I won’t be here for it, but there’s a pretty interesting (and potentially controversial) Philosophy Cafe at Connaught Library tonight at 7:30 p.m. It features University of Regina professor Roger Petry and the topic is Mired in Ethical Relativism: Is There a Moral High Ground?
Implicit in that title is a bit of critique of post-modernism. After the certainty and precision of the modernist age in the ‘40s, ‘50s and early ‘60s, post-modernism was all about questioning authority and validating alternative lifestyles, beliefs, ways of thinking and whatnot. That needed to happen, obviously. But once a social shift gets going, it sometimes takes on a life of its own, and ends up going a bit overboard.
It got to the point with post-modernism that everyone was so touchy-feeling about respecting everyone else’s beliefs and lifestyles and all that that, to paraphrase Cole Porter, it was pretty much “Goodness knows, anything goes.” No matter how outlandish the claim, if someone ran it up a flag pole, you pretty much had to salute it or risk being labelled a politically incorrect bastard.
It’s nice to be sensitive to people’s feelings. And sure, probably in a cosmic sense, we can never know anything with 100 per cent absolute certainty. But we do have tools at our disposal to gather and process information and narrow pretty significantly the range possibilities in a lot of areas.
Follow this link, for example, and you’ll wind up at the website operated by the Flat-Earth Society. That belief, based on the relatively limited view of the planet that we get from standing on the ground, was popular in the Dark Ages. But it’s pretty much universally acknowledged now that Earth is spherical. Or is it just that Flat-Earthers have a different way of knowing than I (and billions of other people) do? Maybe dominant society is being too linear, literal and chauvanistic in its thinking?
You see how, under unfettered post-modernism, even the most indefensible position can be defended. And some of those positions can be pretty odious. Should be an interesting evening, wish I could be there.
Also tonight, the Fusion Project opens at the Globe Theatre as part of the Sandbox Series. It’s an annual improv type exercise where professional artists, in this case dancer Johanna Bundon and actor Jayden Pfeifer, work with an ensemble of young theatre artists to create a new work. It runs at the Globe March 24-27.