Looking ahead to some end point , whether it be actual, ideological, or abstract could be the spoil of man. There has never been an end, or final point, nor has there ever been an ultimate answer. The postmodernist knows this well, yet he too seems preoccupied by this matter, often too busy criticizing the modernist to ever ask- what now? It (postmodernism) is less of a world view or philosophy than it is a deconstruction, and offers no alternative other than “that one is false.” It is a world of subjectivity, and yet I feel that the argument “there is no bigger picture, we cannot know” and “we can know there is a bigger picture” only misses the point.
For, what if we accept that we can never reach some ultimate end, and all of our time, our 10,000 years of civilization, trying new and different things, have not led us into progression but rather merely “different” approaches, a horizontal view of evolution? We would be a post modernist, to some extent. But, it seems the postmodernist then is content to settle at this point. I see another view as a possibility. To accept that we can never “become” something “out there” in the projected future (as past ideologies have posited) is fine, but what then are we left with? Perhaps the process of “becoming” and not “to become (enter ideal here)” is more important. The act of creation in itself, which will happen no matter what, rather than a means to an end might be realized. What if the act of creating purpose, of bringing forth ideas, understanding, without the need to project it into future became commonplace? History, it seems, has been a cycle of attempting to actualize ideals, bringing forth creation to some ultimate end (happiness, stability, peace, understanding, utopia, etc). We have always been in the act of creation– but perhaps that’s it! The very act of becoming, of being is the one thing we have been doing all along. We don’t need to change our ideal, rather, our attitude about this subjectivity can radically shift.
As an example- when we play music, is the end note the most important part, or is the act of playing itself most important- most real? Isn’t the body of the work the point of it? To play, to dance, to create, the act in itself has more importance than the finished product. Yet, so many of our philosophical ideas attempt to abstract, to project our life’s purpose into some end product “out there.” With life, with careers, with education– level after level, to some grander scheme. Yet, there never seems to be a final point. And perhaps that’s the point. There is no “ultimate” end but the process of life and death, creation and destruction itself. We seek the permanent in the impermanent. In a sense, it is like the paradox of trying to fill an infinite void, totally– how can that even be? Yet, we try anyway, always building up a house that can never be full, always planning on how it will one day be filled. If our attitude shifted from that need to “fill the void” with the simple act of “filling,” or decorating, or painting to simply paint, and not have some goal– would this not give us greater content? Not even content, but recognition that we will never fill the void, and that is not the point. “Filling,” “becoming” is what is.
This brings to mind Taoism, or Buddhism– some of the teachings which resonate with this understanding. It’s not so much a matter of becoming anything else than what we already are. It might be said, that, philosophically, it is not so much as replacing one ideology with another, than it is accepting the natural ebb and flow of creation and destruction, and ourselves as a part of it. Perhaps a shift of perspective would acknowledge our compulsion to create, but instead of just merely for the future, for the present. “Simply being” that is, may follow. This is the greatest definition of eteology that I can think of– or the seeing between perspectives. More to come on these reflections…. Stay tuned!