Over the past 4 or so years, our communities across the world have struggled with emerging concepts that maybe identified with post modernism. Questions around the moral compass of these issues haveoften been raised, but very few people have actually considered the sustainability of post modernism as a philosophical understanding that will guide society towards the creating and maintaining values deemed appropriate and serving the ultimate good of the community.
One would have to note that Post Modernism is mostly described or understood in its defense of ethical relativism, the contextual definition and understanding of an act as being moral or not. This would then lead to the view that absolute truth does not exist, though there can be agreements widely shared on certain views. Advocates of post modernism have therefore developed a liberal agenda across spheres of life and seek to transform the mindset of society and there seem to be some success in convincing millenials ( people understood to have reached maturity/post adolescence or teenage age from 2000 onwards). This particular generation strongly believes in the arguments of post modernism, at times without deep analysis of the philosophical underpinnings.
Before I explore the philosophical foundations of post modernism, i would like us to appreciate the effects of it and relate it to the need for a future community grounded on moral principles that seek the ultimate good of the community. One may clearly observe the confusion and lack of focus ( at times purpose ) of the ‘millenials’ generation. There is a greater focus on emotions than reason, thus the inability to justify certain actions or decisions. The focus is on self-help and satisfaction through things defined by others as positive elements of a healthy life. Most millenials have their life pattern designed by others, with limited ability to question onself, there is joy in automated achievement even in the absence of consistency in the outcome.
What has led to this? Post Modernism advocates for the view that morality is relative to different contexts, cultures or geographical locations. When considered closely, the underlying differences that exist in the understanding of ethics across cultures is mostly interpretation and not the fundamental messages. Of course, culture is dynamic and evolving but should the principles of morality evolve with culture? How sustainable is that in the long term? I believe that post modernism fails to answer some underlying questions that may render it acceptable. The fact that it is mostly inclined towards justification and not explanation renders some of the arguments difficult to appreciate. To say that truth is relative, is somehow to nullify it’s existence. Truth is absolute, interpretations and circumstances may vary. Facts exist and if one is to nullify the existence of facts, one would have to prove with consistency of results that relative truth can produce the same result when reproduced.
Post modernism is self centered and focused, valuing one, even at the expense of others. How can one person/ nation be more successful and self sufficient? History has proven it that co-existence somehow explains one’s existence. The absence of exclusive knowledge or expertise imposes the need to relate to others, but when one puts himself/herself above others, human interactions become subjective thus limiting the ability to tap into the existing potential. Poor social skills of young people in our society is somehow a result of these concepts. Being self centered generated the ultimate imperative of automation to meet identified or determined levels of satisfaction, the creative ability is not expanded to finding alternatives but limited to meeting the existing need, hence neglecting the potential to achieve more. When self centered expectations fail, there is embarrassment as one would put herself in the assumed category of failure. The attribution of labels is based on assumption and not factual explanations, because our intention would have been subjective and not objective.
Growing in a culture where post modernism trumps is somehow unhealthy as it trains people to believe and not think further than what’s visible. We tend to focus our existence on the quest to satisfaction and success as defined by ‘experts’, without setting the benchmarks on which those elements are evaluated. Relativist approach has led to populism, and not elitism that provides clear guide to society. We believe the more the better, and at times even more wrongs are celebrated.
With the present pace of technological development and cultural evolution, sustaining morality is more than a difficult task and it takes a different approach to achieve the best result. If our generation maintains the view that morality is relative, the next generation may believe in its total absence and reducing a human being to a preprogrammed robot, with spirituality. This doesn’t however neglect the fact that some elements of post modernism aroused positive development in society, in economic or technological sectors for instance, but valuing the concept in the light of sustaining morality puts us into a dark tunnel.
There is need for us to appreciate reason/intellect in society, coupled with moral values that seek to achieve the ultimate good of the community, at the risk of a future society without purpose of existence but fulfilling predetermined outcomes that meet sectoral interests of society.