Postmodernism definition – what is it? You may have heard the term before, but what exactly does it mean and how can you use it to your advantage in activism work? This post will provide a definition of this philosophical movement and then discuss its implications for activist work.
Postmodernism emerged as a critique of modernity. It arose in reaction to the idea that history has an objective truth value. In other words, we cannot be sure whether our understanding of reality truly reflects what’s happening “out there.” One way postmodernists responded was by establishing their own conventions about meaning and truth. This meant presenting narratives or stories that were not considered true according to convention or authority but instead told from one person’s point of view.
Postmodernism is a broad term that means different things to different people. In the words of philosopher Jean-François Lyotard, “the postmodern condition is characterized by incredulity toward metanarratives.” This philosophy has been used in many ways over the years and it can be difficult for us to agree on what exactly constitutes postmodernism. To put some context around this subject, we will explore what you need to know about Postmodern philosophy.
Postmodernism definition common usage
“Postmodernism: the idea that there is no one truth. In a nutshell, postmodernism questions whether absolute objective facts exist.”
“It’s all relative to who you are and what your perspective is. It’s not possible for any two people to have the same experience of reality because we’re all different and see things differently.”
This philosophy suggests that there is no such thing as “the truth,” only interpretations of it. Postmodernist thinkers believe in multiple realities, which means that everyone has their own version of what happened or how something feels or tastes. For example, when you taste a dish, it will taste different depending on who made it and what ingredients were used; so even if someone else tells you they had cooked lobster each serving is unique in its own way.
Postmodernism definition: A more personal and social approach
Postmodernism aka the vehicle driving the “my truth” movement in a vacuum. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with anyone’s truth. The problem lies in when people lend too much weight to their versions. So let’s discuss some arguments against postmodernism
Postmodernists overvalue subjectivity. Their own truth refutes everything and nothing simultaneously; in other words, it’s something that can’t be proven. Moreover, the subjective relies on it’s own unprovability. To be clear, it would be more appropriate to have postmodernism as it’s own field. Instead, it’s a murky lake of different philosophies.
Genuine debate requires a level playing field. All in all, nobody gets to win automatically. That’s not how the world works. Now, most people don’t intentionally rig the game, but the fix’s subtleties still occur. Hopefully, I don’t need to explain why playing in a rigged game is wrong on so many levels
I can’t write out how many ways deceit is wrong. Instead, I will explain how entertaining personal charades are wrong on one level. The level where winning matters. I don’t care if the postmodernists of the world want to give everyone a trophy or nobody a trophy as long as there is some reward.
I say keep the trophy because postmodernist thought doesn’t let anyone win. Unless you become a sports mega-star. The postmodernist idea does let mega-stars win. However, postmodernists don’t let anyone else win. In effect, people are winning through others.
Postmodernism means winning turns into hurting everyone’s feelings. More importantly, it means specific feelings are more important than the truth. And the truth is the whole point here. If we can’t see the truth in winning, then we can’t see the truth in anything.
Be as postmodernist as you want, as long as you leave room for objectivity. An argument cannot turn into a zero-sum game, because that would be a fallacy. Think about it. The net result of any competitive game cannot be zero. Scores in gaming can be even, and you can win or lose. However in no game exists where a player or team can score negative points.
That’s what a zero-sum game is. The only way the net result of a game is zero is with one side having negative points. That’s clearly a broken advantage that’s not going to work in public discourse.
Postmodernism definition: The ultimate conclusion
Everyone needs to put their truths aside for the greater good. We need more meaning and choice in our lives. More importantly, by creating more room for objective truth, we make more room for our subjective reality. At least, in terms of value to influence public discourse.
We also must be cautious that we aren’t living through each other. Because that’s where postmodernism and the my truth movement will lead. If we merely absorb from each other then we are no longer making decisions.