The seeds sown by the Modernists nearly one hundred years ago can clearly be seen today, if you know what you are looking for. Nearly everything from the technology that comprises your computer to your world view can be attributed, at least in part, to the Modernists. Their values, ideas, and writings have transcended time and have stayed relevant in today’s society. All of which were inspired by the times: eminent destruction of individualism at the hands of factories, war, and technology. They felt that the world was shrinking at an ever increasing rate, and that the cost of which was the Person. In many ways the world today can be seen as a reflection of the same conditions.
In a way, “Persons” became “People”, where the individual was discounted for society at large. In their time, at which the First World War was taking place, men from many western nations were conscripted into service. They were not asked, they were forcibly changed from a normal, self-thinking person into a soldier. Soldiers who were expected, without discourse, to follow orders. They were not to have opinions of anything. In many ways, the Modernists won out, America and most, if not all, European countries do not draft citizens into their forces. Joining an army today is a voluntary operation. The very idea of a draft is now seen counter productive to a free society.
In the early 1900s, inventors and scientists like Nikola Tesla had said enough to the constraints of the technology of their day. Tesla (or Guglielmo Marconi, if you take his side) himself worked on what became “The Wireless”. Tesla had dreams of eliminating wires for transmissions of power and communication. While this freed us from the wire’s limits...
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... legacy can be found throughout the world. Their ideals can be seen in many aspects of contemporary life, ranging from the unpopularity of the idea of a draft, to the nerd. Modernists were nihilistic about the future, due to the downplay of individualism they foresaw. They kept their ideas hidden within their obscure works, which preserved them through time until someone came along and got what they were saying. This ‘passed the torch’ so to speak. In the early 1990s, groups collected within little-known BBSes (Bulletin Board Systems). BBSes were venues for sharing abstract and esoteric ideas. Many groups continue to fight against the attack on individualism, either by protesting or by illegally hacking companies. We’ll continue to see the effects of modernism well into the 22nd century, if not a “New Modernism” if conditions do not start to favor individuals again.
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