Postmodernism and the Issues that Come with It | Teen Ink

Postmodernism and the Issues that Come with It

February 27, 2019
By L.Krasta GOLD, Tirana, Other
L.Krasta GOLD, Tirana, Other
11 articles 0 photos 2 comments

Postmodernism doesn’t have a definite description, and it goes much deeper than its Wikipedia page, but it’s quite easy to understand once its roots and basis are researched and studied. Which is why for this essay, I have decided to explain postmodernism through the famous french philosopher, Jacques Derrida, and explain his contributions to it and how his theory of deconstruction led to postmodernism. The internet definition of postmodernism claims that it is a general and wide-ranging term which is applied to literature, art, philosophy, and well, everything. It’s a reaction to the assumed certainty of scientific, or objective, efforts to explain reality. With this being said, in this essay, I’m going to clarify the roots of postmodernism, its deeper meaning, and how it affects us nowadays.                 

To explain the roots of one of the many ideas of postmodernism, you must know who Jacques Derrida is and what he believed. Derrida was a very famous philosopher in France. He was responsible for coming up with term deconstruction:

“Deconstruction means dismantling our excessive loyalty to any idea and learning to see the aspects of the truth that might lie buried in its opposite” (The School of Life). In Derrida’s mind, deconstruction was a way to attack tradition. For example: men have always been more superior than women, words have always been more likeable than writings, reason has always been seen as more important than passion (The School of Life). All these ideas have ultimately been constructed into people’s minds so many times, that it became tradition for people to think the same about the same things. For example, men being superior over women used to be considered normal, but now it’s frowned upon, all thanks to Derrida and his deconstruction. So basically, deconstruction proposed that the equality of everything (not just men and women) will always be better than inequality. But that’s not all. Derrida wanted the people who read his work to try to remove their habit of simplicity. By getting rid of the habit of tradition, you as an individual begin to look at certain concepts in a different way, often not the same way as you used to, therefore getting rid of simplicity. So what you might be asking is: what do equality and the abolishment of simplicity have to do with each other? Well, Derrida linked these two by believing that humans can rightfully be confused on two opposing topics, such as Capitalism and Socialism. What they should not do, is make immediate conclusions about one of them (usually the concept you side with), thus making them inequal. Instead, equally say and research useful things about both sides, in order to further understand the truth about either in a much deeper manner. In conclusion, deconstruction is the main root of postmodernism by its belief. Even if Derrida’s theory of deconstruction has given the mere idea and motivation for the creation of modernism and postmodernism, postmodernists have pushed the idea to a more extreme level.

Furthermore, deconstruction inspires a more unhealthy form of postmodernism. Postmodernism’s motto is that there is no real truth, and it refers to after modernism. There is a significant difference between both modernism and post, because while modernism just rejected tradition in literary works and arts, postmodernism went a bit further than that: “Postmodernism is typically defined by an attitude of skepticism, irony, or rejection towards ideologies and various tenets of universalism, which include objective notions of reason, human nature, social progress, among others” (Ahmad). Deconstruction developed to postmodernism because people misunderstood what Derrida wanted to set out. The point of deconstruction was to further investigate the truth of an ideology or literary works, not completely disprove it. Postmodernists believe that there are only countless interpretations of something, not truth. Think about it from a postmodernist’s perspective: when you look at a bean bag, you actually see a chair. Not because it’s made out of wood or because it has four legs and a back, but because you can sit on it, and because you can sit on it, you can interpret it differently than how you perceive it (Peterson). The ideology of it is valuing subjectivity over objectivity (which is the concept of something being true caused by perception or emotion). While at point that might be correct, taking it too far can result in it being corrupt and morally unreasonable; because postmodernists thought that if you could interpret something differently in art and literature (modernism), then you can look at the rest of the world in the same complex way. You can see “through” things that aren’t necessarily meant to be looked through, just like a bean bag.

Now take the ideology of that bean bag, and try to adapt it to today’s society. I personally believe that it resembles the way that people look at genders. Normally, our gender is predetermined. You are biologically either born female or male. If you wish to transition in the future from one gender to another, you are classified as transgender. So far, nothing’s really out of the norm, except, it’s beginning to. Postmodernists believe that you aren’t born with a gender. Instead, they claim that you can shape your gender by culture and experience. Some even go to extreme grounds and say that gender does not actually exist. The basis of it is that apparently women and men have been put into a social construct of gender, and it’s preventing them from being defined as more than just female or male genitalia. To consider yourself, nonbinary, bigender, agender and many more, is just refusal to the truth. It’s not harmful nor is it unacceptable, but it’s confusing, and it isn’t taking basic facts of nature in consideration.

In conclusion, the mere idea of postmodernism encourages people to demolish the truth of concepts and grabs the idea of deconstruction and reshapes it in an unhealthy way for humans. It has affected our society in a negative way, and it’s the peak of modernists ideas in 2019, such as gender, literature, art, and so many others. I believe that not all views of postmodernism are incorrect to the point of stupidity, but I do believe that some beliefs of postmodernism are illogical and irrational, and they will confuse future generations and create unreal barriers and ideas.  


Works Cited   

Ahmad, Razwin, and Razwin Ahmad. "Modernism Vs Postmodernism". Slidebean, 2018,. Accessed 18 Jan 2019.

Peterson, Jordan. "Jordan Peterson Explains Postmodernism". Youtube, 2019, Accessed 18 Jan 2019.

"PHILOSOPHY: Jacques Derrida". Youtube, 2019, Accessed 18 Jan 2019.

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