Alexandra the Great's Private Papers

September 22, 2007

A Post-Modern Moment

Filed under: Post-modernism — Alexandra The Great @ 2:32 pm

I had the strangest experience recently.  I have never had a moment like this before, fortunately, and I hope this is not the begininning of a downward slide into confusion.  This is laughable, but the strange thing that happened was a stretch.  Yes, a simple stretch of the arms.  Perhaps it happened because in my absent gazing at the flickering candle light I was too entranced to be aware of anything else; but raising my arms to stretch, I tried to clasp my hands, only to learn they couldn’t find each other!  My confusion was momentary, but I was greatly struck by the realization of not knowing where my own hands were and not being able to do what should come so effortlessly. 

After my fingers were safely grasping one another I realized I had just had a post-modern moment.  That sense of lost uncertainty must be what it feels like to believe there is no true right or wrong, no real meaning in life except for what one puts into it themself, nothing more important than nurturing one’s fragile ego. 

I usually refer to such ideas as having both feet planted firmly in mid-air, but I suppose flailing feet and lost hands result in the same consequence in the end.  Good old American rugged individualism seems to have evolved into a softer but more self-conscious individualism that has extended the boundaries of personal autonomy to encompass realms of ethics and morality to the effect that each person creates his or her own set of values which must not be reproached by others.  This is is often accompanied by a sort of free-form, ecclectic spirituality that both borrows from various traditions of choice and creatively invents ideas of some kind of god.  All this results not in a knowledge of God, or of right and wrong, or even of self; but rather, in a muddled confusion.

I do not think, however, that people want to be confused.  I think they want solid ground on which to stand.  However, finding solid ground is problematic when one’s self is the standard for measuring the world around them.  The real problem to recovering rich soil on which to place our feet, I believe, is the disdain for restraint.  For example, when people speak of rights, the topic is often something that was forbidden in prior days.  When is the last time people clamored for the right to obey authoriy?  But authority is the stuff dirt is made of.  There really is a God and he really has written laws of right and wrong into the universe.  He really did create us and therefore has authority over us.  We really do have to live his way because it is his world.  And as it turns out, seeking God-fulfillment is more rewarding than seeking self-fulfiillment.  When we live unto God we find our feet firmly planted on solid ground.  We also enjoy the added benefit of knowing where our hands are.

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