Home ANS Feature Pseudo/Faux-Modern: The Next Epoch

Pseudo/Faux-Modern: The Next Epoch

by Brian Nixon

By Brian Nixon, Special to ASSIST News Service

Avatars WhoareyouALBUQUERQUE, NEW MEXICO (ANS – July 1, 2015) – Several years ago I did an interview with ANS founder, Dan Wooding, for his Front Page Radio show. One of the questions Dan asked was, “What is next for the Christian church? Where do you see it going in the future?” I discussed with him some of the tenants of Pseudo/Faux Modern ideology. After the interview, several people approached me to discuss some of these ideas further, intrigued by the implications. Later, in a couple of my college classes, we, too, discussed the ramifications of the possible oncoming Pseudo/Faux Modern Era. This interview with Dan took place nine years ago. And believe it or not, many of the points discussed are upon us.

Though I cannot claim to know where the future is ultimately going, and by all accounts, forecasters have been wrong when trying to project the future, the discussion among cultural thinkers (philosophers, ethicists, etc.) concerning the next era are quite fascinating. And with the recent court decisions regarding a host of subjects, particularly as it relates to human choice, it seems as though the Western world is moving away from a Post-modern ideology towards as Pseudo/Faux Modern mindset.

RobotsHere is a snapshot of Pseudo/Faux Modern tenants:

1. Faux Modern. The names gives us a clue to the predicted era. Faux means “artificial,” “imitation,” or “false.” Pseudo means, “fake,” “simulated, and “quasi” among other things. Generally, the era is expected to be an imitation of personhood (an “imitation” self), in that a projected view of oneself will be the norm; a persons view of ‘self’ is the reality, not necessarily biological indicators. In a small way, we already live in a projected-self world. We live through emails, Facebook, Instagram, and text messaging. Is the “real” me words or images on a screen? Are these images connected to biological reality? Because of this new phenomenon, we must distinguish between a ‘real’ self (biologically rooted) and a ‘projected’ self (technologically or felt-need associated). Philosopher, Alan Kirby, calls this looming era, Pseudo-Modern [1]. All of this leads us to the next tenant of Pseudo/Faux Modern ideology.

2. The Projected Self. According to Alan Kirby, “postmodernisms called ‘reality’ into question, {whereas} pseudo-modernism defines the real implicitly as myself, now, “interacting’ with its text.” (Philosophy Now, Issue 58, page 37) Here, Kirby is stating that a person’s view of reality is a self-generated one, created by the person’s interaction with a “text” (culture, situations, etc.). The ramification of this may mean that a person’s projected image, through technology or socially, is the base for his or her personhood interacting in reality. Think Transgenderism or someone associating as an African American when, if fact, they are not (http://www.cnn.com/2015/06/16/us/washington-rachel-dolezal-naacp/).

RelativismPut in laymen’s terms, how I project myself to other people will be my reality. Philosophically, this idea is hyper-relativity; a persons ability to form and fashion personal reality in a substantial way, based upon felt-needs and personal tastes. They can do this through technology, biological transformations, or self-projected personhood. As an example, through an avatar (a computer generated self- think Princess Lea talking to Obi-1 Ben Kenobi through R2-D2 in Star Wars) one can create a Projected Self. With my computer-generated avatar, I can be as tall as I want, with the hair color I want, use the language I want (computer-based translation, etc.), and have the personality I want—all through the creation of a computer based ‘me.’ Yet, the person on the other side of the image or text will have no way of verifying if the avatar is really ‘me.’ This same reality can be accomplished through biological transformation (at least in a sub-biological way, but never completely, changing one’s genes). The point being, there are multiple “me’s,” designed and projected as I see fit.

3. Technology. Of course, before one can have a projected self, technology must catch up with Philosophy. And at this point, it is almost here. In Pseudo/Faux Modern ideology, technology is king. Through technology, I can artificially be at several places at once (through my avatar, that is; think of a phone or video conference, but done through a 3-D generated self). Also, technology will allow my avatar’s to have artificial intelligence. To understand this, think of my avatar having access to all the encyclopedias of the world (through the internet and such). When a question is asked the avatar, it simply scans the information, processes it, and gives a cogent answer. With the proper programming, my avatar can generate answers based upon my input (what I tell the avatar to answer). Though we are not yet here, technologically speaking, it looms not too far in the future. All this, of course, leads to another tenant of Pseudo/Faux Modern ideology.

4. Artificial Intelligence. With the consuming age of technology upon us, the world is not too far off from having Robots and other artificial (Pseudo/Faux) realities. As a matter of fact, there is a whole area of thinking that deals with this very thing, involving ethics, morals, law, etc. How are we to treat a robot? As a person? As a machine? What will happen to a human being if he or she accidentally “kills” the robot? You may laugh at this, but many are already thinking through issues such as these. Currently, there are millions of dollars spent on Artificial Intelligence [2].

cloned sheep 1691358c5. Bioethics and the Created Organism. Science has now demonstrated that it can clone organisms. Though it is not yet a fine science, cloning is, and will, be a thing of the future (either for animals, or possibly humans). The Pseudo/Faux Modern era will be the era of working with, or through, Created Organism. This, of course, will involve bioethics: how we ethically treat these organisms, human or otherwise. Are these Created Organisms people? How does this relate to the soul?

6. Moral Uncertainty and Ethical Quandaries. If you think the current, post-modern, ideology is crazy in the ethical world (think of the debates on homosexuality, personhood, abortion, ecology, etc.), wait until the next era dawns. Many ethicists see the aforementioned topics as a thing of the past. The current thinkers are working through tomorrow’s problems. Here is an example: since we live in an era of relativism (truth is relative), and the Judea/Christian era has lost influence, the ethics and morals of the past no longer come into play, or have little influence in determining the future. This means that if one ideology (let’s say, homosexuality or transgenderism: am I a man or woman?) is seen as acceptable, then, in a hyper-relative world, polygamy, morphgenderism (I am what I affiliate at the moment), and such, should be allowed. What’s right for the goose must be right for the gander? The change in definitions and understanding in one group will affect our understandings and definitions for other groups. If society is not going to dictate truth in one area, should it dictate truth in any area? This hyper-relativism is what Francis Beckwith calls, I-Relativism. The “I” dictates personal reality, not facts or generally accepted truth.

Believe it or not, I can go on and on, looking at the arts, sciences, medicine, etc. Pseudo/Faux Modern ideology is just beginning to take root in our society, covering all areas of culture. Though this is just an introduction, the question arises, what should a Christian do? And what is the Church to do? Well, this is for another article, but a few things stand tall: teach the Bible as truth (God’s truth), love God with all of your heart, mind, and soul, and love your neighbor as yourself. How the Church involves itself with elements of Pseudo/Faux Modern ideology is yet to be seen. Yet, it is my hope and prayer that the Church would remain faithful to Christ and His word.

1) https://philosophynow.org/issues/58/The_Death_of_Postmodernism_And_Beyond

2) https://fortune.com/2015/07/01/elon-musk-artificial-intelligence/

Photo captions: 1) Avatars: Which are You? 2) Robots. 3) Relativism. 4) Dolly, the cloned sheep. 5) Brian Nixon.

Brian NixonAbout the writer: Brian Nixon is a writer, musician, and minister. He’s a graduate of California State University, Stanislaus (BA) and is a Fellow at Oxford Graduate School (D.Phil.). As a published author, editor, radio host, recording artist, and visual artist, Brian spends his free time with his three children and wife, painting, writing music, reading, and visiting art museums. To learn more, click here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brian_Nixon.

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