By Aaron Strain / Web Master
Remember when your dad built a Lego set for you after you refused to read the instructions and made it the wrong way several times? And how a few moments later, you thought it seemed boring and fake, deconstructed it, and scattered the pieces on the floor for your mom to step on?
Congratulations. You discovered postmodernism.
Postmodernism is a thought movement in philosophy and art that critiques the ideas of objective reality, human nature, and grand narratives through skepticism, irony, and self-referentiality.
Postmodernism asks, for example:
What makes the Lego Group experts on correctly building the Millennium Falcon? Should we accept their opinion? Why are there official Minecraft Lego sets when the game is based on building anything you want with self-collected resources?
Can the rest of this column be about Lego instead of abstract philosophical concepts?
Alienation from political and economic institutions causes us to think this way about broader society.
The defunding of social services, deregulation of industry, and relaxing of taxes on the wealthy have caused grave societal ills and disillusionment with the system.
Wealth and income inequality rise at unprecedented rates. Wages have remained stagnant while worker productivity soars. The CEO of Amazon makes three times the annual median income of US workers in one minute. The wealthiest 400 American families pay less in taxes than the middle class.
Younger generations have felt the brunt of these upsets.
Our hard work and rugged individualism is rewarded with student loan debt, skyrocketing costs of living, and a gig economy. As the saying goes, you can’t pull yourself up by your bootstraps if you can’t afford a pair of boots.
We feel lonelier than ever, even with the internet revolutionizing the way we connect. The way our generation feels any sense of connection in this hyper-individualized world is by being ironically removed from it.
Deep-fried surrealist memes and sad tweets are our coping methods for depression.
Why have a family when we are always on the move, vying for a crap job that we will keep for a shorter time than the last? If life on earth as we know it may not exist in a generation, what’s the point?
We’re so tired of explaining our generation’s struggle to those who call us “the snowflake generation” that all we have left to say is “OK boomer.”
Postmodernism leaves us in this ironically removed field, where we simply chuckle at the insanity and hypocrisy of our world and do absolutely nothing about it.
Like scattering the 7541 bricks of the Millennium Falcon across the floor, irony and skepticism exposes and deconstructs, but doesn’t solve anything – it just creates a hazard on the basement floor.
We don’t have to live this way. Sincerely facing the world is indeed scary, but we must work to fix the deformity our irony has unveiled. It’s time to pick up the pieces and build a new society for all of us.