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‘Akidah’ Postmodernism

Posted on: April 7, 2008

Waktu kuliah (meski tak tamat) di jurusan komunikasi di sebuah kampus di jakarta, saya pernah mendengar istilah postmodernism. Sampai sekarang, saya masih bertanya-tanya apa sih yang dimaksud term atau istilah tersebut. Saya jadi penasaran.

Sesungguhnya sudah berkali-kali saya membaca tulisan yang berkaitan dengan postmodernism tapi hasilnya belum mantap. Karena tulisannya berbahasa inggris semua sehingga saya yang belum paham betul dengan bahasa inggris, masih terseok-seok dalam memahami istilah tersebut.

Karena belum paham, maka tak salah-salah amat jika disini saya ingin menurunkan tulisan atau lebih cocok kutipan (sebagai bahan diskusi) yang barangkali bisa menjadi petunjuk atau ilham dalam memahami term postmodernism.

“Postmodernism is difficult to define, because to define it would violate the postmodernist’s premise that no definite terms, boundaries, or absolute truths exist. In this article, the term “postmodernism” will remain vague, since those who claim to be postmodernists have varying beliefs and opinions on issues.” (1)

(Pengertian yang saya pahami, postmodernism merupakan terma yang cukup sulit dideffinisikan, karena usaha mendifinisikannya akan meruksak premise postmodernism itu sendiri yakni tak ada istilah atau batasan-batasan yang jelas atau tak ada kebenaran absolut.)

Nampaknya gerakan postmodernism sangat berkaitan erat dengan responnya terhadap gaya hidup yang terjadi di barat. Meski demikian, hal itu bukan tidak mustahil terjadi juga dibagian lain dimuka bumi ini. Berikut ini kutipan yang berhasil saya dapatkan dari internet.

Are nationalism, politics, religion, and war the result of a primitive human mentality? Is truth an illusion? How can Christianity claim primacy or dictate morals? The list of concerns goes on and on especially for those affected by a postmodern philosophy and lifestyle. For some, the questions stem from lost confidence in a corrupt Western world. For others, freedom from traditional authority is the issue. Their concern centers around the West’s continued reliance on ancient and traditional religious morals, nationalism, capitalism, inept political systems, and unwise use and adverse impact of promoting “trade offs” between energy resources and environment, for economic gain. (2)

(pengertian yang saya tangkap : “apakah nasionalisme, politik, agama dan peperangan merupakan buah dari mentalitas primitive? Apakah kebenaran itu sebuah ilusi? Bagaimana bisa christinaity mengklaim sebagai primacy (superior dalam segala hal) dan (karenanya berhak) mengajarkan moral? Daftar perhatian terus bergulir terutama bagi mereka yang tersentuh filsafat dan gaya hidup postmodern. Bagi sebagian orang, sejumlah pertanyaan muncul akibat kehilangan kepercayaan terhadap dunia barat yang korup. Sementara sebagian lain melihat bahwa kebebasan dari penguasa tradisional merupakan isu sentral. Perhatian mereka berkisar pada (isu) kebergantungan barat terhadap moral keagamaan tradisional yang klasik, nasionalisme, kapitalisme, sistem politik yang busuk, penggunaan yang tidak bijak serta dampak yang antagonistik dari gerakan “trade offs” antara sumber energi dan lingkungan, untuk kepentingan ekonomi).

Dari kutipan diatas, semangat postmodernism bisa dibaca dengan mengkontraskannya dengan semangat yang ingin dikritiknya. Klaim kebenaran pun digugatnya. Semangat nasionalisme yang berlebihan, politik busuk yang sarat kepentingan sempit, agama yang acap kali menyumbat rasionalitas digugatnya pula. Oleh karena itu, kutipan selanjutnya menyatakan demikian.
“Their concerns, for example, often include building and using weapons of mass destruction (nasionalisme, atau agama), encouraging an unlimited amount of consumerism (kapitalisme) thus fostering a wasteful throwaway society at the sacrifice of the earth’s resources and environment, while at the same time not serving the fair and equitable socioeconomic needs of the populace.” (3)

(pengertian yang saya pahami : perhatian mereka, misalnya, menyangkut (isu) pembangunan dan penggunaan senjata pemusnah massal, dukungan terhadap ajaran konsumersime yang tak terbatas sehingga menggiring masyarakat pada tindakan mengorbankan sumber daya bumi dan lingkungan, sementara pada saat yang sama, tidak menunaikan pemenuhan yang fair dan adil terhadap kebutuhan sosio-ekonomi masyarakat).

Dibarat, kebebasan memang hampir dipertuhankan. Tetapi, tidak sedikit para postmodernist yang mempertanyakannya. Apakah betul barat itu konsisten dengan kebebasan yang diusungnya. Berikut ini, gambaran bagaimana barat dengan kebebasan yang diusungnya.

Postmodernists believe that the West’s claims of freedom and prosperity continue to be nothing more than empty promises and have not met the needs of humanity. They believe that truth is relative and truth is up to each individual to determine for himself. Most believe nationalism builds walls, makes enemies, and destroys “Mother Earth,” while capitalism creates a “have and have not” society, and religion causes moral friction and division among people.

(pengertian yang saya pahami : para pemikir postmodernism percaya bahwa klaim barat akan kebebasan dan kesuksesan hanya tinggal janji-janji ompong dan tidak memenuhi aspirasi kemanusiaan. Mereka pun (para pemikir) kian mantap bahwa kebenaran adalah relative belaka dan kebenaran pada akhirnya bermuara pada masing-masing individu untuk menentukan buat dirinya. Maka, banyak orang yakin nasionalisme menancapkan tembok-tembok, lalu menciptakan lawan, dan kemudian memusnahkan “bumi ibu” (mother earth), sementara (akidah) kapitalisme membagi masyarakat kedalam dua sekat yang berbeda (si kaya dan si miskin), dan agama pun menimbulkan konflik dan sekat-sekat diantara penganutnya.

Sesungguhnya, semangat postmodernism tak butuh janji-janji muluk tapi kemudian ternyata ompong,tak bergigi. Orang-orang (pendukung) postmodernism berkeyakinan bahwa kebenaran itu tak ada yang mutlak. Kebenaran itu hanya konstruksi sosial saja, sehingga implikasinya kebenaran suatu komunitas belum tentu benar bagi komunitas lainnya. Disinilah semangat appresiasi perlu ditumbuhkembangkan guna memperkaya cakrawala berfikir menembus prasangka-prasangka sempit tertentu.

Bagi para pemikir postmodernism, nilai-nilai agama dan kapitalisme barat perlu terus diuji dan dikaji. Berikut ini kutipan selanjutnya :

They challenge the core religious and capitalistic values of the Western world and seek change for a new age of liberty within a global community. Many prefer to live under a global, non-political government without tribal or national boundaries and one that is sensitive to the socioeconomic equality for all people.

(pengertian yang saya pahami : mereka (kaum postmodernist) senantiasa menguji nilai-nilai keagamaan dan kapitalistik barat dan mencoba menelisik perubahan bagi zaman baru yang mendukung kebebasan dalam komunitas global. Karenanya ada yang lebih memilih hidup dibawah pemerintahan global yang non politik tanpa ada sekat-sekat kesukuan atau batas-batas nasional dan juga dibawah pemerintahan yang peka terhadap persamaan (keadilan) socio ekonomi untuk umat manusia, seluruhnya).

Gimana sikap postmodernism terhadap apa yang salah dan apa yang benar?
Postmodernists do not attempt to refine their thoughts about what is right or wrong, true or false, good or evil. They believe that there isn’t such a thing as absolute truth. A postmodernist views the world outside of themselves as being in error, that is, other people’s truth becomes indistinguishable from error. Therefore, no one has the authority to define truth or impose upon others his idea of moral right and wrong.

(pengertian yang saya pahami : pemikir postmodernism tak hendak membeningkan otaknya tentang apa yang benar dan apa yang salah, apa yang baik dan apa yang jahat. Mereka tetap iman bahwa tidak ada yang disebut kebenaran mutlak. A postmodernist views the world outside of themselves as being in error, that is, other people’s truth becomes indistinguishable from error.<<<< (yang ini, saya sulit memahaminya). Dengan demikian, tak seorangpun yang punya otoritas untuk mendefinisikan kebenaran atau memaksakan idenya tentang moral yang baik dan buruk kepada orang lain).
Pada tahap ini, memang saya masih diliputi kebingungan. Namun demikian, titik esensi yang saya tangkap dari akidah postmodernism itu yakni bahwa kebenaran mutlak itu tidak ada. Karena, anda bisa jadi mengatakan bahwa agama anda paling benar. Sementara teman anda yang menganut agama lain mengatakan bahwa agamanyalah yang benar. Masing-masing mengklaim kebenaran agama yang dianutnya.
Saya jadi ingat, agama mengajarkan “fastabiqul khairat” yang artinya kira-kira “berlomba-lombalah dalam kebaikan”. Artinya energi yang ada bukanlah untuk dikuras dan diperas untuk memutlakan pemahaman agama yang ada ditangan dan lantas mencibir pemahaman ditangan lain, tapi akan lebih membumi jika dimanfaatkan untuk membumikan kehidupan yang adil, bermartabat, dan penuh appresiasi.
Jika postmodernism adalah ajaran tentang keadilan dan mendorong social justice untuk semua orang, dan jika postmodernism adalah akidah tentang persamaan kemanusiaan dan mendorong kehidupan yang lebih manusiawi, maka postmodernism itu akan saya rengkuh. Kenapa tidak?

(1) http://www.allaboutphilosophy.org/postmodernism.htm
(2) http://www.allaboutphilosophy.org/postmodernism.htm
(3) http://www.allaboutphilosophy.org/postmodernism.htm

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17 Responses to "‘Akidah’ Postmodernism"

Peculiar kind of post to me: I can read and understand your quotes, but don’t have a clue what you yourself wrote on the subject. Which I sincerely regret.

Two flimsy remarks on my part:
– I often suspect post-modernists of not being able to compete with modernism (is there any new Marcel Duchamps, Pablo Picasso, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe or Gabriel Garcia Marquez – all modernists- among them, one may ask)
– The concept of the non accessibility of absolute truths for mankind, of truth always escaping us, is not very original. It’s at the root of modern (western) science ever since Renaissance or rather since the seventeenth century with people like Spinoza.

This was a real dynamic assumption at the time. Because, from that moment on criticism at “absolute” truths (like everything on earth has been created within seven days, the earth is the center of Universe, etc)became common. It changed cultural and scientific stagnation into dynamism.

this is very interesting. i my self is also trying to understand postmodernism better. so your post helps, thanks! kita share opini ya..

i think, it’s easier if you take a stair and look the whole history of social science from above. see if one by one and put them in arranged. first people live barbaric life, then they started to life with culture, religion, church-medieval times, then comes imperialism, colonialism, then industrialization..etc. many ideology were introduced; nationalism, theocracy, liberalism, realism, etc.(have i arrange them right or should i read political book again 😀 ?)

then in the modern time, capitalism was (And is) the star of all. pop culture..like the life we are still living now.

then imagine that some people got really sick of this all. because this is actually the journey path for people to find the truth, happiness or ideal community…??BUT THEY DIDN’T FIND IT.

these people who are sick with these becomes cynic, which is very human reaction for people who are sick of something. they criticize everything with their point of view as if it must be politicized, as if everything is manipulated to be like that. they try to show people that we dont need others to tell us what to believe in. they try to make people learn from the past, from so many ideology that has failed to make us happy.

then like you said, they rather believe that people should determine their life based on whatever they like. not driven by anyone else. ablsolute truth is nonesense to them.

it’s called post modernism because it’s happening after modern era. and because absolute truth is nonesense to them, then they are difficult to be defined.

correct me if i’m wrong..

@Colson: you gave me a new perspective about postmodernism can never compete modernism. i think in anyhow postmodernism will never reach anywhere. as it is not really an ideology.

but failed to compete doesn’t say anything about which is better/worse or which is right or wrong. true, that history is written by people who win the battle. the winner of a battle is the stronger, the smarter. but not necessarily the right person..whohoho..i’m being postmodern now.

salam kenal Ahmad..

very good attempt, Ahmad!

just to sporadically respond to everything (article and comments, perhaps)… reading postmodernism as anti-modernism is only partially correct. while originally, yes, it emerged as a reaction to modernism, postmodernism is applied to a wide-ranging theories/approaches, which can be characterized as emerging from, in reaction to, or superseding, modernism.

i’d rather see it as a way to unpack modernism (world)view into pieces and bits that construct it…

while some people/scholars label me as being postmodernist, i don’t see myself as being one. i, though, a firm believer in relativism. there’s no truth, there’s only interpretation of truth. oh, and surely unbeliever in grand narratives 😉

For colson :
Thanks colson for your reflective comment.
Just to let you know, and I want to be honest, that I am not very good in english. First time I got this term (postmodernism), when I was studying in some campus in jakarta. My lecturer talked about postmodernism very briefly. Since that time, I have such term (postmodernism) in my mind even until now. And I am still confused about that. But, through reading and discussing with you, I begin to understand it step by step. The point that I know about post modernism, is that there is no absolute truth, since everybody has their own world view about the truth. Perhaps, here I would like to make an example. In the zoo, there 3 blind persons are asked to describe an elephant. The first who holds elephant’s foot said that elephant is like pedestal and very strong. The second who holds an elephant’s ear said that it is like a big fan. The third said that both the first and the second are wrong, because to him, elephant is like a rope since he holds elephant’s tail. Here, every body has his own truth. They perceive something according to what they experience. Here, absolute truth is not exist, because truth in one hand is different with truth in another hand. So, it is very beautiful that everybody of 3 blind people share their experience and appreciate each other assumption.
Anyway, thanks for your reflective comment, Colson.

Salam, hi mba mulia…my name is Ahmad mulyadi. I think your name has a slight similarity in pronunciation with my last name (mulya-di).
Thanks for visiting and constructive second opinion from your side. I will learn much about English from you.
Well, I agree with you that modernism is characterized with industrialization. In my mind, Industrialization will lead capitalism. I think, capitalism is somewhat dangerous since it teaches the people think that money is everything for them. The people struggle to pursue the money by any means even by sacrificing and exploiting the other people. No aesthetic and no taste any more in such dry life.
I think, in capitalism spirit, the religion in some cases become the tool for people in power to fool the powerless one. Then the powerless take the religion as escapism from the bitter real life. The powerless may hold concept of “sabar” in passive way, which mean they can wait a divine fortune from the heaven without any attempt and effort. Here, religious distortion is taking place. The capitalist will laugh at them. It could be, right?
But, I am really sick of such inhuman capitalism. No aesthetic and taste any more.
Thanks mba mulia for your reflective second opinion. It will make me get enriched with so many perspectives. Keep moving

for mba merlyna (teh merlyna ti baleendah tea nya )
thanks the marlina for visiting my simple blog.
Mba, when you say that there is no single truth in this life. I agree with that. The available is the interpretation of the truth since the truth is just an object. We the people who have to try actively and continuously searching the truth. Above all, we have to appreciate the truth in others.
Mba Jenny said that acceptance is better than tolerance. In tolerance, our heart is not full, still half heart. While acceptance is about accepting the others as our part of life. I would to choose acceptance rather than tolerance. I am in line with mba jenny.
Keep moving. And thanks for every constructive second opinions

A very good article Bung Ahmad, I enjoyed reading it 🙂

It’s a very dangerous world out there for people who want to embrace traditional and religious values but at the same time want to taste the modern world. It’s a hard thing to get, but you’re young, I don’t think it’ll hurt you.

salam.
hi bung Tasa, actually i grow up in the conservative family in religion. but, when i go to campus UIN jakarta, i witness another perspective which is not uncommon for general people. I think, embracing religion needs rationality. I think it will be useless if i do rituals but i don’t know what the essence of ritual. here, taqlid al-a’ma (blind imitation) is not healthy way in conducting religion.
well, i think thats all what i can respond to you.
thanks anyway.
ahmad

i agree that acceptance ‘could be’ better than tolerance. but in realities acceptance is only a utopian thought. get real.. be empirical. when it come to something like religion — religion is based on absolute truth and regardless what my stance is (i don’t believe in absolutism, i said earlier), i still have to appreciate those who believe in absolute truth(s). i cannot and shouldn’t expect people of religion to “accept” my truth. and it’s impossible (and inhumane) to force religious people to “accept” others’ truth. truth in every religion is unique to itself. so, in the end, how grand “acceptance” is, in realities, it’s unreal to expect people to accept each other’s truth. they can only tolerate, appreciate each other, yet be brave to disagree. that’s what freedom is all about.

quoting Voltaire, “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.”

Good point from your side. I want to say that acceptance is just like an umbrella that protects the differences of the (interpretation of) truth. So here, I want say also that by acceptance, we consider that the differences are really nature, and we have to accept it as reality, as a part of our social life. As a Muslim, I admit that there are many differences in Islam itself. It seems that I want to say it as “internal differences”. But I am really sorrow when I witness some people of religion approach the difference as a threat, so they try to remove such differences and they want to make the world suitable to their perspective only.
Mba Merlyana, thanks for your critical and constructive second opinion. It really enriches my horizon in the way I think about the world and life. Who knows, you are my lecturer in virtual. I hope, since I am still learning many things.
Let us keep moving together

hi again Ahmad. I understand what you meant and I subscribe to your stand point. I really appreciate the fact that you always seek more and deeper understanding of the world. It’s great to see Indonesian who’s willing to do so!

My previous comments are just thrown here because I just like to provoke critical thinking, hehe. I do that all the time with my students in class. I can be very demanding and forceful when it comes to formulating critical thoughts. Deep apology for that 🙂

I also believe in down-to-earth, empirically based, based on deep and rooted knowledge and observation. It’s always easy to throw ‘term’, especially when it sounds grand and beautiful and sweet, but there’s nothing is so meaningful in ‘terms’ if they are only wishful thinking, utopian.

I am really glad to find how eager you’re in pursuing critical thinking. Keep it up, friend.

@ Mer:
in Norwegian newspapers there is a hot debate about religion nowadays. Religious people raised topic on secular extremism, exactly the same to what i have raised earlier as liberal extremism; people who tolerate any kind of truth but absolute truth.

i hope, you aren’t in the club?
I am a believer, a religious and or spiritual person. I will tell the world about my believe-not through my talk, rather through my behavior and or my write. i hope people come along, but if not, i don’t give a damn :d

would you and the world tolerate me?

Mulia,

didn’t I say in my previous comment that what’s real in to tolerate and to appreciate? and to respect?

why would you have to ask me? I hope you’re not in doubt that (it’s obvious from my statement) I will defend your (and everybody’s) right to be a religious person regardless I agree with you or not.

not believing in absolute truth is not equal to not appreciating, tolerating, and respecting absolute truths.

@Mer: Got it, Noted it Prof!

My previous comments were just thrown here because I like to provoke critical thinker emphasize their present stand point, hehe. I do that all the time with my professors and or tutors in life and in class. I can be very demanding and forceful when it comes to stating the formulated critical thoughts. Deep apology for that 🙂

Gatcha!

Peace..Professor 😀 , Wink, wink*

btw, how old is guebukanmonyet? and how old are you? is 27 young enough to taste the modern AND traditional world? i hope so. i am keeping my traditional value and taste modern world with a litle bit of post modern point of view (it’s very good to have a litle bit of it as an escape. so i wont be so frustrated if in one point i found collide between idealism and reality. life is absurd anyhow, faith is often politicized, so postmodernism could be a good therapy for my temporary frustration to reality 😀 ).

dUH udah rada ngaco, good nite every body!

hehe

salaam.
thanks a lot for your participation and constructive contribution in this discussion. I am really happy to discuss with you all. to be honest, compared to you all, it seems that i am nothing. but, the presence of you, is just like “cambuk” for me to run faster and faster. i am just ‘TKI” in the desert. hehehe…
well, I agree with the notion of Mba Merlyana, that there is no absolute truth, since truth is socially and culturally constructed. in this regard, i don’t have any right to claim that my (interpretation of)truth is the better one or even the best. the truth in my hand is suitable for me, but may not be for you. anyway, i have to respect the truth in your hand and we can live peacefully. what do you think?

salam.
hi mba mulia, what you mean by faith is often politicized? and just give me an example, to make it clear in my mind.
thanks in advanced
ahmad

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