Whether, as with Gödel’s proof, one can demonstrate the logical impossibility of any internally self-coherent theory of the postmodern — an antifoundationalism that really eschews all foundations altogether, a nonessentialism without the last shred of an essence in it — is a speculative question; its empirical answer is that none have so far appeared, all replicating within themselves a mimesis of their own title in the way in which they are parasitory on another system (most often on modernism itself), whose residual traces and unconsciously reproduced values and attitudes then become a precious index to the failure of a whole new culture to come to birth. Despite the delirium of some of its celebrants and apologists (whose euphoria, however, is an interesting historical symptom in its own right), a truly new culture could only emerge through the collective struggle to create a new social system. The constitutive impurity of all Postmodernism theory, then (like capital itself, it must be at internal distance from itself, must include the foreign body of alien content), confirms the insight of a periodization that must be insisted on over and over again, namely, that Postmodernism is not the cultural dominant of a wholly new social order (the rumor about which, under the name of “postindustrial society,” ran through the media a few years ago), but only the reflex and the concomitant of yet another systemic modification of capitalism itself. No wonder, then, that shreds of its older avatars — of realism, even, fully as much as of modernism — live on, to be rewrapped in the luxurious trappings of their putative successor.
Frederic Jameson, Postmodernism, or, the Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism
A truly new culture could only emerge through the collective struggle to create a new social system.
Postmodernism is not the cultural dominant of a wholly new social order […] but only the reflex and the concomitant of yet another systemic modification of capitalism itself.
Jameson is annoying to read, sounding at times like a comedy duo riffing off each other’s lines. There is a narrative inside his narrative that is more direct, so it’s worthwhile to pull out the more bony statements, and stand them up on their own.
Some thoughts that are likely to surface in my presentation next week at Meaning 2012, something like ‘Beyond Social, or, Designing The Post-Normal Business’.
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Web anthropologist, futurist, author. My focus is the future, and the tectonic forces pushing business, media, and society into an unclear and accelerating future. more.
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The Mother Warns the Tornado
I know I’ve already had more than I deserve.
These lungs that rise and fall without effort,
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