Friday, April 11, 2008

Is Plurality Really All That Modern?

In Ang’s essay, the Realm of Uncertainty, she seems to believe that the ability to get a message across clearly has been greatly reduced within recent history. “…the hegemony of such clear and transparent conceptions of communication has been severely eroded in the past few decades.” I wonder if this clarity ever truly existed. Even Shakespeare wrote his plays knowing that a large portion of his audience would not understand them. His plays were written with the concept of plurality in mind. Sword fights and other exciting events were written into the plays to entertain the less educated members of the crowd. It is very clear that the plays operate on numerous levels for the numerous different interpretations and levels of understanding that each audience member would have. This is not to say that pluralism has not been further developed, expanded, and accepted in modern culture. This is nearly undeniable. Our modern society is certainly more accepting of different points of view or at least of the idea that they do exist and must exist. This phenomenon can be seen in modern theories and trends such as political liberalism, which hinges on the idea that any reasonable view should be presented and evaluated in society. Arguments have arisen about what exactly constitutes “reasonable” and whether or not this is merely a self-serving and dogmatic set of principles. Nonetheless an attempt at embracing pluralism is apparent. In the past it is more likely that different views and different interpretations of meaning would be dismissed in favor in one accepted meaning or view, but this does not imply that other views and interpretations did not exist. Words can never achieve their purpose perfectly. It is certain that plurality has existed since the dawn of language. Misunderstanding and difference of perspective are nothing particularly new or modern. Every text has multiple readings. Every person has an individual perspective. Every word has multiple connotations and usages. Plurality permeates all, past and present.

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