Modernism is defined as the series of reforming cultural movements in music, art, architecture, the applied arts, and literature that occurred in the three decades before 1914. In the modern era, not only did things change as far as technology with the Industrial Revolution, but also with people themselves with awareness and a change in values. During the modern era, civilization was founded on scientific knowledge of the world and rational knowledge of values, which places the highest premium on individual human life and freedom, and believes that such freedom will lead to social progress through virtuous, self-controlled work, creating a better material, political, and intellectual life for all. Modernism dealt with the notions of justification, system, proof, and the unity of science. In this time period, people needed justification and proof of all things. They would not just believe things just because someone said that it was true. People needed reasons why certain things happened in order to be able to believe them. One famous modernist was René Descartes. He decided to stop believing in every single thing that he knew in order to find out if anything was really true. Descartes talks about how it is difficult to distinguish whether or not one is dreaming or awake: "What happens in sleep doesn't appear so clear nor so distinct as does all this. But in thinking over this I remind myself that on many occasions I have in sleep been deceived by similar illusions, and in dwelling carefully on this reflection I see so manifestly that there are no certain indications by which we may clearly distinguish wakefulness from sleep I am lost in astonishment. And my astonishment is such that it is almost capable of persuading me that I now dream." (Cahoone 20). Sometimes, the mind can trick the body into thinking that it is awake, when it is really dreaming. For example, if someone were to dream about having the greatest lemonade in the world and then when...
Cited: Cahoone, Lawrence, ed. From Modernism to Postmodernism. Blackwell Publishing, 1996.
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