to have a healthy, productive discouse (on the issues and on policy) as a root cause to our inability to take proper action to deal with very concrete problems. You help me in considering the "root causes of the root cause". I am up to Part 3 of the book you recommended, the Righteous Mind. I love this book. Thanks! I want to make the most of the information therein, and make sure that the community we'll build around this site can learn from it. More on this later.

I highlighted the word legacy in your answer. I greatly appreciate your desire to contribute something valuable for our global society. Within the confines of this site, you can think of your legacy both in terms of personal legacy and collective legacy. Both can be pursued in parallel.

Regarding your personal legacy, I can set up what we call a "Personal Book" for you on this site, where you can write in details about your own thoughts, and about the findings of your research (on postmodernism, discourse, etc.). If you are interested, I can set one up for you.

Regarding our collective legacy, it is one important objective for me to encourage collaboration so that our collective intelligence can shine. Basically, where your "Personal Book" will be your personal, individual area of the site, the wiki and each of the wiki articles are the fruit of our collective efforts. So, we only need to discover our commonality in interest, identify a wiki article that we'd like to collectively improve, and offer the result as a legacy to future readers of this web site. For example, the article on "Graham's Hierarchy of Disagreement" that you refer to is a wiki article that you, me and anyone else can edit and improve. I want to create a detailed wiki article about the Righteous Mind, and since you read and introduced the book, maybe you'll be able to help me with it. I'll do the groundwork first, so that you have a better idea of the possibilities.