It's taken eons to come from Ptolemy to The Pale Blue Dot. In the old days it took centuries for the assumption grid to make a small shift. Now though, we fidget and pace, because our footing is not so stable. Our thoughts go to the children, but despite the fading absolutes, the new generation does not go mad (...though a few of them may get religion).
We stand a bit closer to the void, and look around, losing weight. (Someday, the solid ground will disappear altogether, we will be floating in air, having finally found our godlike potential. The intuitions of the ancients, of the genetic material, will be realized.)
The fading of absolutes, of the illusion of orientation, is a gradual thing, but postmodernism seems to be a discrete step.There's not only a knowing "too much" (seeing through the skins of things, parsing not just words but the language itself), but there's a kind of knowing that you know too much -- it's recursive.
Modernism is a secular utopian assumption bundle, full of heart but blinkered. We're abandoning that view for one which is more robust but more unsettling. Now we are conscious of the structures themselves. We know the effect of our knowing, we start to stand outside the history of our thinking. Theodore Adorno wrote: "The fully enlightened earth radiates disaster triumphant." I think I can grasp some of what he was getting at, but I'm glad it's turned out that his pessimism was a bit off the mark.
Is stress and discomfort who we are? Are we fated to be always at the frontier, at the edge of some goddam terrifying whirlpool with the ground just giving way?