From: Karen L Houle <khoule@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Fri, 14 Jul 1995 16:38:40 -0400 (EDT)
just a short note, after ed's poles:
clocks (premodern) and
big bangs (modern).
don't jump in too quickly here, ed. The clock's mechanism is more apparent.
The clockmakers knew how to make clocks. Q.E.D. There was a design --
still implicit in "Nature's" mechanisms -- and hence, a blueprint for
control or at the very least, exhaustive understanding. This
understanding was either present or promissary, in any case, instilled a
particular search, a methodology, an attitude of hopefulness and
The big bang sounds less mechanistic, fuzzier. Chaotic, to use that buzz.
But still, there is a mechanism being charted, a design to the movements
of the universe -- out of the hole, back into the hole. Certain axes of
measurement still: not clockhands and seconds and steel cogs but
neutrinos and aeons and the densest of, yes, matter. stuff to know, and
to now or eventually, understand. A design still "present" and
discoverable either in the world, or in our coming to map the world.
To me, I would say that the postmodernist "position" is marked more by an
abdication of this
sense of certainty, of exhaustive understanding (now or promissary), of
the sensibility or orderliness - micro or macroscopic -- to the "whole":
of the project of design finding or making.
It probably also gives up the notion of the whole, taking the theory and the
promises down, step by step, knotch by knotch, into regions of rapid
unknowingness. But not despairing here.