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Theosophy and Postmodernism

Dec 04, 1996 01:45 PM
by Jerry Hejka-Ekins


>that make a wrong impression that PM is a coherent approach. In
>fact, of course, it is not, spanning over a disjointed field
>from its radical variety to "acid-free" so called constructive
>PM, with Rorty's attempted synthesis of French PM and American
>pragmatism being somewhere in between. French PM generally
>eludes any definition clinging to aconceptual, impressionist

I agree that one would be hard put to call PM a "coherent
approach." On the other hand, I think that an audience without
familiarity with postmodern writings requires some kind of
coherent introduction. As for Rorty, I distrusted him from the
time that I found him deconstructing Aquinas by misreading his
transcendental truths for relative ones. I thought Rorty,
considering who he is, should have known better.

>Before the actual discussion starts, however, Jerry has to
>define his version of postmodernism (PM). He gives various
>descriptions of PM, e.g. this one:

As for my own take on PM, I don't think such a definition would
be possible. My own understanding of the field constantly
changes as my exposure to it continues.

>That this is so (i.e. that Jerry has in mind his own version of
>PM) follows from Jerry's matter-of-fact remark about Holocaust
>as an outcome of "the terrible damage achieved from Hitler's
>notion of the superiority of the Germanic races." However, this
>is exactly where opinions of postmodernists diverge widely (see
>e.g. Gertrude Himmelfarb's On Looking into the Abyss. NY: Knopf,
>1994). What Jerry states was not so obvious to some
>postmodernist historians who, in strict accordance with the
>above approach, considered the traditional version of Holocaust
>(evidently shared by Jerry) a particular narrative constructed
>by Jews, the Nazi version being another, equally legitimate
>narrative, along with many other possible ones.

I'm not familiar with Himmelfarb. My focus of study was more
Lacanian than historical (so put me in the French school if you
would like), though I'm quite interested in the latter, and would
like to learn more about her take on this subject. However, my
own take on the Holocaust would not negate the legitimacy of the
Nazi narrative or any others. For instance, I also would not
negate Lacan's narrative that motivated him to illegally remove
legal records concerning his wife that otherwise would have been
used to send her to the concentration camps. But Lacan's
narrative is one of many chains of narratives emanating from the
Nazi's narrative that was to resolve a still earlier one. Since
we are considering all narratives, another would be the
extermination of all life on the planet. This narrative is as
legitimate as the others, and would solve a lot of problems.
However, I for one would not support this solution either.

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