January 17, 2012
Of or relating to the stage of consciousness and culture that arose as an evolutionary progression beyond the earlier modern and traditional stages. Characterized by liberal individualism, egalitarianism, relativism, and a questioning of traditional “truths” and symbols of authority.
“Postmodern” is a term that can mean any number of things, depending on the context in which it’s being used, but in the pages of EnlightenNext we typically use it to refer to a specific stage of human consciousness that first burst onto the world scene in full force during the 1960s.
Throughout that revolutionary decade, the values of postmodern consciousness became clear for all to see, as the baby-boomer generation took to the streets to protest many of the products of Western modernity that they felt to be oppressive, destructive, and fundamentally inhumane—including industrial pollution, materialism, capitalism, colonialism, sexism, racism, and weapons of mass destruction. Waving flags of peace, the postmodern revolutionaries waged an ideological battle against the reigning social and political status quo, calling for a new multicultural, egalitarian sensitivity. The emergence of this new consciousness sparked a surge of interest in Eastern spirituality and ignited the flames of feminism, civil rights, gay rights, animal rights, environmental activism, Vietnam War protests, sexual liberation, and even rock and roll.
But in its noble quest to prevent anyone from being marginalized, postmodern consciousness has often championed the rights and freedoms of the individual above all else, which has inadvertently created at least two major problems: (1) by making the individual ego such a central focus of existence, postmodern culture has become, as Christopher Lasch observed in 1979, “the culture of narcissism”; (2) in its egalitarian efforts to prevent individuals from being oppressed, postmodern consciousness typically rejects any notion of hierarchy, be it aesthetic, intellectual, political, moral, or spiritual. And when seen in a context of Kosmic* evolution, a failure to recognize hierarchy presents a profound obstacle to valuing higher social and spiritual development.