Razor

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   Karlo Mongaya of Postcard Headlines wrote some thoughts about postmodernism yesterday.  To be honest, I have had my own fair share of “paradigm shifts” over the course of my active intellectual life: like most UP students, I started out reading Marx, but eventually moved my own line of thinking parallel to anthropological theory, where names like Tylor and Morgan come to the fore.  Then I became a bit radical: later on in college, I became riveted to the ideas of Louis Althusser, Roland Barthes, Jacques Derrida, and nowadays I’m doing some self-study on the work of Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari.

   I can’t say I understand every bit of them, but I try.

   I met up with Tano, a philosophy instructor and a friend of mine back in college, yesterday, and she put things rather bluntly: “That’s the problem with you: you are the exact opposite of Ockham’s Razor.”  To which I playfully responded: “Because I don’t shave.”  Did William of Ockham have a beard, a stubble, or was he clean-shaven?

   I’m reminded of the Sokal Affair: basically, a physicist named Alan Sokal wrote a “piece of nonsense” and the paper was eventually published in a journal.  I don’t know: I can claim publicly right now that my own thesis on Friendster played on the Sokal Affair (although I’m not saying that my own thesis is a bunch of bullshit).  I could have entitled my thesis “It’s Complicated,” but I opted against it.  My own “philosophy of social science” can be summed up in one sentence:

   “When confronted with a social problem, fuck it up.”  To which the response would be, “Depends on how you fuck it.”  Basically, a social problem is a whore, and you can penetrate it by the ear or the nostril if need be.

   I’m off to Manila, and I’ll be explaining this through a 20-minute lecture in two weeks.

4 comments on “Razor”

  1. Reply

    I have had my own fair share of “paradigm shifts”

    Not yet. Let’s just call it soulsearching. Little readings on Gramsci and the Post-Marxists are taking my time outside of my normal academic load. My friend lectures me on post-structuralism. Damn I hate my management course!

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    …which has led back to where one started. The postmodern mood, as a defeatist and pessimistic intellectual current that is divorced from material social realities and an actual commitment to genuine social change, leads its adherents to “clicktivism” and academic Cultural Studies critique as the only forms of “resistance” possible in lieu of the so-called unassailable hegemony of the world capitalist system. As the system heads for total collapse, and along with it environmental destruction, there is no space for futile Civil Society reformist initiatives that only give the system a more human face or the equally futile armchair pipe dream of simply interpreting the world. Its time to take up Marx again! 🙂

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