Alternative Culture and Postmodernism Report
Music in the past twenty years was characterized by, among other concepts, the two concepts of alternative cultures and postmodernism. The context below will explain how the lyrics, instrumentation or sound, subjects or themes of five major cultures of music support or relate to these two concepts.
This article will also provide examples of artists, the varying years they recorded their album in various cultures of music. The context below shall also reveal my thoughts of how the five different cultures of music portray and display our current generation in relation to the concepts above.
Several types of music
On examination of the concept of alternative cultures in music, it can be observed that this concept varies with different kinds of music culture. The common cultures of music known today are the hip hop, blues, jazz, rock-punk, and modern crank cultures. The instrumentation used in the hip-hop culture is diverse.
Around two decades ago, the culture of hip hop was referred to as commercial hip-hop within the dance industry. Today, there are the meaning of hip-hop is varied as numerous artists have defined the culture differently.
One popular definition is that included in the 1999 album of the high and mighty hip hop group titled Home field advantage. The lyrics of one of the songs in the album stated that “Modern hip hop has grown from the dancing and shaking moves to just plain rapping.” This, according to Brod (159), describes the evolution of hip-hop in the recent years.
Meanwhile, the culture of blues is usually associated with characteristics such as specific lyrics, bass lines and instruments which derive sounds that affect individuals differently. For instance, some people are used to listening to blues when they wake up in the morning while others love to listen to blues just before they sleep.
The culture of blues was traditionally known as rock and roll. The new modern genre of blues that goes by the title of blues rock is a culture based on love songs and relationships. In the modern world, it is also associated with human emotions examples being melancholy or sadness.
The culture of jazz, entails making music by the use of instruments, mostly drum sets and trumpets. These instruments used are meant to echo sounds of clarity, warmth, unbelievable sense of swing and therefore create a harmonious atmosphere.
In the history of jazz music, Louis Armstrong was among the most popular individuals related with the genre. On August 4th 1901, Armstrong perfected the improvised acts of performing solo (Storb 103).At first, the solo performances were done in shows during the breaks but later, the solo performances turned into shows of their own.
In exploring the concept of modernism in the evolution of jazz, there are several types of jazz music that arise and these are the Big Band, Bebop, Ragtime, and Early fork jazz. In the current day, there exists a new type of jazz known as Free Jazz which entails the players being allowed to produce squeaking and sniveling sounds with their instruments, of cause depending with the audience.
The culture of rock music, especially the punk rock, is often associated with fast, hard-edged music with stripped down instrumentation that create excessive sounds of metallic rhythms. Punk rock music had various phases in the 1980s such as the proto-punk type of music that was composed of short songs that were often political and very aggressive in nature.
As years went by, in the late 1990s and early 2000s, musicians who were inspired by punk rock designed a new kind of rock known as pop punk rock which included distinctive styles of clothing and jewellery adornment.
The crank culture is the most recently adopted culture in music. The crank form of music originated from fusion of the hip hop and electric genres. Crank music originated from Memphis, Tennessee and had become very popular in the 1990s within the US. By 2004, the genre had attained mainstream success. The music is characterized by the use of drum-machine rhythm, vocals characterized by shouting and heavy bass line that rhyme together in a call-answer manner.
My perception about music culture
My perception of some of the positive results associated with music cultures includes the creation of employment to many individuals and the entertainment associated with music while the negative effects include the music culture’s negative contribution to the erosion of societal moral standards.
These evolving cultures portray our current generation as morally decayed, not principled and also a generation that is gradually abandoning the historical heritages that was one associated with music.
There are several cultures associated with different types of music, each having a few characteristics that differentiate it from the rest.
This article has explored five different types of music cultures and described a few of the characteristics associated with each. The article also includes my views about the positive and negative effects of the music culture. From this article, it is apparent that the music cultures have evolved a lot since inception and will continue to evolve as time passes by.
Brod, Doug. SPIN: Greatest Hits: 25 Years of Heretics, Heroes, and the New Rock ‘n’ Roll. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley and Sons press, 2010. (Print).
Storb, Ilse. Jazz meets the world – the world meets Jazz. Berlin: LIT Verlag Munster press, 2000 (Print).
Modernization, Postmodernism and the Third World Essay
Which one do you personally feel is strongest in explaining the family? Why do you feel this way?
Postmodernism concept involved an extensive range of ideals practices and methods which incorporated several significant and philosophical notions considered to be postmodern. The most common being post structuralism and feminism. It is hardly considered as a philosophical movement but rather a concept of handling traditional practices and ideas in a non-traditional mode which is totally different from the common super structural methods. However the exact definition of postmodernism has never been fully established.
Postmodernism explains that most opinions on realities are social elements and are therefore likely to change. It puts emphasis on power relations, motivation in the rising of beliefs and ideas as well as the role of language. It specifies the importance of differentiating male and female, white and black and colonial versus imperial. In addition it holds the reality of being dependent on the interested parties and the nature of those interests.
It was claimed that there is no apparent truth in the world and that the way people view life is based on their cultures when growing up. Post-modernism had influenced several cultural fields such as music, architecture, history, religion, literature, sociology and visual arts (Santos, 1996).
Relate the theory of the paper to social class
Most scholars suggested that postmodernism was an uprising of ideas from the modern era. It was also termed as significant aspects of modernism. Since the term had so many ways of being expressed, the various aspects of modernity are criticized while they are chosen to be consistent. Arguments were raised on the basic nature of knowledge as known in philosophy. Those who consider the term meaningful argue that modernism has significant weaknesses in the knowledge system.
The argument for the significance of the term implies that there has been establishment of decentralization of technological and economic factors. The media which has for a long time dominated perceptions of people was criticized as not being unique but would acquire information from each other.
It was despised for lack of objectivity and meaning due to unreliable sources of communication. Globalization created pluralism and united the global community that lacked a domineering center of leadership or intellectual production. Moreover it was a force which caused decentralization of the modernized life by bringing creative ideas on manufacturing and communication (Ritzer, 1996).
This is one of the elements that cover all sectors of a family. It gets easier to compare and contrast family values, cultures, and way of doing things as well as possible outcomes of upbringings.
- It is a liberating movement – Postmodernism offers reformations and a new way of doing things by showing concern to those who were oppressed in society. Those who have been in the modern times hardly went through oppression but rather some groups of women, ethnic minorities, racial groups and communities that were minimal in number. Those who also shared different opinions against the western cultures would go through oppression. In postmodernism, such groups were given the privilege of establishing their own sentiments as they thought right regarding gender, religion, race, oppression and politics.
- By championing the cause of the poor- Postmodernism presents the end of history that has been dominated by the western culture. It is therefore viewed as a phase of freedom because it liberates everyone who was bound in the boundaries of discourse. In addition to this, people rejected the ruler ship of white people as they would call them. There was development even in the rural areas that had been neglected for a long time yet had potential. This portrayed a change in the defined roles because the third world gave its views and opinions according to their perceptions, but people opted to do their own research and present their views. However political movements determined a wide range of concepts and knowledge that would replace the western way of doing things.
- Cultural reinvention – Globalization is very significant in producing images that are related to the various traditions. As a result, pluralism and opinions on nationalism are managed in a better way. This form of managing pluralism can be defined as an enforcement of multiculturalism that gives way to the consistent birth of ethnic identities that would hardly compromise the set objectives of modernization. Cultural reinvention generally focuses on the various differences between the non western and western cultures.
- Mass tourism and traditionalism – One of the results of globalization is mass tourism. This also is an important aspect of traditionalism. This provides a political and social cause for opposing a single model of cultures for modernization. Some of the programs based in communities for purposes of development are connected to traditionalism (Lee, 1994).
- Multiculturalism brings difficulties- It was argued that due to the knowledge gained from modern science, there was destruction of various forms of knowledge especially those that were strange to people who were dominated by western cultures. In effect, there was fear and silence amongst those with different views and their knowledge was dominated by destruction. This brought about crisis since people wondered how dialogue can be initiated in a multicultural way yet some cultures had been forced to remain quiet. It was therefore assumed that multiculturalism was implemented for a group of people who would later act like they were concerned with the non western cultures but would do nothing about it.
- Postmodernism is also Eurocentric met narrative- This implies that by rejecting the old met narratives was in another sense creating another one. Postmodernism was birthed in the west and had different views from modernity. Its main purpose was to destroy some of the old narratives such as history and tradition, and religion was controversial because it was these factors that brought a difference between the non western and the western. This is to say that postmodernists brought a new met narrative that helped establish the secular world. It was insisted that African civilization despised the ideas of the West. The non west was later marginalized because of the obsession by postmodernists who were full of cynicism and irony.
- Postmodernism barely deals with aspects of power because it hardly questions power structures, instead it establishes untrue notions that have caused the west to show respect to the non west by globalization. Therefore the process of including dialogue between the two cultures can be viewed as exclusion because the principles applied remain the same but the way of handling them is different. This shows a lack of commitment from the western, because they only do that to make it look like they have accommodated the non western. This brought questions like why it would be important to discuss a plan on development of the rural areas when the evaluators already have a method before it is implemented (Kellner, 1992).
Kellner, D. (1992). “Popular Culture and the Construction of Postmodern Identities.” New York: Oxford publishers.
Lee, R. (1994). “Modernization, Postmodernism and the Third World.” London: Rout Ledge publishers.
Ritzer, G. (1996). “Modern Sociological Theory.” New York: Macmillan publishers.
Santos, D. (1996). “On Oppositional Postmodernism.” London: Rout ledge publishers.
Postmodernist Trends in Projects by Ashton Raggatt McDougall Essay (Critical Writing)
Contemporary architecture has a range of characteristic features, such as; the collision of different styles, the expression of ideas in shapes, the use of cutting-edge technologies, experiments with materials and colors, energy efficiency, interaction between indoor and outdoor space, and other peculiar trends. At the same time, contemporary architecture has one more important characteristic. It is still able to astonish people.
Contemporary architects create works that make the viewers of their designs feel controversial emotions about them. Maybe, one day the society will get accustomed to the constructions of incredible colours and shapes. However, today such buildings as London’s 30 St Mary Axe (or the Gherkin), the Sage Gateshead in north eastern England or the City Hall, the headquarters of the Greater London Authority, the U.S. Kansas City Public Library and the Aqua Building in Chicago, Illinois all engender heated discussion within society.
Australia is no exception, besides its Sydney Opera House which is famous throughout the world, this country has amazed us with Melbourne’s Federation Square, the Sidney Myer Music Bowl and many other incredible buildings. Australian architecture is considered to have its distinctive features that have no precedent in the World.
“Bright orange and curling overhead like a roller-coaster…”, “A vibrant palette of crimson, orange, bronze, gold, black and brushed silver”, “a great light and open space with curving walls, windows and ceilings” (Nma.Gov.Au), it would be quite difficult to guess what this conundrum is about. Nevertheless, this is the description of the National Museum of Australia building. It was constructed by Ashton Raggatt McDougall (ARM), one of the prominent Australian companies of architects famous of originality of their works.
In this essay, the works of ARM are discussed as the incarnation of postmodernist ideas in architecture. The purpose of the essay is observation of ARM’s style and definition of postmodernism “outside” and “inside” several projects fulfilled by them; critical reactions on the works by Ashton Raggatt McDougall are observed as well.
To advance in the discussion, it is necessary first to discuss the essence of postmodernism as a phenomenon in modern culture. The characteristic features of postmodernist culture are the switch from content to form, collision of different styles and techniques, elimination of standards, canons and the framework of traditional values, aspiration for experiments and originality, exaggerations and play with meaning (Storey, 2009, p.183).
Postmodernism tends to eliminate the borders between art and everyday life, “low” and “high” culture”, commercial and not commercial, seriousness and entertainment (ibid.). These principles turned out to be possible to embody in architecture as successfully as in other kinds of art, and the works of ARM are the evidence for this statement. Below, some of the projects by ARM are discussed from the perspective of postmodernist trends in their design.
Bingham-Hall and Goad (2005) highlight that the style of ARM has no analogy in the world. They characterise it as not concerning with “orthodox notions of architectural space, linguistic conventions or tectonic truth” (p. 75). This is an eloquent illustration of how the postmodernist desire to follow to no standards and frameworks is embodied in architecture.
The authors emphasise that the ARM do not demonstrate “commitment” to a single aesthetic” (ibid.). The architects experiment with shapes and textures, meanings and contexts. Their aim is “transfiguration, transformation (visual, sensual and spiritual)” (ibid.). The description of the Storey Hall (p. 76) makes one involuntarily think about how strong the aspiration of postmodernism culture for possessing, copying, “quoting” and then fusing is.
The “devotional” building is coloured “a vivid green in honor of the Hibernian Irish Catholic Community” and “purple and white, the colours of the Women’s Political Association” (ibid.). The building has the allusions to “much loved Melbourne monuments” (ibid.). Moreover, Jackson and Johnson (2002) also mentions the resurrection of the “ideas from the Romantic period of the early Enlightening” .
Another good example of the incarnation of postmodernist ideas in architecture is the “open book” extension of the St. Kilda Library constructed in the early 1990s. Jackson and Johnson discuss the incredible “literal symbolism” of the building. In this object constructed of “bluestone grave like monumental tomes found in local cemeteries, the ARM embodied the idea about the gradual elimination of paper book publishing that existed in 1990s (ibid).
This construction is the embodiment of the postmodernism’s desire to focus on “manners” making “matters” only a source of new original ideas and associations and express ideas literally (even very literally). The idea of the Library extension makes one think about time and changes that it brings; the idea is significant and important, but the architects prefer to express it in an eloquent, clear manner, not veiling the “content”; thus, the construction is the “open book” in all senses of this expression.
Thus, it is possible to notice several distinctive features of ARM’s style, which are shifting the balance between content and shape, originality and experiments, fusion of history and the present, and “literal symbolism”. It is easy to see how these principles took shape in one of ARM’s most significant and famous projects, which is the National Museum of Australia (NMA).
“Avoiding traditional museum interpretations, the architects developed a post-modern structure reflecting the diversity of the Museum’s collection”, announces the official website of the NMA (NMA.Gov.Au).
This approach to construction of culture and scholarship facilities seems to be ARM’s favorite subject when one recollects the St. Kilda’s Library and the Storey Hall, “ARM’s architecture highlights the chaos of transforming scholarly institutions into commercial sellers of new packages of knowledge to international customers” (Johnson and Jackson, 2002).
This quotation eloquently reflects the approach of design of the NMA building: the museum is much more than a store for historical knowledge preserved by the exhibits for the select few; today, it has turned into one of the most popular places of tourism and entertainment in Australia being incredibly popular with the guests of the country. Indeed, the museum sells “packages of knowledge to international customers” (ibid.).
In the construction of the NMA, ARM’s “literal symbolism” and eagerness towards exaggeration are displayed quite eloquently. Each of its parts is connected with a certain idea. A certain part of the museum’s exhibition spaces the Garden of Australian Dreams, “a symbolic landscape” with “large sculptural forms within a body of water” (Nma.Com.Au).
It is described as “a 3D Pop Art street directory of an “other” Australia” (Bingham-Hall and Goad, p.77), the giant loop and the bright Uluru line (Nma.Com.Au).
The architects also play with colours (“crimson, orange, bronze, gold…”) and textures (“from smooth finish of the anodized aluminium panels… to the deeply patterned moulded concrete surface…) (ibid.).
Thus, the NMA has been constructed in ARM’s traditions outlined by the authors of the sources discussed above. Indeed, having constructed their “most controversial building to date” (Bingham-Hall and Goad, p.77), ARM have done their best to turn the museum into the facility that is able to successfully sell “packages of knowledge to international consumers”.
At the same time, together with the “postmodernist exterior” of the Museum, the inner space and the exhibitions offered in the NMA diverge from traditional approaches that exist in museology and incline to the ideas of postmodernism, which awakens critics’ controversial remarks but excites the majority of visitors.
The buildings discussed above have been constructed during the previous decades; it would be interesting to see how postmodernist trends show themselves in ARM’s works today. Now, it is necessary to allude to one of ARM’s latest projects, which is the so-called Portrait Building (completion due 2014) (ARM).
During the last decades, the works architects from different countries of the world contributed to the fact that today it is quite difficult to impress citizens with design of a skyscraper. The Gherkin building mentioned in the introduction is just one example, and it is possible to recollect many others. ARM’s new project does not amaze with its strange shape or bright colors.
Nor does it imply using some peculiar technology or materials – the building is planned to be constructed of concrete. Its façade just displays… the portrait of William Barak, “the last traditional ngurungaeta (elder) of the Wurundjeri-willam Clan”, originally designed by sculptor Peter Schipperheyn (ibid.). The portrait is formed by a series of panels on the balconies and can be seen by viewers from a big distance.
The architects describe the project as the “symbolic representation of Melbourne’s indigenous culture and history” (UAP Marker), which makes one think about the expression “literal symbolism” by Jackson and Johnson mentioned above. In this project, one may see the fusion of the past and the future, everyday life and culture, painting and architecture, which is very peculiar to postmodernism.
The Portrait Building provides high-quality apartments, gives credit for a significant personality of the Australian history, and impresses the observers. In fact, the approach to design of the building is quite similar to that used in construction of the National Museum, where history and modern times, learning and entertainment co-exist and interact.
After getting familiarised with ARM’s works, one may be interested in the critical responses to them. It is quite difficult to imagine that they may not awaken hot discussion with contradicting opinions. It would be reasonable to mark that attitude to ARM’s style has been changing.
It has been marked above that there are certain similarities in approach to the design of the Museum and the Portrait Building. At the same time, the critical responses on both projects demonstrated how the viewers gradually “get used” to ARM’s postmodernist ideas.
The projects of the National Museum and the Portrait Building are separated by almost a decade; at the same time, despite the mentioned similarity between the approaches to the design, the responses on the Portrait Building are much warmer than those devoted to the National Museum.
The reviews devoted to the National Museum emphasised the presence of postmodernist trends in NMA’s design and, as well as in the approach to developing exhibitions. For example, calling the NMA a “mishmash”, Tim Lloyd discusses the exhibitions of the museum and compares it to the South Australia Museum (2003, p.68).
Lloyd emphasises the eclecticism, inconsistency and presentation of the “politically charged version of history”. However, this did not hinder for the museum to become a commercially successful project since the first years of its existence (ibid.).
Having described the landscape of the Garden of Australian Dreams, Catherin Bull makes the conclusion that it “has met one of designer’s goals, to challenge the traditions and mores of the profession, and, just as importantly, to be seen to be doing so” (Bull, Stead and Ashton, 2002).
At the same time, analogically to Lloyd, Bull mentions that the professional debate about the Garden does not hinder its popularity with children and adults who enjoy the sensation of hyperreality. Talking about the museum and museology, Naomi Stead marks the “overriding allegory – Australian nationhood as many stories tangled together” (ibid.), which sounds quite consonant with the discussion of ARM’s “literal symbolism”.
Stead nevertheless mentions that in the ways the exhibitions are organised and placed, “the relationship seems less successful” (ibid.). This makes one think about Lloyd’s statement about the inconsistence of the museum. Thus, though admitting that the NMA is popular with visitors, reviewers are somewhat critical regarding the postmodernist approach in NMA’s museology.
Postmodernist trends are considered as the way to attract attention and impress rather than deliver useful, serious information. Despite this criticism, the NMA also had a range of positive reviews – for example, Drayson says that “its value to our cultural heritage… cannot be measured in dollars and cents” (2001). When viewing the bidy of critical response as a whole skepticism was nevertheless prevailing rather than excitement and approval.
However, comparison of the NMA reviews and those devoted to the Portrait Building demonstrates that today the society is more ready to accept the architects’ ideas expressed in the “postmodernist manner”.
The reviews devoted to the Portrait Building emphasise that besides its originality, the project has a significant message which is important to deliver to the modern Australian society. In a bright, “popular” manner, the architects give viewers opportunity to think about history and keep its outstanding personalities in their memory.
“The Wurundjeri community is very moved by this gesture and appreciates the respect that both Grocon and ARM have shown in developing this exciting concept”, says Megan Goulding, the Wurundjeri Tribal Land Council CEO (CSR Wire).
The government also supports the idea of the Portrait building, “…This commemoration of the life of William Barak is one that the Victorian Government certainly applauds”, says Richard Wynne, Victorian Aboriginal Affairs Minister (ibid.). Architects also give positive evaluation to the ARM’s project, “Congratulations to ARM on an excellent site-specific integration of artwork and architecture.
It is sure to make a strong and lasting contribution to the site and the city” (UAP Marker). It is interesting that not only architects and critics give positive evaluation to the Portrait building; ordinary citizens also support the project. The poll carried out by Heraldsun (Barry) demonstrates that about two thirds of the participants (711 of 1101) like the design of the building, and only 390 participants expressed their dislike towards it.
Thus, it is reasonable to emphasize two changes that are demonstrated by the critical reviews of two abovementioned buildings. Firstly, the society is not afraid of “literal symbolism” any more; nor is it irritated by it. For a long time, absence of any allegory in art, particularly, in architecture, was considered the manifestation of bad manners.
A library building in the form of a book, a portrait on the building – yet several decades ago such approaches to expression of ideas would be evaluated as shallow and tasteless. However, today “manners” are not expected to be an unpretentious instrument used to tell about “matters”.
The second dramatic change is the reduction of the gap between education and entertainment. The National Museum was criticized by many critics, as museums were expected to provide visitors with important information and hardly be the place for fun. Today, the “educative function” of the Portrait building is beyond question for people. “…I suspect a lot of people will read a whole lot of things into this”, says Daniel Grollo, Groco chief executive (Barry).
The review of four projects developed by ARM gives us opportunity to notice eloquent manifestations of postmodernist trends in ARM’s creative works. The NMA and other designs of ARM are considered to be full of “literal symbolism”, eclecticism and aspiration for breaking the rules of architecture.
The exhibitions of the museum, despite being evaluated by some reviewers as inconsistent and politically subjective, prove to be commercially successful, which means that ARM really succeeded to construct an object that has become a “commercial seller of new packages of knowledge to international customers”. The architects do not tend to create “empty” shallow projects; each of them has its idea, a message to the community.
At the same time, ARM do not “draw a veil” over these ideas like artists of the period of modernism did; the message of ARM’s works is clear to ordinary citizens, which is the manifestation of the postmodernist elimination of the border between “elite” and “popular” art. Observation of the reviews devoted to ARM’s projects has demonstrated that the society is gradually “getting used” to the postmodernist trends in architecture and now welcomes the mentioned approaches in design of buildings.
ARM, 2010. Portrait. ARM. Available through: https://armarchitecture.com.au/projects/ .
Barry, E., 2010. Building with Portrait of Leader to Become Melbourne’s newest landmark. Heraldsun, Sept 15 2010. Web.
Bingham-Hall, P. and Goad, P., 2005. New Directions in Australian Architecture. Singapore: Periplus.
Bull, C. Stead, N. and Ashton, S., 2002. Landscape, Museology, and Alliance. Architecture Australia, 91(2). Available through: Australia/New Zealand Reference Centre.
CSR Wire, 2010. Portrait Building Launched at Carlton Brewery Site. CSR Wire. Available through: https://www.csrwire.com/press_releases/30682-Portrait-Building-Launched-at-Carlton-Brewery-Site .
Drayson, N., 2001. National Museum of Australia. Australian Geographic, 61. Available through: Australia/New Zealand Reference Centre.
Jackson, D. and Johnson, C., 2002. Australian Architecture Now. London: Thames & Hudson.
Lloyd, T., 2002. Museum a Cultural Mishmash. Advertiser, The Jan 27 2003. Available through: Australia/New Zealand Reference Centre database .
Storey, J., 2009. Cultural Theory and Popular Culture: An Introduction. 5th ed. New York, London: Pearson Longman.
UAP Marker, 2010. Portrait Building. UAP Marker 16 Sept 2010. Web.
4 Pictures (Illustrations for the text)
St Kilda Library
From Modernism to Postmodernism Essay
Some words comprise of action or movement but the real definition of these words is not conversant. This is the same case with modernism and postmodernism. However, modernism has something to do with drama, music, literature, visual and performing arts while postmodernism are scientific perception away from art.
At the dawn of 20th century, superb literary critics and writers embarked in modernism literature leading to the century’s modernism. According to literature understandings, modernism is an art of subjectivism and impressionism. Stories created under modernism based their mood in third-person narration. Furthermore, writers wanted a clear distinction between different genres while in poetry poems were just documentaries.
Modernism came into limelight when sentiments, logic and power of vision borrowed heavily from schools of thought like positivism and naturalism. Century writers wrote materials unleashing new life styles. This is because, these writers wanted to bring in new vigor into a new century, because, the former century was marred by copying western cultures and scary activities. The desire to move out of the era of modernism to postmodernism was desirable.
On the other hand, postmodernism will comprise of new visions that empower people to think on their own and act by themselves. Unlike modernism, the evolution into postmodernism saw humanity adored and technology advance. The papers will examine how modernism evolved into postmodernism. Of great importance to note is the change in writing, analyzing and thoughts. Instead of positivism and naturalism as schools of thought, modernistic schools portray the true nature of postmodernism. (Madsen Para.1-2).
Modernism is of great importance. In fact, without modernism, postmodernism is a dream never come true. From evolution to Christianity to science and technology, modernism played a big role. Therefore, modernity of yesterdays is modernism while today’s modernism is postmodernism. Something that only changes between these two periods is perceptions. Writers, politicians under pressure to restore sanity, sought to think and act so that postmodernism becomes a reality. (Rachel Para. 6-9).
The First World War depicted a society full of chaos and disarrays in social norms. Modernist authors like Elliot, Pound and Yeats capitalized this situation to shed light on the dangers of continuing to abhor past tenets. Egalitarian societal norms from western culture and disgusting chaos forced these authors to adopt elitism as a new thinking style.
However, elitism evolved to critical thinking in postmodernism. For example, on science matters, literary critics teased readers with strong sentiments that invoke their power of logic and reason. Though modernism seems to be fragmentation of ideas, at least, there is an art vision. The changed perceptions were leading people and nations towards postmodernism. (Hoffman Para. 1-11).
Indeed, there are differences between modernism and postmodernism. Nevertheless, these problems arose due to discarding old dogmas and adopting new and outstanding perceptions. Some authors define a change of modernism to postmodernism as changes that come within capitalistic markets.
The dawn of modernism in early 20th century flanked by technological advancements like in the motor industry, aesthetics and literature begun a new thinking approach. Another characterization associated with modernism during this early period of the century was monopolistic capitalism of electric motors.
On the other hand, it came a period of postmodernism in consumer capitalism where an art of exchange of commodities and services perfect. The latest advances in electronic consumer goods and nuclear proliferation associate with postmodernism. Thus, the change from modernism to postmodernism fuelled by new ideas into art, aesthetics and science saw an era of postmodernism. (Klages Para. 18-25).
From the above analysis, it is evident that, modernism was a view based on art and literature while on the other hand, postmodernism is a view based in the science of manufacturing and consumer capitalism. During the modernism era, crude means took precedent. However, as knowledge increased, sophisticated means came to limelight hence, postmodernism.
Postmodernism started after the end of Second World War paving way for new ideas and visualization. In a school of postmodernists, narration is the driver of truth and reflections. Moreover, postmodernists adopt new data and new visions while modernistic values and cultural norms such as fascism disappear. British writers in the postmodern age like Plath, argues that, postmodernism is about conceptual, and far-reaching thinking rather than theoretical explanations. (Klages Para. 30-39).
Notably, in modernism, disorder and chaos ruled. These cataclysmic and intriguing events together with western lifestyle, dictated the type of literature authored challenging modernism. Interestingly, on the other hand, postmodernism outpaced these events by rather adopting an ethical and moral ground.
Thus, books, poems, and narratives authored during modernism age focused more about ills of that society. Postmodernism writers centre their literary materials on morality, consumer capitalism and new thinking techniques as an achievement. This is because, postmodernism compose of these hard worn values.
In conclusion, modernism and postmodernism are schools of though that differs only in vision and thinking. Though gone, modernism characterized by insanity, portrayed hoe fragment the school of thought it is. On the contrary, postmodernism school of thought comprise of respecting the rule of law, respect of human rights and guarantees freedom of expression.
The change of modernism to postmodernism is an evolution of traditional believes and practices to a modern way of thinking. Additionally, these include the latest advancements in manufacturing, capitalism, science and technology. Nevertheless, postmodernism is vision-based and far much better than modernism. Overall, modernism and postmodernism differ because, the later is visionary than the former.
Hoffman, Louis. Premodernism, Modernism, & Postmodernism: An Overview. 2008. Web.
Klages, Mary. Postmodernism. 2007. Web.
Madsen, Art. The Advent of Modernism and the Drift toward Postmodernism. (n.d). Web.
Rachel, Evans. From modernism to postmodernism: evolution vs. accommodation. 2008. Web.
Postmodernism: Decor of a Room, Proliferation of Surfaces or Something Else? Essay (Critical Writing)
“When it becomes possible for people to describe as “postmodern” the decor of a room, the design of a building… a proliferation of surfaces… the collapse of cultural hierarchies … then it’s clear we are in the presence of a buzzword” (quoted in Storey 181-182). With this bright and quite continuous quotation, John Storey illustrates the confusion that exists in point of the term “postmodernism”, and thus demonstrates significance of the discussion presented in the Chapter 9 of his (2009).
Indeed, today the term “postmodernism” is actively used in different fields of our social, political and cultural life, and in many cases this use is spontaneous, confused and shallow. Thus, despite postmodernism is given a concrete definition in specialized literature, the occurring everywhere vagueness connected with it requires further discussion of this term.
Having outlined the field of interest which is the notion of postmodernism in relation to popular culture, Storey observes the evolution of postmodernism from its origin to nowadays and makes the effort to define the “general aspects of postmodernism” (182). The discussion includes both alluding to other researchers’ works and providing the author’s own commentary. In turn, we will try to find the correspondence and points of agreement between different researchers’ views and thus approach to understanding of postmodernism.
Origins of Postmodernism: Back from Museums and Academia
It is impossible to discuss a theory in isolation from conditions of its origin. To help a reader to understand better the essence of postmodernism, Storey describes the cultural environment of the late 1950s and 1960s characterized by domination of modernism. Despite of its name, the modernist art did not seem “modern” any more; it became “a set of dead classics” (cited in Storey 182). The new generation challenged “canonization” of modernist art which was considered “high”, elitist, not comprehensible for an average viewer, listener or reader (182).
The generation of 1960s brought a new view on the world and, particularly, culture, a so-called “new sensibility” (cited in Storey 182). On the one hand, young people did not wanted culture to be an issue for the select few and thus opposed to the modernist approach to culture and art. Storey describes this difference quite brightly: at that moment, instead of remaining “the best that has been thought and said”, culture became “a whole way of life” (183).
On the other hand, popular culture evolves towards seriousness: it is expected to be more than just an opposition to “high art” and the means of entertainment (ibid.). However, we should understand that it was the attempt not to make “low” culture “high” or backwards, but to reject the notions of “low” and “high” in culture, or so-called “great divide” (cited in Storey 183). This rejection, according to Storey, became the crucial distinction between two generations’ view on culture.
Thus, the significant changes took place during the discussed period. However, can we define them as a cultural revolution? Based on Storey’s work, we cannot say so: the author does not tell about dramatic confrontation between “old” and “new” cultures and their adherents, but provides a quotation by Lawrence Alloway, “We felt none of dislike of commercial culturestandard among most intellectuals, but accepted it as a fact, discussed it in details, and consumed it enthusiastically” (quoted in Storey 183). Thus, appearance of popular culture seems a new logical, consequent step rather than revolution.
At the same time, Storey’s narration may provoke a range of questions in a reader’s mind. Particularly, it would be rather interesting to discuss the origin of the 1960s generation’s desire to eliminate the border between “high” and “low” culture.
Despite the author outlines the field of discussion as postmodernism in popular culture, we nevertheless cannot omit the fact that any cultural phenomenon does not appear only in cultural environment itself: it is always triggered by (or, at least, consonant with) certain factors “from outside”, particularly, social processes.
Thus, a reader might be interested: what caused this desire to take art back from “museum and academia”? Why and how did aspiration for “popular culture” and this “new sensibility” appear? Storey glances over the events in the USA, such as the war in Vietnam, the wave of feminism and defense of black citizens’ rights et al (184).
Despite being almost left behind the focus of discussion, the questions above seem quite significant and outline the directions of the possible further study: answering them would provide a reader with more complete and eloquent picture of what postmodernism is.
Another point for the additional discussion is American cultural environment as the origin of popular culture (183). We may state that for several decades, the American society had been enjoying culture that can be hardly called “elitist”. For example, we may recollect the American jazz of the 1930s-1940s which was popular with various strata of the society.
At the same time, we see that the time border of the appearance of pop culture, the origin of postmodernism, refers to a later period. Thus, it would be interesting to define more exactly the “point” at which “not elitist” culture became “pop culture” discussed in Storey’s work, and to specify the difference between them: this difference might play the role of the soil on which postmodernism grew.
Jean-François Lyotard about Knowledge, Money and Resurrection of Modernism
To approach to defining the phenomenon of postmodernism, Storey observes ideas of authors who substantially contributed to the debate. Particularly, Jean-François Lyotard contributed to introduction of the term “postmodernism” into academic discussion and devoted his study to contemporary postmodern condition.
Lyotard talks about postmodern condition in contemporary science. The purpose of a research is no more finding the truth but generating the material that can be used, sold and bought, “It will hear only, “What use is it?” “How much is it worth?” and “Is it saleable?”” (Storey 185); the purpose of education is not providing students with absolute knowledge, but teaching them “how to use knowledge as a form of cultural and economic capital…” (ibid.)
Thus, we can conclude that Lyotard’s ideas emphasize several characteristic “shifts” of postmodernism: the shift from matters to manners, from absolute to relative, from “truth” to “performativity” (ibid.), from knowledge to exploitation of intellectual capital, from ideal to money.
The last shift is quite consonant with Andy Warhol’s statement about popular culture and its commercial essence provided by Storey, “commercial art as real art and real art as commercial art” (183). Thus, we see that in the process of discussion, this elimination of the border between “real”, “true” and “commercial” emerges as one of the significant attributes of postmodernism.
Together with the pessimistic view on the postmodernist condition, the French philosopher expresses his hope for the light at the end of the tunnel, “postmodernist culture is not the end of the much superior culture of modernism, but the sign of the advent of a new modernism” (185).
Jean Baudrillard about Originals, Copies and Hyperreality
The ideas of another French philosopher, Jean Baudrillard, look “codirectional” with Lyotard’s statements discussed above. According to Baudrillard, “it is no longer possible to separate the economic or productive realm from the realms of ideology or culture” (quoted in Storey 186).
Baudrillard introduces the notions of simulation, simulacrum and hyperrealism into the discussion of postmodernism. He emphasizes the general tendency in contemporary culture which is “copy instead of original” or “copy without original” (187). Baudrillard defines the process of elimination of distinction between a copy and an original as “simulation”; a copy is called “simulacrus”. Thus, Baudrillard’s version of postmodern condition is hyperrealism: the mode where simulation dominates.
The world where copies substitute originals… Copying CDs and watching films in the different corners of the world, introducing “cardboard police cars”, “Sex and the City” New York tours – we do not even notice how “the dissolution of TV into life, the dissolution of life into TV” progresses (quoted in Storey 188). However, Storey makes an important statement: hyperrealism is not that people lose understanding of the difference between reality and simulation; it is that this difference gradually becomes less important (189).
Storey outlines one more point of intersection of Baudrillard’s and Lyotard’s positions: the “metanarratives”, such as God, science, Marxism et al do not define the truth any more.
The matter of truth itself becomes not just relative, but simply insignificant. In other words, like a researcher is more interested not in discovering the truth, but in applying and selling a discovery, an average citizen is more interested in Deirdre Rachid’s story (188) itself than in veracity of her existence. Thus, though holding the discussion from different angles, two philosophers nevertheless demonstrate agreement in understanding the essence of postmodernism.
Fredric Jameson about Cultural Periodization and Historical Amnesia
Despite Jean-François Lyotard buries Marxism as a “metanarrative” (Storey 184), Fredric Jameson holds the discussion of postmodernism in a Marxist or Neo-Marxist framework. He demonstrates Marxist approach to defining the essence of postmodernist culture.
Analogically to the Marxist periodization of economical development of the society, Fredric Jameson talks about periodization in culture determining three cultural “formations”: “realism”, “modernism” and “postmodernism” (191).
He nevertheless does not state that domination of one cultural mode is accompanied by collapse of other modes: while nowadays postmodernist mode dominates, other ones are “emergent” or “residual” (ibid.). This statement reminds us of Lyotard’s idea about postmodernism as “the sign of the advent of a new modernism” discussed above.
Cultural modes (above, we defined them as “cultures”: modernism, postmodernism et al) are not mutually exclusive; nor is evolution of culture linear (this means that domination of one mode does not eliminate the possibility of future domination of “previous” modes”). However, this approach does not “match” with Baudrillard’s view of cultural evolution as a “linear, unidirectional story of decline” (quoted in Storey 191).
At the same time, we can notice that the further narration demonstrates that Jameson’s ideas are rather consonant with those of Lyotard and Baudrillard. Jameson defines postmodernist culture as “pastiche”, which is parody without a satiric motive; he talks about its unoriginality, perpetual “borrowings”, “quotes” and repetitions with minor changes.
He gives the example of “nostalgia films” and states that today we see a switch from history to “historicism” which is shallow and full of clichés (193); this “historical amnesia” reminds us of the changes connected with the notion of truth and switches noticed by Lyotard, as well as simulation discussed by Baudrillard. The history shown in films is only the simulation of history, but it becomes less and less important for viewers: they prefer to see bright and recognizable clichés rather than historical truth.
Another significant point of agreement is the connection between culture and economy, commercial essence of postmodern culture. Outlining the correspondence between multicultural capitalism and postmodernism, Jameson states that postmodernist culture favors and promotes “the logic of consumer capitalism” eliminating the difference between “aesthetic production” and “commodity production” (quoted in Storey 194).
Jameson’s statement about “aesthetization of everyday life” is consonant with the statement about turning culture into “a whole way of life” mentioned above.
John Storey about Pluralism of Value, Globalization and Convergence
Having observed ideas of philosophers who made significant contribution to emergence of a notion of postmodernism, Storey continues the discussion. He formulates three aspects of postmodernism which he considers crucial.
Storey emphasizes the changes of cultural values that take place in the epoch of postmodernist culture: what seemed absolute and certain does not seem such any more. This provokes the following questions: “who is “valuing”?” and “what is “valued?” Storey alludes to Pierre Bourdieu’s idea: distinctions in culture are defined by existence and competition of different social groups; these are social groups who evaluate “a particular mode of dress” or “a poem by T. S. Eliot” (Storey 202).
Correspondingly, cultural values identify and maintain the difference between them. We may notice that this idea of “challenged cultural values” has much in common with the idea of “challenged notion of the truth” and “destroyed metanarratives” discussed above.
The second issue discussed by Storey is globalization in culture. In fact, instead of becoming a “global village”, our planet turns into the “American global village” (204). Here, the connection with the idea of commercial in culture is eloquent: firstly, the USA exports commodities that are popular throughout the world, which makes export of culture much easier; secondly (which to some extent results from the first point), the American culture is always commercially successful: selling, buying and copying it is beneficial.
The third aspect of postmodernism in culture is convergence. The same content can be used with the help of different platforms: we listen to the same songs on a laptop, a player or on the radio; we do an incredible number of operations with our mobile phones (210). Why not? In the world where “copies” do not need “originals” any more, transferring culture through different platforms is natural and simple. A consumer’s task is just to choose the most convenient platform in order to get the most pleasure.
John Storey’s discussion of postmodernist culture is of big significance: it helps a reader to comprehend the term “postmodernism” deeper than a “buzzword” which it is sometimes seems to be. In his work, Storey provides material that gives opportunity to understand the origin and the essence of postmodernist culture.
Having got familiarized with Storey’s and other researchers’ ideas, we may notice that they often intersect and complement each other. There are several distinctive features of postmodernist culture, such as challenging traditional values and notion of truth, important role of “simulations” and commercial essence of cultural production.
The ideas of Storey et al are not just the words; we can notice their numerous illustrations around us. Today people watch reality shows and burst with emotions awakened by characters’ behavior even not believing that the “show” is “real”; we know well what “fashion of 60s”, “70s” or “80s” means, but we do not find words to describe “fashion of 00s”, as it is full of repetitions of previous decades’ trends.
The term “postmodernism” has been defined, but the question about its “eternity” remains unsolved. Today, it seems impossible to predict whether culture will again divide into “high” and “low” and continue “taunting” (Storey 194) commercial motives or not.
Storey, John. Cultural Theory and Popular Culture: An Introduction. 5th ed. New York, London: Pearson Longman, 2009. Print.
Reading the Notes of Desolate Man: Zhu Tianwen and Her Postmodernist Talent Term Paper
Reading the Notes of Desolate Man: Zhu Tianwen and Her Postmodernist Talent
Because of the fact that most people prefer to live detached from the rest, as if separated from the troubles and miseries of the rest of the mankind, most of us have no idea of what makes the people living next door. However close people can explore the life of the other and predict the deeds of the rest of the people, there will always be a certain element of secrecy about the other personality and the character of a different person, just because he or she is different – not the same.
It is not a part of you, not someone whose mind you can read like an open book, and not the one whose emotions will lay open to you, like a guiding map to the most distanced corners of the soul. On the other hand, another personality is another riddle, which can be hardly solved by the owner of the soul in question, not to mention the rest of the mankind.
Although the truth which is being spoken about is rather old and well-known, there are very few people who apply it to their everyday life, while most prefer to treat it like a distanced idea, a variation of a mathematical theorem. Most people take this idea for granted, thinking that allowing it exist is the best they can do. Forgetting the basis of what makes understanding and socializing, people lose the touch with each other, still thinking that they are perfectly aware for what is going on right behind their back.
Such self-assurance! Indeed, a man, as a social creature, needs communication, yet he fears it almost to the same extent. This is the point where all misunderstandings root from. The world’s most terrible misconceptions start where a man loses the touch with the reality and starts applying the same evaluation criteria to every person that he or she encounters.
People’s woes rising from the problem of misunderstanding and mistreating people, supposing that they should all be the same is the topic of Zhu Tianwen’s world famous book called Notes of a Desolated Man. exploring the depth of the solitude ocean, the writer gives the audience the idea of what it makes to be different, and what it makes to be in general, the mere human existence comes into question.
The writer tries to see the hidden connections between the world and the personality, unraveling the prejudice of the century and making the simple life truths obvious.
Zhu Tianwen, a Woman Who Sees the Unseen
However hard one might try, it will always be impossible to find out the tiniest fact about a writer. for a writer is a person who is an artist of hiding facts, twisting them so that the rest of the world will never find the loose end and will never be able to pull through the mystic screen of what’s and where’s. The same goes for the Taiwanese writer named Zhu Tianwen, or Chu Tien-wen, she has suggested a new view of the eastern prose for the western countries and the western culture.
Quite unusual picture of the world has put the western philosophy in the limelight for quite a long period of time, which results in the unceasing interest to what the eastern culture suggests, including mostly literature. Gladly accepting the fresh style and enjoying the new impressions, the western audience seems to get more and more involved into solving the mystery of the East, which has been troubling the minds of the Europeans for centuries.
However, Zhu does not make a mess with the reader’s mind. On the contrary, she suggests sincere and open pieces of her heart to the grateful people, sharing her ideas with them as far as she can. Every single work of hers is a small masterpiece which carries the readers away to the place where reality crosses fantasy, and where the problems of the modern world meet the most incredible suggestions of the postmodernist world. Indeed, quite a picture!
The author defines herself as the one who writes simply because there is no other way she can exist. Used to be alone, she does not like much of a crowd, calling herself a caveman who was forced to come into the daylight.
In front of the admiring public, she is the very cavewoman whom she describes herself as. “This all feels so unusual and new to me, and I used to think that only a rock star could create such a big scene,” said Zhu. “But a writer? You know, when you do literature you cannot be farther away from this.” (CriEnglish.com) The prehistoric piece of mankind, she calls the spirits of the ancestors to help her make the people see the obvious. There is no other way she can do it, and she knows it perfectly well.
Living on a Desolate Island: What Is It Like Being Alone?
Since the writer knows so much of what it is like to be alone and desolated even standing in front of the crowd, there could be no other way for her than to write Notes of a Desolated Man. To pit it in other words, she was destined to write the book. Exploring the idea of being left all alone, she goes deeper into the subject, expanding it to the scale of the mankind world in general, applying the idea of desolation to each and every person living on the Earth.
Indeed, the leading character is actually a projection of the writer’s personality. A living protest to the society, the lead is a man condemned yet struggling for his own life, for a piece of world which will make him happier and more humanlike. As a matter of fact, desolating from the society is far from being the sentence passed to the outcast – on the contrary, it is his conscious decision.
With regard to the work of Zhu, it must be well noticed that she makes an accent on the fact that it is actually natural for people to be isolated from each other. The state which her character gets into does not signify something out of the ordinary. It was just that he was unlucky enough to be a man of different sexual orientation, and that made his sufferings of non-belonging to the world unbearable.
In fact, the aspect of being separated from the mankind and the individual loneliness as a part of the total craziness is one of the aspects of postmodernism, as the literary movement which reprints the state of perplexity in which people have trapped in the end of the twentieth century. Fearing the unknown and not willing to accept the absurdity of life, postmodernists tend to create the parallel reality where they can twist the twisted world even more, enjoying the chaos. As it has been noticed,
Postmodernism is much fuzzier in the ECE area, with recent literature emphasizing both continuities and ruptures with Modernism and the historical avant-garde. (Cornis-Pope 546)
The Leading Character: The Splendor and Misery of Being an Outcast
Although the modern world is in fact much netter than, say, the Middle Ages, there are still terrible misconceptions happening between people and peoples, and even between two parts of one and the same man.
The narrator’s opening phrase, which sets the start for the story, runs the following: “This is an age of decadence.” Rather pessimistic statement, it still makes the fact that the mankind has taken off its pink glasses clear. The short phrase sets the right mood for the story straightaway, preparing the reader for a postmodernist journey on a runaway train.
The narrator, Xiao Chao, is quite a complicated person to consider. It is a weird feature of the book that the very first chapters do not even tell his name, or his origin, or his point in general. It is only about his endless motion. Xiao is heading for some destination unknown, and this makes him look in the most post-modernist way, like a man who is detached from the rest of the world by the powerful force of speed, and now exists beyond the time context.
However, that does not mean that Xiao does not depend on the world and its events – on the contrary, the vulnerability of his, increased times because of his being so unusual to the rest of the people and because he feels his being detached from the rest of the mankind is what makes the story whole and complete. It is the specific character who determines the float of the novel in this case.
This character is extremely complicated. On the one hand, his determination to be understood and to breathe in unison with the rest of the people is clear-cut. However, the more insistent his attempts are, the less effect they have, for the more he approaches the destination, the further it detaches from Xiao. Like a prisoner caught in the cell of a size of a carton box, he tries to push through the limits which he has cornered himself.
It becomes clear from the very beginning that the postmodernist mood is what the whole novel is sewn through. The utter denial pushes through the lines of the story, making it clear that Xiao’s character is complicated to the halt, his soul twisted in such a way so that its natural needs and urges should be left way back, while what lies on the surface is the response to the demands of society.
Trying to depict her character in the very best way, polishing every single line of her book so that with each sentence it could describe Xiao better, Tianwen creates a specific spirit of liberty around him, yet emphasizes that this liberty was chosen by the lead unwillingly, just because his nature, craving for more experience, demanded so. It is clear that Tianwen is trying to create the image of a man who gets lost in the modern world, a man who is constantly on the road in search for a better life, for a better fate and for some differences in his life.
The struggle within the character makes him move further and further, as if he was trying to escape from himself. Pursuing his own shadow, Xiao finally finds himself lost and scared, like a child in the woods. With such postmodernist picture of a man as a specimen of humanity, it is no wonder that Tianwen as considered a writer following the postmodernist postulates strictly, though in her own unique eastern manner.
Every single word Tianwen leaves reminds of the grotesque and the misery of the world without a shield, – a postmodernist world where she places her characters. Since she understands perfectly well that a world is a vacuum, she provides a perfect environment for Xiao to live in, a brave new world, where the leading character feels so strange. In fact, Xiao does not belong to the world of the modern people at all. The conflict between the society and a single man has been depicted in a most postmodern style.
Seen as “the showcase for postmodernism East Asian style” (Hillenbrand 58), the story makes the reader feel with every vein and bone that the fears which one faces as he or she treads into the open arms of society are so intense that at rimes they become unbearable. Why cannot the world accept the leading character in Tianwen’s story?
Is it merely because of his non-traditional sexual orientation? Or can there be something else lurking behind the puny face of social morals and beliefs? Once proved to be worth nothing, these morals hunt the unusual people again and again, and there seems no end to this closed disk of injustice.
Such are the specific features of the way Tianwen presents the story that they make the reader forget about the twists of the plot and turn to analyzing the main character’s problems more closely. Indeed, from the very beginning it becomes clear that Xiao knows no rest in his constant traveling. He is doomed to wander in the world in search for the people who can support him, and just as is he doomed to fail his search.
It seems that there is not a single person who can see the depth of his sufferings and his misery. With every single line of his on-the-road notes, Xiao makes it clear that he is as lonely as a man can be, though he is constantly mixing with different people and learning the new things about the new places of his visit. Something that keeps him going makes him remember that he is not the same as the rest of the dwellers, and there is nothing left for him but to grin and bear it.
The Muffled Cries of the Society: Seeing Things
Since there have always been those who adhere to the so-called norms of society and those who either tended to break those rules imposed on them or were unable to keep to these rules, the conflict between the conservative part of the society and the non-conformists will go on for centuries. Despite the topic of the debatable problems changing, the core issue will remain the same, with the society very unwilling to accept those who differ from the rest.
Even the aspects of personal life are taken into consideration when passing a verdict of belonging or non-belonging to the system – or, should I have said better, especially the aspects of personal life? One of them, the question of the sexual orientation, is especially topical for the modern world. As a matter of fact, the fuss about the problem of homosexuality id rather weird to have been risen now, for the modern times are supposed to be known for their tolerance and are even reproached fro the permissiveness and the lack of restraint.
It seems as though the tolerance so appreciated was only a neon signboard for the gullible people to follow. Instead of treating people right whenever they kept with the postulates of the society or not, the people start hunting the ones who do not fit into the frame of their minds.
The book leads the readers through the thoughts of a man suffering from the fear that the specific trait of his will not let him become a member of the society. It is peculiar that Tainwen seems to be one of the first people who have raised the issue of homosexuality in the eastern literature. Finding the term for the phenomenon so that it could sound less sharp, Tainwen explores the image of her character and his woes in detail, allowing the reader sink into the soul of Xiao as well.
Xiao’s melancholic voice narrates his inner contemplations on the loss of Ah Yao, on his relations as homosexual man to the institutions of family and nation, on an extravagant range of euro-American Philosophy and culture – and on Xiao Chao’s own peregrinations through a very contemporary New Park and Taipei City. (Martin 102)
The aspect of desolation comes at this very point. Being unlike the rest of the people and at the same time being forced to communicate with them makes the leading character suffer a serious emotional breach. Xiao feels that he is not one of his kind, and this makes him the outcast.
Torn apart by the death of his only friend and the person who could understand him and take him the way he is, Xiao is no longer connected to the world in which he exists. Indeed, he goes on existing, but this is only the shell of Xiao which eats, drinks and sleeps, while the rest of him has been buried long before he started out on his trip to nowhere.
Digging deeper into the hidden idea of the novel, one can discover the new interpretation of the aspect of homosexuality, which is an idea completely new to the Asian literature and culture. Thus, Tianwen deepens the storyline, discovering the new facets of the life of an outcast in the modern society.
She emphasizes the shattering loneliness of the man who cannot even confine his thoughts to his own relatives, fearing the same monster called misunderstanding. Tianwen has shown how miserable this sort of life can be, a constant hiding from the reality and the social prejudice, which can be substituted only by bringing one’s ideas to the judgment of the society and thus passing him or herself a verdict of death penalty.
Such is the scorn of the righteous that one simply cannot bear it for long. The desolation comes together with indifference to the others, which is bound to broaden into the indifference to the entire life.
Finally, one will stop feeling that there is some sense in his or her life, and the latter will turn into a pathetic existence, which is not worth the woes suffered. As Martin emphasized, “Notes of a Desolate Man constitutes a key site for the public representation of tongxinglian in Taiwan’s contemporary period” (102), and this signifies the social importance of the book.
Like the stories of Zhu Tianwen which possess certain feministic traits, the novel about a homosexual man also explores the problems if the modern society much deeper than they have ever been. It is still unclear what has made the problem so topical for the Taiwan writers, but still there is something that unites every story written by Zhu with the novel about a man who is trying to handle his own loneliness and his being so different from the rest.
Why and how gendering becomes an issue in the history of Taiwan literature is a vastly interesting question from which to approach women’s literature. (Peng-Hsiang 45)
On the contrary, the writer is trying to find the unique way to depict the peculiarities of separate people, transferring these unique features to the entire mankind to make it clear that each person possesses a tint of loneliness in his or her soul. The means which she seeks is the gender literature, where she investigates the problems so acute and topical that one could hardly imagine an Asian woman daring to explore such delicate and ticklish subject.
The fact that Zhu des not hesitate to present her own opinion, but manages to do it in such a tender way that it seems elegant and natural; she and her book “Notes of a Desolated Man” have opened a new door to the people who have been trapped in the dead end of their own specific features.
Among Zhang’s followers, Zhu Tianwen (b. 1956) is probably the most well-known woman writer who has gone through rather different stages to achieve her popularity. Unlike other Taiwanese women writers, she never enacts familiar feminist motifs such as selfhood, economic autonomy, sexual awakening, patriarchal domination motherhood or sisterhood. These issues for her are no longer problems as they are already subsumed under the spectacular decadence termed as ‘postmodern’ by the writer herself. (Peng-Hsiang, 46)
Since the problem of a man with specific background or features of character and physiology finding his or her place in the world has gained the scale of a worldwide problem, what Zhu Tianwen is writing about is of crucial importance. the author has helped the people understand that searching for a piece of one’s own is the task which is not so useless, and even in case nothing has been found, one can be quite satisfied with the process of search. As Wang said,
Works by Zhu Tianwen allow us to assess the way in which native literature actively engages with the psycho-cultural issues of globalization in spite of its apparent aesthetic detachment. This will bring intimate expressions of literary writing to the public sphere of cultural formation. Owing to Zhu’s style and critics’ proponensy to valorize the belles-lettres, the aesthetic and the social dimensions of her writing have typically been kept apart. (371)
Once the story where the key points are the exotic items and the question of struggling for equal rights of all people, the novel turns now into a social drama with the ideas of human’s equality blown into a serious problem which needs decision because of being so acute. While the book deals with the imaginary world, such strong is its imagery that it is transferred into the reality and seen there as one more case of cultural conflicts.
Although the characteristics of exoticism and narcissism have been consistently present in Zhu Tianwen’s fiction since the late 1980s, it is in Notes of a Desolate Man that these two characteristics come to pervade the narrative and become significant elements in the formation of a coherent sense of the self for the novel’s gay protagonist, whose sexual identity is not yet accepted by the society (Mostow 587)
With the efforts of all people joined to protect the rights of those who cannot defend themselves, it is possible to dream of the world of equal opportunities. However, at times building such world can pose certain problems. After all, it is really hard to forget the basics of the humanity and follow the principle of those who are the strongest, not the ones who have the point. Differentiating the latter from the former makes the life experience which each of us has to obtain and to rake into his or her life pattern.
Hillenbrand, Margaret. Literature, Modernity and the Practice of Resistance: Japanese and Taiwanese Fiction, 1960-1990. Leiden: BRILL, 2007. Print.
Martin, Fran. Situating Sexualities: Queer Representation in Taiwanese Fiction, film and Public Culture. Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press, 2003. Print.
Mostow, Joshua. S. The Columbia Companion to Modern East Asian Literature. New York, NY: Columbia University Press, 2003. Print.
Peng-Hsiang Chen and Dilley Crothers Whitney. Feminism/Femininity in Chinese Literature. Amsterdam: Rodopi, 2002. Print.
Wang, Dewei and Carlos Rojas. Writing Taiwan: a New Literary History. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2007. Print.
Zhu Tianwen: I See, I Remember, I Write. CriEnglish.com. Web. Web. http://english.cri.cn/7146/2010/12/08/2702s609092.htm
Postmodernism in the Works of Ettore Sottsass Essay
Modernism and Postmodernism are the most vivid movements in art and design of the 20th century.
Modernism with its concentration on the exact forms and lines appeared as the reaction to the traditional vision of art and design of the 19th century with references to interesting forms and luxurious objects.
Postmodernism which developed in the post-war period rejected the main principles of Modernism and combined all the lines and forms to make the imaginative product of art and design.
The era of Postmodernism in art and culture is associated with the middle years of the 20th century when the top point of its development in design is the 1980s.
It is the period when the representatives of the Memphis Group in Italia shocked the public with their postmodern vision of objects and products.
Ettore Sottsass is discussed as the most prominent figure of the Memphis Group, and he designed the most provocative elements of furniture which are considered the vivid examples of the postmodern design now.
The success of Ettore Sottsass’s Olivetti Valentine typewriter, Carlton bookcase, and Tahiti lamp can be explained with referring to the fact that developing his works, the designer followed the major principles of Postmodernism which attracted the public with their controversy and presented his specific vision of the space and role of objects in it.
Ettore Sottsass’s works and Postmodernism
To analyze the peculiarities of Ettore Sottsass’s works effectively, it is necessary to pay attention to the major principles of Postmodernism in the sphere of design.
It is also important to note that the discussion of Postmodernism should be realized with using the notions of ‘principle’ and ‘tendency’ rather than ‘rule’ or ‘norm’ because the ideology of Postmodernism rejects the idea of using any rules for creating the object of art and design.
The objects of the postmodern design astonish the public with their expressive visual characteristics and with the combination of the lines, forms, and materials which are not traditionally used together.
The ideologists of Postmodernism often state that this movement is based on the freedom of expression and evokes a lot of people’s emotions. Those combinations which can be perceived as absurd contribute to creating the specific harmony of Postmodernism.
Thus, the forms and colors of the objects are rather radical and too vivid, and they can seem to be exaggerated by the designer or their contradiction can be used to accentuate the controversy of the designer’s idea.
Moreover, the style of postmodern designers including the representatives of the Memphis Group is based on the principle to see something extremely unusual in ordinary things.
Ettore Sottsass and the other Italian designers organized the Memphis Group in 1981. The members of the group specialized in working out the pieces of furniture, the glass products and ceramics with the help of urban technologies.
The main characteristic features of the objects were the vivid fluorescent colors and strange forms based on the asymmetrical lines. The works of the designers were considered quite original, and it was rather difficult to combine them with the traditional elements of the interior.
The red plastic Olivetti Valentine typewriter, Carlton bookcase, and Tahiti lamp designed by Ettore Sottsass became the symbols of the postmodern era in design which are familiar for the public because of their recognizable bright colors and rather ‘ironic’ shapes. Furthermore, the material which was mainly used for producing the objects was bright plastic.
The red plastic Olivetti Valentine typewriter
In spite of the fact the red Olivetti typewriter was designed before organizing the Memphis Group in 1981, it is possible to say that this object significant for the development of the postmodernist movement (“Olivetti Valentine Typewriter”).
The famous red plastic typewriter was released in 1969. Ettore Sottsass was working for Olivetti Company during several years in order to develop the models of the portative typewriters and the other office machines.
The red plastic model which was presented on Valentine’s Day made the revolution in design of the everyday items for offices and personal use because of the unusual combination of the material, shape, and color.
It was the real success due to the fact today the red Olivetti Valentine typewriter is discussed as the design icon and the symbol of pop art as the reflection of the trends of Postmodernism.
This typewriter is also successful because now it is one of the most famous models of typewriters in the world which are exhibited in museums all over the world.
Moreover, it is necessary to note that the Olivetti typewriter was also presented in grey and green colors, but the designer made the accents on the red color because of its extreme attractiveness for the public and symbolic meaning.
The theoretical principles of Postmodernism are realized in developing the Olivetti typewriter in many aspects.
From this point, it is necessary to concentrate on the unusualness of the idea to design the special typewriter for Valentine’s Day with using the red color as the symbol of the day for realizing the idea.
The technical characteristics and features of the typewriter are also significant to be discussed with references to the concepts of Postmodernism. The red Olivetti Valentine typewriter is not as powerful as the other models of the Olivetti typewriters, but it is ease in use and light because of being made from plastic.
A lot of postmodern designers used such urban materials as plastic to create the definite items in order to accentuate the shape, surface, and colors of the object in their opposition to the everyday ‘grey’ reality.
The main postmodern ideas which are manifested in the red Olivetti Valentine typewriter are vivid and intensive color and lightness which contradicts with the complexity of the shape (“Olivetti Valentine Typewriter”).
Ettore Sottsass’s Carlton bookcase
The Carlton bookcase was presented in 1981, and it became the sensation because of the traditional public’s vision of bookcases (“Carlton Bookcase”). This construction seemed to be rather unusual and irrelevant, and irrational with references to the design of bookcases.
However, rationality is not the principle of Postmodernism that is why the Carlton bookcase became the famous item of the furniture and the most extraordinary bookcase in the history of design which is now the trigger for the collectors’ pride.
Working out the Carlton bookcase, Ettore Sottsass achieved his aim and presented the element of the furniture which followed all the ideas of the postmodernist culture and was rather cheap because of the peculiarities of its production.
Nevertheless, today it is one of the most famous and expensive examples of the postmodern art and design.
The postmodern design is based on the idea of paradoxes where the things which cannot be combined in usual circumstances are combined because of the designer’s will.
Moreover, the accents are made on the usual functions of the unusual in their shapes and colors things. Ettore Sottsass was also good in combining the contrasting elements while creating a new object.
Thus, the Carlton bookcase is produced with the help of rather cheap plastic the usage of which meets the requirements of Postmodernism to concentrate on the elements of urbanism even in using such urban materials as plastic laminate, acrylic, and aluminum.
The gleaming surfaces of these materials reflect the light and produce the necessary effect for creating the atmosphere of the postmodern world.
The elements of the construction which should be perceived as the Carlton bookcase are playful, and this effect makes the bookcase not the item of the furniture, but the real object of the postmodern art and design (“Carlton Bookcase”).
It is rather difficult to consider the Carlton bookcase as a case or a shelf which can be used for placing books or the other functions because it is an independent art object which attracts the public’s attention with vivid intensive colors which are not combined with each other, but create the specific effect of dividing the space of the bookshelf.
Moreover, the platform of the bookcase is spotted, and its color creates the contrast with the basic colors of the bookcase. This contrast also accentuates the ideas of Postmodernism where contrasts are perceived as the origin for creating something new and original.
The banality of the basic forms and lines of the Carlton bookcase is in opposition with the general presentation of the object as the whole which is rather impressive and colorful.
The Tahiti lamp
Ettore Sottsass’s Tahiti lamp is often discussed as the designer’s most eccentric work because of its style and combination of materials (“Tahiti Lamp”). The success of this lamp is supported by the detail that in spite of the fact the lamp was firstly produced in 1981, today it is one of the most recognizable desk lamps in the world.
The shape of the lamp is rather ordinary, but the idea is fabulous because with using the imagination, the audience states that this desk lamp resembles the exotic bird.
It is possible to determine the details of the work which are the long neck of the bright yellow color, the pink head, and the red beak. The metal brown detail can symbolize the wings of the tropical bird (“Tahiti Lamp”).
It is important to note that the success of all Ettore Sottsass’s can be explained by the active usage of bright colors and especially red tones which attract the public’s attention to the work, and they are associated with some inclination.
The Tahiti lamp can be discussed as the successful example of the postmodern design because its aesthetic was reflected in many items created by the other designers who were inspired by the provocative and astonishing works of Ettore Sottsass.
The theoretical ideas of Postmodernism are realized in producing the Tahiti lamp with references to using the combination of different materials which are wood, metal, and plastic laminate.
Ettore Sottsass follows his style and the bright colors of the item’s details are mixed with the speckled laminate base of the desk lamp. This detail became one of the characteristic features of the designer’s style.
In spite of the bold and random shapes of the lamp, it draws the attention of the audience, and it is discussed as the remarkable object of art and design.
The representatives of the Memphis Group made the accents on combining the extremely vivid colors with the ornamented surfaces which seemed to emphasize the texture of the material visually, but the designers used the urban materials with the luminous surfaces.
The play of contrasts is one of the main distinctive features of the postmodernist movement which ideas were followed by Ettore Sottsass.
The designer’s Tahiti lamp is developed for the active use personally and in offices, but it cannot be perceived just as an item on the desk because of the complexity of its design and the status of the ‘classical’ Postmodernism.
Ettore Sottsass organized the group of the Italian designers in 1981, and this period was significant for the development of the ideas of Postmodernism in art and design.
The success of the Memphis Group’s representatives is based on the fact that they originally started producing the items and elements of furniture which depended on the combination of such different materials as plastic, wood, and metal, the combination of vivid colors, and the combination of functions.
The designers of the Memphis Group did not only work out the elements of furniture but also experimented with glass, ceramics, and lightning in order to provide the interesting and amazing visual effects with their products.
Thus, Ettore Sottsass and the other designers from the Memphis Group did not only follow the ideas of Postmodernism in their work but also manifested these principles by themselves with creating the vivid world of paradoxes.
Some critics can state that the works of Ettore Sottsass are bold and rather absurd, but this thrilling freedom in representing the objects is often discussed as the characteristic feature of the postmodernist movement.
That is why, the figure of Ettore Sottsass can be referred to as prominent in the sphere of the postmodern design because all his works are successful, and his style has a lot of followers.
“Carlton Bookcase”. n.d. JPEG file. 30 July 2012.<https://www.nova68.com/Merchant2/graphics/00000001/carlton.jpg>.
“Olivetti Valentine Typewriter”. n.d. JPEG file. 30 July 2012. <http://66.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_lik118tirl1qee674o1_500.jpg>.
“Tahiti Lamp”. n.d. JPEG file. 30 July 2012. Web.
Paradigm Shift from Modernism to Postmodernism Ways of Thinking Essay (Critical Writing)
Modernism is a school of thought that is believed to have begun during the period of Renaissance. This movement marked the age of Enlightenment in the early 20th century, as it led to rejection of traditional ideals and principles. This philosophical term looked for new perspectives to act as foundation for their knowledge, that is, it aimed at disapproving the irrational and subjective mind of man.
It supported personal ideologies on issues like religious beliefs; for instance, one does not have to accept an idea because it is religious. Self consciousness was meant to assist in criticizing an idea, then arriving at a conclusion at last.
In modernism, one has to identify, evaluate, criticize, and understand a concept, then, choose without external interference. The need for premises/ reasons to attain truth remained fundamental during this time (Johnson, 2007).
Notably, Karl Marx (1818-1883), Charles Darwin (1809-1882) and Sigmund Freud (1856–1939) were influential thinkers during the modern era. Specifically, Freud invented the subconscious part of the mind, the superego, which helps in analyzing how one thinks, in other words, evaluating the correctness of the thinking.
Together with the superego, were the Id and the ego. In addition, this concept of the subconscious mind dimension analyzes how people think about realistic situations/ideas and how we view our selves. Our thinking starts with the Id, where we do anything necessary to satisfy the impending need for survival (Sigmund Freud n.d.).
The next level is the ego, which keeps us with the reality of external world, that is, the world consists of others and, therefore, we are not alone. The ego helps us to adapt to the physical environment and store our experiences. The above theory that analyzes the human consciousness was called the Psycho-Analysis.
From these dimensions, Freud insisted that things should not be construed to be true as they appear, the reality lies beyond what we can physically see. Therefore, to unearth the truth we have to conduct some complex and perverted actions.
Clearly, modernism tried to eliminate subjectivity as a means of thinking and arriving at conclusions. Modernism tried to eliminate fixed concepts and ideas on varied issues; therefore, one has to have reasons to support his/her claims.
Moreover, in Freud’s Interpretation of Dreams 1900, he reveals that dreams have displaced meanings and abstract symbols that calls for an in depth analysis and recollection in order to find the true meanings or complete validity. His proclamation that one only dreams whatever he/she encounters in life shows that a human being is largely a product of his/her environment and experience.
Freud links how the brain functions with the nature of dreams. Therefore, one should reflexively be aware of these biases in order to free himself/herself from them and aim to be objective in his/her decisions. In general, the society becomes increasingly more reflective and self-aware of new ideas.
Markedly, modernism movement instituted inquisitive minds in people. It begins with self-doubt, which reveals the methodology of justifying mind consciousness in accepting truth (Johnson, 2007). However, the control of unconscious and irrational desires of human beings is contradictive to the enlightenment philosophy that supports man’s reasoning as guidance to truth, yet human beings are essentially irrational beings.
This weakness of Freud’s assertion led to criticism of some philosophers like Anouchka Grose. He disagreed with Freud’s Oedipus complex of socialization claiming that it was quite embarrassing as this act increases immoral behaviours and it is universally forbidden.
The French scholar Jean-Paul Sartre (1905-1980) supported the existentialism themes in the middle of the 20th century through his pieces of work that touched on nothingness, freedom, alienation and boredom (Mastin, 2008). His cornerstones were the self and ethical interests. Therefore, he reflected on understanding the existence of man by using phenomenological methods.
He characterised the human condition with drastic freedom and groundlessness (Mastin, 2008). In his book, Being Nothingness, he outlines various forms of consciousness that lie beyond people’s experience, which involves investigating what is meant to be human. To be conscious means that one must be conscious of something; therefore, the definition depends on another thing.
In an in depth study of human, he comes up with two types of beings, which are ‘for-itself’ and ‘in-itself’. The later signifies autonomy and non-relational manner. This methodology gives one the power to create an extrinsic self identity. Sartre’s work gave people freedom of creating values for their own lives. On the part of the ego, Sartre acknowledges the existence of consciousness of the world and the ego.
Sartre proposes a high levelled procedure of understanding human consciousness, involving pre-reflective and reflective level. He further agrees that people tend to construe that the self is never present prior to a reflective consciousness (Mastin, 2008).
When a person thinks of anything, he/she forms a picture in the mind. In case the picture does not exist, then, there does not exist a universal structure thus the intention to be conscious is still unsuccessful.
Ethically, Sartre noted that conscious proceedings are spontaneous; therefore, emotional consciousness is pre-reflective consciousness. As a result, voluntary act is different from the pre-reflective act; it has the will, which exists in the reflective act.
This complex way of thinking discloses the key to understanding of the self, which has negating powers in it. Upon reflection, instability within the self is created, leading to the lack of self identity. Surely, the methodology supported a complex and valid distinction between two transcendence phenomena of beings (Mastin, 2008).
The two analyses of ‘for-itself’ and ‘in-itself’ reveal what is meant by being a human. Sartre’s philosophical methods give people an unlimited freedom of making varied choices, which are not due to their bad faith. But, the freedom has limitations, social and physical constraints. The life of an individual is similar to a project that is unfolding as one makes choices amidst the challenges that constrain the freedom.
In the end, a proper coordination of facts and transcendences help disclose an authentic man. One has to avoid pitfalls like bad faith and exercise his/her freedom diligently to continue understanding the nature of consciousness.
Man is what he makes of himself; he then realizes his existence first before using his ‘will’ in making choices that he/she can be held responsible for (Existentialism is a Humanism, n.d.). Since man cannot change everything, that is, power to change things is limited, despair arises. In addition, the future is fully controlled by someone else.
Postmodernism is a recent school of thought that claims that there is no clear reality that can be known objectively; it a relativistic approach that does not depend on absolute truth and objectivity. However, its way of thinking proved that reality can be experienced through objectivity. Manifestly, modernism highly objected subjectivity in arriving at decisions.
However, postmodernism does not agree with most of modernity aspects. Postmodernism believes in New Age thinking in arriving at truth (Introduction to Postmodern Philosophy, n.d.). Notably, after the renaissance, the use of scientific method changed the perception of understanding the world.
Then enlightenment (modernism) followed. The doubts on the ability to understand reality objectively by David Hume led to some instability in modernism. This in turn led to transition from modernism to postmodernism.
Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900) was instrumental in this transition, as he out rightly rejected Kant’s theory that believed that all people perceive the world (reality) similarly; he supported the objective truth. Philosophers had to first grapple with textual interpretation.
On interpretation, the postmodernism philosophers agreed that objectivity cannot be applied in understanding the correct meaning of any written script. Therefore, meaning comes out through engagement in a dialogue with the original author.
Again, there was a problem on whether language could objectively reveal the truth. Ludwig Wittgenstein (1889-1951) concluded that this could not happen as language development is socially habituated; therefore, the truth is socially constructed, just like language.
Modernism recognised humans’ capabilities to find solutions that had been perennial since the medieval times. In addition, it respected human rights of expression. It did not also define the limits of objectivism and reasoning.
Postmodernism, on the other hand, came up to correct the already existing imbalance; for instance, by convincing us that we have a limited potential to comprehend and change the universe. In essence, postmodernism corrects the problems, but it over-corrects the problems (Introduction to Postmodern Philosophy, n.d.).
In the 20th century Michel Foucault (1926-1984) was among the great philosophical figures who defined the key issues of postmodernism. For example, a close scrutiny of the correspondence theory of truth that made people believe that scientific truths were equal to absolute truths was altered by removing the equivalency since no scientific researcher made an unlimited number of observations to show that such exceptions exist.
Postmodernism, actually, helps man in knowing that knowledge acquisition and explanations have limits. This reveals the cause for the drastic shift from modernism to postmodernism. Further, it holds on the coherence theory of truth, which supports that an idea remains true to man if it also coheres with other internal perceptions that man holds about the world (Introduction to Postmodern Philosophy, n.d.).
Nonetheless, scientists can still invent new methods of making people understand how the world works. For example, just as the discovery of the spherical nature of the earth was disapproved, early scientists believed that the earth is flat.
Although postmodernism overreacts on the coherence theory, the philosophers were correct in summing up that correspondence theory has its boundaries, being contrary to what modernism held.
Postmodernism promoted the willingness to borrow information from earlier movements and openness to diverse ideas from all places. It did not hold fixed definition to all terms. This movement promotes self-thinking, which can make people rebel following a defined curriculum and divert to their own understandings.
Social epoch affects one’s way of thinking. For example, sociologists make assumptions that humans have room to make their own choices and that social forces can shape the behaviour of people within a society. Clearly, social environments influence the way one thinks and possible course of action.
In the 18th century, Western Europe underwent social and technical changes that forever changed the whole world. For example, the invention of steam engine by James Watt in the year 1769 and invention of antiseptic barrier by Joseph Lister in 1865 impelled social changes in the entire world with the aim of solving some social and economic problems (Epochs in Philosophy and Socio-Economic Epochs, 2010).
Remarkably, this social group altered people’s thinking towards looking for solutions to the then world problems since massive inventions took place during the 18th and 19th centuries. Later, industrial revolution took centre stage in Britain, which prompted rural urban migration of people to secure jobs in the newly created industries.
This shows how social epoch affects the way of thinking of human beings in the entire world. From the historical perspective of the epoch, the global problems seem to be similar. A historical problem/issue will divert people’s attention in order to find solutions to it.
For example, researchers on HIV/AIDS have been receiving support from other new researchers who aim at discovering the new drug that can cure the disease (Epochs in Philosophy and Socio-Economic Epochs, 2010). The research has influenced the thinking of doctors, medical lecturers and their students from a historical perspective.
Both the social and historical epoch increases the thinking perspectives in the philosophical aspect, since every research has to be doubted, tested, understood, and then approved/verified for application in its respective field. Lastly, philosophical theories also base their assumptions on the culture or history of any given group.
Epochs in Philosophy and Socio-Economic Epochs 2010, Problems of the History of Philosophy. Web.
Existentialism is a Humanism, alexvermeer.com — understanding and mastering our brains to do cool stuff. Web.
Introduction to Postmodern Philosophy, Postmodern preaching. Web.
Johnson, L, 2007, The Enlightenment to Modernism: A Brief Examination of this Revolution in Thought and Society, Socyberty. Web.
Mastin, L, 2008, Existentialism: By Movement / School, The Basics of Philosophy: A huge subject broken down into manageable chunks. Web.
Postmodernism: Philosophy, Britannica Online Encyclopedia. Web.
Sigmund Freud, Letters, Arts & Social Sciences. Web.
Postmodernism and autonomy Discourse Report
The era of postmodernism architecture began during the early 1950s. However, it was fully recognized as a movement and an international style of architecture about two decades later.
Nonetheless, it is imperative to note that the slow growth of postmodernism style of architecture did not deter it from steady spread and adoption across the world. As a matter of fact, the contemporary architectural skills heavily borrowed from the ideals of postmodernism
When architectural ‘reference, ornament and wit’ returned, postmodernism was fast put into place and adopted across the world as a globally accepted system (Venturi, 1977). Architecture has a vivid display of postmodernism movement.
Besides, it came into being after modern architecture was perceived to have failed. The key personalities behind this movement were L. I Kahn and Robert Venturi. The latter shed a lot of light on architectural designs through his writings.
The architectural freedom through the autonomy of discourse was largely heralded by Aldo Rossi. The entire discourse began before the onset of 1950s when several articles had already been written by Rossi (Kaminer 2011, p.88).
It is vital to mention that the idea behind architectural autonomy was brought about by the desire for freedom. Most of the radical architectural groups and individuals such as Aldo Rossi fought for freedom in constructing buildings.
However, the entire pursuit for freedom was not merely embedded on architecture since several rights groups also emerged during this era demanding for liberty both socially and politically.
In order to present the autonomy discourse in architecture, both the audio-visual and print media were used to campaign for freedom.
Kaminer, T 2011, Architecture, Crisis and Resuscitation: The reproduction of Post-Fordism in late-twentieth-century architecture, Routledge, Madison Avenue, New York.
Venturi, R 1977, Learning from Las Vegas: The Forgotten Symbolism of Architectural Form, MA: MIT Press, Cambridge.
Epistemological Approaches of Empiricism and Postmodernism Essay
Empiricism deals with assertion that all that is in the world and beyond is known through the senses. To the empiricists, especially of the modern era, there was no other way of gaining knowledge except through the sense perception.
Postmodernism has been the branch of knowledge that questions the previous approaches to knowing and advocating for pluralism in epistemology instead of relying on only one epistemological approach, empiricism is incorporated into postmodernism (Brooker 1996).
Epistemology is mainly interested and concerned with the nature and the scope that knowledge can cover and the various limitations to attaining knowledge. Mainly epistemology deals with the various philosophical questions like whether knowledge is possible, if so what is it? How is it acquired? and if we really know then how do we know what we know? (Sosa 2004).
Empiricism deals with a specific method of attaining knowledge and its proponents claim and endeavour in proving that actually, knowledge emanates from our senses and all that we know is from sense perception. Most of the proponents lived during the modern era.
Having observed how the various school of thoughts clashed over which was right in its endeavour to seek the method of knowledge attainment postmodernism thinkers sought out to harmonize these school of thoughts.
Eventually, the postmodernists came to agree that no single school of thought could claim monopoly of providing the source of knowledge. Postmodernists therefore united many of these schools of thought views to state that knowledge is gotten from many sources (Grenz 1996).
Empiricism as a Source of Knowledge
As observed, empiricists entirely dwell on the senses. The renowned British philosopher John Locke, who was once an assistance of Francis Bacon before his death, is the pioneer of British empiricism. In his empiricism illustration, he adopted the case of a child at birth to support empiricism as the only source of knowledge.
He stated that at birth, the mind of a human being is tabula rasa- empty blanket. He said that the brain of a person at birth is like a plain white paper. As one grows experiences are written on the white sheet of paper, which is the brain. The brain is fed by experiences and its work is like that of a machine, processing the raw data given.
Locke believes that the world is physical and thus in his account of solving the mind body problem, he says that the mind and body are just one and the same thing and continues to expound by saying that the mind is just an attribute of the body so physical rather than spiritual. The postmodernists have posed the question, if the mind is physical and the brain is empty, then how does a young baby know ho to suckle? (Reck 1963).
Another empiricist by the name Bishop George Berkeley asserts that there is only one source of knowledge in the universe and that is empiricism. He stated that to be is to be perceived, that is to say, for a thing to be said to exist it must be perceived first. He states that if something is not perceived then that thing is inexistence.
To him the idea of God is conceived out of premeditated intuition and goes on to state that the phenomena that occur unexplained are occasions when God intercedes on behalf of man thus acts of God. The postmodernism have come to pose the question, when a tree falls in the forest and nobody is there to witness, does that mean that the tree did not fall? (Richardson 2007).
Francis Bacon developed a new method. He said we should refrain from using myths, ideas and notions only. Knowledge cannot be coming from universal particulars to universal general and still call it knowledge as that is commo0n sense knowledge as in the case with deduction method of inference. He developed and popularized the inductive method of inference.
That is you start by assembling all that you know of which is mainly the general knowledge. Then you expose the assembled knowledge to rigorous analysis eliminating the inconsistent facts one by one until you arrive at a particular truth.
This method developed by Bacon which he called the scientific method entails lots of experiments and observation. It has close connections with modern science also involves extensive and intensive research, experimenting and observation (Furmerton, 2006).
David Hume another of the modern empiricists came up with a rather sceptical approach. He says what we know is gotten from the experience of engaging in every day’s life’s activities. To him every society is peculiar to its knowledge due to exercising its cultures. To Hume universal truth is impossible as every society is different from the other.
Knowledge as par his argument is derived from customs and belief. He further states that all that we know is from general norms, intuition and instincts. Hume was an influential person and his sceptical approach negatively affected science as he argued there is no need of scientific investigation.
Postmodernism and Empiricism
Empiricism has been widely regarded as the method of science thus an authentic and credible source of crucial information. Its method of emphasis on the integral role played by experience and evidence as presented especially through sense perception closely resembles scientific methods and principals.
Postmodernism argues that a method, empiricism is a credible source of knowledge though not the only source of knowledge (Jencks 1996).
Against empiricism, postmodernism argues that human being’s senses are sometimes deceptive and thus not always reliable. They cite the case of illusion as and hallucinations as a credible reference. Sometimes due to psychological disorders, people tend to claim to observe objects and spirits like ghosts.
If empiricism was the taken as the only source of knowledge, then in that particular cited case, the knowledge obtained will be misleading. Post modernists also points out the case where motorists tend to perceive pools of water on a highway in a sunny day, but on reaching there no water is seen.
The reflected light rays in form of a mirage can also be cited as a case where senses cannot be trusted. Medical disorder is another basis for disapproving empiricism. Persons with epilepsy at times tend not to realize they are burning yet they are on fire.
Postmodernists have in their quest to look for a reliable source of knowledge borrowed heavily from empiricism and rationalism which sharply contrast each other. Postmodernism thus believes in the diversity of the sources of knowledge and instead of coming with a different view unifies the two major sources of knowledge.
Rationalism is the school of thought which hold that knowledge is purely derived from thinking and not senses. Rationalists believe what we see or experience is facilitated by the mind.
The world like Plato put it is a representation of a pure form in the mind, he further goes on to illustrate that when a cup in the physical world breaks into pieces the idea of a cup still remains in the mind as the real perfect cup is in the realm of ideas and cannot be crashed. We thus make and develop things as they are presented to us by the mind. God to Plato is thus a perfect being in the realm of ideas.
Rene Descartes is probably the most renowned protagonist of the rationalist theory of knowledge. He was a French mathematician. Descartes states that knowledge begins with the doubt of one’s existence. His Methodic Doubt method was employed in that he first doubted the existence of everything in the world including his own existence.
He then proclaimed “cogito ego sum” loosely translated as “I think therefore I am”. (Huemer 2002)To him, doubting his own existence is enough proof of his existence. In knowledge about the mind he propagated the Cartesian Dualism. Cartesian Dualism holds that the mind and only the mind is capable of generating knowledge.
The body houses the mind yet not related at all as they are two different entities, the dualism applies in that although each is independent of the other and the mind being the purely thinking agent, the two interacted through the pineal gland.
However, he never explained what kind of interaction I was. Descartes refers the think thing as the cogito. Descartes unlike the empiricists insisted that knowledge was only possible through the use of deduction method of inference.
Others like Spinoza and Leibniz who were also rationalists came up with different unique methods of explaining their explanation for the mind being the main source of knowledge and not the body that is empiricism.
Spinoza came up with the parallelism theory where he stated that the body and mind were actually two different entities with no common traits, they are at all times in parallel operations and their interaction can be explained in a kind of diffusion. Leibniz proposed the theory of monads where these monads were small tiny objects in spontaneous flux state.
The postmodernists credit Leibniz for formulating a method like the one discovered later involving atoms. Rationalists thus strictly advocated for the use of thinking as the main source of knowledge. Immanuel Kant though a rationalist, who is credit for coming up with a kind of a Copernican revolution, was the first person to clearly-show that these two rival schools of thought could actually be united.
With his transcendental series, he showed that the senses provided for the experience and then the mind processed these raw experiences and produced them as finished products. His Copernican Revolution was for saving science and philosophy from Hume’s scepticism, which had resulted to the stopping of all scientific investigations (Feldman 2003).
Empiricism has advocated for a singular method as the source of knowledge while postmodernism advocates for pluralism as a broader way for looking at sources of knowledge. In empiricism there is no accommodation of pluralism as this source advocates for senses alone and has been at loggerheads with rationalism.
Pluralism portrayed in postmodernism accommodates both these rival schools of thought as sources of knowledge. Post modernism is thus wider, has more depth and can explain for phenomena from both sides, as rationalist and as empiricists.
The postmodernism as source of knowledge is also more refined and less ambiguous, this can be attributed to the fact that postmodernism came much later than the modern empiricism. This accorded the postmodernism scholars more time and a wide range of knowledge bank to compare and contrast (Cahoone 2003).
To explain the phenomena of love, this cannot be explained by either rationalism or empiricism, postmodernism has employed intuition as a source of knowledge. Intuition is the art of understanding without much effort.
This kind of knowledge is a priori or at other times experiential of certain characterized beliefs, which have immediate impacts. It is a much-debated branch of knowledge that cannot be explained without controversy (Audi 2011).
Epistemology entails the learning of knowledge. In epistemology, there are various sources of knowledge like rationalism, empiricism, scepticism, idealism and intuition whose theorization, development and propagation was highly witnessed during the era of modernism.
Postmodernism tries to study these theories wholesomely to come up with a theory of knowledge that is more credible and authentic. Empiricism is such one theory that is incorporated in postmodernism as postmodernism takes a pluralist approach.
In the study of knowledge, empiricism and post modernism are important schools of thought that contribute a lot into the field. They compliment one another, one having been largely practiced in the era of modernism while the other in the postmodernism era. They illustrate the growth of knowledge from one epoch to the other (Alcoff 1998).
Alcoff, L., 1998. Epistemology: The Big Questions. Massachusetts, Blackwell Publishers.
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