9/11: the end of Postmodernism and the beginning of … what?

My wife and I had recently moved back to Denver from Boston and September 10 had been my first day at my new job with Gronstedt Group. When I got up that morning I flipped on the computer and when my home page loaded the first confused images were waiting for me. I flipped on the TV and called Angela. I guess I could describe for you what I saw and and felt, but you saw and felt exactly what I did, didn’t you?

I got very little done that day at work. We actually spent a good bit of time trying to figure out what was happening with two of our colleagues, who were inbound on a flight from Stockholm when the towers came down. Eventually they were diverted to Canada, then turned around and sent back.

I do remember thinking, early on, that this moment in our social history that we’d been calling “postmodernism” was now over, a theme I’d elaborate on some months later in an essay for Intelligent Agent. Without boring you too much, PoMo had been all about dynamiting the old institutions and monolithic ideologies that had dominated the 20th Century, resulting in a more diverse world of thought and culture where everything was open to challenge.

No more. Humans are inherently structured, and if you’re tearing one structure down it’s only a matter of time before you build a new one in its place. My fear was that 9/11 was going to empower our most cynical and dangerous elements, who’d misunderstand what had happened and would use it to usher in a new, dysfunctional neo-Modernism.

This is awfully abstract sounding stuff to be thinking about as you’re crying uncontrollably, I know, but the thing is that it’s not abstract at all once you look at what Bush and his cronies have done with the false “mandate” that 9/11 handed them.

The battle for the soul of America – and for the world in general – has been joined. But it isn’t over by a long shot. September 11 is an important reminder that our values and our way of life are under attack.

And not just by al Qaeda.

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7 comments

  1. Yep. And I get a bit quesy when I think about how much time he still has left to fuck things up worse if he really wanted to put his mind to it.

  2. a technicality:
    if the Network is truly polylithic, then we can’t call it the Network. There is no ‘it’ or ‘big idea’ apparent.
    Is “everything” open to challenge, or do you want to have your cake and eat it too?
    Humans may be inherently structured, but with what? No one has been able to answer this question successfully, from Hegel to Marx to (fill in the blank)

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