So, friends, we’re continuing to think about the phenomenon of postmodernism.
I was born in the 1960s. I don’t think I was the culprit, but the 1960s ended up being a mess on many levels. There were the assassinations of Martin Luther King, Jr., John F. Kennedy, and Robert F. Kennedy. (You may remember exactly where you were, and exactly what you were doing when those terrible things happened.) There was the political and military chaos of Vietnam. I’ve just scratched the surface, of course, but suffice it to say that it was an unsettled and turbulent decade.
Some things were good, and even exceptionally invigorating, during those same years. I remember the tremendous progress of our nation’s space program, for example. But, as I’ve pondered the demise of objective truth claims, I can see how the seeds of postmodernism were sown and preserved in the social incubator that became the middle of the 20th century.
Here’s how I believe that may have transpired. People thought about all of the “progress” of the scientific age, which was undeniable, but then they observed the near-collapse of the social structures all around them. It left Average Joe and Joanne subtly wondering: “Is faith in science all that it’s cracked up to be?”
So, many folks concluded, perhaps unconsciously: rationalism has failed. Perhaps we should doubt the authorities and deconstruct the collective consciousness. Maybe we should undo all of “the powers that be.”
Strengthened by time, this became a long list of societal “we don’t wants”: parental control, church control, military control, government control … you name it. So, with all of the supposed philosophical freedom which we tried to create, we amped up the general distrust in authority. This bit us in the proverbial hind parts!
Maybe facts aren’t really knowable after all.
In those days there was no king in Israel. Everyone did what was right in his own eyes (Judges 21:25).
Thanks for thinking out loud with me. Your thoughts?
More next week.