Modernity by itself is a really abstract construct which can be associated with all new experiences in history. It is mostly temporal because what is modern today is the old or disused tomorrow. Modernity is said to be a logic of negation because it tends to give importance to the present over the past. and at the same clip besides frowns over the present with regard to the hereafter.
From a strictly historical position nevertheless. the society which evolved in Europe after the Gallic Revolution of 1789 can be termed as modern in so much so that there is a pronounced difference or interruption in the manner of thought. life and endeavor between the societies after and before the Gallic Revolution. The development of the modern society was non a procedure that happened overnight. The roots of the modern society and its gradual development can be traced back to the beginning of the 18th century.
In fact the period from that point in history to the Gallic Revolution is termed as the period of rational Enlightenment when there was a extremist alteration in doctrine. scientific discipline. political relations. humanistic disciplines and civilization. It was on these new signifiers of cognition that the foundation of the modern society or modernness was based. Specifying the Traditional Many bookmans have tried to analyse the basic or natural nature of human existences in efforts to track back how modernness could hold affected the nucleus person.
In his book Leviathan. Hobbes deduced that in an environment uninfluenced by unreal systems or in a ‘state of nature’ human existences would be war like and violent. and their lives would accordingly be lone. hapless. beastly and short. Rousseau nevertheless contradicts Hobbes. He claims that worlds are basically benevolent by nature. He believed in the ‘noble savage’ or the construct that devoid of civilisation human existences are basically peaceable and classless and unrecorded in harmoniousness with the environment – an thought associated with Romanticism.
Human existences have nevertheless lived in communities and formed societies since the really early ages. In what is now known as the ancient universe or the universe of classical heathen antiquity typical of the societies of Greece and Rome. the construct of the ‘new’ or ‘change’ was absent. Time. like the seasons. was supposed to travel in cyclical order. reiterating itself with regularity rhythm after rhythm with nil new or changed to interrupt away from the established order. The people were steeped in more superstitious and spiritual beliefs which ruled about every facet of their lives.
Christianity brought about alterations in the belief systems of the ancient universe. Christianity postulated that clip was additive. that it began from the birth of Jesus Christ and would stop with the apocalypse and the 2nd approach of Jesus. This was a additive construct of clip that moved in a consecutive line and non in a rhythm that kept coming back to the same point. The Foundations of Modernity It was during the Enlightenment period that the Christian constructs of clip and history were secularized to give manner to the modern attack to alter and advancement.
There were many other basic alterations during the Enlightenment. The key thoughts which formed the footing of the enlightenment period were autonomy and emancipation. advancement and the betterment of history and universalism. The development of scientific cognition gave rise to spiritual incredulity. Peoples were no longer willing to subject blindly to the dictates of appointed faith. In other words they attained emancipation from the bonds of faith that had governed about all facets of their lives. This emancipation led to autonomy of the person.
Persons began to make up one’s mind for themselves alternatively subjecting to an external authorization such as faith. The people now decided by themselves what sort of authorization. regulations and ordinance would be good for them. and such authorization must be natural and non supernatural. Enlightenment encouraged unfavorable judgment. Enlightenment minds did non keep anything sacred and freely criticized. questioned. examined and challenged all tenet and establishments in their hunt for improvement or advancement. Thinkers such as Voltaire defended ground and rationalism against institutionalized superstitious notion and dictatorship.
The belief that there could and should be a alteration for the better came to be a outstanding feature of modernness. The critical attitude of enlightenment mind to modern-day societal and political establishments paved the manner for scientific surveies of political and societal surveies and subsequent development of better signifiers of such establishments. The scientific revolution during the period. culminating in the work of Isaac Newton. presented a really practical and nonsubjective position of the natural universe to people at big. and scientific discipline came to be regarded really extremely.
Scientific enquiry was bit by bit extended to cover new societal. political and cultural countries. Such surveies were oriented around the cause-and-effect attack of naturalism. Control of bias was besides deemed to be indispensable to do them value free. Enlightenment believing emphasized the importance of ground and reason in organisation and development of cognition. The gradual development of the scientific disposition with a paradigm alteration from the qualitative to the quantitative is besides really apparent in Europe of the clip.
Peoples came to believe that they could break their ain batch through a more scientific and rational attack to everything. The construct of universalism which advocated that ground and scientific discipline were applicable to all Fieldss of survey and that scientific discipline Torahs. in peculiar. were cosmopolitan. besides grew roots during the period. Peoples began to believe in alteration. development and advancement – all basic dogmas of modernness as we know it today. Autonomy to make up one’s mind for their ain good. gave the people the right to take the signifier of authorization that could take them as a society or community towards a better hereafter and advancement.
This opened the doors to the outgrowth of provinces with separate and lawfully defined domains of legal power. Thus we find that modernness represents a transmutation – philosophical. scientific. societal. political and cultural – at a definite clip in history at a definite spacial location. This transmutation besides represents a continuum up to the present in so much so that its basic rules are built-in in the societies and states of today. The period of enlightenment can be seen as one of passage from the ‘traditional’ to the ‘modern’ signifiers of society. from an age of blind beliefs to a new age of ground and rational.
Different Positions on development of Modernity Different political and philosophical minds have nevertheless developed different. and sometimes beliing. theories of the development of modernness. Friedrich Hegel and Karl Marx are two of the taking minds whose theories run counter to each other. For Hegel. the development of modernness was a dialectical procedure which was governed by the increasing uneasiness of what he termed as the corporate human ‘mind’ or ‘spirit’ .
Harmonizing to Hegel. the dialectic procedure of development of the head comprised three phases. with two ab initio beliing places synthesising into a 3rd reconciled place. Human existences live what Hegel called an ‘Ethical Life’ or in a societal environment shaped by imposts and traditions. This ethical life has three phases: the first is the household. which is dissolved in due class. the 2nd is the ‘civil society’ that a individual builds up as a consequence of his societal interactions beyond the household and greater dealingss. and eventually the 3rd phase of the ‘state’ which Hegel defines as the highest signifier of societal ground.
For Hegel hence. the formation of the modern province is the grade of modernness when human existences achieve the ultimate phase of societal being. Hegel believed as persons or households. human existences are excessively selfish and egoistic co-exist in harmoniousness and work for development. It is the province that is able to incorporate the contradictions of different persons. and non market forces. Since the province by itself is composed of political establishments. Hegel’s theory equates the development of the modern province or modern political establishments with modernness.
Marx took a wholly opposing position. when he asserted that stuff forces drive history. For him the province by itself is non an ideal entity for the integrating of human existences into a cohesive whole for their development as a state or a society. Harmonizing to him it is the stuff forces consisting societal and economic forces that drive history towards modernness. People engage in production for their agencies of subsistence. they bind together and organize provinces for the interest of production. Different signifiers of productions create different category dealingss.
It is to maximise production and derive the maximal benefits and advantages that people bond together in different categories in the signifier of the modern province. The different ways in which production is organized give rise to complex signifiers of societal organisation because a peculiar manner of production is an full manner of life for the people who are involved in it. For Marx societal being is non consciously determined by human existences. instead. it is the other manner unit of ammunition: their societal being determines their consciousness.
When there are contradictions between productive forces and the societal relationships of production. category struggle arises. For Marx. therefore. modernness is defined by the province of societal being. Marx acknowledges that ‘capitalism has been the most productive manner of production. and it contains the most possible for the realisation of human freedom’ . This really dynamic feature of capitalist economy is born out of its destructiveness for all traditional societal restraints such as faith. state. household. sex. etc.
But it is the same destructiveness and creativity that creates the experience of modernness in Capitalism. This critical association between capitalist economy and modernness from none less that Marx himself establishes that the capitalist economy that evolved after the period of enlightenment in Europe has been acknowledged as the modern epoch of the period of modernness by Marx. Marx nevertheless states that capitalist economy is exploitatory. and because it is exploitatory. its full potency can non be harnessed for the benefit of all.
He hence advocates communism which is a system of planned and witting production by work forces and adult females of their won loose will. This brings us to the inquiry whether humanity has already passed through a phase of history that has been termed as modernness. and has moved on to the postmodern epoch ( Mitchell. 2009 ) . Another of import point is sing the placing of modernness. Modernity is understood to be a procedure that began and ended in Europe. and was subsequently exported to other parts of the universe. Thinkers like Marx tend to differ.
He saw Capitalism emerge as a ‘rosy dawn’ non in England or the Netherlands but in the production trade and finance of the colonial system ( Marx. 1967 ) . Therefore. though the construct of modernness can be defined in assorted ways. it decidedly refers to the procedure of development of the human head and the society to a point where people were able to come together for their ain advantage and benefit and work for unceasing development under a jointly formalized authorization such as the state province.
It can besides be province with a certain grade of assertiveness that the period from the beginning of the Eighteenth Century to the Gallic Revolution in 1789 really marked the period of active development of modernness in Europe. The constructs that were nurtured during the period bore fruit instantly afterwards in Europe and the West and subsequently spread to the remainder of the universe. The universe has continued since on really much the same basic rules but with far more advanced engineerings and superior societal. economic and political attacks.
Influence of Modernity on Literature Modernity had a profound influence on literature. As people began to believe otherwise. they besides began to compose otherwise. The modernist thoughts of spiritual emancipation. liberty. trust on ground. reason and scientific discipline. and on development and advancement began to happen look in the literature that developed even during the period of enlightenment and thenceforth. This new signifier of literature came to be known as the Modernist Literature.
Modernist literature tended to vent look to the inclinations of modernness. Modernist literature. as besides modernist art. took up cudgels against the old system of blind beliefs. Focus oning around the thought of individuality or the single head. modernist literature displayed misgiving of established establishments such as conventional signifiers of bossy authorities and faith. It besides tended non to believe in any absolute truths.
Simmel ( 1903 ) gives an overview of the thematic concerns of Modernist Literature when he states that. “The deepest jobs of modern life derive from the claim of the person to continue the liberty and individualism of his being in the face of overpowering societal forces. of historical heritage. of external civilization. and of the technique of life. ” Examples from two Greats A few illustrations of Modernist literature will function to do its features more clear.
Rene Descartes ( 1596 – 1650 ) is considered to be one of the early enlightenment minds whose literary plant opened the avenues to the modern epoch. Known as the laminitis of modern doctrine and the male parent of modern mathematics. Descartes was a Gallic philosopher. mathematician and scientist whose influence has served to determine the beginnings of Modernist literature. In his celebrated work. The Discourse on Method. he presents the every bit celebrated citation ‘cogito ergo sum’ or ‘I think. therefore I am’ . which about amounts up the really rule of the footing of the modern epoch.
“I observed that. whilst I therefore wished to believe that all was false. it was perfectly necessary that I. who therefore thought. should be slightly ; and as I observed that this truth. I think. therefore I am ( COGITO ERGO SUM ) . was so certain and of such grounds that no land of uncertainty. nevertheless excessive. could be alleged by the skeptics capable of agitating it. I concluded that I might. without scruple. accept it as the first rule of the doctrine of which I was in search” ( Descartes. 1637 ) .
In this work. Descartes drew on ancients such as Sextus Emiricus to resuscitate the thought of incredulity. and reached a truth that he found to be undeniable. “Descartes started his line of concluding by doubting everything. so as to measure the universe from a fresh position. clear of any preconceived impressions. In other words. he rejected man’s trust on God’s revealed word. puting his ain mind on a higher plain” ( McCarter. 2006 ) . David Hume ( 1711 – 1776 ) was a philosopher. economic expert and historiographer from Scotland. and was considered a noteworthy personality both in western doctrine and of the Scots Enlightenment motion.
In his plant. he had a manner of projecting the mistakes of agnosticism and naturalism. therefore carving out a manner for secular humanitarianism. In his most celebrated work. ‘An Enquiry refering Human Understanding’ . Hume asserts that all human cognition is imbibed through our senses. He argues that unless the beginning from which the feeling of a certain entity is conveyed to our senses is identified. that entity can non be. The logic would invalidate the being of God. a psyche or a ego. “By the term feeling. so. I mean all our more lively perceptual experiences. when we hear. or see. or experience. or love. or hatred. or desire. or will.
And feelings are distinguished from thoughts. which are the less lively perceptual experiences. of which we are witting. when we reflect on any of those esthesiss or motions above mentioned …It seems a proposition. which will non acknowledge of much difference. that all our thoughts are nil but transcripts of our feelings. or. in other words. that it is impossible for us to believe of anything. which we have non previously felt. either by our external or internal senses…” ( Dover Philosophical Classics. 2004 ) In the same work Hume besides postulates two sorts of human concluding – Relation of Ideas and Matters of Fact.
The former involves abstract constructs such as of mathematics where deductive module is required. and the later is approximately empirical experiences which are inductive in nature. This posit has come to be known as Hume’s Fork. Hume. along with his coevalss of the Scots Enlightenment. besides proposed that the footing for rules of ethical motives is to be sought in the public-service corporation that they tend to function. This shows the quizzical nature of modernist literature non merely of spiritual but besides of moral and societal norms and values. A really seeable influence of modernness is hence seen in the plants of Hume.
Contemporary Modernist Literature If modernness influenced literature. it besides used literature to switch from a philosophical and theoretical sphere into the practical lives of people. Modernity could infiltrate into the lives of people through literary plants that defined and reiterated the legitimate new manners of categorization. Old literary signifiers with traditional significances attached to them were reworked. leting readers to modify or conflict the older significances. “This opening-up procedure allowed readers to reap new significances that modified or contravened the older 1s.
In the class of these alterations. words. signifiers. and establishments altered their significance in British life: they. and the patterns they comprised. referred differently… . modifying ‘reference potential’ in literature fed back into how readers responded to alterations in life…” ( Rothstein. 2007 ) In art and literature. many critics view ‘modernism’ as a new tendency in the field of art and literature. defined fundamentally by stylistic and structural fluctuations. They would non accept the fact that ‘modernism’ . it is basic attack. was the rules of modernness rendered plausible in literature and art.
Modernity has ever tried to keep up the universe in new positions. Similarly. modernist literature opens up the universe in all its signifiers – theoretical. philosophical. aesthetical and political – for fresh examination. Even in its present signifier. modernist literature efforts to interrupt the nonsubjective universe of the realist. “Modernist composing … takes the reader into a universe of strangeness. a deep self-contemplation. a cognitive challenging experience. incredulity of faith. and openness to civilization. engineering. and innovation” ( Melton. 2010 ) .
Modernist literature exhibits a captivation with the workings of the head. and how world is reflected by the head. The inquiring of life. with or without the presence of God. is another hallmark of the philosophical and theoretical moorages of modernist literature. Charles Darwin’s work challenges God as the Creator and presents the procedure of natural choice in the endurance of life. This led to modernist literature of clip travel. of oppugning the being of persons and the intent of the existence.
Modernism brought about a new openness in the countries of feminism. androgyny. the household. and the head. In the universe of today. modernist literature still expose much of the features of the times in which it foremost took form. A really of import subject of modernist literature today is a feeling of being entirely in the universe – a feeling stemming from alienation or disaffection. Fictional characters are frequently presented as being depressed or angry. A 2nd common trait is that of being in uncertainty.
“It may be incredulity in faith. in felicity. or merely a deficiency of intent and uncertainty in the value of human life. Finally. a 3rd subject that is prevailing is a hunt for the truth” ( Foster. 2010 ) . Then there is a 3rd subject in which the anomic character is ever in the hunt for truth and seeks replies to a overplus of inquiries associating to human subjectiveness. In all these features are to be found the same quizzical nature. the same denunciation of blind beliefs and the same dependance on ground and reason that the Eighteenth Century enlightenment minds had pursued.
The character is alienated and estranged because he or she inquiries all that is deemed non right by his or her ain head ; the character inquiries the beliefs of faith and other establishments which are non based on logical thinking ; and eventually the character seeks replies and the truth. “Modernist literature encompasses the thematic fingerprints of a rebellious. oppugning. discrediting. meditative. and confident type of signifier. which was conceived out of a alteration in the belief of humanity. the head. a God. and the ego brought on by the displacement from capitalist economy to an ever-increasing society of radical changes” ( Melton. 2010 ) .
Mentions Descartes. R. . 1637. The Discourse on Methods. Dover Philosophic Classics. 2004. David Hume. An Enquiry refering Human Understanding. Dover Publications Inc. Foster. J. . 2010. Modernism in Literature and History. Available: hypertext transfer protocol: //www. He. com/items/743749-modernism-in-literature-and-history Karl Marx. 1967. Capital: A Critique of Political Economy. 3 vols. . New York: International Publishers. 1:703. McCarter. J. . P. . 2006. Literature of the Modern Era. The Puritans’ Home School Curriculum.
Melton. L. . 2010. Modernism in Literature and History. Available: hypertext transfer protocol: //www. He. com/items/809291-modernism-in-literature-and-history Mitchell. T. . 2000. The Phase of Modernity. Available: hypertext transfer protocol: //www. ram-wan. net/restrepo/modernidad/the % 20stage % 20of % 20modernity-mitchell. pdf Rothstein. E. . 2007. Reaping Modernity. Earlier Eighteenth Century Literature and the Modernizing Process. Rosemont Publishing and Printing Corp. . Associated University Presses. Simmel. G. . 1093. The Metropolis and Mental Life.