Chaos Theory and Post Modernism

By Snell, Joel | Education, Winter 2009 | Go to article overview
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Chaos Theory and Post Modernism

Snell, Joel, Education


Although it is the first form of social patterns, it may also be the most abundant. Many societies remain at this initial stage or have briefly experimented with modernism and then returned to pre-modernism. We see five major points. They are:

1. Elements of society- People of same or similar racial heritage ban together. Tolerance of difference isn't acceptable. The group looks to the past of a golden age and wants the future to be like this idealistic past. Hunting & gathering societies, hoe and plow cultures, pastoral societies and agricultural societies are the main means of production. 2. Social structure- there is fixed and ascribed sex and social class roles. Societies are generally small and deviation is dealt with by gossip, trial and ordeal, corporal and capitol punishment. 3. Social institutions- Tribe, kin, and extended family are important. Education is limited. Differing religions are generally not tolerated. There are high birth and death rates. Social change is slow and only tolerated.


This social pattern follows pre-modernism. It means: 1) traditional societies can no longer cope and population increases and the means of production moves from agricultural to industrialism. 2. Personal choice increases. One may be able to choose mate, location of life, work, and related activities. One has the illusion that they can control their lives. In fact, one is obligated to take actions that control ones life style. 3. Diversity is abundant. People from numerous demographics and psychographics come together in small geographic areas called cities. Punishment is determined by courts of law. 4. Time becomes extremely important and is sectioned into days, nights, work, and play. Supposedly smart individuals have a future orientation. Science is extremely important. Progress theory is believed.

Post modernism:

In this social pattern, only the most "advance" countries are becoming aware of this. It is based on the following assumptions: 1) Modernity begins to fade. One of the promises of modernism is free from want. Things do improve dramatically, but the human condition triumphs over technology. 2. Buoyant optimism attached to progress begins to lose its luster. The future can be bright or perhaps not. Upward and onward are not assumed. Each generation has its own problems. 3. Science shares power with religion and magic. Traditional science may be conducted for the benefit of the rich. Scientific research can be questioned by chaos theory, and deconstructionism. Much of life is social constructed. Post modernism draws also from critical theory. The elite determine the categories and language imprisons us. Life is extremely fluid when one has an emphatic moment and gets beyond language. Some say that emptiness is encountered. Others claim that mysticism is the prevalent feeling. 4. Social institutions are changing as modernism fails. The struggle over material goods is partially replaced with the struggle of ideas. Post-post modernism has emerged because post modernism has become so extreme and obtuse, that is deemed not to be workable. The most extreme statement is that language comes before humanity. That is just wrong. Humans invent language for survival to construct society. Further, statements such as there is not a meta-narrative is replaced with a meta-narrative do exist but it is likely to be subjective.


Let's apply the three perspectives or patterns to religion. In pre-modernism, religion is paramount.

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