Monday, April 11, 2011

Modernity, Traditionalism, and the relevance of the past

Modernity is a philosophy of life (my definition) that postulates the present time that we live in is not continuous with our past. Traditionalists (like myself) believe in a time continuum which got us where we are today, and we are very much connected to our past. Further. the past not only has something to teach us, it provides our very foundation.

I do think I understand the modernity people. Where we are now is astonishingly different from the past. It is so different that we can't imagine living in the past or imagine our ancestors being able to live in the present time.

The world is very different, I agree. Yet it is not a different world. If that makes sense. We are still planet earth.

Modernists see our present time as something that will have meaning, or will be resolved, in some unknown future time. Traditionalists believe it is our continuous connection to the past that drives how we live in the present.

I think our differing views on whether the past is still relevant to our present time or if the past is simply a completely different and disconnected place, also has a very real effect on what our political and social values are as well.

This is one time I believe in "evolution" without a speck of skepticism. I don't believe we were somehow "created" and placed in this brave new world we live in. Even with its rapidly changing technology and vast array of choices, our civilization is still a growing thing with seeds (and roots) in the past.


  1. Fashion changes, people do not. New fads and discoveries affect us and culture is amended, but at heart we remain the same today as in the past. History shows that. We are inevitably effected by the past, even if we forget it.

  2. Agreed.

    In fact, a study of history, in my opinion, often shows us making the same mistakes no matter how different the culture or time.

    People can be manipulated in exactly the same ways using the exactly the same rationales. Modernity just allows the message to be sent faster.

  3. @Adullamite - I certainly agree. The trouble is, we don't seem to be learning anything from the past.

    @Stephanie Barr - Ditto. But there are those who believe the past has no relevancy to our present, and believe it is folly to still be using old foundational tenants as a model for today. I don't believe in clinging to past things that were only meaningful in their own day, but some principles have shown their value through many centuries.



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