Archive for the ‘post-postmodernism’ Category


Re-post: Performatism: post-postmodernism

September 29, 2009
I originally post this in 2007 and hope to re-examine the ideas here since we seem to be actually seeing this begin.
Disclaimer: I know that this is very much over simplified, yet there is not much out there on this topic.
I wrote about the next thing beyond postmodernism… and I saw two different things happening at the same time.
Pragmatism and Performatism.
Most are familiar with pragmatism.
Here is a bit, (as it is still developing) on Performatism
In a book on City as landscape: a post-postmodern view of design and planning (E&F Spon, 1986], Tom Turner argues that:
The modernist age, of “one way, one truth, one city”, is dead and gone. The postmodernist age of “anything goes” is on the way out. Reason can take us a long way, but it has limits. Let us embrace post-postmodernism—and pray for a better name.
“Performatism” was coined by Raoul Eshelman, as a term to describe or replace the term “Post-Postmodernism”. He goes on to describe it as “a new epoch in which subject, sign, and thing come together in ways that create an aesthetic experience of transcendency”…a place where meaning is created.[1] See also his other works.[2]
Mikhail Epstein also argues that “Post-postmodernism witnesses the re-birth of utopia after its own death, after its subjection to postmodernism’s severe scepticism, relativism and its anti-utopian consciousness”. Post-postmodernism has also been described as renewed faith.[3]
Here is a bit more on the subject and the “change” that is coming.
“The way out of postmodernism does therefore not lead through the intensified search for meaning, through the introduction of new, surprising forms or through the return to an authentic origin. Instead, it must take place through a mechanism completely impervious to postmodernism’s modes of dispersal, deconstruction and proliferation. This mechanism, which has been making itself felt with increasing strength in the cultural events of the last few years, can be best understood using the notion of performance. Performance in itself is, of course, not a phenomenon new or unknown. In Austin’s speech-act theory it refers to a language act that does what it promises (“I now pronounce you man and wife”). In the sense of an artistic event in the modernist avant-garde, a performance foregrounds or “makes strange” the border between life and art; in the happenings and performance art of postmodernism it integrates the human body or subject into an artistic context. The concept of performance I am suggesting here is, however, a different one. The new notion of performativity serves neither to foreground nor contextualize the subject, but rather to preserve it: the subject is presented (or presents itself) as a holistic, irreducible unit that makes a binding impression on a reader or observer. This holistic incarnation of the subject can, however, only succeed when the subject does not offer a semantically differentiated surface that can be absorbed and dispersed in the surrounding context. For this reason the new subject always appears to the observer as reduced and “solid,” as single- or simple-minded and in a certain sense identical with the things it stands for. This closed, simple whole acquires a potency that can almost only be defined in theological terms. For with it is created a refuge in which all those things are brought together that postmodernism and poststructuralism thought definitively dissolved: the telos, the author, belief, love, dogma and much, much more.”
Now to break that down to be a bit more “user friendly”, If you buy a razor that advertises the “closest shave ever” it will deliver that promise. Or if you buy a car that has the “best gas mileage” it will deliver just that… The best gas mileage you ever got!
In it is also the idea of part become part of the bigger or whole picture. In that many make up the one… singular become the plurality. It is also about seeing people as a whole person. If one looks a the single person in all their complexity, they will be seeing them as a whole and not 1 or 2 demensional figure. Meaning a person may see a “drunk” but now will see that there is more complexity behind the “drunk” as there is also a whole person… be that they may be inwardly shaddered.
Now, if we take this into the context of Christianity and faith… it has many incredible and some scary ramifications.
People will fall between the pragmatic and the performativity of their religion… whatever works and what ever performs and get results and the people see real results will be the future of all religions and faiths.
People will still justify if it works it must be true.
Now, as a person of faith in Christ Jesus, I see that this is no problem in how I approach my faith, yet many will not find that their faith is stable to withstand the ideals of “it does as it promises”.
So, does a fundamentalist who shouts that the devil is everywhere… and that wearing a suite is more respectful to God than wearing jeans to preach in have a chance in the future… most probably as they will stay in the pre-modern/modern view… yet will see that even less people are listening to their “old truth” and searching for “eternal truth” that has been around and proven.
The difference between “old truth” and “eternal truth” that that one is based on a reinterpretation and return to scripture (which is not bad) in the 16th century, and “eternal truth” is something that has and is and will always be. In that the truth from the “eternal” is more “holistic, irreducible unit that makes a binding impression on a reader or observer.”
If we as Christians do not look very close at our beliefs and doctrines we will find churches losing more people as the “promises given” have not given the results. If for an example your church promises that God heals, you better produce that fruit. Or, say that you teach your doctrine will change one’s life then the fruit better follow suite from the promise. If you preach prosperity, then your church better be getting very rich!
Yet even more I see that a person will seek out to see that they can be a part of a bigger picture that is making a difference. They seek to be a part of the whole. In that we need to help bring people into the bigger picture and understanding of being part of the Body of Christ.
Now, I see where the real struggle will be is that the fundamentalist will be seen as not matching what they stand for.. and to survive as people of true faith, we better better represent what or Who we stand for. Otherwise, people will look as us and see a fraud or a representation of Jesus Christ.
Now, here is the “eternal truth”. Man is dead in his sin. He will always “sin” and die, unless these issues are dealt with. You see the promise is of the resurrection that is in the future… yet we also experience this resurrection now in that lives are changed.
Churches better see men and women becoming more and more like Jesus. To be not reaching to become more “god-like” (meaning we seek to be divine and “like-god” as the serpent seduced Eve with.) but to reach to be the fully human God created us to be and that Jesus was and is. (Yes, Jesus is fully God and it seems I have to state this as some will think I am talking human potential and this is like that, but not anything like it… it is not about humans become more and better “sinful” humans… but that we are becoming the New Human that is born of Heaven as Jesus was and we are to realize our New Human potential as we are “in Christ”.)
We are being transformed in to the image of Christ by the renewal of our minds… for now as we are still in the perishable body, we must be changed now in our thinking. Later we will be clothed in the imperishable.
The idea that what we teach must be able to work in the lives of those we teach must be based on these “eternal truths” that before creation Christ Jesus was “the plan” for the “us” and that we would be placed in Him at just the right time.
It is now more than ever we must depend on the Holy Spirit to guide us.
I hope to develop these thoughts more fully as I see we are fast moving from the “post-modern” to the “post-post-modern” and into this Performatism.
For a more down to earth hands way of getting this is to look at people’s lives like Mother Teresa… or Shane Claiborne. To me these are people who walked or still walk as they believe… their performance of their faith matches their faith.
We must start to learn what it means to love one another… as we have just begun to learn to love God. This means we must attempt by God’s power to do this… even if it is not done well but to do it over and over until we can transcend what drags us down. In a biblical sense also to learn what it means to become overcomers… and that by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of our testimony.

(Originally posted: 11/08/2006 09:09:00 PM