Governments of the world focus on this or that conflict assuming that religion of bad people or good people are responsible for clashes in the Middle East or Africa or Asia or within the United States of America. It becomes increasingly clear that world and national conflicts entail a clash between the forces of modernity and historic values and beliefs. What we term, “modernity” emerged during the last decades of the nineteenth century and became powerful during the 20th century. What are the characteristics of this “modernity?”
1. Acceleration in the pace of change. Historically, change was a gradual process that might take hundreds of years, today, it can occur within an hour.
2. Creation of the concept of “Youth.” Historically, one was a boy and then became a man or a girl and became a woman. There was no interlude in which young people formed a distinctive class. Once Youth emerged, elders discovered they no longer were sources of wisdom. This shift has taken older people by surprise and led to anger and resentment of being displaced.
3. Products of life constantly change. Elders now must have their minds become accustomed to products of life which are here today and gone tomorrow. This engenders a sense of powerlessness and a feeling that life is spinning out of control.
4. Wisdom of elders does not become the wisdom of youth. When youth discounts the ideas of their elders it results in anger at loss of power. Youth assumes they know more than elders. We are witnessing this clash since there are also Youth which seeks the wisdom of their elders.
5. Rise of lower classes to power. Historically, humans were organized into tribes or societies in which a small group function as “leaders.” The concept of “democracy”has torn to pieces this historic arrangement. Some prefer a world of certainty in which a small group led society while a large number of people today believe all should participate in conducting society’s behavior.
We conclude today with this introduction to Modernity.