Postmodern Journeys 07

Walk On  07

By Joseph Natoli

Translated by Springhero

     One asks if such a free-floating faculty existed would not it thread, however faint,  link paradigms, insure the commensurable within the seemingly incommensurable? And surely the thread is there—in the eyes of the modernist. At any point in time, one can go back and discern, with the necessary critical eye, the thread of continuity, of coherence, of unity.


       Whatever reason may be or has been, a postmodernist would observe, it must in the present lay claim to its reasonableness by tracing its path in the past and from the past to the present. It must sow itself working toward progress, however slowly, and overcoming obstacles to that progress. But what is the nature of this progress. We are becoming more reasonable, more civilized, more adept at controlling the irrationalities of nature outdoors and Human Nature within.


        We are succeeding to do so through the steady implementation and instrumentation of our logics, our knowledge, our expertise, our technology, our science. In this way every reason in every state of historical ‘ throwness” validates itself and renders, As Nietzsche says, an alibi by which it can perpetrate what in another more reasonable climate will stand forth as heinous, inhuman, irrational.


      But the force of the paradox persists: If reason prevails in every state of throwness by securing its own reasonableness and tracing itself as a supracultural, supraparadigm faculty—otherwise it is replaced by a reasoning that can do so—then we are never free of an everydayness in which reason propounds the unreasonableness of paradigm—relative reasoning, of reason emerging from a lifeworld in motion. Thus, only the modernist staying behind In order to critique and question the journey the postmodernist has undertaken.


      The modernist also has a story of journeying, so in the present we wind up with conflicting stories of how we journey, which in turn tell different stories regarding the necessity of journeying, the effects of journeying on individuals, societies, and cultures, the stories we tell of past journeys—that is, our histories—and the journey into the future that we chart for ourselves, i.e. our notions of progress.


        But how do you choose what journey to take? I mean how do you take the postmodern journey—the journey that validates itself by saying that since we live in stories of reality we are bound to journey out of the limitations of our own stories by journeying into other stories—if you have no reason to do so? This story only becomes conceivable if we are already in a postmodern way of “ story making” or “ reality making.” Or, what I think is more the case, we have already been shifting along with our American culture from one way of story making to another. We have, in short, already been thrown into the journey.


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