Tuesday, April 26, 2011

The Suicidal Mania of Post-Modernism (as prophesied by an Original Orthodox Rebel)

I have discussed post-modernism before, usually in contrast to both Christianity and common sense. In short, it is a lunatic subjectivism and skepticism whose corrosive epistemology eats away at everything, including itself in the end. Its exact elucidation is usually limited to the asylum of certain academic circles, but its fruits have permeated everywhere, from politics to Saturday morning cartoons.

That post-modernism is a self-destructive insanity was not an original idea of my own, nor did I get it from the popular tomes of Moreland and Zacharias (or any other popular figure in modern evangelical apologetics). Its maniacal idiocies were first made clear to me upon reading Chesterton's book Orthodoxy, which he wrote in 1908, a little over a hundred years ago. Then he was dealing with post-modernism's grand-sires (e.g., Nietzsche), and from their thoughts (or lack thereof) he could foresee the inevitable result, which he called "the suicide of thought," the title of one of the chapters in Orthodoxy.

The following excerpts (from pp. 42-43, 46-47, & 48 of the above-mentioned chapter) demonstrate (1) exactly what this rabid skepticism is, (2) what it entails, and (3) that it is nothing new. For my own part, my sentiments can be summed up in the last four sentences of the second paragraph and the very last sentences of the entire excerpt.

-Jon Vowell (c) 2011

[We] may say that the most characteristic current philosophies have not only a touch of mania, but [also] a touch of suicidal mania. The mere questioner has knocked his head against the limits of human thought and cracked it. This is what makes so futile the warnings of the orthodox [i.e., conservatives] and the boasts of the advanced [i.e., progressives] about the dangerous boyhood of free thought. What we are looking at is not the boyhood of free thought; it is the old age and ultimate dissolution of free thought.

It is vain for bishops and pious bigwigs to discuss what dreadful things will happen if wild skepticism runs its course. It has run its course. It is vain for eloquent atheists to talk of the great truths that will be revealed if once we see free thought begin. We have seen it end. It has no more questions to ask; it has questioned itself.  You cannot call up any wilder vision than a city in which men ask themselves if they have any selves. You cannot fancy a more skeptical world than that in which men doubt if there is a world. [...] Free thought has exhausted its own freedom. It is weary of its own success. [...] We have no more questions left to ask. We have looked for questions in the darkest corners and on the wildest peaks. We have found all the questions that can be found. It is time we gave up looking for questions and began looking for answers.


The [old revolutionary] could tell you not only the system he would rebel against, but (what was more important) the system he would not rebel against, the system he would trust. But the new rebel is a skeptic, and will not entirely trust anything. He has no loyalty; therefore he can never be really a revolutionist. And the fact that he doubts everything really gets in his way when he wants to denounce anything. For all denunciation implies a moral doctrine of some kind; and the modern revolutionist doubts not only the institution he denounces, but [also] the doctrine by which he denounces it.

Thus he writes one book complaining that imperial oppression insults the purity of women, and then writes another book (about the sex problem) in which he insults it himself. He curses the Sultan because Christian girls lose their virginity, then curses Mrs. Grundy [i.e., an old pop culture term for prudery] because they keep it. As a politician, he will cry out that war is a waste of life, and then, as a philosopher, that all life is a waste of time. A Russian pessimist [i.e., an anarchist] will denounce a policeman for killing a peasant, and then prove by the highest philosophical principles that the peasant ought to have killed himself. [...] In short, the modern revolutionist, being an infinite skeptic, is always engaged in undermining his own mines. In his book on politics he attacks men for trampling on morality; in his book on ethics he attacks morality for trampling on men. Therefore the modern man in revolt has become practically useless for all purposes of revolt. By rebelling against everything he has lost his right to rebel against anything.


[In sum], thinking in isolation and with pride ends in being an idiot. Every man who will not have softening of the heart must at last have softening of the brain.


1 comment:

  1. Love the "You are (not) Yourself" image. :-)
    I agree with your text - e.g. Postmodernity and schizophrenia..... Need I say more....!