Postmodernism and Collective Apathy
The grand narratives and ideologies are constantly shaping and reshaping the socio-political structural patterns of the societies and the world at the national as well as the global level. Verily, the ideologies like anarchism, absolutism, liberalism, utilitarianism, capitalism, existentialism and socialism have maneuvered the political dynamics of societies, states and the world in multiple ways. For instance, the western powers or colonizers espouse and popularize the western ethnocentrism and survival of the fittest dogmas for creating a way of justification of colonialism by invading the Asian and African world in the past. The journey of the construction of knowledge has not finished yet as the experts have been making efforts to understand and analyze the socio-political affairs of the world with the more simple and distinct theories and narratives. As a result, the new theories and ideologies are emerging, making their place in the literature, guiding or misguiding the followers and influencing the societies and the world politics.
Similarly a trendy narrative, focusing on deconstructionism, namely postmodernism has also started to impinge on international politics of modern age in a distinctive style. Postmodernism emerged in 1960s in France and turned quickly into pushy narrative. In order to get a basic understanding of the postmodernism, a clear and vivid distinction is required, among three kinds of discourses; pre-modernism, modernism and postmodernism. However, this sort of division of discourses encounters another issue that identifying a point and separating the postmodernism from modernism itself is dubious and debatable. Indubitably, this deserves the critical intellectual labor because it has also been argued that postmodernism is another extended angle of modernism. It is not a walk in the park to define the postmodernism under the principles outlined by the post-modernist thinkers because they do not believe in specific terms, precincts and definite truths. So, post-modernism can be described by focusing on the dominant principles and features but cannot be defined in a true and pure sense for the reason that requires the greater patience and ingenuity. Generally, the postmodernism is perceived and treated as an anti-traditional values, anti- religions, anti-democracy, anti-capitalism, anti-enlightenment or in-short anti-existing patterns and established grand narratives regarding economy, society, culture and politics. It declares the end of meta-narratives and grimly attacks on the absolute truth, objectivism, reason, morality and human nature. Howbeit, the increasing impact of postmodernism on the contemporary world politics is of grave concern that is affecting the political values and pushing the global politics towards cynicism.
One of the core principles of postmodernism is that truth is relative in any way that means all the existing political or theological truths prevailing in the world are subjective, relative and contextual.
Postmodern deconstructionism presents an answer to the political or religious ideologies and faiths that “there is no fundamental truth” which is clearly making the way for cynicism at individuals, societal and state level. This principle is further extended to a level where it is believed that any political narrative or ideology of an individual, party or state cannot be considered as superior to others, rather all the narratives are equally valid and legitimate in their own way. Let it explain in more simple way; for example, the political ideology of A cannot be termed as better and superior to the ideology of B because both A and B are equally valid.
Likewise the concept of exploitation in capitalism becomes justified because all the ideologies and narratives are valid and legitimate. Although, Foucault has been categorized as a leftist activist because he used to believe in the Marxist ideology however, his specific philosophical argument can really be interpreted in favor of realism. Let us again apply the same principle on the ideology of terrorism and we find, the very rule determines the ideology of terrorism (A) cannot be termed as inferior to other doctrines (B).
This argument endeavors to make the truth inert and dormant and such stance of postmodernism about truth is awful and inexcusable because this packs down the fundamental idea of right and wrong. Consequently, everything becomes fair in the social and political affairs and here postmodernism voluntarily or inadvertently invites the “realism” that implicitly aligns itself with this particular characteristic of postmodernism, negating the values and constructing the national interest. Realism is the most overriding and leading perspective followed by the states which explicitly advocates for achieving the perceived and constructed national interest, maximizing the security and grabbing the power by using multiple fair and unfair means. The realism on this point appears as more realistic and hard-nosed as it finds a justified discourse and exploits the opponents with ardor for seeking the power and interests.
Moreover, it assumes that “there is no telos to life” and it lacks the purpose or any sense and eventually the postmodernism aligns itself with the ideology of nihilism which strictly believes on the rejection of the belief system, values and meanings of life. The nihilism influences the behaviors of the individuals, political leadership, societies and states in a pessimistic way. Needless to say, the powerful states support, promote, exploit the relevant assumptions of postmodernism and they challenge other political narratives going against their interests. The rise in the political apathy or the rise of populism, rebuffing the popular and established values in the Western world might be the product of postmodernism. Under the prevailing literature and narrative of postmodernism, the emergence of the valueless leadership can be observed at the regional and global stage.
The powerful narrative based on identity politics and nationalism has triggered a weird series of events from North to South. The outcome of the policies and actions of such notorious leadership has been definitely adding the uncertainty and chaos to the political situation.
Besides, while deconstructing the contemporary and classic narratives, the postmodernists constructed their own narrative which has been tactfully and cleverly interpreted by the realism in its own traditional style. This fate of postmodernism reminds us the famous German philosopher Nietzsche who once speculated “Beware that, when fighting monsters, you yourself do not become a monster.” The political experts and intellectuals propagating for the postmodernism have condemned and disapproved the status-quo particularly the existing socio-political patterns and structure but they could not offer any valuable alternative as solution to the existing problems of the world. Conversely, the situation has become worse because the world has already been observing the collapse of liberal order and values. On a final note, the rise of a realist order appears as a main threat to the peace, values and the prosperity of the globe. The imperceptible connection of postmodernism with realism has propelled the world to meet and face the new wave of confusion, anarchy and apathy.