We have all learned at school quite well (or not) the History until what is called "nowadays". How ambiguous... What does "nowadays" mean? We cannot stop wondering how will this age be called in the future, when it will not be the Contemporaneous Age anymore, when it will become History.
"Postmodernism" is the term to usually call this age. Not a great name, undoubtely, which just comes from being the successing age to Modernism. Anyway, neither Modernism was so called at its time, so let us hope a better name someday.
But, what are its values of thinking? Is it true that, as our parents say, "current society has not values"? Well, according to the Modernist point of view, maybe yes. But a Postmodernist will answer: "it depends on what you consider a value", leaving the hearer confused and a bit dizzy.
How it happened
Let us see how this mess came out. Year 1945: The World has just realised of the result of Progress, so idealized by Modernist and Positivist philosophies of the last hundred years. This way of thinking believed infinitely in the power of Technology and Reason which, through Scientific method and Experimentation, would eventually lead the Man to absolute Good and Truth, to dominate its surroundings and make him owner of his destiny. But after the Second World War and all the horrors and social injustices it created, all this was seriously argued and, except neo-modernist attempts such as the Structuralist school, progressively unbelieved.
New relativist ways of thinking arise. Sartre, Derrida and Foucault surprise thinkers with their "Existentialist", "Decontructionist" and "Post-structuralist" proposals. The idea of "one way, one truth", is substituted by "everything goes". Communication media carry information to the masses, which start to be critical and create opinion. New generations break down ethic values never argued before.
This trend, however, is ralentised by the Cold War and the division of the World in two oposing blocks, with consequent politizacion of media, which become a tool of mass opinion domination. Finally, at the end of the 80s happens the great victory of Postmodernism, communist regimes in Eastern Europe are progressively overthrown by the growing power of public opinion. The global conception of the World and Relativism compose the thought of our society. The concept of "value", as an idea whose definition exists and is commonly accepted, has disappeared.
What is a postmodernist
All of us who live in this age have postmodern lifestyles. We all are, in a greater or less extent, a product of this trend.
- A postmodern does not believe in doctrines. Knows that thinking, opinion and truth are relative. Utopy does not exist, and Progress is not more than an illusion built by the mistaken idea of "Truth". As it is a relative idea, everything else is.
- Postmoderns believe in Imagination and Creativity. They know that Reason alone is a limited tool, and besides, inhumane.
- A postmodern, however, knows that even if he is creative, he is not original. No idea that comes from his mind has been generated in there, as every idea is a copy, version or mixture of other existing ones. He/she knows, besides, that this idea is not static but fluid, its meaning changes greatly according to the time and place.
- Postmoderns are not humanists. They do not wonder about "why" or "what for" of the Being. Instead, they are humanitarian. They believe that personal experience and friendship are the ways to make individuals more compltee.
- A postmodern being is a product of Globalization. He feels as a member of the World. Has interest and admiration to different cultures, even more than the own.
- Postmoderns communicate in a non-conventional manner, they experiment. Reinvent the language. They also change their concept of art and beauty, they change all the time. They will never achieve to define themselves because they are change indeed.