Where We Are

One of the central leitmotifs of postmodernism was the notion that both secular and religious metanarratives (i.e., grand narratives) had broken down, and not only broken down but needed to stay that way: that is, both religious (historicism) and secular (scientism) belief systems that had guided Western Civilization as various forms of divine of humanistic discourses failed us. This supposed failure released us from any overarching telos or arche-trace or search-for-origins, etc., whether of the study of language or humanity (i.e., anthropological-linguistic). But then the postmodern opened us to micronarratives whether in the playful ironizing of poetry and literature; or, in the post-philosophical interrogation of the history of philosophy from some Outside perspective. The supposed Continental/Analytic divide was mere whitewashing and segmenting of this new post-philosophical project as part of the interrogation of humanism by anti-humanism; and, by analytic-linguistic of mathematics and the sciences.

The latest generation saw the end-game of postmodern thought as it devolved into ever more undecidable knots which could not at last be untied, so that like the proverbial Gordian’s knot our latest incarnation of thought has bypassed or cut the cords with postmodern thought and returned to the original break in modernity: Kant and the Idealists; and, their critics. So that all the old schisms and errors of pre-Kantian thought and post-Kantian thought could once again be put under the scalpel of a new diagnosis as if somewhere along the way in the past two hundred years thinkers whether of the Idealist or Materialist; or, any variation on that theme in-between, might uncover the errors that led us to such an end-game to begin with.

So here we are, a battered and failed ship of fools wandering in the errors of our ancestral pond still blind to any actual way forward; only a bitter disgruntlement among old combatants of Intellect and Will, Rationalism and Irrationalism. Each side defending its own turn toward some new understanding of our current malaise. Each seeking some new definition of the Image of the Human, Post-Human, or In-human. One could, of course, break this all down and name names, organize the various players in each camp, label the constituents by their organized narratives or post-narrative traditions. And, we probably do need a book or doctoral thesis to register such a microhistory of thinkers, critics, philosophers, post-philosophers, etc. Maybe some young thinker will like Kant of old take on that challenge and clarify the errors that have led us to this moment of fracture and fragmented thought. Who knows?

Do you hear me?

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