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Traditions > Adidam and Postmodernism: Part 1
Adidam as a Post-Postmodern Tradition
How does Adidam compare with postmodernism? Doesn't
postmodernism reject the view that there is an Ultimate Reality, whereas Adidam
is oriented around the view that there is an Ultimate Reality?
Adidam is a post-postmodern tradition. Like postmodernism, Adidam rejects all egoic viewpoints as limited. But this is because it identifies the ego as the source of all limited viewpoints (which postmodernism fails to do). The immediate (and profoundly consequential) implication is that there is a Viewpoint that is not limited: if one transcends the ego perfectly, then "limited viewpoint" is also transcended in the Prior Unity that is revealed. Thus, unlike postmodernism, Adidam claims that there is a Prior Unity, and an ego-transcending (non-separative) Viewpoint associated with the Consciousness that is that Prior Unity. Also, unlike postmodernism, Adidam is not just a philosophy; it provides a means for Realizing that Consciousness (and Prior Unity) directly (not merely "knowing" it egoically, or forming limited viewpoints about it), and consequently, for transcending egoity altogether and all the limited points of view so greatly criticized by postmodernism.
This article contains the following subsections:
- Philosophy combined with practice
- Postmodernism, integral
theory, and post-postmodern traditions
for a progressive post-postmodern cultural tradition
1. Adidam and postmodernism
Adi Da and the postmodernists agree is on the virtue of identifying limiting points
of view and their sources
to "raise them to consciousness" so as to help free oneself of the limits they
represent. As author and art critic, Rajesh Shukla, puts
it: "Adi Da is postmodern in this sense, because he knows the very locus
from where things appear." Where the postmodernists
might use "skepticism" as their means, practitioners of the Way of Adidam
use a form of free and unrestricted enquiry, to supplement their direct devotional
response to (and increasing awareness of, communion with, and ultimately Realization of) Reality Itself.
Where Adi Da and the postmodernists
part ways is this: the postmodernists don't believe there is anything but limited
point of view (just less limited points of view, perhaps); whereas Adi Da does
describe and distinguish an unlimited, non-egoic Point of View, the Point of View
of Consciousness, that is unmediated by the body (and its senses) or the mind,
and that cannot be known (through the mind
hence Adi Da refers to it as "Divine Ignorance"), but can be Realized
(and as such, Adi Da refers to it as "Perfect Knowledge").
Adidam, postmodernism rejects the traditional "objective" notions of
truth. In the view of Adidam, "objectification" involves an observer
dissociating himself or herself from an "observed", and the egoic act
of separation involved in that objectification dissociates one from the nonseparate
Prior Unity which, according to Adidam, is the Truth. (In Adidam, Truth is not
the same as factuality.)
postmodernism then goes on to presume that the only other alternative to a single
"objective truth" is an infinite variety of limited, subjective truths.
In contrast, Adidam holds that Truth is that which is always already the case,
independent of viewpoint: Reality Itself. Semiologist Jacques Derrida, one of
the founders of postmodernism, writes:
The entire history of the concept
of structure, before the rupture of which we are speaking, must be thought of
as a series of substitutions of centre for centre, as a linked chain of determinations
of the centre. Successively, and in a regulated fashion, the centre receives different
forms or names. The history of metaphysics, like the history of the West, is the
history of these metaphors and metonymies. Its matrix [...] is the determination
of Being as presence in all senses of this word. It could be shown that
all the names related to fundamentals, to principles, or to the centre have always
designated an invariable presence – eidos, arche, telos,
energeia, ousia (essence, existence, substance, subject), aletheia,
transcendentality, consciousness, God, man, and so forth.
Structure, Sign and Play, in Writing
But Adidam does not merely speak
of "a center" (of which there are countless viewpoints, as Derrida rightly
points out), or merely conceptualize a Divine Person to be Realized, or
recommend an Aletheon to be
read. Adidam agrees with Derrida that a purely objective truth is an impossibility.
But Adidam doesn't stop with talk or viewpoint. Unlike postmodernism, Adidam isn't
just a philosophy. It is one more philosophy, but it is not just
one more philosophy. It provides a means for Realizing Reality Itself —
which has no center, no "object", and no separative, limited, or egoic
viewpoint whatsoever. In this sense, Adidam could be called "Perfect
Philosophy" (to use Adi Da's phrase), in that it doesn't merely talk about
Ultimate Reality, but it also provides the means for Realizing the Ultimate Reality
[Divine Enlightenment], there is no surface, no dimension, no center, no size.
There is perfect rest at the surface and at the center. There is no definition
to the being. There is perfect expansion then, which is not equivalent to having
achieved a point above or outside or inside, but which is the same as having achieved
no point whatsoever, having perfectly penetrated the whole affair that defines
the being. The natural disposition in [Divine Enlightenment] is perfectly formless,
without quality, without world, without relations, without size, without dilemma
— absolute freedom from all the implications of birth and death, survival and
transcendence, inwardness and adventure.
Avatar Adi Da Samraj,
All Beings Run to This Mere Truth"
Way That I Teach
2. Philosophy combined with practice
Thus the key distinction between Adidam
and postmodernism is this: postmodernism is a philosophy; Adidam is not only a
philosophy, but a spiritual and transcendental Way. The postmodernist
belief that there is no "absolute reality" and there is nothing but
limited points of view is a philosophical presumption built into postmodernism.
It is not a conclusion reached by exhaustive observation or experience
of the nature of reality. In contrast, the view of Adidam — that there is
an Ultimate Reality, That which is always already the case — is testable,
and the Way of Adidam is given as the means for testing that claim. (Indeed, no
one can even become a devotee of Adi Da, or take up the Way of Adidam without
having first received the direct Revelation of the Divine
Reality. The practice of Adidam deepens that Revelation, and enables it to
become Realization.) In this sense, postmodernism is susceptible to a criticism
similar to the one Adi Da makes of scientific materialism:
Scientific materialism is a strange philosophy
for everyone to be attached to . . . Why should it be the preferred philosophy?
Of all the philosophies, it’s the one that allows the least hope relative to any
matter whatsoever! If it were so — well, that’s that, that’s the way it is. But
why should one hope that it is the one that turns out to be so? Why should one
so much want it to be so that one is moved to presently affirm that it’s already
so, even though you haven’t really found out that it’s so yet? . . . Rather than
just willing to have it be that way or whatever way it is, but here just to find
out the way it really is, and not anything other than that.
Adi Da Samraj
In The Deeper Land
In other words,
if one had a choice between a philosophy (like postmodernism) that simply presumes
up front that there is no Absolute Reality, and a spiritual Way that offers a
means for finding out whether there is an Absolute Reality (and moreover, a means
for Realizing the Perfect and Eternal Happiness of that Absolute Reality), which
would you choose?
This is why it is so important to not
merely study philosophy, but to also study the Great Tradition of spiritual and transcendental practices
throughout history. Western philosophy has had a long tradition (and bias) of
valuing conceptualization over practice, dating back to the idealism of Plato,
two and a half millennia ago. But mere conceptualization is limited by the point
of view of the body-mind, which can only be transcended through practice, not thought
The "limited viewpoints" that postmodernism
presumes are an inherent aspect of all human communication are actually the by-product
of an identification with a limited form (a limited body-mind): its limited awareness,
senses, limited conceptualizations, etc. Dissolve that identification with the limited body-mind (through
spiritual and other practices) and the limited viewpoint is dissolved as well.
Such practice includes fundamental changes in the habits of the body-mind that
are purposed toward freeing up energy and attention for the sake of Revelation
— that is, they cut into the body-mind's obsession with its usual "mundane"
objects (money, food, sex, and the like) so that it has the potential for coming
into contact with Something Greater. Whether it is the rigorous ascetic disciplines
undergone by monastic Christian mystics or native Americans on a vision quest,
or the life-positive, God-Communion-supporting practices of the Way of Adidam,
all these practices transform the practitioner's body-mind into a different kind
of instrument more suited for greater-than-material discovery and Revelation —
and the greatest such practices
place one in Consciousness Itself, directly aware of Reality, rather than one's awareness of Reality
always only being mediated through a body-mind.
Philosophy about the nature of reality
without practice (and without being able to directly confirm one's philosophical presumptions through the Realization that comes with practice) is something like scientific theory without scientific instruments
and experimentation using those instruments (to test the theory). Creating, refining,
or integrating ideologies is a rather dull enterprise when compared with receiving
genuine Revelation!  As Thomas Aquinas, probably the
greatest and most brilliant of the medieval Church fathers, put it: Mihi videtur
ut palea — "All my words are mere straw" — when at the
end of his life of fleshing out the core of Catholic theology (particularly in
Theologica), he experienced an actual spiritual Revelation.
You should investigate all "considerations", line them up to Ultimate "Consideration", and make sense out of it all. This is the function of philosophy.
Many Realizers have been philosophers. I am a kind of philosopher, not an academic philosopher, but a philosopher in the traditional sense. Philosophers traditionally have not been academic philosophers. Academic philosophy is a specialized development of philosophy and has its own limitations. Philosophy means "the love of wisdom". And, what is the best way to love wisdom? Some may professionalize their endeavor to speak to a certain dimension of humankind and become rather academic or philosophical in a rather professional sense. And many of those never Realize. Academic philosophers are, in fact, notorious for not Realizing, not doing ego-transcending practice, but just thinking and talking.
Academic philosophy is (one might say) part of the content of the "talking school", then. So, what is better? Yes, it is fine to be discriminative and intelligent and even "consider" many matters in a very sophisticated fashion. I do this Myself, sometimes. But, if Truth is your "consideration", then you must also do what you have to do to Realize. You must necessarily become a practitioner, a person who does ego-transcending practice. You must become an ecstatic, necessarily. You must do Yoga. You must transcend yourself for real.
So the import of philosophy is Realization, and the greatest of philosophers are Realizers.
And how many of them were also academic philosophers or something like it? This is not to say that there is no usefulness in very discrete philosophical "consideration". It has a certain usefulness. But it must not bar you from Realization. It must not bar you from the real practice. And, however you exercise your intelligence or your intention, it will tend to perpetuate itself. It is a conditional enterprise. Therefore, if it perpetuates itself, it will tend to deny you Realization.
So, one must be very mindful of how one uses attention. If one is to perform a service, to speak intelligently to others, well, good, do that. But do the practice. Transcend yourself. Realize. You are "considering" Truth, so the matter at hand is to Realize the Truth, whatever your daily service may be. If your daily service involves being something like an academic philosopher, or a scholar, and so forth, fine. But do the practice. Others may not have that particular specialty of service. Maybe they just are carpenters or plumbers, and so on. But they should do ego-transcending practice, too. All must Realize.
Avatar Adi Da Samraj, October 31, 1987
3. A historical progression
From a historical viewpoint, Adidam
is rightly understood as a new, post-postmodern tradition:
began with the Renaissance and flowered during the Enlightenment period. Modernity
exceeds its predecessor, medievalism, in presuming that there is an objective
reality which can be discovered with certainty through observation and reason.
Modernity provided (what postmodernists would call) a set of "grand narratives",
including Isaac Newton's model of the physical universe, the Enlightenment era
notion that democracy is the most enlightened form of government, etc.
arose at the end of the nineteenth century, and lasted until the mid-twentieth
century. It represented a rebellion against the conservative values of realism
and tradition, and an emphasis on freedom of expression, experimentation, radicalism,
and primitivism. While modernism was historically coincident and resonant with
Einstein's theory of relativity, Freud's notions about the unconscious, etc.,
modernism largely expressed itself through various new movements in art and literature,
including art that rejected the traditional notions of perspective, surrealistic
art, abstract expressionism, pop art, minimalism, jazz, etc.
(dating from the mid-twentieth century) provides a methodology for questioning
(or deconstructing) any viewpoint that claims to be objective, "privileged",
or absolute — including all the grand narratives of modernism and modernity altogether (along with
the religious "grand narratives" of medievalism). Its strength is that
it can expose limits of traditionally embraced viewpoints. Its weakness is that
it simply presumes there is nothing but limited viewpoint (and that there
is no Ultimate Reality beyond limited viewpoint) — which presumption is
itself yet another "grand narrative" worthy of deconstruction (see,
for example, Habermas ). Because its primary tool is skepticism,
postmodernism's primary mood is nihilism and despair, and the culture that has
formed around postmodernist thinking reflects that mood.
Adidam agrees with postmodernism in critiquing the simplistic notion of an objective
reality. Like postmodernism, Adidam rejects all egoic (i.e. separative)
viewpoints as limited. But this is because it identifies the ego as the source
of all limited viewpoints (which is something postmodernism fails to do). The
immediate (and profoundly consequential) implication is that there is a Viewpoint
that is not limited: if one transcends the ego perfectly, then "limited
viewpoint" is also transcended in the Prior Unity that is revealed. Thus,
unlike postmodernism, Adidam claims that there is a Prior Unity, and an ego-transcending
(non-separative) Viewpoint associated with the Consciousness that is that
Prior Unity. Adidam also provides a means for Realizing that Consciousness
(and Prior Unity) directly (not merely "knowing" it egoically, or forming
limited viewpoints about it). It is in this precise sense that Adidam practitioners
engage in "Perfect
Philosophy" and Realize "Perfect
for "Perfect Knowledge", all "knowledge" is
mere ideas, the fantasies of "point of view", entirely imperfect, intrinsically
limited, partial, and insufficient, altogether not-Truth, not-Divine, not-Reality,
not-Freedom, not-Happiness, and a merely mortal, unnecessary, and egoically "self"-deluded
occupation of human mummery. All imperfect "knowledge" is bunk. . .
. In general, people do not understand that they are (literally) living in an
egoic illusion of mind. . . . "Perfect Knowledge" Is Intrinsic Freedom
from all bondage, all of mind, all of egoity, all seeking, all sorrow, and even
all of death and loss.
Avatar Adi Da Samraj, Perfect
Because postmodernism undercuts
the ultimate significance of anything (by fiat, not by actual investigation),
it tends to leave in its wake people struggling to find meaning. A typical conservative
backlash to the confusion, nihilism, and relativization of values associated with
postmodernism is the attempt to find meaning by returning to traditional, pre-modern religions
and belief systems: hence the rise of religious fundamentalism around the world
(including in the United States). In contrast, Adidam
accepts and acknowledges what has been culturally and practically useful in the
historical period (from the sixteenth to the twentieth century) associated with
the questioning of traditional religions and values (along with their subsequent
decline), and the rise of scientific materialism in the wake of the demonstrable
success of technology and its accomplishments. Like postmodernism, Adidam is critical
of mere belief systems. However, unlike postmodernism (which presumes all there
are are belief systems), Adidam raises the further question: why settle for mere
belief systems (or for merely criticizing them), when there is a greater alternative:
the potential for Realizing Reality itself (beyond all limited point of view),
and for creating a Reality-based culture (rather than a belief-based culture)?
Postmodernism is a process of disillusionment — the stripping away of illusions. But Adidam does not stop there. The Way of Adidam is a process
of positive disillusionment: it strips away illusions at the same time as it Reveals Reality Itself.
Postmodernism resonates well with the familiar
maxim, "question authority" — which has its right place in human
maturation, as well as the maturation of civilization altogether. Indeed, one
of its earliest proponents was Benjamin Franklin, who said: "It is the first responsibility
of every citizen to question authority." But "question authority" remains
merely (and petulantly) adolescent, if one never finds an authority or
organizing principle to which one can submit oneself and one's life. In other
words, such a person is "questioning authority" because he or she reacts to and rejects
authority altogether, in adolescent fashion; in contrast, mature "questioning
of authority" is always constructive, and in service to the finding and/or
creation of appropriate authority, understanding that a meaningful life requires
an organizing principle.
This is so for each individual; and the same
is true of a civilization in toto. Civilization is, by and large, still
in its adolescence, characterized by adolescent, reactionary philosophies
(like postmodernism, whose very name is a reaction), adolescent ideologies (like the political notion of the
"sovereign state", when used by a state — most commonly, by Russia and China — as
a hedge against "intervention" by other states in the international community
that is aimed at protecting the human rights of that state's citizens), and adolescent
A global transformation is now required in human culture — after the devastation, or collapse,
of ego-civilization in the twentieth century. Something entirely new is required — something
My entire life has been spent working to establish the basis for a "radically" new and "radically"
comprehensive culture. My image-art is a summation, in artistic terms, of
all the work I have done. Similarly, the books I have written are a summation, in literary and philosophical terms,
of that same lifetime work. My lifetime of work has always been about the rightening of human existence
and the transcending of what is binding human beings and leading them on a destructive course.
Therefore, the images I make and do — like the books I have written — are intended to establish a new paradigm of
human civilization. The images I make and do are about an entirely different — and altogether ego-transcending —
mode, not only of picture-making, but of living and understanding.
What is now required is an epochal change in the history of human endeavor. Just as the Renaissance represented a profound
summation of transformation in human endeavor, so now a new kind of transformation is happening.
The "modernists" [in art] were moving toward this transformation, but they were also making images
in the midst of the virtual collapse of world-civilization in the twentieth century. Since that
collapse, it is no longer possible to return to a tradition that idealizes the human ego. Indeed,
what happened in the twentieth century was the definitive failure of Renaissance-originated civilization,
which civilization was based on the idealization and glorification of the ego and on the wholesale
adoption of the ego's perspectival view of "reality".
The Renaissance was the collapse of the "God"-civilization that preceded it — the civilization
based on mythological presumptions of what is traditionally conceived to be spatially and temporally
"behind" and "above" the world. The Renaissance destroyed that earlier form of civilization. With the
Renaissance, "God"-myth-based civilization was replaced with human-based civilization, or ego-civilization
— or the civilization based on the myth of the human ego-"I". That ego-civilization came to its
essential end in the twentieth century.
In this post-ego-civilization era, the only right basis for human existence — now, and into the future — is the establishment of a civilization that is no longer based on idealization of the ego, but also no longer based on "God"-mythologies. True and right life is neither "God"-myth-based nor ego-based. True and right life is intrinsically ego-transcending. True and right life is the life of intrinsically egoless coincidence with Reality Itself. True and right life intrinsically transcends all mythologies — whether of "God" or of "Man".
The fundamental (and heretofore, perennial) great disposition that must now be universally retrieved
is the disposition to exceed the limitations of mortality, egoity, and gross existence altogether.
That disposition is the right and true and necessary domain of right and true art, and (altogether) of
right and true culture. The world-culture of humankind as a whole needs to become re-oriented
now — away from its "meditation" on the downward spiral into darkness and the myths of "endtime",
and profoundly toward the disposition that would transcend all limitations.
The true adulthood of human civilization lies in an actually life-transforming
practice capable of finding Reality Itself (beyond all the limited
viewpoints postmodernism rightly criticizes), wedded to a post-postmodern
philosophy (or "perfect philosophy") which calls and inspires
everyone to bring themselves into alignment with Reality Itself
and to make Reality Itself one's ultimate Sanctuary, Authority,
Organizing Principle, and Guide. This allows the heart-felt Prior
Unity of Reality Itself to guide humankind in manifesting a cooperative
and compassionate "new world order" — which reflects
that Prior Unity by serving and benefitting all its members,
not just a few that are singled out by wealth, religion, nation,
race, gender, or any other form of limited identity. (See Adi Da's
Is Peace for more.)
In this sense, Adidam points the way to a future beyond the bleakness
of postmodernism. Adidam provides a
means not merely for the enlightenment of individuals, but for the
development of an entire, ego-transcending, "Reality-based"
human culture that is not based on any limited, egoic viewpoint,
but founded instead on direct awareness of (and abiding in) Reality
Am Looking for men and women who will live free of every kind of seeking, attendant
only to the consciousness of universal prior unity, who will constantly devote
themselves to the responsible cooperative management of individual and collective
human life in the Indivisible Form and Logic of Reality Itself, rather than the
egoic and separative form and 'difference'-bound logic of egoity and illusion.
Such men and women are the unexploitable human presence of Reality Itself.
will actively function in the Intrinsic Pattern of Reality Itself, turning themselves,
and all of humankind, and, indeed, all things into unconditional relatedness and
They will everywhere remove the effects of previous
separative action, and restore the form of life to prior unity and indivisibility.
will design and enact every kind of stability, and they will constantly re-discover
the Beautiful Itself.
They will everywhere establish the presence of undivided
peace. . . .
They will always promote and uphold the universal wisdom of
egolessness, in which right understanding of prior unity is the always public
foundation of existence.
Avatar Adi Da Samraj
Am Here to Awaken A Bright New Age of Global Humankind"
4. Postmodernism, integral theory, and post-postmodern traditions
One way of viewing integral
theory is as an attempt at a constructive response to the criticisms of postmodernism:
how can one evolve a conceptual framework that doesn't suffer from the liabilities
of "viewpoint" identified by postmodernism? Integral theory's
answer: keep adding, or "integrating" to the theory, to address any
liabilities due to incompleteness. For this reason, some advocates of integral theory
have even suggested that integral theory is itself a post-postmodern tradition,
Theory is integral in a multiple sense. It integrates spirituality and science,
or more precisely the pre-modern, modern, and post-modern ways of knowing thus
creating a post-postmodern stance.
Of course the primary liability that
both postmodernism and integral theory share is that they are both primarily working
in "idea space", not Reality Itself.
There is perhaps no one
more skilled today at refining, integrating, and syncretizing ideas and ideologies
than Ken Wilber. That competence (and personal value) is even reflected in the
name of his creation, "integral theory". If someone has an idea that
isn't currently in his "integral theory", and he runs across it, he'll
"assimilate" it ("Borg"-like, for those familiar with Star
Trek) into his theory. He's a kind of one-man, conceptual vacuum cleaner! Ideas,
rather than reality itself, are the primary focus of this enterprise.
For this reason, there
is a huge difference between developers of conceptual frameworks (like Wilber),
whose primary impulse (on the face of where they spend their time and energy)
is to create an ever more inclusive theory (and, ultimately, a "theory of everything" ); and a Realizer and Transmitter like
Adi Da, whose primary impulse is to directly transmit the Revelation — the direct
awareness — of what He describes in His conceptual framework, for the sake of
liberating all beings. For the former, the conceptual framework is everything.
For the latter, the conceptual framework is a necessary nuisance, words and concepts
that need to be developed for, and communicated to a culture that lacks direct
spiritual sensitivity. Hence Adi Da's description of "the
Ancient Walk-About Way", in which the Realizer is recognized, the Revelation
is received, and, ultimately, the Realization is Realized through spiritual practice,
all with minimal verbal exchange or conceptualization. Few words are needed because
of the practitioner's initial, and then ever-growing, spiritual sensitivity. There is an "assimilation",
but it is not the assimilation of concepts into a conceptual framework. It is the assimilation of being that is
associated with the sacrifice of the separate self (i.e., the awakening from the illusion of being a separate self) and the Realization of the Divine:
|The Reality-Way of Adidam Is Divine, Holy, Set
Apart, Unique. I Am here. You must enter into My Divine
Domain. I Assimilate you and all your differences vanish
Avatar Adi Da Samraj
from spoken communications,
"The Divine Intrinsically Stands Apart
and Prior to all Traditions"
is worth comparing the scientific method with postmodernism, integral theory,
and Adidam. The scientific method has three key steps that form an ongoing feedback
- Formulate a theory or hypothesis.
- Test the theory against
reality. Formulate criticisms of the theory based on the results.
or refine the theory, based on the criticisms.
Postmodernism is a
tradition that has just one of these three "steps":
criticisms of the theory [via deconstruction, incredulity or irony regarding grand
narratives, parataxis, pastiche, etc.]
Integral theory adds a feedback
loop, but one which does not explicitly integrate with reality (or Reality):
a theory or hypothesis.
- Formulate criticisms of the theory [largely by
comparing it with other not-yet-assimiliated theories].
- Revise or refine
the theory, based on the criticisms.
By way of contrast, the process
by which Adi Da evolved and refined the Way of Adidam has the following steps,
and — like the scientific method — does involve reality in its feedback process
(and goes beyond the scientific method by involving Reality Itself):
a theory of Reality (and the ultimate nature of everything) and how to Realize
Reality [based on Adi Da's Own Realization].
- Formulate criticisms of the
theory [largely on the basis of observing where devotees are not actually advancing
in their own Realization of Reality].
- Revise or refine the theory, based
on the criticisms. Also: re-incarnate the Divine Reality (re-integrate the Divine
Reality with the body-mind, as Adi Da did several times during His lifetime) in
a way that makes the Way of Realizing the Divine Reality even more accessible.
in not including reality (or Reality) in its feedback loop, and restricting its
evolutionary process to the space of ideas, integral theory is not actually a
"post-postmodern tradition", but rather a "constructive" form of postmodernism.
5. Criteria for a progressive post-postmodern cultural tradition
Medievalism, modernity, modernism, and postmodernism form a
clearly recognizable cultural progression, even (as we suggested earlier) with
clear parallels to individual maturation (with modernism and postmodernism analogous to adolescence
and the development of discrimination). While there are many movements now that
are a reaction to postmodernism and an attempt to move in a new direction — and
in a strictly literal sense are thus "post" postmodern (insofar as they are
occurring chronologically after the peak of postmodernism) — many of them are not progressive; they do not
necessarily represent a step forward.
When we refer to Adidam as "post-postmodern",
we do mean that it is a step forward in the progression, not just a sideways step
(or even a backward step, as in various attempts to return to modernism). Thus
we use the term "post-postmodern" in a prescriptive (not merely descriptive)
sense, with the following distinguishing criteria:
- A Viewpoint beyond limited viewpoint. A post-postmodern
cultural tradition must not merely aspire to the "greatest possible viewpoint"
(through conceptual accretion or any other means), but must present a viewpoint that directly
reflects Reality Itself (and in so doing, transcends all limited viewpoints).
- Realization beyond mere conceptualization. A post-postmoderm
cultural tradition must do much more than have a "theory
of everything". Its core must
be a means for directly Realizing (beyond conceptualization)
the true nature of everything.
- Self-transcendence. A post-postmodern cultural
tradition must not merely avoid language or focus on experience over and against
words (for example, as in Eshelman's "performatism" ),
since self-involved experience has its own range of limitations, just like language
and viewpoints expressed through language. A post-postmodern tradition must be
grounded in the absolute self-transcendence represented by Ultimate Revelation,
since, short of complete self-transcendence, the self or ego is the source of
all limited viewpoint, whether verbal or experiential.
- Reality-based participation. A post-postmodern
cultural tradition must not merely be participatory and relational in its generation
of meaning (for example, as in Alan Kirby's digimodernism ).
A meaning that comes out of the combination of "self" and "other"
(author/reader, artist/viewer, etc. — two egos, no matter how you cut it) still
suffers the limitations of egoity (which creates the sense that "self" and "other" are separate) in general, and the egoity of its participants in particular. But a post-postmodern
cultural tradition will be participatory in a self-transcending manner: in a way
that dissolves the sense of separation between self and other because it is grounded
in the Divine (Reality Itself), the nonseparate Source Condition of all beings and things.
- A means for transcending limited viewpoint altogether. Postmodernism characteristically places great emphasis on language. For this reason,
many would-be post-postmodern traditions shift the emphasis to another modality, as we have seen (for example, experience or participation). But
a limited viewpoint shows up in all these venues: expressed in language; felt as experience; or felt in relationship to others. A real way beyond all
limited viewpoint of every kind necessarily must provide a means for identifying and locating the very source of "limited viewpoint" (egoity itself)
and fully transcending it. This is the
purpose of the Way of Adidam.
TO "COMPARISONS WITH OTHER TRADITIONS"