Au Revoir, Modernity

We are moving from a modern society into a postmodern one. Whereas modernity was characterized by creativity and production, energy and meaning, the postmodern world signals the death of these values. The productivity of the modern world is gone, as postmodern disappearance exceeds production. For Baudrillard, the emerging postmodern structure is helplessly neutralized and paralyzed by deterrence. In this bland framework of inertia, revolutionary change is impossible.

Taking Away the Imaginary...

The postmodern society is implosive, with reality and fiction dissolving together into the hyperreal. Similarly, information and meaning implode into noise. For any and every piece of information, technology enables us to watch and record, calculate and save. So everything is predictable and definable, and "everything becomes the object of a calculus of function" (Kellner 76). The problem with this is the following: When we are in an era where we know everything, the result is that we no longer have an imaginary.

Death of Meaning

The postmodern order is also devoid of meaning. "Meaning requires depth, a hidden dimension...the postmodern scene exhibits signs of dead meaning and frozen forms mutating into new combinations and permutations of the same" (Kellner 118).

Is There Hope for Postmodern People?

People are indifferent in the postmodern world. Indifferent, meaning not only that their emotions are impervious to their surroundings, but also that individuals are not different from one another. Thus, people reflect and fuel the situation in the world, where contradiction and variety have imploded into one undistinguished nebula.

However, this indifference of the masses is seen (rather optimistically, in fact) as "a collective retaliation and...a refusal to participate in the recommended ideals, however enlightened" (Gane 134). So Baudrillard could harbor a shred of hope for people in the postmodern world.

Why Mobius? | Postmodernity | Simulation versus Reality | Three Stages of Simulation | Information and Meaning | Role of Technology | History, War, and Control | Links | Sources

Erica J. Seidel