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How Darwin gave us post-modernism

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Finding Truth.jpgHere, Excerpt. from Nancy Pearcey’s Finding Truth: 5 Principles for Unmasking Atheism, Secularism, and Other God Substitutes:,

When postmodern thought was applied to literary theory, it gave rise to an offshoot called deconstructionism. Recall that for postmodernism, individuals are constituted by their membership within a community. The implication is that individuals do not really have original or creative ideas but merely reflect the ideas of their communities. For example, literary critic Roland Barthes said a piece of writing is merely a “tissue of quotations” absorbed from the surrounding culture.

Barthes is best known for his slogan “the death of the author” — by which he means the death of the very concept of individual creativity. In his view, writers are akin to the bards or shamans of old, who were not inventors of their own stories so much as transmitters of the stories of their clan, tribe, or community. Jacques Derrida meant the same thing in his paradoxical statement “Texts have no author.”

Moreover, we all belong to a variety of communities based on attributes such as race, class, gender, ethnicity, and sexual identity — all with conflicting outlooks and interests. As a result, every author will unconsciously reflect conflicting social messages. For Barthes, a text is a mix “in which a variety of writings, none of them original, blend and clash.” The goal of the literary critic is to dig beneath the surface of the text to excavate and disentangle those clashing meanings.

This is called deconstructing the text — hence the term deconstructionism.

What reason does Barthes give for accepting such a theory? As Alan Jacobs writes, “As soon as deconstructionists get in the business of providing reasons, they are perforce in the business of making claims and thus are subject to their own critique.” What happens if we subject Barthes’s views to his own critique? We have to conclude that he, too, is merely a mouthpiece for social forces such as race, class, and gender. His “own” writings do not offer original or creative insights but are merely collages of conflicting quotations absorbed unconsciously from the communities to which he belongs. The “death of the author” must include Barthes himself.

In practice, the only way deconstructionists can function is to tacitly exempt themselves from the critique they apply to everyone else. They presume to stand above the fray, with unique insight to deconstruct everyone else’s statements as products of underlying interests and power struggles, while treating their own writings as immune to the process of deconstruction. They write as though they alone are able to transcend the social forces of race, class, and gender that render everyone else a victim of false consciousness. More.

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7 Replies to “How Darwin gave us post-modernism

  1. 1
    Seversky says:

    I’m sorry but I really don’t see how you get from Darwin’s theory in biology to an opaque school of literary criticism.

  2. 2
    Robert Byers says:

    I agree that creativity is not real. I agree that all our influences are what shape us. It still is us to learn these things etc.
    The author is just giving skilled articulations but not really their own creativity.
    People who are better just know or learned better common concepts.
    The author is not dead but is under the influence of wisdom, understanding, knowledge.
    Man has never done anything creative but just manipulated. Anyways its always about good creativity. Otherwise every person is creative. It means nothing.
    We are not slaves but are entirely products of identity.

    Canadians do better at hockey because we do it more. Its not that personal. Its just picking it up where its picked up more. A equation. A curve.

  3. 3
    kairosfocus says:

    News:

    So familiar, from Pearcey’s scalpel of insight:

    What reason does Barthes give for accepting such a theory? As Alan Jacobs writes, “As soon as deconstructionists get in the business of providing reasons, they are perforce in the business of making claims and thus are subject to their own critique.” What happens if we subject Barthes’s views to his own critique? We have to conclude that he, too, is merely a mouthpiece for social forces such as race, class, and gender. His “own” writings do not offer original or creative insights but are merely collages of conflicting quotations absorbed unconsciously from the communities to which he belongs. The “death of the author” must include Barthes himself.

    In practice, the only way deconstructionists can function is to tacitly exempt themselves from the critique they apply to everyone else.

    Extends to knowledge, reasoning, morality, responsible freedom of thought and action, mind.

    Self referential incoherence all the way down.

    KF

  4. 4
    Silver Asiatic says:

    They presume to stand above the fray, with unique insight to deconstruct everyone else’s statements as products of underlying interests and power struggles, while treating their own writings as immune to the process of deconstruction.

    That’s the beauty of it. The critics and academics are not like everybody else. They stand above and judge all others because they are the elite, with special gifts. They’re smarter, better, wiser, richer, cooler, better-looking — they’re “the brights”.

    They teach the rest of the world and show how stupid and controlled and part of the herd mentality, the common run of people (everyone except them) really are.

    Darwinism was a nice means for promoting that kind of idea. For a long time there has been the belief that some people were ‘more evolved’ than others.

    Now the evolutionists simply work from a basis of “keepers of the religious secrets”, which is a classic tactic used by all sorts of cultish groups and religions. The high priests own the vocabulary and definitions of terms. The evolutionists “know” their theory is correct, so they never have to explain it.

    When someone points out that the data does not line up with the theory, the high priests point out that that person ‘doesn’t know what he’s talking about’ because all the secrets of evolutionary theory are held (in the imaginations) of the evolutionists themselves, and thus the theory can never be challenged.

    Darwinism, for the true believers, gave us everything. Post-modernism, communism, capitalism, democracy, tyranny, religion, families, love, altruism … Darwinism is the explanation for all aspects of life on earth.

  5. 5
    velikovskys says:

    SA:
    Darwinism, for the true believers, gave us everything. Post-modernism, communism, capitalism, democracy, tyranny

    Maybe, but I have never heard it gave us 60’s French post structural literary criticism.

  6. 6
    Zachriel says:

    velikovskys: it gave us 60?s French post structural literary criticism.

    Which led to le chat existentielle.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0M7ibPk37_U

    Thanks Obama Darwin.

  7. 7
    mike1962 says:

    Zachriel: Thanks Obama Darwin.

    Thanks to whoever created human brains.

    Hint: It wasn’t Darwin.

    But if you want to jab, and get jabbed back, I guess you’re in the right place. Tee hee, isn’t this fun?

    BTW, Zachriel, what is your education and what do you do for a living?

    If you don’t mind me asking.

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