Post-structuralism and whatnot

In this post-modern society where thinking and concluding are done more critically, it would certainly be hard to point out definitive, inherent meanings of perspectives and things. As the habit of critical thinking gets even more emphasized, people started to revolt against absolute obedience towards authoritative and totalitarian theories and concepts, and seeing things from a very limited perspective — for those things would result in bigotry and close-mindedness. Being empirical in seeking inherent meanings of things would most likely be crucial if we were to fight the one-sided, authoritative structuralism.

And that was why post-structuralism started to emerge in the first place. It started to emerge in the 1960s in France, as a form of criticism towards Ferdinand de Saussure’s semiotic structuralism concepts that focus on regularity of language systems and emphasize the thought that inherent meaning of things could be found in texts. The structuralist movement that happens to be the synthesis of Marx, Freud, and Saussure’s ideas also has its own point that linguistic structures, psychoanalysis, and sociological and/or economic structures have power over people and happen to be some of the aspects that shaped individuals. And post-structuralists wanted to overhaul those concepts. Ever since Jacques Derrida, who happens to be one of the core pioneers of post-structuralism, published three of his renowned works back on 1967 — namely Grammatology, Writing and Deference, and Speech and Phenomena — this movement started to emerge in more extensive circles. Derrida founded this one certain critical outlook called deconstruction as a form of revolt towards structuralism itself. Deconstruction, as a convergence between Heidegger’s phenomenology and Nietzsche’s skepticism, revolves around the mindset that language and texts couldn’t thoroughly reflect the world, also since the use of different context in a language could lead to different interpretations of meaning, Derrida thought that language is just a picayune sistem that has no power over individuals. Meaning of things can never reach an initial point of certainty, and all texts would always bear the tendency to be ambiguous since they could always have multiple interpretations. Another key figure of post-structuralism, Roland Barthes, also inferred on “The Death of the Author” (1967) that texts would always have multiple meanings and that people are entitled to unleash their own interpretations on it; the author of a literary text isn’t the only source of the text’s inherent meanings. And with a myriad of interpretations, this would lead people to absorb different views and interpretations on one single text, and they’d have to filter which one(s) they consider right and which one they consider wrong (well, eventhough the concept of right and wrong itself is never certain).

Applying post-structuralism, or precisely deconstruction, in everyday life would be essential. Some people tend to be obtuse in implementing the information they receive by not being critical enough — they receive an information from one source only; through one interpretation only, and then they would devote themselves to that one certain interpretation for their lives, without any inclination to step out of that cloistered comfort zone and seek for different perspectives to learn about. With having those kinds of people in the society, that’s prominently why we need post-structuralism, to convince them that meanings and interpretations would always be diverse and ambiguous.

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