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In Table 1, above, I included a column to describe postmodernity because, in our conferences, the question of postmodernity is recurrent. I would here like to thank the postmodern thinkers, like Derrida, who had the courage and the tenacity to disassemble the intellectual fortress of modernity. Because, indeed, this fortress is very solid. However, one should also obviously note that this disassembling is provisional.
Nevertheless, the position of this book is precisely to capitalise on this useful deconstruction. Yes, the modern narrative, the modern vision had to be deconstructed, in order to allow intellectuals to go further. Thank you, postmodern thinkers. Now, we have to build a new narrative, a new vision of the world and of our future, where the young generation will be able to find hope and energy to build a real sustainable future.
In order to go further we need a new narrative, a new story a new vision. That is my intent in writing this book—to begin where postmodernity finishes.
Jeremy Rifkin says it perfectly well78:
“The postmodernists engaged in an all-out assault on the ideological foundations of modernity, even denying the idea of history as a redemptive saga. What we end up with at the end of the postmodern deconstruction process are modernity reduced to intellectual rubble and an anarchic world where everyone’s story is equally compelling and valid and worthy of recognition.
If the postmodernists razed the ideological walls of modernity and freed the prisoners, they left them with no particular place to go. We became existential nomads, wandering through a boundary-less world full of inchoate longings in a desperate search for something to be attached to and believe in. While the human spirit was freed up from old categories of thought, we are each forced to find our own path in a chaotic and fragmented world that is even more dangerous than the all-encompassing one left behind.”
It is impossible to stop at deconstruction while our planetary survival is seriously threatened. We need to go further. It does not provide a way to build a new narrative, a new political paradigm with a vision.
Postmodernism today, is being surpassed. It was the last avatar of modernity because the postmodern method is also purely rational. It is the same as the modern method but turned around itself. In addition, this avatar played its role; therefore, “C’est fini.!” (See more on postmodernity in Appendix 2.)
What is transmodernity? Is it the end of rationality and of science? Are we moving toward a worldwide global “new age“ and toward totally irrational ways of thinking? Are we going back toward medieval obscurantism? This seems to be the fear of some intellectuals at least in Europe.
Yes, we are in a mutation. Yes, we are leaving modernity. And, as we leave the room, there is a back door that frightens us all, the return to past obscurantism, to religious wars, to “fundamentalisms”(which often are pre-modern) of all sorts.
However, and this is the master idea of this book, there also is a front door which is less evident because we have to create it. And, the knowledge society can really take off only if it joins the transmodern view, if it departs modernity by the correct door. This new door is more difficult to find because the way to it does not yet exist. We must create it. We have to invent it together.
What is this new door? What is this new transmodern synthesis? One takes the best of modernity, and the best of pre-modernity and goes farther, invents a new orientation, a new vision, and a new “politic of Life” for humankind. Thus, we shall recuperate the good things of the scientific method. We will capitalise on the wonderful achievements of science and technology. We will rediscover the harmony with nature and the cosmos, and the spiritual depth of the pre-moderns. However, these tools will be directed anew toward the realization of a completely sustainable and socially inclusive civilization. Science and technology will not be questioned but well their fundamental orientation, their basic axioms, and their link with humankind’s goals which will be fundamentally defined again.
Ces messieurs ont appelé dame Bess, dit-il; mais dame Bess n’est pas au cottage