Monday, September 18, 2006

On being post-modern

Post-modernism, at a glance, may seem like a difficult, abstract concept. Books that reflect this idea seem absurd to read, as they analyze simple, banal things in manners that seem unnecessarily complex.

However, if there's one thing that I learned about post-modernism, it's the very simple concept that things are not as simple as they look, that there are a lot of factors that contribute to how things turn out, and even "how things turn out" depends on how one presents it.

History matters, but look again: who's point of view does it reflect? We thus should not be talking of History, but of histories. Gender matters, and thus even histories may be seen as "his stories," and therefore we should hear more of "her stories" to give a more complete picture. Race matters. If you don't recognize this since you're part of a racial majority in a certain place, go to another place where you're a minority. Then most likely you'll understand how you're being discriminated against, and how you, as part of a racial majority, may have discriminated against minorities. Geography matters. See how where you're born, where you work, and where your business is located decide how much money you have/make. You get my point.

Some people, who have been so accustomed to modernist, simplistic thinking, are frustrated by post-modernism. "If everything matters, then nothing really matters! Where do we even start?"

Well, that's the beauty of it, isn't it? Since many things matter, then we can start anywhere. However, we do need better leaders, who see a more complete picture, and are great at coordinating various sectors to achieve a common goal. The leader should also be more careful about making generalizing, over-arching statements, and only do so when it's really needed.

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