Monday, June 19, 2006

Organizing Principles

According to Linda Hutcheon, one of the definable tenets of postmodernism is the preoccupation with breaking down grand narratives, or the attempt to “denaturalize some of the dominant features of our way of life; to point out that those entities that we unthinkingly experience as ‘natural’ are in fact ‘cultural’; made by us, not given to us.” No virtue, institution or entity is considered beyond the limits of examination. Postmodern thinkers seek to reorient our attitudes toward, among other things, religion, race, gender, and sexuality. I'm not saying this is not in some regards positive, esp. where race and racisim is concerned, I just believe there is probably a limit to how much we examine and dissect things. I think there can be a real danger in that.

Many contemporary theorists/writers promote the need for connection, community, and organzing prinicples to promote the human cause, and for positive change. The flaw I see is, after years of breaking down ideas on virtues ect., what do they expect people to organize under? How can they not expect people to be cynical and un-organizable? David Foster Wallace says one of the effects of postmodernism is, "some deep and serious changes in how Americans chose to view concepts like authority, sincerity, and passion in terms of our willingness to be pleased.” He says ridicule has become our #1 mode of communication and art-form, and that people are paranoid at expressing values that may be seen as passe.

I just think its ironic they want people to organize under principles, and yet they say there are no core truths or definable principles.

I'm glad as church members we have truths we believe are definitive and unchanging, and they are our organizing principles to guide our life and our dealings with other people.

As an interesting side note, CNN was interviewing a "liberal" Catholic priest who's opinion on the Da Vinici Code was that it was at least making people start asking questions about religion, even drawing people to the Catholic church, oddly. He says people in this world are looking for a resugence of a reason to bleive in religion, and to have something to be passionate about.

Do you think our generation is getting tired of all of this tearing down and debunking of the things society holds dear?


Scully said...

Yes! This reminds me of the summer I interned in DC. Our professor was leading a final discussion in the last class of the summer with some political guest speaker. All summer we had been berated for being apolitical (hello? we were the least apolitical of our generation - most of us were POLISCI majors!) and I had finally had enough. I stated, somewhat loudly, that we had been raised by parents, educated by teachers/professors, and socialized by intellectuals who had lost belief in the political system. All of our educators/socializers were children of the 60s, Vietnam and Watergate. We were old enough to remember the Iran-Contra scandal, we had come of age during the Clinton admin (White Water, Monica Lewinsky, the campaign fundraising indiscretions) and had inherited/learned that government wasn't to be trusted, that democracy was at best a broken system, and that capitalism created just as many oppressed as communism. He of course had a comeback, but it was weak. Something like "So, that should inspire a desire for change" or something.

Esperanza said...

Totally. I'm not saying we shouldn't organize, but they created the situation we grew up in, and influenced our ideals and skeptisism. One writer I read said that this generation has been taught by over-educated-white-males, which made me laugh! ;)

Scully said...

The same could be said of our lawmakers - a preponderance of over-educated white males. Or at least overly priviledged white males.

Sherpa said...

those that break us down..(socialogists, pyschologists and the ilk) have said that generation y is more conservative (they compare them to the greatest generation) than the previous two. Its an interesting thought.

aquamarine said...

Yes I do. Ditto what Scully said. heheheh

Esperanza said...

Yeah, I have heard this or the upcoming is more conservative, and have a tendency to worry more...hmmm. :0

aquamarine said...

Hey Esperanza,I came across this today and thought you might find it interesting.

In a recent issue of Fortune magazine said this about leadership. "After years of losing ground to its dowdy cousin, Management, Leadership is back. And it is looking more vital than ever. Being a boss is not the same as being a leader. Bosses inherit subordinates. Leaders earn followers. But there is good news. People want to be led. Indeed, people are starved for it. For all the talk of empowerment and flattened heirarchies, leadership is something elemental. Primates choose leaders. Groups of five year olds choose leaders. It's in our DNA" (Fortune, Nov 12, 2001, via Sherri Dew's, No One Can Take Your Place.)

I thought this was an interesting point of view in commarision to Linda Hutcheon's view. I think that our generation truly wants a leader, but we have lost faith in those that parade as our leaders now. There is nothing of value, as it may seem, to organize under, for those without a basic knowledge in truth. No wonder we, as a society are breaking everything down, trying to make sense of things, to find the meaning behind why we do the certian things we do, i.e. having integrity, when there aren't worldly examples of right. What we are seeing is the break down of God's law. Piece by piece parts are taken out because with out one the other is meaningless.