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.