Habermas begins his paper with the idea that our sense of modern is liquid. "With varying content, the term "modern" again and again expresses the consciousness of an epoch that relates itself to the past of antiquity, in order to view itself as the result of a transition from old to the new." (Habermas p.3) Modern, according to this definition, is not a set time period, but a sense of the current age. What is modern now will be antiquated at some point in the future. With that in mind, how does anything become postmodern? Is postmodern not the next step in the continuum of the modern, simply the next modern?
Criticism seems to line the very fabric of early postmodernist thought. Every essay oozes with a sense that the world that we live is the horrid place of consumerism and faux-reality. Nothing can be done for the self, everything one does is for the gain of some other, or just done out of some robotic impulse to the culture of the time. Durand, in his response to Habermas, states that "those who refuse to reexamine the rules of art pursue successful careers in mass conformism by communicating, by means of the 'correct rules,' the endemic desire for reality with objects and situations of gratifying it. Pornography is the use of photography and film to such an end." The quote is dripping with contempt and dread. Contempt that seems to transcend the art to those that produce it and dread for the people of the world that accept this form of artwork. Economics isn't the dismal science, postmodernism is. If some greater culture machines plans out my every movement, why should I exist? Where is the importance of the individual? In postmodernism, at least so far, the individual has lost control of himself. He finds himself obedient to the will of "the man". Does this really sound like the world we live in? Doesn't some part of your brain want to revolt against this type of thought?