Leading into the Future X: Are We Post Post-Modernism?

Leading into the Future X: Are We Post Post-Modernism?

The inconsistency and fragmentation of the postmodern world make it very difficult to build a coherent theory or to recommend specific strategies or courses of action in response to this new societal condition. Each of the pressing themes of postmodernism that I have covered in previous essays in this series (constructivism, language as reality, globalism interwoven with segmentalism, and fragmentation) contribute to an even more basic theme that often makes the very analysis of the postmodern condition particularly difficult. In essence, it is virtually impossible to make a definitive statement about our contemporary world because this world is filled with contradictions and discrepancies (leading to what I have labeled VUCA-Plus in Essay IX). We are living in a world that is simultaneously premodern, modern and postmodern. For every new phenomenon that can be identified as postmodern, we can find another phenomenon that is clearly modern or even premodern.

Ironically, all of these diverse phenomena provide evidence of the universal presence of a postmodern world. The inconsistencies of the hypothesized postmodern era allow the postmodern analyst to never be proven wrong. Any data (other than absolute uniformity, which will never be the case) fit into the postmodern model. The more discrepant the data, the more confirming these data are of the postmodern hypothesis. Show me evidence of modernism and I will declare it to be amenable to my postmodern analysis. Show me premodern styles and forms, and I will be equally convinced that my postmodern hypothesis is correct. As in the case of a Freudian analysis of dreams, all evidence can be used in a way that confirms the initial hypothesis. Thus, in some ways, the world picture that is being conveyed by the postmodernists can’t be disproved, for contradictory evidence is itself part of the postmodern premise.


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William BergquistWilliam Bergquist, Ph.D. An international coach and consultant in the fields of psychology, management and public administration, author of more than 50 books, and president of a psychology institute. Dr. Bergquist consults on and writes about personal, group, organizational and societal transitions and transformations. His published work ranges from the personal transitions of men and women in their 50s and the struggles of men and women in recovering from strokes to the experiences of freedom among the men and women of Eastern Europe following the collapse of the Soviet Union. In recent years, Bergquist has focused on the processes of organizational coaching. He is coauthor with Agnes Mura of coachbook, co-founder of the International Journal of Coaching in Organizations and co-founder of the International Consortium for Coaching in Organizations.

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