The Value of Context in Post Postmodernism

post postmodernismPost postmodernism is still a very tenebrous term. But I’d like to treat a couple of ideas that come from my past thinking about subjective realities.

Living in a postmaterialist era means we all have different conceptions of what happiness is and what our lives should consist of. The new American Dream is living how we want, being happy, not necessarily making a lot of money. This means there is no absolute context, no strict morality, no dictated right or wrong. One of the contributing factors of this is the internet and its ability to remove context. The Mona Lisa, for example, capable of being reproduced anywhere. Walter Benjamin argued that reproduction devalues the worth of the original. Maybe. But then again, maybe not.

Traveling across the country has allowed me to realize that when you see the St. Louis arch it’s nothing like the movies or any other representation. Instead of those representations devaluing the experience, I was that much more pleased to see the original in its context. It became my own personal context in which I experienced it. And that made it real to me, in the way a Google image search never could.

Same thing goes for emotions. Humans won’t forget how to love or socialize or speak due to texting on our iPhones. Context changes, but routine scenarios such as a first date, or a trip to a tourist’s monument, carry more weight in their actuality than the simulated experience via texting or seeing love in a movie. We compare our experiences to the preconceptions we had before we learned them. Post postmodernism breaks down cliche by providing unique context.

By Daniel Ryan Adler

Daniel Adler writes fiction and nonfiction and is finishing his MFA at University of South Carolina.

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