Is Society Rejecting 21st Century Change? Adapting to Postmodernism Learning…

by | Jun 26, 2016


Managing chaos in a changing world…it’s complicated…

Postmodernism  Click here…for more… A quote from NZCR…21st Century Learning

Post-modern just means ‘coming after’ modernism. The term is used to refer to a period in history (the one we’re in now), but it is also used to refer to a set of ideas that ‘go with’ this period in history. This set of ideas is a reaction to—and, to some extent, a rejection of—the ideas of modernism.

According to one theorist, post modernism is the passage from ‘solid’ (stable) times to ‘liquid’ times (Bauman 2007). It is the end of traditional structures and institutions, and the end of what another theorist calls ‘grand narratives’–the big, one-size-fits-all stories of modern thought (Lyotard 1984). There is a loss of faith in the idea of ‘progress’, the idea that we are gradually heading along the one true pathway towards certain universal goals – such as the full picture of knowledge, or equality and justice. Instead, there is an emphasis on multiple pathways and plurality; on diversity and difference; and on the partiality of all knowledge (that is, the idea that we can only have an incomplete picture, and the idea that all knowledge is biased). Change is seen, not as a linear progression, but as a series of networks and flows, connections and reconnections that, because they are always forming and reforming, never have time to solidify.

Thus, where modern thought emphasises direction, order, coherence, stability, simplicity, control, autonomy, and universality, post modern thought emphasises fragmentation, diversity, discontinuity, contingency, pragmatism, multiplicity, and connections.

Read more about some of the theories behind the shift to 21st century learning, or click on one of the specific theories below.


Bauman, Z. (2007). Liquid times: Living in an age of uncertainty. Cambridge UK: Polity Press.
Lyotard, J-F. (1984). The postmodern condition: A report on knowledge. Manchester: Manchester University Press.


I don’t believe many of us from the baby boomer generation really loved a life of constantly disruptive and painful change, but to survive and thrive we had to adapt fast, especially to rapidly changing and evolving technologies.  Can’t we just get back to the peace and love movement of the 1960 era of hippies and Woodstock?  Nobody could even find us! There is no rest for the weary even now as the 3rd decade of the 21st Century is just around the corner.

I love technology, but hate how it forces humanity to change too quickly for our own good.  My very soul rejects the idea that we are at a point now where practicing mindfulness and grounding is mandatory to get through each hour of the day.  We are asked to “build Rome in a day” every day of the week, even on Sunday during worship services.  Everybody wants something, or wants us to do something.  Being hyper-vigilant is no longer considered an unstable emotional behavior.  Hyper-arousal behaviors have evolved to a 21st Century asset in managing effectively the chaos of every day living and work life.  Our technology devices help us live in chaos and stay focused, but we lose it when we have to sit in a meeting and have a thoughtful conversation.  Thinking about what happened yesterday and being fearful of falling off a cliff in the future is contrary to living in the moment.  We thrive in the modern world by learning as quickly as possible how to fix the mistakes of the past and anticipate the moving targets of the future.  Wow!  We are forced to adapt and become super nimble to navigate successfully our daily life on the planet.

What do we do?  Well, we must learn to live in the modern world, and teach our children to do so.  We are not going back to Woodstock!  That was fun, but my peers of that time in history quickly realized after a few years of traveling the country smok’n n jok’n that we needed to jump right in the thick of all the crap and make a difference for ourselves, our families, and others in a larger context. Our lives could not be meaningful nor rewarding if it is not about something larger than us.  We cut the long hair, stopped the drugs and alcohol, returned to school, started a family, and begrudgingly wore that awful 3 piece suit each and every day.  The good news is we started dressing more casually in the 1980’s.  Politicians and bankers are the hold outs, and still wear suits and ties.  Bill Gates and Steve Jobs showed us how to relax more at work with openness, mindfulness, self awareness, self-care and in reaching out to others in collaborative work groups.  Otherwise, in a chaotic world, burn-out comes entirely too early to suit the needs of the corporate bottom line. Work has to be fun or we are not at our best as innovators and entrepreneurs nor as caring and loving human beings.

So, get with it!  Learn to be adaptive and mindful in your life at home and at work.  Stop rejecting technology and start loving it.  An offense is always the best defense.   When you can take ownership and stop rejecting change, your life can be as rewarding and peace loving as you want it to be without returning to Woodstock.  Each and everyone of us are in-charge of our own future, one way or the other. Wake up and smell the roses, and think “I got this” each and every day.  Strike an agreement to own your own future…

Steve Sparks. Author, Reconciliation: A Son’s Story and My Journey of Healing in Life After Trauma, Part 1&2… Click the highlighted text for my author page to order books and other stuff from Amazon.


Steve Sparks, Author, Blogger, Child Advocate, and member, Lincoln County Oregon, Mental Health Advisory Committee (MHAC)

About the author

Steve Sparks is a retired information technology sales and marketing executive with over 35 years of industry experience, including a Bachelors’ in Management from St. Mary’s College. His creative outlet is as a non-fiction author, writing about his roots as a post-WWII US Navy military child growing up in the 1950s-1960s.
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