Having spent a great deal of the past 30 year being derisory towards Post-Modernism I am lately finding myself somewhat in sympathy with some of the preoccupations. The extreme view is of course ludicrous – everything isn’t text and the universe persistently continues regardless of activities on this minuscule dot on a dot on dot we inhabit. There are general laws operating independently of anything we have to say or do. More to the point it is increasingly becoming obvious that more is going on then we currently have any notion and increasingly it seems understanding is beyond our particular mental tool set. We evolved to eat, procreate and die. Intelligence is an accidental by product of our evolutionary path and it has been shaped by hundreds of thousands of generations of creatures with a very limited intellectual horizon indeed. Why we suddenly went down a path that suddenly invented civilization is perhaps one of humankind’s greatest mysteries.
Anyway it is becoming clear that a great deal of what we do and are (same thing?) exists only in the language we use to think about or discus it. Not the more obvious concepts within philosophy or theology but the world view that frames these ideas. What does the Christian inquisitions, pogroms and witch hunts, the Mayan and Inca wholesale daily violent human sacrifices and the story of Isaac tell us about the human religious impulse? The wholesale violent destruction of individual humans is as universal religious activity regardless of what ever tenants are espoused. One of the functions of language seems to be to allow society to function unaware of this. Words and ideas create chains of associations inside separate phase spaces creating distinctions between various sets of ideas and beliefs without making the association shift to the larger phase space that contains them. The contradictions within a religion (ie the disparity between the hating of Southern Baptists and the notion of a god of love) are seen as misunderstandings or heresies within a religion rather than expressions of what a religion is.