Postmodernism & Critical Theory; the Good, the Bad, the Traumatic.
My personal experience of the theory. How it drove me crazy and saved me. . . +Some shit about Jordan Peterson.
I remember waiting to talk to a professor one day after class when the girl ahead of me broke down crying. It was a poly-sci class, can’t remember which one, but I’m sure we were covering one more way in which the world is f*$^ed.
What I do remember is that the topic of conversation was on Critical Theory and Postmodernism. Both of which can paint a dismal picture of the world.
As an international relations student, Critical Theory was a core part of our curriculum and was used to deconstruct our narratives about the world in every field imaginable from our poly-sci classes to economics, history, anthropology, sociology, geography.
One of the strengths of the theory is that it calls for input from a wide range of disciplines. We had to study them all.
One of the difficulties in handling the theory is that it breaks down your belief in pretty much everything you were raised with. Many turned to heavy drinking, some of us had mental breakdowns, this girl sobbing wasn’t exactly something new.
What was unique is that it happened in class and the professor's response is still marked in my memory.
“Critical Theory is incredibly difficult to process. There is a lot that is broken in the world and we don’t have answers for it. We’re still trying to figure out all the things going wrong. Maybe someday someone else will come along with answers.”
I don’t often remember the way people say things. I’m more of a paraphraser but that moment has always stuck with me. In its own way, it felt prophetic.
If nothing else it illustrates the point of this article. Postmodernism and Critical Theory in particular, are parts of a process, a cultural dialogue the West is having with itself. In a way, they mimic a person’s response to depression and trauma.
Often times they’re not pleasant but they may be necessary and do serve a function.