The professor I referenced in my last post would also frequently say during class discussions, “all of us see reality through a grid” in order to relativize a claim. For a while the way this was done bugged me, but I could not figure out why. Gradually I noticed that these kinds of comments were being consistently directed towards statements of faith. So one day I raised my hand in class and asked, “is the reaction against religious faith the result of a grid, just as much as religious faith is the result of a grid?” He shrugged and said, “yes, of course.” He didn’t seem to understand the point of my question, but for me it was the most memorable moment of the semester because I realized that the arguments for relativism ultimately relativize themselves. His comments about seeing through a grid never bothered me again.
I am not big into culture, but here are some further haphazard thoughts I scribbled out last week while thinking about this: postmodernism is more like a mood than a state. Its a journey, not a house to live in. It is, by nature, reactionary and cynical and in flux. However much it chastens the claims of modernism, it cannot replace them because it has no substance to live off of. It has thus left people in a vacuum. Eventually the mood passes, and people look around for something to base their lives on.
Bruce McCormack: “my own guess is that postmodernism is a storm that is already moving off the coast and out to sea, where it will simply blow itself out.”