Postmodernism and Culture

by Dinaay Sharma

History/definition of postmodernism

Postmodernism has been articulated as a departure from Modernist thought, generally distrusting the idea of an “objective” truth or reality. Professor Makarand Paranjape opened with remarks on the history and a description of postmodern thought. Professor Paranjape began with remarks on the history of postmodernism, summarising it as the following: the “death of man”, that is, the death of the sovereign individual in favour of group identification; the “death of history”, best characterised by Karl Marx’s proclamation that all of history is a class struggle and finally the death of “grand narratives”. This being the deconstruction of meta-narratives such as language and morality. Along with these hallmarks, Prof Paranjape noted the inherent contradiction in the postmodern foundation, that being the claim of being “anti-foundational”.

These notions were built upon by Amish Tripathi, who claimed that postmodernism is carrying on a tradition of nihilism and Professor Lou Marinoff, who stated postmodernism is a “Trojan Horse” bringing along with it “cultural Marxism”.

Postmodernism in India

Postmodernism in the West

What is the remedy?

Makarand Paranjape mirrored this point, claiming that we need to form new sustainable narratives and share each other’s stories. Along with this, Makarand suggested a reformulation of the Jungian individuation process, which he called ‘atmanisation’. This is a route to transcend the ego, which solves the problem of egoism in the West. Finally, respecting the Guru as a principle, which entails exploring the world beyond dualities and false dichotomies.

A common theme in these solutions is to reject simplistic dualities, Lou Marinoff was no different in this view. And he went on to claim that “realising our full human potential as human beings comes from an open heart and an open mind and seeing the world as close as we can to what it is, and not what we have been indoctrinated into believing what it is”.

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Vichaar Manthan

An independent voluntary organisation which engages in open dialogue, exploring issues facing modern British society through a Hindu civilisational lens.