S-Space College of Humanities (인문대학) Institute of Humanities (인문학연구원) Journal of humanities (인문논총) Journal of Humanities vol.51 (2004) (인문논총)
포스트모던의 정신(1): 합리주의 신화의 수정
The Postmodern Mind (I): The Revision of the Rationalistic Myth
- Issue Date
- 서울대학교 인문대학 인문학연구원
- 인문논총, Vol.51, pp. 3-34
- It was when people of the Middle Ages had dreamt about freedom from
their religious shackles that the modern spirit began its inward excursion to
the shore of humanism. As Unberto Echo demonstrates in The Name of the
Rose, the modern humanistic myth had been fathered by the impulse of the
Renaissance man to be a human rather than to be a Gods servant.
Succinctly speaking, the Renaissance man wanted to be a human who can
think of, feel, and create the world for himself. Michaelangelos marble
sculpture David was a prime example.
To the 18th-Century Europeans, however, to be a human was to think.
More than anything else, they valued the rational capacity of human beings.
Descartes who declared I think, therefore I am and Newton who
formulated the theories of universal gravitation was acclaimed as their
light that could lead them to anywhere and everywhere. Their legacy was
quite clear: it was the belief that reason is the highest good. In the age,
reason became a general antidote to all that was immoral, imperfect,
enthusiastic, and superstitious.
Despite its extraordinary feat in the materialistic history of human beings,
rationalism in the 19th-century Europe became so absorbed in its own
products — industrial capitalism, democracy, and scientific discoveries —
that it just failed to see what else it could cause. Romanticists, Realists,
Communists altogether began to speak with scathing hardness about the
inner decay of the rationalistic myth, trying to see the world beyond — the
better world or the higher world. Kant, arguing that the pure reason is
only the means by which the phenomena of experience are translated into
understanding, was their forerunner who vindicated the validity of the
transcendental reason. Romanticism, Communism, and Realism were
respectively a revisionary swerve away from the 18th-Century precursor of