Lori’s article suggested to me that the difficulties of modern motherhood are of a more generalized post-secular nature than I had previously considered. What strikes me most about our post-modern, post-secular society is the isolation of it. We live in little bubbles, even within our households sometimes, and it can be difficult to make real human connections. The satisfaction of needs, which is defined as the sufficiency of the self within the home, has been superseded by the satisfaction of wants, which are driven largely by impersonal market forces and have nothing to do with the home or the family. The Internet, with its chat groups, Facebook, e-mail and the like, while a reasonable facsimile and useful in its way, is no substitute for real community. This is the appeal of the Twilight series, as Lori rightly notes—people are looking for connectedness and the Cullen family represents an idealized (and largely unattainable) form of post-modern utopia.
What originally got me thinking about the problems of post-modernity was the HBO series
The other thing which makes the dream of pre-modern community living just a dream is the fractured nature of modern life—there is no shared culture of beliefs and no shared understanding of How Things Are Done. This lack of culture/shared understanding is critical to why communes generally fail and why small religious groups living together tend to implode given time. It is difficult for post-modern people to give up their self-sufficiency and submit to hierarchy and authority. Carlisle Cullen is clearly the voice of authority in the Cullen family, and while the others are free to make choices against his wishes, there is also the desire to keep the family intact, so for the most part,
Additionally, there is a great reluctance on the part of post-modern society to label anything “Other.” In order to achieve community in a meaningful way, in which cultural traditions and rites are shared and passed down, How Things Are Done is a shared idea, and in which people give up autonomy for interdependence, one must at some point pick labels like “Us” and “Them” in order to define that which is outside the community. Without this critical distinction, which is difficult for the modern liberal brain to comprehend, there are no boundaries, nothing is forbidden, everything is permitted, and there is nothing cohesive about any of it. I do my thing, you do yours, and we’ll talk, but we can’t connect in a meaningful way. I find this to be true of many of my friends in the mommysphere—I am connected to them by virtue of the fact that we are moms with kids about the same age, but in so many cases, these women, whom I like very well as people, have nothing in common with me and so, beyond our children, we don’t have a lot to say to one another. The lack of genuine connection and shared culture/home life can be quite isolating. The shared culture of vampirism, with its rules and regulations, combined with
END PART TWO