Thursday, July 28, 2005

Back for the Post-modern

One thing I find amusing is that there are people so caught up in their limited old definitions of our world, they continue to use ridiculous terms like post-modern.  So, I’m going to pick on people that don’t realize the absolute absurdity of the term post-modern.  These people use the term to talk about the period of time in which we live in relation to events previously associated with the word modern.

This is ignorant on two levels.  First, we already have a word that describes the time in which we live. That word is modern!  There is no way to be in post-modern times unless you time travel.  Even then, that doesn’t make sense because if you travel to the future, you are still going to be in the modern times of that period. Secondly, use of the term post-modern shows a complete lack of knowledge about the Industrial Age and our transition into the Information Age.

Since the 1980’s, people understood we were at or nearing the end of the Industrial Age.  But without an obvious understanding of the catalyst that was already in place to usher in a new age, few knew what to call this new period.  Some people rightfully used the term Post-Industrial for a while. That makes sense. We are living in times after the Industrial Age.  Other people didn’t understand this dynamic, and quickly adopted strange words like post-modern.

Of course, these terms do not define all aspects of society.  In art, the term is postmodern.  It is a response to modernism, which itself was a fad during a particular period of time.  Why art would be labelled in any way "modern" is funny, since the art of any period of time will be modern to that time.   Beyond art, the term modernism describes a period of time long past, during the 19th and early 20th Centuries.  How can it be "modern" if it was over a century ago?  This is all very silly.

I think it was people who are caught up in a limited world view that coined terms like post-modern and modernism, without taking into account more aspects of the times in which they live.  Basically, they got so used to using the word modern to describe certain series of events, they didn’t know what word to use once those series of events came to a close.

The catalyst for the new modern age was the establishment and popularization of the Internet, bringing a new understanding of ownership of information, and the resulting technological, cultural and economical shifts.  Once people started understanding the driving force behind this new age, we knew what to call it.  We are now in the Information Age.

There are other terms, such as waves of the Industrial Revolution.  However, the problem with this term is that we are already on the 'fourth' such waves.  This metric is really just tracking ups and downs in manufacturing rather than identifying a significant period of time.  A revolution is a point in time, not a long period.  Long periods of time tend to be identified by trends.  By definition, a revolution is not a trend, but rather specific events of upheaval, overturning an old system.  Industrial Revolution lead to the Industrial Age.  However, these subsequent supposed revolutions aren't really the start or stops of any particular ages, and they aren't responsible for any specific upheaval.

These little revolutions have been happening as a backdrop to the bigger trend, being the rise of importance of information.  Aspects of the Information Age allow for improvements to manufacturing, but manufacturing itself has taken a backseat to the real revolution that happened with the advent of the Internet and new levels of data collection and usage.


David said...

That idea is so Pre-owned.

FCSuper said...