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Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Feeling the post-modern condition

One of my units at university was called "Realism and Postmodernism". This rather expansively intellectual title was pretty hard slog, yet one of the most enjoyable of my degree.

After being weighed down by philosophical tracts by some names as Foucault, Barthes, Derrida, Cixous, and Lacan (spunk!) what be basically learned can be boiled down to one sentence:

"There is no such thing as an original thought."

At times, this is rather a depressing notion; at others, I am quietly satisfied. Like when I sit and stare at my overly long toenails and wonder, "Can I be bothered going to get the nail clippers or should I rather stick this dirt-covered nob in my mouth and do it myself?" I can then think, "I am no freak; others before my have asked this very same question".

But then where does that leave my blogging?

I have been feeling rather a crisis of confidence when it comes to writing lately. I didn't know why and I haven't had enough mental fortitude to figure it out. Then I read this by Helen Garner, one of my favourite writers,

"What horrifies me about personal email is the vastness of its message field. This is chaos, the abyss. If you live alone, if you suffer at times from an anxiety that you might not exist, email tempts you to behave neurotically--to pour into its appalling infiniteness a cataract, a hemorrhage of words, bottomless, boundaryless. What feels like existential relief is in fact psychologically shallow, a dreadful and meaningless leakage of self."**

Oh. My. God. She has written in one paragraph what it would take me at least a month to even compose, let alone shape cognitively in my skull. Yet it is precisely how I feel, just substitute 'email' for 'blog'.

Then I wonder what I could say about reading. And then I discovered, my thoughts have already been anticipated.


So what happens next? I could hop on a link-train and direct you to any other one of thousands of excellent bastions of thought, yet that would take you away from me. (No!)

No. I'll just keep haunting my little bell tower here and ring out occasionally what news I have, come good or bad. That's what most of us do anyway, right? A thought is a thought is a thought.

Am I being too abstract? Maybe. Perhaps I should go back to poo talk?

**Garner, H, 'Tutto Sereno' in The Feel of Steel, Picador, 2001, pg94. You know what I love? I do a spell check and the checker comes back to me MOST ANGRY about my Garner quote. It seems her vocabulary is superior to Mr. Computer's here. He will not accept 'infinteness' or 'boundaryless'. Too bad, sirree.

Comments on "Feeling the post-modern condition"


Blogger Kimberly said ... (7:33 am) : 

Perhaps others have had your ideas first, but no one has expressed them in precisely the same way you have. The ideas might not be unique, but the presentation is.

It's something, anyway.

And I'm not navigating away from here and abandoning you. I enjoy your blog. It makes me smile, laugh, and think deeper thoughts than I would on my own. That makes it worth the time.


Anonymous Shelly said ... (2:28 pm) : 

Ignore that "no original thought" rubbish. There was an ad on tv a while ago- I think it was advertising cameras- which showed a wide variety of colourful images and pointed out that "A new colour is being created every second" and I see it all the time at work when the kids mix the paints. There was always red, but someone somewhere is making a different red- more blue, extra green, some black and orange in it...now, the same thing goes with thought processes. Your blogs might have similar topics as others, or you may discuss the crisis of your bell-tower as others have done before, but it will always be different. Even slightly different is enough. Hopefully there won't be someone in your bell tower shouting out "Sanctuary!!"- unless it's you, that is.


Blogger Catherine said ... (3:15 pm) : 

You said...Am I being too abstract? Maybe. Perhaps I should go back to poo talk?

...how ironic, that just moments ago I posted a poop story and felt guilty for not being more "deep" today. What can you do? I also have a post I'm working on about Mommy-guilt. :)


Blogger Babystepper said ... (6:59 am) : 

It's funny. I started my blog as a way to record what my children did, and as a stand in for that Journal everyone said I was supposed to be writing. Now I find myself in the same existential quandrys you discuss. Sometimes I think, "Why am I writing this? Who really cares? 5,000 other moms have probably written this exact same thing."

I love you blog, anyway, whether or not it gives you post-modern qualms. Keep truckin'


Blogger Miscellaneous-Mum said ... (7:41 am) : 

Hey thanks ladies. I appreciate the support. I find it interesting we all feel the same way to varying degrees. I wonder why, seeing as we're 'only blogging'. Certainly, it means we place some sort of attachment to it, consciously or subconsciously.

shelly - that's quite deep. I'll never look atthat ad the same way


Blogger gingajoy said ... (8:40 am) : 

I am also a recovering postmodernist;-)

I've been feeling the same angst lately--it's been feeling like more of a slog to write than I normally like. And I question myself too--my motivations, my writing, my urge to get readers. All the good stuff.

Only blogging--I feel the pressure of a whole community sometimes, you know? It can weigh heavy.


Blogger scribbit said ... (8:43 am) : 

Haven't heard of those names since my graduate courses. Levi-Strauss and the rest muddled my brain rather. I'm a bit slow sometimes and had to re read things multiple times to figure out their arguments.


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