Hope and the Natural Order of Things, Or Why I Jumped on the Post-Modern Bandwagon (which seems to have broken an axle, but which will be up and running again soon)

This short essay is an attempt to show that post modernism, post structuralism, and the process of deconstructing is not necessarily nihilistic or destructive, but rather a means of offering hope and providing a way out of our current cultural quagmire.

According to folks of a conservative bent (and many others who have not given the subject much thought), there is a natural order of things, and this natural order is reflected in the way things are – that is, the way things are is the natural order of things.  Therefore, if you are critic of the way things are – e.g., if you are an environmentalist, or a feminist, or a pacifist, or in any way not happy with the way things are, you are in conflict with the natural order of things. You are out of touch with reality. Get with the program and stop whining. This is the “modern” position.  That is, there is a single reality about which enlightened humans know – or can know — almost everything, which enables them to make such absurd pronouncements.

As a woman, if I accept that the way things are is the way things ought to be, it puts me in an awkward spot. Because I have to face the fact that I am, by virtue of my sex, truly inferior to men.  I have to believe that any attempt to “rise above my biological station” is as futile as a redbird trying to be brown (Oh, they are?  You mean the females.  Does that count?) I would have to accept as fact that anyone who is gay is against nature. I would have to accept that the human greed which results in the exploitation and degradation of nature and the militarism which results in the needless slaughter of a whole lot of folks are true attributes of an immutable human nature.  In short, I would have to lose all hope.

Or, I can choose to believe that the way things are is NOT the natural order of things. I can believe, instead, that we live in a culturally constructed reality, which – because it is constructed – can be changed.  I can be a postmodern.

It’s not that I abjure all universals. I don’t. In fact, it is my belief in one universal which  — in conjunction with my belief in constructed realities — raises my spirits.  I believe that the one drive which unites all life forms, including humans, is the drive to survive.  I believe that the number of people who are beginning to realize that tripping down the current primrose path is leading us to self-destruction and species extinction is reaching the critical mass necessary to blow the current paradigm sky high, where it belongs.  I believe that the drive to survive coupled with the realization that the reality we live in is dooming us to destruction will motivate us to construct a new reality – which hopefully will be Pro-Life.


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