BEYOND POSTMODERNISM - The author's commentary of
Marek Rogulus Rogulski, Gdańsk 1999/2000


Beyond Postmodernism project - realisations of the artists invited to project

Beyond Postmodernism project - realisations of Marek Rogulski Rogulus

the centre of the research on internal space


In short, the modernistic paradigm believes that the true cognition consists in an acquisition and reflection of the empirical world, which is one and simple. It sees its God in the sensory world. Only the empirical nature is real for the industrial structure.

Postmodernism deserves a credit for the discovery that neither the world nor Mind is given beforehand, the discovery that outlooks on life alter. As Hegel put it: "Mind can be perceived only as the one that developed." This is why the radical version of postmodernism maintains that if nothing is given beforehand, then all the statements are arbitrary and relative, and no universal truth exists. Ken Wilber writes on this subject: "It's virtually a statement that all the truths are relative apart from these which are mine. But this declaration per se claims a right to be a universal truth. /.../ All the radical multicultural postmodernistic movements contain substantial inconsistencies. And their absolute truth becomes ultimately very ideological, greedy for power, extremely elitist in the worst sense. Foucault called his early inclinations to heading in this direction as "arrogant". Actually, this radical ideology is a postmodernistic form of nihilism: there is no truth in Cosmos, there are only those notions that a man imposes on the others. /.../ Another possibility is a more moderate approach. This theory assumes that the world and the outlooks on life are not completely given beforehand but they develop in history. That is why the history and the development of perspectives should be studied not as a series of arbitrary blind blows, but as a model of the evolution and progress, governed partly by the currents of the evolution itself."

The body is transcended and a distance to Mind is gained at this level of evolution. A postmodernistic follower of existentialism does not believe blindly in conventional roles and principles of society. And Ken Wilber once more: "The existentialists have remarkably analysed this authentic self and, what is more important, they have analysed the pervasive lies and fallacies suppressing this authenticity. We create symbols of immortality in order to hide the truth about our mortality and finiteness. They are lost trials to overcome time and reach the life eternal in a mythical Heaven, a practical project, a great work of art, which is a projection of our inefficiency in standing up to the death."

However, because the existentialists do not know any sphere of consciousness higher than their own mind distanced from itself, they "are stuck in this existential perspective, which unables them to look beyond their horizon." And further: "Mystical, contemplative and yoga traditions start in the place where the mind ends. They get in touch with the observing Self when it begins to transcend the Mind and becomes transmental, transrational and transpersonal." What we should also mention that trans-rationality is not the same thing as pre-rationality. As far as the postmodernistic mentality has some mediation in the structures and institutions of modernistic, industrial structure, the transrational mentality is incomprehensible for the postmodernistic one and for the most of public opinion, or just mistaken with pre-modernistic formations of mythic views. This happens so probably because of the question of the manifestation of Spirit that appears in both. But we have to remember that the notion of Spirit and its consciousness is in them entirely different.

Consequently, we should understand postmodernism as contextual extension of modernism, and not as its cancellation. As soon as artists had realised that the era was about to end and the paradigms of modernist art, such as principle of novelty (avant-garde), had become invalid, they turned towards social activity (e.g."critical art"). They developed, among others, the practice of transgression the limits of social taboo, trying to assume an active, starring role, and in this way to exert their influence on society. Thus, natural in this process was frequent intermingling of the artistic activity with, among others, the ecological, feminist, and sexual minority movements, as it was those movements that attracted the attention of public opinion. Unfortunately, postmodernist art in unaccepted and impossible to be understood by the masses, what results from their being stuck in pre-rational structures of mythic consciousness. In the civilisation, there are still few individuals and social groups mature enough to carry out free, multi-plane ego exchange, in order to conduct a dialogue of self - conscious, rational egos. Because the majority is still stuck in pre-rational structures of mythic affinity to a group, it is no wonder that already in the time of post-Enlightenment modernism, a split took place between the community at large on one hand, and science and art on the other. The latter ones developed further, guided by their own priorities (exponential progression). From these two domains of creative human activity, science, exerts on developed societies (and their art!) an enormous, almost total influence. Postmodernist artists have just begun the strive for a similar influence on societies. However, frequently, they have not realised to what extent their own consciousness is shaped by the modernist paradigms.

Looking from a broader perspective, both modernism and postmodernism (and, accordingly, modernist and postmodernist art) stem in the same consciousness formula: a consciousness connected with the emancipation, identity and development of rational, self-conscious ego. No matter which technique will be discovered, development, including the development of progressive postmodernist art, is connected with just this level of consciousness. That is why I understand postmodernism only as translation (movement) in the field of modernist consciousness and not as transformation (cancellation and change).

Whereas it is the quality transformation of consciousness which constitutes the true challenge of the present time. Substantial progress in the evolution of consciousness concerns the transformation of the emancipated rational consciousness into trans-rational consciousness and entering in the domain of soul. Development and, next, the integration of the rational ego with the immense depth of the human individual is to constitute a kind of 'spring-board' while entering in the trans-mental, trans-personal, and trans-rational planes of Spirit. That is why this progress will be connected with the development of internal techniques (meditation, stimulation of internal cognition centres) rather than the external ones (science and industry), what obviously does not mean renouncing science and industry but using them from the new perspective. This is the search and discovery of this new, broader perspective that will be most important now. The evolutionary progress, including progress of art, which stems in the consciousness of creative individuals, will concern the search and discovery of universal, not-anthropocentric but actually cosmocentric laws pervading all the levels of reality visible (physical - material level) and invisible (levels: mental, spiritual). A revaluation will be inevitable of all the domains of social life in the scale of the whole world. Similarly inevitable will be the establishment of new institutions that will be able to act on the global scale. The range of necessary changes is vertiginous. It is difficult not to notice that the differentiation in the civilisation, technique, capital, culture, and religion, and above all different consciousness structures, in which individuals and societies really function in the world, demands total transformation of global character. That is why I express the conviction that it will be connected originally rather with carrying out a strenuous transformation by particular individuals (constituting those societies and civilisation) in their internal perception and notion structure itself. (Compare "The System of Superart.")

Marek Rogulski ROGULUS, Gdańsk 1999/2000