This text discusses the typical mentality of our times: modernism and post-modernism, as seen from the traditional Islamic perspective, using the intellectual method of René Guénon and S H Nasr. Logos shining upon the contingent entities. Divine, the Transcendent, or the ‘Supernatural’, everything that does not refer to – and is isolated postmodernism in history pdf – “the immutable principles which in reality govern all things and which are made known to man through revelation in its most universal sense.
This is founded upon the assumption of the autonomous individual as the sole source of meaning and truth–the Cartesian cogito. They still identify tradition with customs and modernism with all that is contemporary. Many Western students of Islam also identify ‘modern’ with ‘advanced’, ‘developed’ and the like, as if the march of time itself guarantees betterment. This mostly Protestant mode of consciousness was of course a grave misunderstanding of the role of man and the role of God Himself. A second trait of modernism closely related to anthropomorphism is the lack of principles in the metaphysical sense.
Human nature is too unstable and turbulent be able to serve as metaphysical principle for anything. Only mathematics among the modern sciences may be said to process certain principles in the metaphysical sense: the reason is that mathematics remains despite everything a Platonic science, and its laws discovered by the human mind continue to reflect metaphysical principles as reason itself cannot but display the fact that it is a reflection even if a dim one, when it seeks to turn upon itself, of the Intellect. Additionally we need to add an important observation, recently brought up again, that nationalism is one of the most important markers of modernity. Defining regions and countries within the narrow limits of ethnicity and religious belonging etc. Now-a-days – in the 21 century – something of the pretense of modernity has evaporated.
We further understand postmodernism as the recalcitrant, unruly child of modernism. It is a kind modernism driven to its extremes, by its usurping or ‘deconstructing’ modernism itself and by its arrogant denial of tradition or anything absolute and permanent, which gives it the same bad smell as its parent concept, because it is overtly more rebellious and hateful of anything holy, divine, or absolute. This ’postmodern effort’ also represents a sense of crisis that modernity has come to an end and that post-modernity is precisely constituted in the deconstruction of that human subject, which was supposed to be the fountainhead of meaning and beauty, philosophy, and values, that the Enlightenment was heralding. Today postmodernism is the name for the general quality and mentality of our time. In any case – for postmodernism and for those who are constantly drinking from its chalice, truth does not really matter.
Collage, diversity, the mystically unrepresentable, Dionysian passion are the foci of attention. Most importantly we see the dissolution of distinctions, the merging of subject and object, self and other. This is a sarcastic playful parody of Western modernity and the ‘John Wayne’ individual and a radical, anarchist rejection of all attempts to define, reify or re-present the human subject. Also a rejection of reason as a universal concept. Even the merging of true and false, as there is no more objective reference to Truth.
In modernism it was believed that materiality or the existence of phenomena were everything there is and that knowledge of either is superior to anything else. This philosophy of science is called positivism. Probing the “Grand Design, in posing the greatest questions: How vast is the Universe, the entirety of existence? What is the origin and fate of the Universe?
So much for the quest for truth! Furthermore, with today’s “celebration of diversity”, normal logical thinking seems to have evaporated from many a contemporary mind, as modernism and postmodernism even can work together, or so it seems, in the mind of a single individual, confounding it and neutralising any attempt toward a traditional or metaphysical view of reality! So the higher levels of reality were eliminated from intellectual research and attention. This happened because reason and rationality were bit by bit isolated from their transcendant and immutable principles. This was a process over several centuries and this tendency became ever more prevalent since the French revolution of 1789 in Western, European thought and imagination. It meant that from now on man was “not able to go further than outward appearances”. Seeing that every science centered around man, however, made his research and therefore his civilization restricted to only one level of being, the materialistic viewpoint.
In postmodernism human rationality and what was left of human intelligence became relativized, relying on the sub-human and the irrational. In this restricted scientific field sense-experience became the only source of knowledge. Aristotle certainly knew, ‘knowledge depends upon the mode of the knower. Islam, or even ‘harmonizing’ Islam and modernism. However, in the traditional sciences everything is related to and dependent on the higher levels of reality, and in consequence there is always a vast field of scientific investigation above those practical applications which are the result of what modern man usually depicts as science.
This was shown for example by Imam Al-Ghazali , who in his Ihya 900 years ago, described the “only intellectually rigorous escape from the trap of postmodernity. He and his school taught that “no universal statements about the world or the human condition can be reached by purely ratiocinative or inductive methods, because these cannot transcend the material context of the world in which they are framed. Secondly has the lack of principles led human civilization into a very unsteady – to say the least – or volatile situation of ever new trends and ideas in all realms of life, not only in natural science, but also in politics, economics, sociology and of course in the emergence of new or not so new religious trends such as the many forms of “New Age”. These are the manifestations of the great confusion of our time, which are not dealt here, but which everyone can see with his own eyes.
In The Town Planning Review, on the encounter between Islam and modern thought. Only mathematics among the modern sciences may be said to process certain principles in the metaphysical sense: the reason is that mathematics remains despite everything a Platonic science, power and politics in hyperreality: The critical project of Jean Baudrillard. Everything that does not refer to, it bears the same relationship to postmodernist music that postmodernity bears to postmodernism. Linda: A Poetics of Postmodernism.