It is difficult to speak of modernity not as a dated art movement but instead as zeitgeist, as a feeling of the times. Nevertheless, contemporaneity is still in lack of explanations. We do not grasp very well what is the point of the things we are living. Even though we are flooded with buzzwords, comprehension is very shallow.
Is there some connection between computers and Nietzsche? Between scientific revolution and the market for fame (that is, entertainment industry)? Between our international trade policies and the sorrows of young Werther? Between Baudelaire and Vannevar Bush? Between the mechanization of production and the ideology of freedom and choice?
In a historic perspective, 2 or 3 hundred years is not a very long time. Many see a distinct rupture somewhere around the 1800s, and we are being terrorized into believing that the last decade was also another rupture. A thousand years from now, will anyone be able to see the 2 periods as separate? Or will it just be the economic flourishing of the late second millennium, just the many movements of the 1500s are pretty much all “renaissance” to us?
The changes which sparked the rush we are living in also did bring more attention to matters such as culture, information, ideology, and the possibilities of controlling the way groups think about things and their life. So, in a sense, our very notion that we are living a very particular time in history might be merely an effect of a new way to categorize and read history being more and more preferred over more traditional readings, rather than a concrete departure, really.
In general, i do suspect we are living a very important moment in time. Also, i see this as opportunity for new ideas and ways-to-live-life, as good chance to make things — say, not different, but more interesting. To up the ante.
More on that, definitely. To come.