Modernity - The change of a lifetime!

Essay by chachingUniversity, Bachelor'sA-, July 2005

download word file, 4 pages 5.0

Modernity is a "paradoxical unity, a unity of disunity" (Berman, 1988, p. 15). To go through modernity, to become modern is regarded as a scintillating experience, however it is an experience involving change. Change is an inherent part of modernity. This transformation of state and its consequences elicit different reactions from different people. Some of these include liberation and exhilaration, but also disparaging corollaries such as terror, dread and a sense of loss and estrangement. Modernism "creates new human environments and destroys old ones" (Berman, 1988, p. 16) entailing shifts in power and authorities resulting in vibrant revolutions.

Modern societies offer a forward overreaching perspective, but its promises have vacillated. So far the ideals of modern society have fallen short of its undertaking. For example, its promise of liberty comes with the price of rationality (a defining characteristic of modernity), with consequent deterioration of justice and solidarity. On the one hand it encourages autonomy but on the other hand it erroneously contradicts itself through the standardization and uniformity that it demands of its confederation.

A traditional society is very different from a modern society. What is manifest in one type of society is latent in the other. In a traditional society belief and truth are meshed together. The application of wisdom and values are those that have been taken from the past. "Traditional beliefs are expressed in empirical technology rather than rational-scientific technology" (Shills, 1977, pp. 196-197). There is respect for the aged who enjoin an elevated sense of authority and are greatly cherished for their sagacity.

Traditional societies offer stability and routine but without the effect of alienation and facelessness experienced by those living in a modern society. In traditional societies, roles and duties of each member are well defined and their proper fulfillment is recognised and deferentially rewarded.