"To inspire them to realize more and more of their capacities for living meaningful lives. Because there certainly is meaning to life."
-John Coltrane on Uplifting Others

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Understanding Modernism

In order to understand Modernism, I have to share with you the theory of movements behind aesthetics. Whenever there is a major movement in art or literature, there is a major paradigm shift in the world. For example, Romanticism happened as a reaction to the Industrial Revolution; American Realism occurred as a result of the American Civil War and as a rejection of Romanticism.
In Modernism, the chief historical thrust behind its movement was the First World War. Think about it; for the first time, machines are being used to effectively wipe out thousands of men. War became more brutal and dehumanized, with the advent of chemical warfare, machine guns and tanks. This detachment is found in the works of T.S. Eliot ("The Waste Land"), Ezra Pound ("Canto XLV") and Wassily Kandinsky (I would link to one of his paintings, but none are in the public domain). Their works are elevated; they desired to detach art from the masses. Instead of being beautiful for beauty's sake, Modernist demanded that art be art for art's sake. If one doesn't understand, then it is their fault.
As I remembered all those literary discussions on Modernism, I began to wonder how it works or is apparent in today's digital culture. Are there people or companies that elevate their computing language so as to become detached? Is social media leading to a detachment of real and viable relationships? Please leave your thoughts in the comments.

1 comment:

  1. The internet has really changed things. We are in the middle of another historical shift. Things that were the "norm" are being challenged every day. We're beginning to realize that "crowdsourcing" and "open media" are the way to go if we want to progress. I won't be surprised to see history books, many years from now, that will talk about our day as the "digital age" because it really has changed.