Postmodernism Is Stupid, But At The Same Time It's Not

Postmodernism Is Stupid, But At The Same Time It's Not

Postmodernism is a fickle tool, it can be used to sharpen our rational swords, and it can be used to destroy any soundness and logic.

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As I've mentioned before in my articles, I have a profound interest in philosophy. Ever since my freshman year of college, I have immersed myself in existential, political, and scientific philosophy. It has been a blessing and a curse. I have been able to learn much more than I ever intended when I went to school, but I have also spent many hours lying awake trying to piece together the most profound mysteries of the universe and losing sleep doing so.

No other lens of philosophy has given me grief like that of postmodernism. First, a little background on the philosophy.

Postmodernism developed in the early 20th century from the minds of thinkers like Martin Heidegger and Edmund Husserl in the form of phenomenology: the study of subjective being and experience. This is the most milquetoast form of postmodernism that has, in and of itself, no fundamental conflict with modernist empiricism. However, thinkers like Albert Camus, Jean-Paul Sartre, and Michel Foucault developed much more radical forms of thought, leading to Absurdism, French Existentialism, and the power based studies of Foucault himself.

Don't get me wrong, though. These later thinkers have contributed valuable ideas to the field of philosophy and have given us pause to really consider our existence, our purpose, and our shortcomings. My problem with postmodernism is in the fringe areas of the philosophy.

I dabble a little bit in it and take a lot of inspiration from phenomenology and thinkers like Husserl and Heidegger, and I generally agree with the skepticism implicit within postmodernism, but that's as far as I go with the school. Skepticism in and of itself is also implicit within modernism, though, so attributing that generally to postmodernism is a mistake.

Foucault's skepticism towards those in power is valuable in small doses in that it helps us ask things like "Who is dispensing information? Are they trustworthy? Are they honest?" These are important questions in the pursuit of science and truth, but they can easily lead to a slippery slope of a postmodern soup of identity politics and sociological jargon.

Now I move towards the main point in this article: postmodernism, that which is dispensed by what you might call radical leftists in today's world, is a dangerous endeavor. Drawing attention to things like the race or gender or nationality of those giving us information is a mistaken practice, in my experience. Pointing things out like "These scientists are all white men! We need more diverse teams of scientists to get the most accurate picture of information!" These are the wrong propositions we are making.

We should instead be asking the questions above like "Are these people trustworthy? Are they honest?" No regard to race or any other superfluous factors should be given when we ask who is giving us information. This is the trap that radical leftists fall into.

They take postmodernism too far to ends that are quite absurd in their intention and ask questions and object to things that ultimately hold no water in them.

This is not to say that anything pointed out by people with this perspective is wrong, though. It is perfectly acceptable to examine the knowledge of those studying other people in the social sciences, for example. You would want someone well versed in the culture of Egypt to conduct a study in Egypt! However, anyone can be well versed in the culture of Egypt and conduct research in this way.

In addition, postmodernism can be taken to be skeptical of things in natural science. Although rare, there is a danger of being skeptical of things like gravity due to the positions of those who study physics. There are those who assert that our understanding of the universe is affected by our social experience.

This is true in the phenomenological sense, but in no way does it have any major impact that yields a false perception of nature or the studied object or subject.

It is quite dubious to inquire ethnic or religious or national factors of scientists and scholars in matters of natural science or in inappropriate places in the social sciences. Postmodernism is a nice tool to use to polish our theories and philosophy but taken too far and it can grind our theories and other tools to dust, eliminating their value and truth in favor of misguided ambition.

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To No One In Particular

It's the end of the semester, which means it's time for my end of the semester reflection.

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Dear no one,

I remember as Dad's car pulled into campus, stopping in front of the building that I would be calling home for the next year. It was torture having to move heavy bins and unpack basically my entire wardrobe in the midst of summer's heat, not to mention that I had no air conditioning in my dorm. Even the 90-degree weather wasn't able to vaporize the tears that left my eyes as I watched my parents' departure.

Being surrounded by older college students felt novel to me. It was as if my high school seniority had been stripped away prematurely from me. I was scared to be so distant from home and so stranded from civilization, but looking back to that very first day, I realize how far I've come. I've learned to live beyond the realm of academia; beyond the reading assignments, lab exercises, and review sessions. Stepping outside of my comfort zone (as cliche as that is) and putting my academics aside (briefly) is by far the best thing that I've motivated myself to do.

As a representative for one of the cultural organizations on campus, I had the chance to lead small and large events and to meet all of the different kinds of people who attended. As part of what we call a "family system" in another organization, I was able to grow closer to my fam members through weekly challenges and horror movie nights. Going to the dining hall for late night food such as buffalo wings, nachos, or mozzarella sticks and talking about who knows what for over two hours became a tradition for my friends and I after our midterms (even though I had an 8 AM class the next day).

Traveling to Washington D.C. for the Cherry Blossom Festival and to watch live cultural performances the weekend before my lab final and my job interview was one of the best decisions I've ever made. Studying with others during finals week (something that I tend to avoid because I cannot focus this way) allowed me to grow closer to my friends' friends who were initially acquaintances, and together, we emptied our already empty wallets for 1089 Noodle House takeout. A spontaneous decision to venture out to Port Jefferson for the first time allowed me to realize that I may not be as isolated as I thought and to see the life all around me — the rippling of water, the skipping of stones, the honking of the ferry, and the energy of the people.

There is so much more to college than sitting at your desk and sighing over your essay, hoping that it'll eventually write itself. People often say that pain is temporary and GPA is forever, and while I agree with that to a certain extent, your time in college isn't forever. Give yourself the benefit of the doubt, get out there, have some fun, and live your best life because it's your time here and now.

Sincerely,

Jessica Hui

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Writing Is And Will Always Be A Part Of Me

Always & forever a creative outlet.

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As I navigate my fourth year in college this coming August, I have realized that the way I have looked at writing has changed throughout the years. I have learned that writing will always be a passion of mine no matter what because my voice is unique. My voice may not be like everyone else's, but what I do know is that those reading (yes you) will understand what I am talking about most of the time.

When I write, I try to think about how I felt when I thought at the moment if I am writing about a personal experience. I think that whether its a personal story or just a fun story that I have to share, it always means something to me no matter what. But I do like when I am able to add in my own thoughts about an issue in society, if it's about technology or a mass shooting, I like to be able to dig into what I'm truly thinking about at the moment. Others may not be interested in what I have to say all of the time, but I do think that those who aren't readers of my content will eventually come around to read my content.

Why do I write? That's a good question that I have a pretty good answer to. To be honest, I like to write because it allows me to have a creative outlet to express myself. I get to tell others how I go about things in my life as an adult and sometimes through the good, the bad, and even the ugly moments too. I like that I am able to be open and honest when I am writing about how I feel towards people in my life, whether it's my family or friends driving me crazy at times (I promise I do love y' all haha).

At the end of the day, I think writing will always be something that I gravitate towards in my life as I keep growing and changing. I hope that you reading this will also find a passion in life to cherish and to make your mark on. I will always be thankful for this platform that I am allowed to express my thoughts freely on. Most certainly, I won't forget about my past pieces that I have written. This is only the beginning!

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