Modern Civilization on Trial

Modern Civilization on Trial

Modern Civilization on Trial

Modern Civilization on Trial

Excerpt

Modern civilization has been so roundly condemned by some and so unintelligently praised by others that it may be more useful to analyse its characteristics than to estimate its value. In this book modern civilization is taken to mean the whole complex of social customs, beliefs and emotional attitudes, which make the people of New York, London, Paris and Berlin to-day different from those of Tientsin or Timbuctoo, and different also from what Western peoples were even twenty years ago. . . . Modernity, then, is taken to mean not merely industrialism but its latest phases. Thus the motorcar, the cinema and the radio are more significant for the argument here than the railway or cotton clothing, not only because the West has adopted them more recently but also because the whole world is being directly affected by them at the same time. Modernity is world-wide; but is it a form of civilization?

The issue is not fundamentally political, nor economic. It is cultural, in the sense which recognizes that new mechanisms are having effects upon personality and upon the relations between persons. A cultural problem is involved, for example, in the use of the radio by the Chinese or in the French peasant's visits to the cinema. And the same problem is involved in modern medicine and modern drama . . .

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.