I just attended a movie that was extremely funny, but my ears are still ringing from all the f-bombs and d-c- jokes. My eyes are also filled with images of men being threatened by women cops who were telling the men that if they didn’t talk they would be shot in a certain part of their anatomy. As my wife and I drove home from the theater I thought about how our society has changed, and it makes me miss modernity.
We live in what is called a postmodern society, that some would even call post-Christian. Postmodernism promotes a philosophical assumption that rejects modernism, especially natural reality, “whose existence and properties are logically independent of human beings,” and that there is objective truth, and that through reason and logic human beings can make their societies better.
To the postmodern “reason and logic are merely conceptual constructs and are therefore valid only within the established intellectual traditions in which they are used.” Postmodernists insist that all human psychology is socially determined, not innate in anyway. And they claim that the meaning of language is self-contained, and can only be understood in relation to other words. There is no static meaning in our language.
What does all this mean? It means epistemological understanding has changed. No longer is truth out there to be found and adhered to, it is now within us as a product of our own choices. Words that used to be dirty, do not contain the same meaning because we have chosen to change their meanings.
Don’t get me wrong, I agree with some of postmodernism. Truth is understood within the human history. However, the reality of this philosophical change can be viewed in our societal interacts, as was captured in an article in this week’s Economist. “The March of Protest” discusses how the history of protest has changed over the years from Europe, to the 60’s, to Russia, and now it is ubiquitous.
The current expression of protest usually includes someone wearing a Guy Fawkes mask, AKA Anonymous, or it could be an Arab spring. But, we now can see that protest is occurring all over the world. “In Brazil people rose up against bus fares, in Turkey a building project, Indonesians have rejected higher fuel prices, Bulgarians the government’s cronyism.” Even here in the U.S. we had our protest against the 1%. Everyone is angry; everyone is creating their own truth.
Some of this is appropriate. When the middle class of India protested against the brutal gang rape of a young woman on a bus, it was right to tell the government that there are not enough protections for women. But I think there is a more serious question.
Is societal order breaking down? Our political process is dysfunctional; Movies no longer tell a simple story, they include mind-blowing special effects, horrible brutality, explicit sex, or mind-altering profanity. Civility has just about died; and we no longer talk to one another without throwing in a few frickins, sucks, or some other words that are less Nazarene swearwords and more explicit cuss words.
I am not a prude, and I am known to throw a cuss word out on the golf course, but I think we need to be a little more modern in our behavior. I am, and will continue to be an idealist. My ideology is based in scripture, which tells me there are absolutes that I need to understand.
I am convinced more than ever that I need to study the truth, and adapt my way of thinking to it. This truth became a Man and lived here among us. He actually was called the Word, the logos, that became flesh.
I don’t want to say the f-word, I don’t want to force everyone to think like me, but I definitely want to know what the truth is so I can help society get better, not get shot in the groin area and think it is funny.
And that is my thought for the day!