Many idea pathogens share one common thread, a deep desire to liberate people from the shackles of reality.Gad Saad, The Parasitic Mind, P. 70
The nature of the human mind is such that it is logical. Yet the defining feature of postmodernism and its variants is a psycho-epistemological requirement to short-circuit the mind by both accepting and rejecting logic simultaneously. It is an ideology that sets the human mind against its own nature.
The human mind works by means of reason and logic, constantly engaged in problem solving to address the immediate and longer-term requirements of living. But applied reason isn’t automatic. It requires a specific method and a willful process of mental exertion and focus to discover and ensure a correspondence between ends and means. Logic is the art of non-contradictory identification, and it is the human method of achieving successful desired outcomes. To abandon logic is to abandon its purpose as the causal link between desires and successful action.
When one rejects reason through an act of willful evasion, and actively works to subvert and ignore logical and causal contradictions just because one feels like doing so, one sets oneself against reality (including the natural laws revealed by cause and effect, and the discovery and pursuit of the valid connections between thought and actions to achieve one’s values and desired goals).
Achieving desired ends requires a specific means, and randomness of thinking and action is not a valid methodology to achieve desired results. Human consciousness is the human means of coping with and aligning one’s actions to reality in order to achieve congruence between thought, action, and outcome. The connections aren’t automatic. They are the result of an ongoing reasoned scientific (i.e., factual) endeavor of assessments, conjectures, evidence, and proofs—of premises and conclusions validated by reality as evidenced by our senses. It is a process by which our consciousness validates an independent reality.
Postmodernist ideology rejects this. Instead of starting with reality, it starts with ideology. Instead of beginning with the primacy of reality as revealed by consciousness and an appropriate method (reason), postmodernism asserts the primacy of consciousness from which it wishes to create reality. It claims that the existence of reality is a construct of consciousness, a self-created ‘truth’. Under this construction, reality is whatever one’s consciousness chooses to make it, and reason is no longer constrained by reality and the established laws of logic. The pretense is that reality can be whatever one decides it should be, and to each their own reality and application, or not, of reason—to each their own truth free from any burden of method or challenge. It poses reality as a creation of unencumbered will.
Starting with the primacy of consciousness from which reality is a creation of the mind independent of any metaphysical boundaries imposed by nature and the law of identity, postmodernism attempts to justifies its ideology by rejecting reason and rationality. By doing so it necessarily establishes itself against the survival mechanism of human beings.
Humans require a reasoned adherence to reality to survive and flourish. It was the discovery of this reasoned methodology that gave birth to the modernist period of the Enlightenment and Age of Reason. Great thinkers discovered how to apply the power of reason to the problems we face as autonomous individuals and cooperative groups. Individuals gained independent confidence that human reason can define a scientific method of discovery to gather knowledge, and that knowledge can be applied to improve the quality and meaningfulness of our lives. Dependence on faith and authority withered over time.
Through applied rationality of the human mind and informed human action, we are able to envision our way to a better future by finding ways to remove constraints and uneasiness regarding our most basic needs and beyond, in pursuit of a growing hierarchy of values and improved possibilities.
The ideology of postmodernism is aggressively set against a singular reality and reason, and in its place substitutes arbitrariness and irrational obstinance across the entirety of the philosophic landscape of metaphysics, epistemology, ethics, politics, and aesthetics, as well as the physical and social sciences. By rejecting reality and reason as valid foundational structures to enable and facilitate physical and psychologically healthy living, the ideas and prescriptions postmodernism advocates necessarily undermine anything positive it might arbitrarily purport to stand in favor of.
Postmodernism is a cognitive wreaking ball of destruction which obliterates everything except itself. The only thing that can destroy postmodernism and build a better future is a principled embrace of reason and individual rights, and their principled application.
Next: Part 6 – The Postmodernist Embrace of Counterfeit Thinking
Some video resources for further insight about Postmodernism on the march:
© 2021, Barry L. Linetsky. All Rights Reserved
Barry Linetsky is a Partner with The Strategic Planning Group in Toronto, Canada, where he and his colleagues have been helping executives and owners define and align their business purpose with customer values since 1994. Barry is the author of the acclaimed business biography The Business of Walt Disney and the Nine Principles of His Success (Theme Park Press). His two most recent books, Understanding and Creating Vision and Mission Statements and Understanding and Creating Strategic Performance Indicators and Business Scenarios, co-authored with Dobri Stojsic, are available from amazon. The third book in the series Understanding and Creating Critical Success Factors will be available soon. Barry’s thought-leadership articles have been published by Ivey Business Journal, Rotman Magazine, Mises Wire, and the Economist Intelligence Unit in conjunction with Harvard Business School. Barry is also a writer, researcher, analyst, photographer, and business strategy enabler. Read his blog and learn more at barrylinetsky.com. Follow him on Twitter @BizPhilosopher.