August 12th, 2004
|09:20 am - Epiphany. . .|
I think we made a mistake allowing Triumph of the Moon onto the Dedicant reading list, but I'm not completely certain yet.
I suspect that once I finish it, my recommendation is going to be to remove it as soon as we find something better.
I'm so not using the word "moon" in the title of any book I write on Paganism.
Current Mood: thoughtful
That explains why I recognized your name vaguely.
Interesting. I will have to read that, as in general, the scholarly trends tend to be about how you cannot understand Paganism in a modern context, and how you have to go beyond that (i.e. into Post-Modernism) to understand these religions at all.
Now I have to read it :)
Both postmodernism and modernism reject boundaries and rigid genre distinctions, emphasizing irony, parody, and playfulness. Postmodern art (and thought) favors reflexivity, fragmentation, ambiguity, and an emphasis on the destructured, dehumanized subject.
But postmodernism differs from modernism in its attitude toward a lot of these trends. Modernists uphold the idea that works of art can provide the unity, coherence, and meaning which has been lost in most of modern life; art will do what other human institutions fail to do. Postmodernism, on the other hand, doesn't lament the idea of fragmentation or incoherence, but rather celebrates that. "The world is meaningless? Let's not pretend that art can make meaning then, let's just play with nonsense."
for a bit more info along those lines)
In short, it embraces itself for what it is, not for some strange external validation. Nonsense as salvation is an excellent maxim for it. The problem is, though, that Postmodernismn (like many Pagans) never offers answers. It's a very annoying way to look at the world, in my opinion.
However, Pagans have constantly challenged scholars of religion, who like to look the other way because (in the words of one professor I querried), "It's dumb." (No, I'm not going to say who, to protect the identity).
Paganism doesn't fit in the neat boxes we religious studies people have created, so it makes us uncomfortable. That leads to us ignoring it, and assuming that it's a "dumb" thing that must not require any study classes it squarely in "postmodern".
Kinda roundabout, but that's how I see it :)
Personally, I think the heart of Postmodernism is the concept that there is no boundary between the observer and the observed. In many ways, it is a holistic movement. And it's not just in art that it is used. In current day anthropology, Postmodernism is a major touchstone as it demands the observer acknowledge that they affect the culture they observe, and furthermore, it affects them too. Objectivity is a path, not a destination, as no one can truly achieve it.
Postmodernism is certainly a central part of the current Neo-Pagan movement today. Much as us recons try and strive to rebuild the religions of our ancestors, ultimately, we are parthenogenic, giving birth to religions without any direct connection with the past. As such, we create religions that are a reflection of what is in us, as much as we strive to model what little we know of the religions of our ancestors. Recons are not assembling a puzzle, we are the puzzle, with pieces that are shaped by our past religious experience, our peers, our society, our history, our hopes & fears, our fantasies, and hope to make something better than what we have had before.