A year or two ago I took a course online about debunking popular misconceptions about things.

What you are NOT supposed to do, when debunking a popular misconception, is start with the popular misconception, and then say that it’s incorrect. What will stick in people’s heads if you do that is the misconception. Research has shown.

I need to talk about post-modernity in the class I’m teaching this session, because the book uses the historical changes that we can label “pre-modern to modern to post-modern” to organize its presentation of the world religions. Which makes sense, because these historical changes have had a big impact on the world religions, and that impact can be seen in lots of ways, in particular in some of the diversity that is part of all the major religions.

So I have been looking for graphics and memes and illustrations of postmodernism, for slides.

This has prompted me to yearn to debunk A POPULAR MISCONCEPTION ABOUT POSTMODERNISM.

Because I keep running into this POPULAR MISCONCEPTION ABOUT POST-MODERNISM. It’s popular, but it’s a MISCONCEPTION. [I will argue this with anyone.]

Here’s what a lot of people say (cutely, in memes on the internet, a lot), about postmodernism, that is a MISCONCEPTION. In fact, I would even go so far as to call it “liar, liar, pants on fire” material.

The MISCONCEPTION is the notion that “postmodernism says that there’s no such thing as objective reality, so everyone can just make up their own reality.”

Postmodernism does NOT say that.

It is true that “postmodernists” question what we can know about objective reality, and question how objective we can be about anything we know, and question the universality and stability of what people know, and point out the social constructed-ness and the political character of a lot of things, and of a lot of what we know about things.

None of that amounts to a denial of the existence of objective reality.

Just because you might not be able to know something, or agree about it, doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.

Postmodernism is compatible with objective reality.

[Of course, it had better be, eh?]


sun on desert horizon with Joshua trees