Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Reading in Andrew Feenberg's Heidegger and Marcuse: The Catastrophe and Redemption of History (and yes, before you ask, I am a lot of fun at parties), I came across the following footnote:
Are we still moderns? I think the answer is obvious. So-called postmodernity is a variation on modern themes as the shrewder postmodernists admit. It succeeds in distinguishing itself as a new era only by creating straw men out of figures such as Descartes. I find it hard to believe that a new era has opened in a time as mediocre as this. The last ephocal change in Western thought ocurred a century ago and it was not postmodern but modernist.
It's painful to think of one's own time as "mediocre," but Feenberg's pessimistic vision compels my assent. Unless there is in fact something truly new emerging at multiple levels of culture that we can't yet predict or perceive, our time is mediocre at best. At worst it's the dawn of a new dark ages as the rebellion against modernity (which is NOT a rebellion against technology and the endless cycle of ever more efficient means without ends) embroils both overdeveloped and underdeveloped nations alike. Never have our so-called leaders looked smaller in the face of enormous problems demanding their vision; never has citizenship been so weak in the face of demands for our energy, our sacrifice, and our determined determinate negation of political life as it is given.

Is recognizing the need for an "epochal change in... thought" preliminary to its achievement? Who are we most like—Mallarme's school, Wilde's decadents, Yeats' occultists? Is new sincerity what comes in the wake of the sublime or its abandonment? I'm sick of the post-. Maybe climate change will bring about the Event that can't be ignored, that changes everything. They say we're past the point of no return, global warming-wise. Another hyperhurricane is bearing down on our fragile energy infrastructure. It's a time for ecopoetics, or else it's "Wake up! Time to die."

Get behind the mule.


gina said...

Okay, still partying if you are. Coming soon, 10-14. Looking forward to seeing my old garden again.

gina said...

p.s. thanks for the link!

Popular Posts