The Studio of Eric Valosin

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Would a Rose By Any Other Name Still Be Without Why?

20 points to anyone who got the references in that Shakespeare/Silesius mash up that points to one fairly fundamental problem:

I don't know what to call what I do.

"Postmodern Mysticism"... doesn't quite get at it.  It's concise, but utterly meaningless.  For one, "postmodern" means so many things that it means nothing terribly concrete.  Post- as in after: a continuation or furthering? Post-as in after: a chronological response? Post as in after: a negation, leaving behind the former in favor of something new?  Neoconservatism?  Poststructuralism?  The postmodernism of the 60s is quite a different thing from today's postmodernism; art's postmodernism from philosophy's; literature's from theology's. Of course, this all assumes the "post" means to even be post-something at all, rather than merely post-poning being pinned down in the first place!  One of my favorite quotes about postmodernism is that, "any age that refers to itself as post-anything clearly just doesn't know what it is."

I find my practice somewhere at the cusp of this 21st century, poststructuralist, theological/philosophical/artistic postmodernism seeking what's beyond postmodernism (or beyond even post-postmodernism, if you believe in such a thing).  A sort of meta-postmodernism, if you will.  In the English epistemological sense of the prefix, the "postmodernism of postmodernism," or, if you prefer the Greek, "beyond, after, ad-, or even post- (post-)postmodernism." Somehow I feel like the calculated incongruities of this "meta-" prefix are a step up from the unmanageably plastic ones of "post-".


I purposefully leave my coinage uncapitalized in reverence of John D. Caputo.  For to commit to such a proper noun would also be to commit an egregiously Metaphysical distinction.  But it's not a pure, classical Metaphysics I'm after - not the horrors of a correspondence model of truth - but a sort of metaphysics after Metaphysics (a meta-metaphysics?).  One filtered through the aerator of postmodern relational models of truth.  A metaphysics that Heidegger's inner mystic could be proud of.


Still lacks a sort of religious certainty.  Religious in the sense of Caputo's "religion without religion." Certainty, that is, in postmodernism's clandestine elopement with mysticism, officiated by the likes of Derrida's paradoxical diffĂ©rance, Heidegger's contemplative gelassenheit, Eckhart's detached abgeschiedenheit.

So far the term also lacks implications of Hal Foster's pseudo-Kantian "techno-sublime" which I love so much, the blend of cyberspace and Caputo's "unhinged" religion of the "impossible." How shall that get incorporated?  ...I much prefer the etymological exactitude of the prefix "techno-" to to the clumsily misappropriated "cyber-" (cyber[netic] from the Greek kiberneticos for "skilled in steering or governing;" the prefix is properly reserved for electronic control of the analogue root word, not the electronic nature of the thing itself.  Thus, since "cyberspace" is not real space controlled electronically per se but rather a new electronic space altogether, it's actually a misnomer.)  But can "techno" shrug off its rave-culture-disco-lighted connotations and retain some reference to its Heideggerian, Maussian, Foucaultian root, techne?

A lot here seems to do with roots - getting back to roots - radical (like a radish), if you will.  Radical both in the ordinary sense of being progressively subversive, and at the same time in this linguistic sense of being chidingly fundamental.  Moving beyond, by remaining rooted; digging up roots to learn how to grow.  Meta-radicalism?  The beyond that comes from before? That's thoroughly mystical at least in its paradox.

We are I think, at the very least, in a sort of radical meta-post-ism, searching our roots for that which will take us beyond the post-everything nomenclature.  Beyond the beyond by searching before.

I do like that... radical meta-post-ism.  

I'm sure there are issues of hyphenation to be worked out, but that's a battle for another day.

radical metapostist mysticism?  We're getting somewhere, but without formal publication I doubt I won't just loose people to its obscurity.

radical meta-postmodern mysticism?


...I don't suppose I can just call it "art."

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