The term postmodernism is a complicated term or a complex set of ideas. It is important to note that the term is only two decades old. Complications in defining postmodernism arise out of the fact that it covers a multitude of disciplines. Since it emerged as an academic field of study in the 19800s, it has been incorporated into music, art, architecture, literature and sociology among other fields. Thus, we can say that it is a way of life that is going to transform the way society lives in the present dispensation.
To understand postmodernism, it is good to understand modernism. Modernism has two aspects; two definitions which are central to defining and understanding postmodernism. The first aspect of modernism comes from the movement that rejects the Victorian standards of how art should be consumed, made and what it should mean. Explained below are the main characteristics of modernism. This is modernism as has been expressed in the arts and literature by such writers such T.S Eliot, Pound, Stevens, Kafka, Joyce and Proust among others (Bauman 132).
The first characteristic is an emphasis on subjectivity and impressionism in writing. This idea emphasizes how seeing as opposed to what seeing. This is made manifest in literature by the stream of consciousness plots undertaken. Another characteristic is a movement from obvious objectivity that is manifested by third party omniscient narrators. This also involves fixed points of view. Modernism also inputs into its constructions categorical moral standpoints. An example of this can be got from the short stories of Faulkner. Modernism is also manifested in literature by an over emphasis on discontinuous narratives, fragmented forms, and random mosaics of different materials (Bauman 132).
Another aspect of modernism is the tendency to reflect reflexivity and self consciousness on the artistic work. This has the effect that each individual piece is artistically loud and calls attention to itself. The pieces of art in one whole production cry for individual comsuption.Each requires its own consumption in a unique way that is particular to it. Modernism is also marked by studied rejection of complex, formal aesthetics in favor of minimalist mosaics or literal designs. This is exemplified in the works of William Carlos Williams. Spontaneity in creation and the impulsiveness of creativity are exalted in modernism. Modernism tends to deliberately reject the distinction between the low and high of popular culture. This rejection is both in the choice of the materials used in the artistic production, and methods of display, disrtribution and the consumption of art (Bauman, 132).
Postmodernism is the critical appraisal of grand narratives. Postmodernism is the awareness that grand narratives serve to hide the contradictions and instabilities that are to be found in any society. In other words, attempts to create order demands the creation equative amounts of disorder. A grand narrative masks or hides the constructedness of the disorder by explaining the disorder (Bauman 132).
Postmodernism living is going to be better because it follows ideas and themes expressed by modernism. This is because modernism rejects boundaries especially those erected between the low and highs of culture and art. It is going to be better because it rejects rigidity in art and culture, for example, in literature; it rejects the rigidity in the distinctions of the genres. It emphasizes parody, playfulness and iron. Postmodern art forms favor ambiguity, simultaneity and fragmentation. It emphasizes the decentred, destructured, and dehumanized subject. Thus, it is able to capture the imagination of many people. This makes it appealing to many people. This is because it transcends modernism and moulds itself into a better mutation of modernism. This is without the limitations and shortcomings of modernism (Bauman 132).
While postmodernism bears some similarity to modernism, it is quite different from it and also much better. Itsââ‚¬â„¢ attitudes towards many of the trends of modernism are quite different. For example, modernism presents the idea of fragmentation tragically and in a most lamentable manner. Postmodernism on the other hand, celebrates fragmentation. Fredric Jameson has provided another way of looking at modernism and postmodernism. Jameson posts that the two are cultural formulations that come with different stages of capitalism. Fredric Jameson provides three main stages of capitalism which modulate the particular cultural performances. The first phase he calls market capitalism. Market capitalism occurred in Western Europe and the united states during the 17th and 18 the centuries. These stages also occurred in places where the said countries have influence. Market capitalism is associated with technological advancements. These developments include the invention of the steam driven motor. This is aesthetically coated with realism (Bellah et al 79).
The second occurred from the late 19th century to the mid 20th century, at about the time of the Second World War. This stage of capitalism is called monopoly capitalism. The developments seen in this period include the invention of electricity, and also the invention of the internal combustion engine. It is also the phase of capitalism that is associated with modernism. The third phase of capitalism, in which we are now in, is multinational or consumer capitalism. This phase of capitalism lays emphasis on marketing, selling and consuming commodities. Not on producing commodities. This stage is associated with nuclear technology and electronic technology. It is the stage that correlates with postmodernism (Bellah et al 79).
Living in the postmodern era is more interesting than living in the modern era. This is because it is living in the consumer oriented capitalism era.The postmodernism era is much better. This is because travel is faster and cheaper. One can fly to any part of the world in supersonic speeds, in the postmodern age. With globalization cutting across the world at an amazing rate, travel is cheap and efficient. This is because, in the postmodern era in which we are living in, the issue of passport control is done electronically. Travellers are not required to queue for long just to get their passport checked. Also, the process of acquiring passports and other immigration papers will be made very easy to the post modern era. This is because the processing of data will be done electronically. Super computers will have the information required on everybody from all over the world (Bellah et al 79).
The postmodern period is going to be much better than the modern era. This is because power is going to be produced from nuclear reactions. This will mean that there will be little or no pollution of the environment. In the present period, pollution is the order of the day. Pollution has led to the green house effect, and the planet is starting to experience the effects. That is why the governments of the world have come together to at least curb this menace to the environment. Pollution the world is experiencing is attributable to the petroleum products that presently provide the power that drives the world. Postmodernism is going to change all that, it is going to introduce the use of nuclear power. This will mean that the issue of pollution is solved. The period of postmodernism is going to usher in a period of healthy and clean living (Bellah et al 79).
It is important to note that the world is partially in the period of postmodern living. This means that some parts of the world are already living in the postmodern era. That is why the paper keeps shifting from the present to the future tenses. Postmodernism living is going to be better than modernism living. This is because communication is going to be revolutionized. Communication is going to be made cheaper with the advent of advanced mobile telephony. Communication across the globe is going to be a joke. This is because international calls are going to be made remarkably cheap, and efficient. Individuals will be able to communicate at relatively long distances without any difficulties. This is because advances in communication technology will ensure that one can be reached at whatever place they are in the world (Ayers-Counts and Counts 158).
Postmodernism will usher in a period of prosperity all over the world. This is because production of goods is going to be made cheap by new technology. Production of agricultural produce will become remarkably cheap all over the world. The US is already experiencing this prosperity in the agricultural sector. CAFOs produce so much agricultural produce that most of it is wasted. The other agricultural branches are also doing well. This period of agricultural prosperity is only going to increase. This is due to the fact that the making of fertilizers is made easy by recent technological developments. The other agricultural inputs like pesticides are only getting cheaper, and it is quite easy to access them. This is going to be the norm all over the world in the era of postmodern living. The food scarcity experienced in most parts of the world is going to disappear. The hunger seen in most regions of the world is going to become past tense.Thus, postmodernism living is going to be better than modernism living (Ayers-Counts and Counts 158).
Postmodernism living is going to be better than modernism living. This is because the prices of most basic commodities are going to become cheap. This is because the modes of production are been transformed by recent technologies. The electronic revolution is going to enable manufacturers to manufacture goods at reduced prices all over the world. Mining is going to be mechanized. This will mean that most raw materials are going to become cheaper to get. This will in turn mean that goods like cars and electronic goods are going to become cheaper to produce. Consumers are then going to have a field day (Ayers-Counts and Counts 158).
The field of education is going to experience great changes that are going to favor the consumer. Students are going to be able to register online and study online. This will mean that students will be able to do more. The time spend previously in translocation from one place to another will find other uses. Education will be made sweeter by the fact that the online libraries will have expanded. This is to say that students will not have to suffer looking for reference materials. The time students spend on the road will be spent working or reading. Postmodern living is going to be better than modernism living (Ayers-Counts and Counts 158).
Postmodernism living is going to be better than modernism living. This is because there is going to be a great transformation in government and governance. Democracy and justice are going to be the hallmarks of this era. This is not only in America and Western Europe. The whole word is going to experience this governance changes. In the western world, democracy has been exalted and given a prominent place. This trend of exalting good governance is going to spread all over the world. Human rights are not going to be trampled as in the present dispensation. Abuses that demean man all over the world are going to be dispersed (Harvey 9).
Postmodernism is going to organize knowledge. In modern society, knowledge is equated with science. It is contrasted to narrative. Science is demonstrated as good knowledge, while narrative is seen as bad unproductive language. Narrative knowledge is also seen as irrational and primitive. For this reason, it is associated with the insane, children, and women. Modern society also views knowledge as good for its own sake. An individual gains knowledge through education just to become knowledgeable. Knowledge is acquired to become educated. This is particularly seen in the liberal arts. These include subjects like philosophy, anthropology and sociology among others (Harvey 9)..
In the postmodern era or society, knowledge is acquired for the function it can perform. Knowledge becomes functional. You learn things to put then into practice. You do not learn to know things. Postmodern education is going to put emphasis on skills, and training to be acquired. Postmodern society is going to do away with vague humanist and general education. Students will study degrees that will market them in the world. General degrees will not do. Knowledge is going to be based on utility.
Another aspect of knowledge in postmodern societies is that it is going to be differently stored, distributed and arranged. This will mean that the modern mode s of storing information and distributing information are going to be overhauled. The continual revolutions in advancements; in the electronic computers, will change the modes of knowledge storage, production and distribution. In postmodern societies, knowledge is going to be recognized by its ability to be digitized. In the wake, of postmodern societies, anything that is not able to be translated by a computer will not be eligible as knowledge. In postmodern societies, the opposite of knowledge is not going to be ignorance. Rather it is going to be noise. This will mean that anything that does not qualify as knowledge is going to be seen as noise (Harvey 9).
In architecture, postmodernism is going to bring many changes that are going to make living more interesting. Functional and formalized spaces and shapes of the modernist age are going to be replaced. They are going to be replaced by unapologetically diverse aesthetic styles. This is going to make buildings more beautiful and elegant. Postmodernist art is going to be more accessible than modernist art. This is unlike the modernist art that has been elitist. The postmodernist art is going to employ the mixing of words with art. This will have the effect of creating multiplicity of the message and medium. The mass media are going to become a primary subject for art. The focal points of art are going to become materials such tropes (Harvey 9).
The postmodern society is going to be society that celebrates differences. This is going to be a great difference from the present modernist culture that places importance on the centre. This will mean the rejection of the concept of the universal to the acceptance of the particular. The metanarrative is also going to be rejected in favor of the local story. This will call for the celebration of the local artistic produce. This is going to be in contrast to the present idea of celebrating art from without. The celebration of differences is going to mean that uniformity is going to be rejected in favor of differences. Differences are not going to be demonized. This will also mean the rejection of the ideal in favor of a variation of standards that are all local (Bender 18).
The postmodernist society is going to see a transition from the ideal self-made man to an emphasis on community relationships. Synergy is going to be the byword that is going to build community. This will mean a higher degree of cooperation in society. Tasks will be accomplished in shorter periods of time. Postmodernist societies will also transit from seeking just empirical knowledge. It will turn to the seeking of spirituality. The society will also seek higher morality and adhere to ethical standards. Postmodern spirituality is not going to be connected to religion. It is going to become fundamental (Bender 18).
As stated above, ethics are going to become a central part of life in the postmodernist society. This is because in the modernist society ethics have been trampled underfoot. The present era has seen ethics reduced to decisionist ethics. It is only when one is making a decision that they remember ethics. Ethics has been relegated to the private sphere. On the public scene, most people are afraid to touch on the subject of ethics. That is why many corporations are trampling ethics underfoot. Corporate deviance is the order of the day.CEOs and other corporate mangers have set bad precedents in ethics. All this is going to change. Postmodern society is going to engage pluralistic ethics. This will be evidenced by a multiplicity of communities living side ââ‚¬"by side. Ethical discourse will become a discussion of the ethical and moral practices of different communities (Bender 18).
Postmodernist society is going to be much better than modernist society. This is because advances in medicine are going to bring a lot of medical revolutions. More and more diseases are going to have cures. The management of conditions like cancer will be state of the art. Diseases like AIDS and TB are not going to be life threatening. This is because advancement in medical research will check them. Cures will probably have been discovered. Healthcare is going to improve. This is because medical technology will mean that healthcare is monitored by state of the art equipments. Diabetes patients will be monitored around the clock (Bender 18).
Postmodern living is going to be better than modernist living. This is because people will be able to work from their homes. This is already being experienced in some parts of the world. The continued advancements in computer technology are going to achieve this feat. This will mean that there will be a reduction in traffic jams on the highways. Work- place related stress is going to be a thing of the past. This will mean that the roads are going to be safer with less traffic than is the present scenario.
The society is now caught between modernist living and postmodernist transition. Some aspects of postmodernists living are evident in society. Computer technology is transforming life from modernist society to post modernist society. All in all, the society should be prepared for the transition. This is because every change that comes into society comes with a price. The price of transition might mean some discomfort. The paper also believes that not everyone will welcome the changes that are going to usher society to the postmodernist era. The changes that can be regulated should be regulated to avoid friction in society. This way, postmodernist living is going to be ushered smoothly into society (Bender 18).