The “Postmodern Child,” free from modern fears and inhibitions, beholds diversity with curiosity and delight: that what is different seems good, as a result of – or perhaps despite – its beauty.
The human condition is, as of yet, still undetermined and ambiguous, multithreaded and open to a variety of scenarios; its greatest achievements may at the same time be its biggest downfalls. The qualities that make it attractive and powerful are at the same time the source of its weakness and vulnerability, and that is what adds to their appeal.
There is something beautiful and edifying about the postmodern optimism and arrogance; in the postmodern mind, the world’s only raison d’être is to service the growing needs of human kind. Meanwhile, the future may do well without our species. It’s not that mankind is a threat to the world it lives in – it is a threat to itself, and that is the most exciting thing: the fact that the process of the world’s becoming is not completed yet – that it is still ongoing – is beside the point.
The idea of eliminating any harmful or useless individual from the general population emerged very early on; its origin was fear. Society’s behavior changes in response to fears; paradoxically, these fears come into view as a result of scientific progress.
It is particularly striking today when the discussion among luminaries of the civilized world tends to be dominated by how genetic modifications herald the imminent end of humanity. The inventory of phobias is bound to grow much larger. These phobias have become the driving engine of our condition. We must not let ourselves get turned into animals.
Ortega y Gasset was the one to notice this paradox a long time ago: it lies in the fact that the triumph of civilization is also a cause for its undoing. We can finally admit without hesitation that this has always been a part of our natural “program.” Life is getting better, but also more complicated.
The change, as Jean Baudrillard says, is radical: today, there are no points of reference; there is no reality to which a symbol can refer. The relationship between the symbol and the designate has been absorbed by the “precession of simulacra.” Not as much a “pro–cession,” but a “pre–cession” – as we surrender under the pressure of models that precede reality, of copies without an original, of images representing nothing but themselves. It is “the end of the meta–language, the end of metaphysics, the end of the metaphor – this is a sign in itself, at last, a pure event. Since everything has been realized, in the end, nothing remains; everything is here already, which means it exists after the end.”
The world that was created with the individual in mind consumes all individuality and in return gives us a simulacrum – a bogus subjectivity. And we seem more and more comfortable with this, we have already gotten used to this position. For the majority of people this point marks the high point of self-realization.
A kind of existential anxiety arises as we realize that we are engaging in a relationship with artificial worlds of our own creation. A simple kind of relationship with reality has been lost. Thankfully, the “Postmodern Child” does not seem to be in the least bothered by this.
The past should be preserved and celebrated in the form of life–size, faithful copies, perfected by the art of transplantation and reproduction. The skull – a nostalgic attribute – falsifies the future, transforming it into a controlled space. That attribute is a nostalgic product of the increased temporal mobility.
It is amazing how, just to have some fun, we got involved in somebody else’s game. Most of us play this game as if it was our own; the rest are willing to, or will have to – it’s just that they don’t express it out loud yet.
In return for the nothingness that we are, we have received what we cannot be (or rather, what we cannot avoid being). The only response to this politically correct reality is to become a consumer – or a terrorist. Each one of us can make the choice.