2-1-2019

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I like postmodernism. What's not to love? Nitpicking over grammar to destroy our understanding of reality.

I'm not being facetious.

But people be mad at postmodernism like it raised their taxes. I don't know if this is because of Jordan B. Peterson's two year young men intellectual union strike against it or if it's because of many complicated cultural reasons.

Is it all a misunderstanding? It doesn't matter much. No one will be able to convince people who have invested so much in vituperation, even if it's about something they don't understand.

I've been critical of postmodernism myself, but I feel it's apt and informed. My contention was that postmodernism didn't go far enough.

But honestly, to go further, you need to go backward, i'd say. More than the main Pomo writers like Derrida, Foucault, and Baudrillard, I prefer their literary predecessors, who were also mostly French, as I feel like they were more interesting and less afraid to act on their convictions. They weren't afraid to become social lepers for their ideas ... not that one should; I just admire the commitment.

I'm talking about Bataille, Blanchot, Pierre Klossowski and others. They didn't pick apart texts like the pomo writers did (though they did that too) so much as they did pick apart their experience. They lived in quiet extremes, embracing political excesses, religious excesses and philosophical excesses, changing them out as suited their temperaments, which were always bidding them to go further.

They had no school of thought or movement named after them like the Lettrists, the Surrealists or the Situationists, though they were themselves part of various different groups which each served a different respective purpose: the College of Sociology, the secret society Acephale, along with various highly unconventional journals and magazines.

Not only did they challenge practically everything, but they had, at various times, ideas as to what they wanted to replace everything they challenged with, even if it was only contingent to some mad vision of excess rather than anything to do with absolutes or natural law.

Bataille seemed to want to completely reconfigure religion and his concept of the sacred: laughter, feces, terror, ecstasy, guilt and exaltation are returning themes. The economy was also a point of return, but his economy is apocalyptic, Dionysian and all encompassing.

Klossowski wrote about living currency: basically sex as currency and desire itself as the incentivizing mechanism of the economy (at least that's a crude reduction that doesn't do his writing much justice).

Blanchot demystified (and at once remystified?) the act of writing itself and what it means to create, to produce, but also, to remain silent. Almost oriental in his preoccupation with being and nonbeing, absence, silence, nothingness becomes a sort of fetish which is always present within existence.

I wouldn't call any of these thinkers modernists, but rather, proto-postmodernists (how much more postmodern can you get than that?).

Personally, I think that to move beyond the postmodernists and the proto-postmodernists alike, one must marry the thought of certain thinkers of today with thinkers from way before proto-postmodernism. Specifically, you could call one, regretfully, post-postmodernism and the other proto-proto-... Just kidding - I mean to say, the Romantics (along with some of their successors).

Today: post-postmodernism: this is a horrible term but I can't resist it. No I'm not talking about David Foster Wallace's post-postmodernism, which was basically just him saying we need to stop with all this irony and insincerity, man.

No. I'm talking about Roberto Calasso.

As far as Romantics? I'm going to say, start with Novalis. Postmodernism will help you destroy the world, but Calasso and Novalis will help you recreate it.