A complex philosophical and cultural movement of the mid to late 20th century. At its core is a rejection of objective values and beliefs, scepticism towards the idea of absolute truth, and a distrust of grand narratives. Let’s have a brief look at this and Noam Chomsky view of why this movement is still pushing the intellectual and societal “mess” we try to live in.

Rejection of Absolute Truth: #Postmodernism challenges the idea that there is a simple truth. Instead, it posits that truths are only, subjective, and socially constructed.

Rejection of Grand Narratives: Postmodernists are critical of overarching narratives or ideologies that help to explain large-scale historical, social, and cultural phenomena. Arguing, these narratives suppress alternative perspectives and reinforce power structures.

Critique of Power Relations: Central to postmodernism is the analysis of how power operates within society. Postmodernists highlight how power is unevenly distributed and shapes people’s identities, experiences, and world-views.

Deconstruction: This involves taking apart and examining all the underlying assumptions, ideas, and frameworks that constitute texts, ideas, and social practices. To push the inherent contradictions and power dynamics within them into view.

Chomsky’s Critique of Postmodernism:

Obscurantism and Inaccessibility: Chomsky argues that postmodernist writing is overly complex and obscure, making it inaccessible to the public and academics. That this complexity serves to alienate and insulate postmodernist thinkers from actual activism and practical engagement.

Lack of Concrete Action: Postmodernism allows people to adopt a radical stance without engaging in meaningful action. That the focus on abstract theorizing detracts from any real-world activism and change to challenge the #mainstreaming mess.

Creation of an Academic Power Structure: Chomsky asserts that postmodernism created its own academic power structure, where material rewards, prestigious positions and conference opportunities are given to those who adhere to its complex and impenetrable discourse. Thus diffusing real voices of change and challenge.

Contradictory and Trivial Claims: Chomsky criticizes postmodernists for making contradictory statements dressed in complex language to appear profound. That many postmodern claims mix trivial truths with outright absurdities, diluting knowledge and understanding.

Detrimental Impact on Third World Countries: We need to highlight the negative impact of postmodernism in developing countries, where intellectuals who could have contributed to meaningful social and political change are instead drawn into the abstract and irrelevant debates inside the postmodernism mess.

Postmodernism’s rejection of universal truths and grand narratives leads to intellectual fragmentation. Without a common framework, discourse become fragmented, making it difficult to build consensus or coherent strategies for social change. The complexity and elitism of postmodernist thought erode public trust in intellectuals and academics. When scholars are disconnected from everyday concerns, their influence and credibility diminish. Postmodernism’s emphasis on the subjective nature of truth leads to cultural relativism, where all viewpoints are seen as equally valid. This undermines efforts to address injustices and challenge harmful practices. The focus on deconstruction and critique leads to a paralysis of action. If all truths and structures are seen as flawed, it becomes impossible to mobilize collective action or propose constructive solutions.

Conclusion: Postmodernism has dug itself deep into contemporary thought, people don’t see any more the creating of its own establishment norms and power structures, but it’s still there pushing much of the current mess. This has pushed intellectual insularity, a lack of practical engagement, and a strong tendency to obscurantism, building, the current “messy” blocking of meaningful activism and clear discourse.