Knowing that the postmodern turn in academia is just another phase in fallen man’s rebellion against God, it is no wonder that we have steered clear of quickly admitting that postmodernists are right in some of their claims about man’s experience of reality as fragmentary, incoherent, paradoxical, etc. This is not unfortunate, but necessary. And yet, it also seems to be necessary to turn to these authors in the hopes of hearing not something new or something that will “teach” us what Scripture cannot teach us, but in the hopes of hearing echoes of what the Scriptures teach us about fallen mankind. Are the ideas of the Greeks internally inconsistent? Yes. Do they fall apart under the weight of their own contradictoriness when they are scrutinized? Yes. Are they expressions of a seemingly ateleological “power” which constructs these ideas as vehicles for its own further expression and self-propagation? Yes.
Why then are these things so? Are they “natural”? Are they unnatural? Are they the way things are in-themselves? Or are we to ignore the appearance/reality distinction implicit to all postmodern discourse? One may seek to avoid this distinction but it is impossible to do so, for the deconstruction of a text is an implicit recognition of a facade, a veneer, an appearance that must be probed beyond in order for the subject to obtain a knowledge of the thing-in-itself. Likewise with genealogical historiography, rhizomatic epistemology, and baudrillardrian hyppereality. This is, we should note, perhaps the most enjoyable feature of postmodern literature, a feature which it has in common with Nietzsche’s mad ramblings, viz. Watching its proponents clumsily perform a turn-of-the-tables, the ole- switcheroo, in identifying the accidental as substantial and the substantial as accidental. In this view, material and intellectual flux are identified as substantial, whereas fixity is contingent upon the substance called “material and intellectual flux” or “the infinite freeplay of signifiers”or….fill in the blanks with whatever postmodern gobbledygook you can recall, deconstruct, or construct.
Could it be more obvious than Deleuze’s identification of the virtual as the actual and the actual as the virtual?
One hardly thinks so.