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A Postmodern Soliloquy

The world begins to look a little strange, a little ironic, once you realize that life or human existence is convention all the way down; once you realize that governmental structures, societal standards, moral standards, and language, are all conventions; once you realize that the world is a playground for humanity’s little games; once you realize that the world is not fixed but is like a river: always moving, always changing.

The situation becomes even stranger when you realize that you are one of the few who realize this. When you realize that you are one of the few who have escaped the entrapment of culture and are allowed to see life for what it is: convention all the way down. It is as if a vision has appeared to you. Suddenly you are flung up out of the blue bubble into the stars and find yourself looking down on everyone playing their little made-up games. And you laugh. You laugh as the blind pieces move to and fro. As they swing from their swings and slide down their slides. You laugh as they go about arguing, yelling, killing over rulebook preferences. You laugh as they claim to have set their standards in cement when you know that all that lies underneath is but mere quicksand. You laugh at how funny, at how absurd, the world is: how one day witches are burned and the next day they never existed; how one day psychological diseases were nowhere, the next day everywhere. Or how intelligence is but a number; health, disability, saneness, madness but a statistical norm. Or how what is acceptable hygiene standards, fashion standards, religious standards, moral standards, sexual standards, academic standards, vocational and financial standards, are all mere vapors manifesting themselves as Platonic Forms.

But then, after all this is revealed, you are thrown back down to earth. You realize that the message of your vision must be spread. People must know what you have seen. However, your last realization is that in order to communicate the vision to others, you must conform. You must play the games and adopt the rules of you neighbor. You must live in contradiction. You must live in irony. And as you go about your mission, as you get used to living amongst those who mistake convention for reality, there are times when you forget the vision. You forget that life is convention all the way down. Eventually, you may forget it entirely and begin doubting that it ever happened, only receiving brief glimpses of it while stuck in traffic wondering why oh why God made the traffic rules the way he did.

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  1. 05/02/2009 at 8:20 am

    Dude, great post.This post is a great description of what Nietzsche's death of God: we start to analyze the meaning and structure we have created; we find out the premises of the created meaning are nothing short of false and the structures (standards) are ever-changing; and we laugh. Then, we attempt to replace this newly found meaninglessness with meaning, almost always forgetting the meaninglessness of it all. Basically, once we go through this cycle, all we can do is laugh and enjoy life, which is a big thing for Nietzsche.Interesting, Nietzsche's philosophy is starting to come full circle for me now….haha. Thanks for this post!

  2. 05/02/2009 at 1:41 pm

    Thanks man. I didn't really have Nietzsche in mind when writing but I can see the connection. Nietzsche is, after all, sometimes recognized as the first, or at least one of the first, post-modernists (Kierkegaard might actually be the first). And to be honest, I wrote it as something not necessarily representative of my own views. Although some of it definitely is. Much of it is probably inspired by Kierkegaard's critique of Christendom and other such critiques (like Nietzsche's critique of the herd): instances where society places its own standards/conventions/status quos into the fixed realm of the eternal and then whereby the process becomes self-justifiying. Are you a Christian? How do you know? Well, look, I have these set of beliefs and these set of practices (beliefs and practices that were standardized by society itself). Being a Christian then becomes merely matter of affirming the standards of one's society. I also just find it funny how much we (the public) judge others based on their vocation, how much money they make, what clothes they wear, etc. All without realizing that most of our judgments seem to be based on these conventions that we have bought into. And is so following such conventions, we commit ourselves to the herd. We are merely following the crowd. We become zombies.

  3. 05/03/2009 at 12:16 pm

    Your welcome.Yeah, I noticed the herd theme in your post. Those of us that don't want to follow the herd and society's conventions end up living in contradiction. It's almost impossible to fight these conventions due to them being embedded all around us. It's a perpetual battle.

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