the seeds of one are contained in the death of the other
“Doctor Lector... Doctor Lector... Doctor Lector...”
-- Clarice Starling, at the conclusion of Silence of the Lambs
“The horror... the horror...”
Col. Kurtz, at the close of Apocalypse Now
In terrorism, postmodernism is forced to confront its own shadow, the premodern. Meanwhile, under the lights in the television studio, the modernists continue their delicate discussions about foreign policy and the ever-so-fragile law of war. Modernism, one might say, is alive and well, so long as the barbarians are kept at bay.
Still, as information proliferates, redundancy is king. Citations will soon become irrelevant, aside from the desire to establish pedigree. Art rejects notions of redundancy, as any creative act is singular, no matter its influences. Terrorism rejects redundancy out of the practical necessity of a varied response to the information security state. The information security state desperately seeks to avoid any and all surprises, or information, to sow a field of uninterrupted redundancy, to avoid any disturbance of the delicate balance of law, order, society, culture, and privilege.
Not that I'm against privilege. I take it wherever I can get it. And privilege seems to go hand in hand with civilization, or so it seems to me.
For all the brouhaha over postmodernism, the framework in which we find ourselves is still strikingly modern. It’s as if the postmodernists imagine you can just erase all the bureaucracy with wishful thinking or by holding your hands over your ears and saying ‘I can’t hear it!’ over and over again. Like the child hiding under the bedsheets who imagines that if he can’t see the monster, the monster can’t see him. Perhaps the postmodern explains a certain malaise, of realizing that one is living in “a typical instance of any modern society,” (see Moses, A. Dirk. "Structure and Agency in the Holocaust: Daniel J. Goldhagen and his critics." History and Theory 37.2 (1998): 194-219) but this hardly changes the basic structure of the modernist world. Certainly, the multi-national corporation is a development.
So whereas the modern allows for a resolution and return to the status quo, (see Isabel Pinedo, "Recreational Terror and the Postmodern Elements of the Contemporary Horror Film") a relief from horror, the postmodern lives in a constant state of horror, or terror, for there is no resolution, and the status quo does not exist. All opposites hunger for each other, in a constant carnage of bloodletting, or asymmetric warfare, or sex, as you like it, reproducing the next interpretation for us to ponder.
Information hungers to become redundancy. Redundancy hungers for information. The status quo hungers for revolution. The revolution hungers to become the status quo. The mainstream hungers for the underground. The underground hungers to become mainstream. The entertainment industrial complex hungers for the particular, authentic scene. The particular, authentic scene hungers to become the next offering from the entertainment industrial complex.
The tyranny of Sartre gave way to the tyranny of Foucault, and these petty tyrannies give way in turn to the next redefinition of humanity, perhaps an erasure, such as the theories of the German sociologist Niklas Luhmann. The human collapses in the face of systems so complex that no particular human can possibly understand them, much less manipulate or guide them to a proper “human” conclusion. (See Hans Georg-Moeller: Niklas Luhmann the Radical and Occupy Wall Street, available at: http://www.cupblog.org/?p=4880) This perhaps moves very well in time with the coming singularity, which will give us all much more time for wordplay, while the robots pick up the garbage.