Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Freedom and the Post-Postmodern Declaration

In my academic and professional life, I study a lot of theories and approaches to understanding reality. I am a student of Systems Theory, and I am very comfortable with this body of knowledge because I can see how harmoniously it blends with my understandings of Wyrd.

Systems Theory, and it's development of "Second Order Cybernetics", is an outgrowth of the Postmodern intellectual worldview. I used to really like postmodernism; my own thinking is heavily postmodern, in a way- I do not believe in the myth of progress; I do not see the world in reductionist terms, don't believe that there's one great "scientific truth" out there to be discovered after we apply some "old school" logic and rationality to this world, and work in a systematic, scientific way to "uncover" it; I don't accept the linear, Lockean and Newtonian worldviews.

I don't believe in revealed religious authorities; (I think they're just deluded human beings) and I don't trust much authority at all, least of all the so-called "authority" invested in huge modern bureaucracies by the so-called "will of the people".

You'd think that I was a great postmodernist. But I'm not. I have realized that I have to come up with a term to label myself in a satisfying way; I'm not much of a modernist, and though many of the features of my worldview may seem so, I'm not much of a postmodernist either, for one important reason.

I can't accept the idea that absolutes- including absolute values- don't exist. I can accept that when we deal with Systems Theory as a way of approaching therapy or counseling, that it's better to take a value-free approach with our clients; it's easier to help others if you see from the broadest, most flexible perspective possible, and temporarily shedding your own value-system is the best way to be fully present to another human being who needs your help.

But I, like all living people, believe in certain Truths that define me. And unlike the postmodernists who claim that our individual truths are all relative and situational, limited only to ourselves, and no more valid than anyone elses' truths, I think that my truths are- in some cases- far more valid than the perspectives of other people.

Let me give a small example. I'm not going to labor you with a blunt example (such as the fact that there are people who strongly believe in the moral rightness of slicing off a young girl's clitoris in brutal and compulsory "female circumcisions) but with a personal example.

I've recently met one of the nicest girls I've ever known- a young lady from Saudi Arabia that I've become friends with. I call her my "desert princess", much to her delight. My lovely friend wears a scarf covering her head, which covers her hair, but leaves her face showing. She only wears long sleeves and long pants. I've had many vibrant cultural discussions with her about the head covering and her culture, and I look forward to more. She's even taught me how to write the word "owl" in Arabic, and how to say it. (It's pronounced "BOO-ma")

At any rate, just this last night, we had a discussion about why she believes so strongly in wearing the head-covering. I made the most minor suggestion that it had to do with patriarchal fear of women, seduction, and sexuality, and a culturally inculcated guilt/shame complex over being born female; as you might imagine, she strongly rejected this idea.

She told me that she only showed her hair (and therefore her full beauty) to her husband, and to relatives that could not marry her, because women had special duties in her culture- to take care of their husbands. If a woman failed in this, husbands (she claimed) could wander, do "bad" things, and seek female company elsewhere. The last thing she wished to be was a temptation to some other wandering scoundrel, and thereby a partner in some possible infidelity against some other woman.

She really believed that it was best that she should cover up; this way, men couldn't look at her as a sexual object; they'd be less able to judge her on physical looks only, and forced, in a manner, to deal with her as a human being.

I smiled and was pleasant, but inside, I was in pain. The sheer disgust I have for the harm, the real wrong, that has been done to this girl was hard to conceal. Without realizing it, she has been manipulated by men into hiding her natural, simple beauty, because she believes herself to be a natural object of temptation, and she believes men to be, on some level, just sex-crazed scoundrels, out on the prowl.

This reflects what we know about Islamic cultural mentalities in many parts of the world- if Christianity's great downfall is guilt, Islam's is fear of sexuality and sensuality. This is a well known fact, discussed at length in many fine works. But in Islamic society, the harm, the damage, the slavery of women lies in the way many of them have just accepted that they should cover their bodies to help men to control themselves.

Okay, when did it get to be the burden of women that men might not be able to control their cocks? Why must women suffer for men's inability to control themselves? Why must women cover up? And what's more disgusting to me is the fact that these men have trained their women well- the women really, genuinely believe that they are doing right to cover up- in fact, like my desert princess, they feel that they WANT to do it.

My desert princess told me that women in other cultures (Muslim women) who don't cover up "know that they are doing wrong" and should be covered. My heart felt like it was going to break.

Now, let me return to my rejection of the postmodern notion that there is no way to pass judgment on other people's values and customs. Yes, in the postmodern world, all opinions and worldviews are equally as valid. My belief that my desert princess should be allowed to walk around, dressed as she likes, with her beautiful jet-black hair flowing free, is, to the postmodernists, every bit as valid as her culture's belief that the seed of temptation needs to be covered up- and it's women that need to do the covering.

But I know in my heart that these cultural conditions that have affected my friend have robbed her of a special freedom, even if she does not see that. And I don't care what any so-called "philosopher" or "learned person" or "debate champion" wants to tell me; I don't give a shit who thinks that I'm saying that my values are more important than hers, or that I'm trying to push my values onto her.

Because that's what a valueless way of seeing the world does. It tells us that we all have to withhold our own judgments, even when our hearts cry out. It tells me that my belief in allowing young women to grow up with their sexual organs intact, is just as valid as the belief, held by many in other parts of the world, that young girls should have their clitorises removed with a knife. It tells me that my belief that my desert princess deserves a chance to feel the wind in her hair- that hair put on her head by Great Nature and Fate- and laugh and run around with her friends down the middle of a busy street, is just as valid as the bastardly view that she needs to hide her beauty because of how it may tempt men.

I don't think that "views" that rob other people of freedom or life are "just as valid" as my own. That's right- I'll yell it to the sky, and tell anyone to their face: I believe that some views are more valid than others. And I don't think that this is simply my conclusion; it is the conclusion of a Truth that transcends cultural concerns.

This truth is beyond the petty stupidity of "learned men" who have thought themselves into voids of moral irresponsibility; this truth is the common protector and the common sanity of all people who are unafraid to live life, to be human, to expect fairness, who love freedom, and who love Great Nature for what she is. We cannot allow ourselves to run on autopilot anymore; we have to question cultural teachings and norms. We cannot allow foul restrictions and practices that rob other human beings- or ourselves- of our Nature-granted freedoms to persist. And we begin the process of stopping them by rejecting them in our minds and hearts, and not supporting shallow and near-sighted intellectual movements that give them any validity.

Thus, my final comment about Postmodernists, and the morally vacant pseudo-intellectuals that support them is this: Fuck 'em. Fuck them. How's that for a good debate finisher?

Yes, I know postmodernism was born in the despair that followed the two World Wars. I know that the world was depressed, that few people really believed in the power of progress or reason anymore. I know that people began to question everything, and they were right to do so- but they didn't end up in a good place; they questioned themselves right out of the responsibility they had for being human and seeking the truth.

To say that the truth is that there is no truth is absurd. There's a truth, and I've lived it, I've seen it. And it wasn't a bible or a koran that I saw it in; it wasn't a copy of the Eddas or the Sagas, nor was it a Buddhist Sutra. It wasn't in how I helped others or in how I loved the trees and the animals. It was in the face of my daughter, and in the love I've shared with other human beings, and in how we have lived free of the undue restrictions imposed on other human beings by tyranny and stupidity.

There is no greater thing to live for. I don't care what your Lama or your guru tells you; I don't care what your priest or your pastor tells you; I don't care what mom or dad told you, or what the philosophy professor told you. There is no greater thing to live for.

I am now officially "Post-Postmodern". I will take what good the postmodernists accidentally did for the world, and to it, add the best of the modernistic notions of value. I will also take the further step of plunging back into the pre-modern world and taking from them the structure of religion and clan-centric or community-centric ethics and realities, and bring them back to life in the modern day, which I have been doing for many years.

Time is no straight line; it is a circle. Pre-modern... modern.... postmodern... and where next? Where does the mind travel in its search for a sane way to live? Right back to the pre-modern. We've come full circle. Now the evolutions of the mind and understanding that the circle has given us, and the workable models of the ancestral past, can join forces and create a post-postmodern world, first within the individual, and then within the world.

Maybe Post-postmodernism should be called "Neomodernism". Maybe "Radical Social Traditionalism". Or perhaps "Modernism 2.0", or even "Qualified Modernism". Or maybe "Neodidactic Antiquarian Social Science". How about "Neoclannic"? Nah, that's too specific, but it needs to be a subset of this approach. Maybe I'll just call it "Operation Piss Off The Planet", because that's what its destined to do. And I'm okay with that.

So, there you have it- let the pinheads pile in to tell me how I'm the second coming of the same great ideological idiocy that nearly destroyed the world before. They'd simply be wrong. Call me an ideologue for daring to say that there may be better ways of treating people, and for saying that freedom- which is not as relative and complicated a concept as they want to make it out- is better for all. People naturally seek freedom when they don't have it- all of nature shows us this, even among non-human creatures. That spirit has kept this world flowing.

What do dominant religions and cultures do to combat the rebel spirit's urge to freedom? They claim that humans are inclined to sin and concupiscence and that the "natural urgings" of humans are towards bad things, not good- HA! That disgusting reverse-logic engineering, that nature-hating BULLCRAP has done enough damage to humanity. I reject it as I reject all things cruel and deceitful.

If anything will destroy our world, it'll be people who really think that it is humanly possible to flee from our duties to be moral people and people who believe in and uphold values. The postmodern worldview has gone bad; it has rotted. It's good fruits have become poison, and they need to be replanted in better soil. Never again should we return to the ridiculous simplicity of the modernistic delusions, but never should we have dropped all hint of value and truth in pursuit of an empty world without hope.

I hope that one day, my desert princess will let her hair down, let it fall before the eyes of every man she crosses paths with. If they have a problem with her beauty, they can fuck off and die. They need to deal with their issues, and not take them out on women. What weak, scared, and miserable men!

This world has no place anymore for people who are so weak; we are not going to sit around and allow them to train their herds of women- and strip those women of freedom and dignity- all to satisfy their poor, oversensitive, frightened little souls. Let them fly more airplanes into office buildings; their cultures have nearly expired. And it's happening in much the same manner that Christianity expired; people got a taste of freedom, and realized the difference between freedom and the illusion of it. Once you've had that taste, there's no going back. But no matter how far you go, wisdom will have to accompany you, or you will run aground.


Anonymous said...

Very glad to see that not all self-proclaimed "traditionalists" are simply postmodern occultists. Excellent work.

Kathryn said...

Very well put Robin.
You hold fast to your beliefs and truths, and I find myself very much in accord with your world view. I also get the impression from this essay (and a few other places) that your mind might be hard to change because, like me, you have "done your homework" on what you believe, but at the same time I sense that if good and sufficient reasons should make themselves evident for modifying the way you see things, then you would take that on board.
You did not arrive at your present position by chance, it took much work, study and introspection.
What makes it to so appealing is that most that tread the path with an open mind arrive at much the same place.
If that doesn't pass for "truth", then it will have to do for now! (grin).
The number that are prepared to "piss off the planet" is growing, thank the gods....let us hope that we are in time to halt the disintegration of human society...I rather think that we are.


Anonymous said...

Cultural relativism, the trait of postmodernism you are rightly rejecting is one of the biggest moral copouts ever. If all moral positions are equal one doesnt have to bother take a moral stand on anything. Western society is F*** if it doesnt wake up soon. Much of Europe is drifting towards disaster as this moral non-position stifles what is left of European culture both secular and religious. The supposable liberals have gone so culturally relativistic they wont stand up for liberal principles against those cultures that would midaevalize europe.

Brent said...

After reading your heart-felt and finely articulated post, it seems that you would find the following as a relevant contribution to this discourse - Human Nature 2.0 by Tiite.' If I can post the URL here it is http://www.tiite.com/2.0.htm. If not, you can "Google" the title and find it there.
Kassel, Germany

Pom said...

I know that this is an older entry of yours and probably too late to comment. However, I couldn't NOT say something as I sit here with my jaw hanging down, heart pounding, and tears in my eyes.

This was by far one of the most beautiful pieces I've ever read and I just want to thank you for it.

wau_friggaaward said...

Wonderful read, i wonder when the rest of our European Folk will wake up and see these same truths? We are close to losing all we have both spiritually and creatively, we have much to proud of and have nothing to apologize for for..