Thursday, March 15, 2012

All of us, ALL OF US, have spent the majority of our lives in "The Age of Commensality"

Michael Marshall
The Age of Commensality has a distinctly abrupt beginning as Eras go : bang ! -1945 - you're on !

That was the year of the Nuremberg Trial revelations about Auschwitz and Nazi Death Doctors, the year of  Dresden and Hiroshima.

Bang ! indeed.

This means that unless you are 135 years old (and you're not) , the majority of your life has been spent not living in The Age of Modernity.

So what Age, then, have you been living in all these years ?

There is a wide (academic) consensus about the post-1945 changes in the way most of us humans perceive Reality and think about Reality.

But there is no consensus on whether they hang together in a consistent way and if so, exactly what then to call them.

The current placeholder name Postmodernity won't do and everyone knows it.

What will we then call the next Age after this and the one after that : Post-Post-Modernity and Post-Post-Post-Post-Modernity ?

Why bother with calling the 19th Century 'The Age of Romanticism' - why not simply call it The Age Of  Post-Classicalism ?

My sense is that the Modern Age clearly thought and acted as if humans, in some essential sense, dined above and beyond Nature.

However, our own Age sees more and more clearly that we are bound into Nature, ie we're inside Nature and densely interconnected with all of it, like it or not.

I don't mean milk and honey/ lamb down with lions /turn the other cheek /interconnectedness --- I mean we're stuck into it.

If we are survive, we must see that our fellow life forms are also given their fair chance to survive as well, even if that means we must restrain our own appetites today so we can have a little something tomorrow.

We now intuitively realize that we all dine at one great common table.

 Whenever things start to go wrong with the water,carbon, nitrogen,  phosphorus and you-name-it cycles, it hits everyone from bacteria to babies.

Commensality (as this word is used by students of religion and anthropology/sociology, not in the distinctly odd way biologists use it ) seems to me to be the term that best describes the basket of ideas that makes up Postmodernity.

I hope to hear of other rival terms that claim to better describe the post-modern condition.

Fair enough - bring 'em on cable boys and girls !

Anything is better than lamely continuing to use the term postmodernity.

 Soon this 67 year old Old Age Pensioner will be older than the Age it has replaced - but 67 years on, it doesn't deserve to still be an orphan without a name ....

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