Leading into the Future VII: Constructivism and Postmodernism

Leading into the Future VII: Constructivism and Postmodernism

Edmundson notes that the modernist thinkers and critics still left the door open for a new secular transcendent order:

But the problem with this modern tendency to disenchant the world was that it turned the old religious drive upside down. The traditional man of faith seeks transcendence. He wants contact with God, the One, the Truth. The modern thinker, inspired by Marx and Freud, found truth in repressed or hidden impulses, but he FOUND TRUTH nonetheless. Similarly, modern artists and critics found organic cohesion, autonomy—a form of truth, perhaps—in the grand works, works like Joyce’s “Ulysses” or Eliot’s “The Waste Land.”

Thus, according to Edmundson, the central challenge for a postmodernist is to retain a healthy skepticism about all purported truths—including the “truths” offered by the postmodernists themselves:

The postmodern man sees religious residues in ANY way of thinking that affirms the Truth. He reads the modern period as the time when transcendentalism gave way, yes, but to a kind of thinking that sought to penetrate the depths, there to find bedrock reality. The spirit of the . . . post-modern movement in the arts, literary criticism, and philosophy might, assuming one were determined to shrink it to bumper-sticker size, be expressed like this: “If you want to be genuinely secular, then give up on transcendence in every form.” Or, if your bumper’s too small for that: “Accept no substitutes—for God.” In other words, don’t replace the deity with some other idol, like scientific truth, the self, the destiny of America, or what have you. And (front bumper) “Don’t turn your postmodernism into a faith. Don’t get pious about your impiety.”

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William BergquistWilliam Bergquist, Ph.D. An international coach and consultant, professor in the fields of psychology, management and public administration, author of more than 45 books, and president of a graduate school of psychology. 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. His graduate school (The Professional School of Psychology: www.psychology.edu) offers Master and Doctoral degrees in both clinical and organizational psychology to mature, accomplished adults.

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