‘Jean-François Lyotard, Ph.D., (b. 1924 in Versailles) became one of the world’s foremost philosophers, noted for his analysis of the impact of postmodernity on the human condition. A key figure in contemporary French philosophy, his interdisciplinary discourse covers a wide variety of topics including knowledge and communication; the human body; modernist and postmodern art, literature, and music; film; time and memory; space, the city, and landscape; the sublime; and the relation between aesthetics and politics.
-Jean-Francois Lyotard is a French philosopher best known for his ideas about post-modernism. In this essay, lyotard strongly doubts the idea of Habermas about the incomplete project of modernity. He disagrees with habermas in his attempt to bridge the gap between cognitive, ethical, and political discourse and opening a way to a unity of experience. He opines that Habermas ideas of the writers getting back into the bosom of community and society is ill one. This kind of writing that Habermas favours is realism. But Lyotard says realism intends to avoid the question of reality implicated in art; furthermore realism always stands somewhere between academicism and litch. This search of reality should be broken to let the art survive
-Laotard opposes these concepts and believes that reality as such is not there. Reality is just an representation or an illusion of reality so lyotard claims that the function of modernist is to create the illusion of reality but not the reality itself. He urges to stand against reality.
-Modernity unable people to see something only by making it impossible to see, it caters pleasure only causing pain and makes an illusion to the unpresentable by means of visible presentation. Lyotard asserts that Habermas confuses Kantian sublime with Freudian sublimation by connecting aesthetics with the beautiful. Kantian sublimity may be pleasant or pain which can not be described exactly in words. In the similar fashion an attempt to define post-modernism is to present what is presentable, undesevibable. It is only felt and experiences but can not be expressed in words. he says that both modernism and post modernism exist by shattering the tradition
-In a sense, modernity expresses a sense of loss. Post modernism is a kind of enjoyment with a philosopher whose works a texts are not formulate their own rules. The postmodern work itself looks for the requires rules and principles. So the job of a postmodern writer is not to supply reality but to explore allusions to the conceivable which can not be presented. Lyotard specially sees postmodernism as a social condition, a cluster of metanarratives of emancipation. He is more concerned with knowledge and thinks that now it has come out of the narrow university premises.
-Main points of postmodernism
1. Postmodernism is a sense of a new cultural epoch and critique of the assumptions of enlightened modernity.
2. It is the rejection of metanarratives and metatheories.
3. No space for final truth and truth-effects.
4. Leaving the eternal it highlights the fragmentary and chaotic.
5. It acknowledges the others and minorities.
6. Attentive community.
-Lyotard does not like the totalizing narrative
-In critical theory, and particularly postmodernism, a metanarrative (sometimes master- or grand narrative) is an abstract idea that is supposed to be a comprehensive explanation of historical experience or knowledge. According to John Stephens it “is a global or totalizing cultural narrative schema which orders and explains knowledge and experience”. The prefix meta means “beyond” and is here used to mean “about”, and a narrative is a story. Therefore, a metanarrative is a story about a story, encompassing and explaining other ‘little stories’ within totalizing schemes.
-The concept was criticized by Jean-François Lyotard in his work, The Postmodern Condition: A Report on Knowledge (1979). In this text, Lyotard refers to what he describes as the postmodern condition, which he characterized as increasing skepticism toward the totalizing nature of “metanarratives” (or “grand narratives,” typically characterised by some form of ‘transcendent and universal truth’):
-According to Lyotard, in the postmodern period, people no longer believe in grand narratives, and consequently, to the armies of postmodern pen-pushers, ipso facto, “grand narratives” are old fashioned and oppressive – oppressive because one grand narrative excludes another and doesn’t my narrative have just as much right to truth as yours?
-The contradiction in all this is that this narrative about narratives is itself a grand narrative of the first order, as outlined above with the narrative of narratives from tribal to feudal to modern times and up to the present.
-And what is this theory about “grand narrative” really about? It is another version of the end of history, another way of saying that bourgeois society is as good as it gets.
Because of the call for “unity” and “identity,” it is believed that “. . . nothing is more urgent than to liquidate the heritage of the avan-gardes” (p40). The definition of realism:
= “Realism, whose only definition is that it intends to avoid the question of reality implicated in that of art, always stands somewhere between academicism and kitsch” (p41).