Archive for the ‘awen’ Tag

Postmodernism and awen

There’s an interesting thread about postmodernism on Philip Carr-Gomm‘s blog at the moment. According to a creative writing tutor at the University of Sussex, with whom Philip recently discussed the subject, no concept of awen could exist in a postmodern universe.

My response was as follows:

I’m a post-structuralist po-mo and the concept of awen is very important to me, and funnily enough the desire metaphor is probably one of the best ways to explain it.

Our perception of the universe is structured linguistically because language is nothing more than a way of classifying experience. Without it everything would be amorphous and undifferentiated. Without language we cannot make sense of what we perceive.

Language is not perfect though. Words are artificial and do not align perfectly with our constantly changing perceptions. Western rationalism, however, teaches that this should not be the case, that what we perceive is objective reality, not reliant on the frailties of our structuring process.

There is a gap between the ideal and the perceived. No word or words are ever good enough to describe our object, our beloved, adequately. We are always required to qualify, our descriptions proliferating down a never-ending chain of signifiers.

But no matter how hard we try we can never attain ultimate Truth, never achieve unity with the Other. But we must try. The desire is what makes us human, what makes us thinkers and artists and lovers. It is the Awen.