Proposition: Postmodernity is more than just a pointless intellectual theory for academics, it is a pathway to liberation from the bonds of human-created culture.

Postmodernism posits that truth and meaning are solely human creations. If this is true, then nothing really matters, do whatever you want, we're just a conglomeration of random atoms and molecules that happen to be organized in a certain way that we call life. But there's no point, so do whatever you want to with your life, because in the end its just a brief spurt of consciousness that will end as pointlessly and randomly as it began.

This position can be freeing: the constrictions and values we place on ourselves, our lives, our work, and our loves are not based on anything more than human whim and folly, and all our neurotic strivings for perfection can be laughed away as silly. We are free to create the life we wish to create (keeping in mind the irony that what we wish is probably just what society has conditioned us to wish).

But that irony can be quite bitter when it leaves you empty, somehow feeling that you're missing something quite real, something quite profound about the universe, something that postmodernity with all its deconstructive elegance just can't quite account for. Here is where the theory breaks down, and people revert to wishy-washy religions like Unitarianism or worse, opt for fundamentalism (religious or scientific) - because it's hard to live without the comfort of faith in something - hard if you're stuck in the modern paradigm anyway.

But perhaps I am misconstruing postmodernity. After all, postmodernity is a rejection of modernity, which at it's core was reductionist, and posited that humans, by dissecting the smallest atom and studying each little bit of nature, will come to understand the whole of it. Therefore, postmodernity should natually claim the opposite: that there is some ineffable quality to nature that cannot be captured in words, numbers, or scientific jargon, that is outside the capacity of human reason to define, and yet is there for the human heart to experience. But this sound like just another meta-narrative, the stories we arrange our lives around.

Postmodernity, in theory, seems to throw out these meta-narratives. Which is all fine and good. Except it seems to me as if what postmodernity has done, finally, with meticulous detail, is nothing more than what mystics of various religions (see Buddhism) have been saying for centuries: our perception of reality is really an illusion, and our ego-identities are just a product of the situations in which we find ourselves. Our sense of identity is a trick, a fantasy of our monkey-brains. Freedom, enlightenment, ecstacy, liberation, even true love...all these come from letting go of this false ego.

Postmodernity seems to provide the intellectual tools to do this. But I don't see many people taking the next step, and actually living their lives as the "poetic creations" my favorite college prof would describe in glowing, but vague terms (he was manic depressive and would throw chalk when he got excited - I thought he was great, but I wouldn't call him happy or even especially free).

I suppose this proves once again that there are just no shortcuts to enlightenment, intellectual or otherwise.

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