What is Modernity?Summary: Modernity is the ability to move in step with the ever changing world.We have human beings who ...
Means to happiness have become the ends and there is an eternal conflictbetween means and ends within them.Truly modern pe...
break relations as per the needs at the spur of the moment. No need to hangaround with old and obsolete stuff. No need to ...
life and existence are perpetually balancing acts. There is nothing like staticequilibrium. We are always in a state of dy...
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What is it to be Modern?

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Modernity is the ability to move in step with ever changing world. Sentiments or wishful thinking alone is not sufficient. It requires application of mind to reconcile past, present and future.

Author: Dr Mahesh C. Jain is a practicing medical doctor has written the book “Encounter of Science with Philosophy – A synthetic view”. The book begins with first chapter devoted to scientifically valid concept of God and then explains cosmic phenomena right from origin of nature and universe up to origin of life and evolution of man. The book includes several chapters devoted to auxiliary concepts and social sciences as corollaries to the concept of God. “What is modernity?” is in line with author’s understanding of nature.
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What is it to be Modern?

  1. 1. What is Modernity?Summary: Modernity is the ability to move in step with the ever changing world.We have human beings who prefer to call themselves traditional or conservativeor are so designated by their society. They are laggards in accepting a change andalways try to preserve the existing order at any cost. It is probably because oftheir limited understanding that they are unable to comprehend a change orbecause of their satisfaction with existing order that they are reluctant to explorea change or because they failed every time they tried some change or they aresimply stubborn and dogmatic. Every change haunts them with fear of unknown.At times, they prefer to be in fool’s paradise instead of attempting what isprudent and pragmatic.There are human beings who claim to be Modern, meaning thereby freedom fromall traditions and ‘relations’ whether good, bad or indifferent. Often nothingforbids them in taking any step in pursuit of their self interest. Their slogan is“This is my life”. They out-rightly deny/ignore their interdependence on theirecosystem. Many of the celebrities, particularly in the field of entertainmentbelong to this class. Their quest is for power and money and POPULISM is theirreligion. They reduce themselves to a branded product or service because that iswhat sells and is the road to material success. However, in my opinion their claimsabout being modern are dubious, since they are simply pursuing their self interestwhich is an ancient human sentiment as old as man on this planet. They do so byfollowing what is in fashion or trend and manipulate themselves to a leadershipposition in the particular fashion or trend.It is another matter that in pursuit of their self interest they often run in toconflict with their inner self and external environment since human beings aredifferent from realities of the market place, become lonely and isolated and haveto lead a cocooned existence within an image/brand of their own creation. Theyoften become victims of their own image. Some of them realize their mistake butby then it is generally too late. It is generally not possible for them to strike abalance between realities of the market place and the human being that they are.
  2. 2. Means to happiness have become the ends and there is an eternal conflictbetween means and ends within them.Truly modern people either provide intellectual leadership in their domainwithout succumbing to the prevalent values, ideologies and pressure of influentialgroups or social leadership by providing innovative solutions to age old problemsof their society for example Mahatma Gandhi in leading Indian FreedomMovement. They are not following a trend. They are only trying to do what theythink is right, irrespective of materialistic considerations.There is yet another class of human beings who claim to be modern, yettraditional. To this class belong the majority of human beings. They want to enjoythe best of both – the richness of the old world and allurements of the new world.They are generally a confused lot since they do not know how to reconcile oldworld with new world. Because of their internal confusion they often wanderfrom one pole to another and ultimately settle down as a traditionalist who mayprefer to keep the mask of modernity. When you scratch them hard, often youwill find a traditionalist masquerading as a modernist. They are simply unable tofind their place in the new world order.We all know that it is an ever changing world for one or the other reason, yetthere are several aspects of human existence that do not change with changingworld such as human sentiments, biological needs etc. Commensurate with itseveral of the human needs also have not changed. During the present times andthe past century technology has led the change in human society by changingways and means humans use to satisfy their needs. So change is principally in themeans and not the ends. From the perspective of human sentiments, needs haveremained the same. Even approach to satisfy the needs has not changed muchand is largely sentiments driven. Therefore, it is not surprising that the markets,especially the stock markets are largely sentiments driven. All the scientific andtechnological advances have failed to change human needs significantly or tomake man wiser or prudent and pragmatic.Today, whatever one needs materially is available in the market place for a price.So, no need to be bothered about family, friends and society. One can make and
  3. 3. break relations as per the needs at the spur of the moment. No need to hangaround with old and obsolete stuff. No need to carry the historical baggage.Therefore social websites like face book are a resounding success. But somewherealong the path, the issue of branding or reputation creeps in. So you can not openyour heart out. You have to keep your brand image. You are always scared that ifany of your human weaknesses is revealed before your face book friends, youstand disgraced. Your age old ego does not allow you to afford that. The oldvalues you wanted to break free from haunt you. So you create boundaries ordistances between your real self and your face book friends. So you isolateyourself and continue to be lonely as ever. You have no body to help you move upthe learning curve or to negotiate a change or a need. There is none to shareadverse moments/sentiments/feelings. There is none to provide social supportsystem except probably your own family, relatives and your real friends in boneand flesh whom you have discarded since long. There is none even to celebratemoments of sudden joy. So ultimately you realize that your facebook friends arenot real friends because you can’t afford to connect to them truly andsentimentally.On one hand image appears to be real since it is your branding – your keys tosuccess in this material world and you have to preserve it at any cost, whatever itmay cost you as a human being. On the other hand you are a human being withall the emotional and material needs every human being has had since the days ofAdam and Eve. So you can’t totally abandon the human in you and your biologicalself.The key sentiment underlying modernity is desire and need to move in line withthe times and the key issue is how to reconcile the human in you with the rapidlychanging, science and technology driven human society. It is a question ofreconciliation of past, present and future so that you can swiftly move throughchanging times without disturbing your peace and tranquility and without phobiaof unknown. This is a never ending gigantic intellectual effort since life poses itschallenges every day and you have be too ready to happily meet them. One has tolive every day. This is probably the right way to keep body, mind and soulharmony. What really is of help is our understanding of the world at large. Both,
  4. 4. life and existence are perpetually balancing acts. There is nothing like staticequilibrium. We are always in a state of dynamic equilibrium.Nature has gifted man with the faculty of awareness or voluntary intelligence withthe hope that wisdom shall prevail in life of human beings. Unfortunately, lookingat the way man has put technology to use and suffered fragmentation of humansociety in return for his selfishness, it is not difficult to conclude that humanbehavior is still largely sentiments driven, far from prudence and pragmatism.Therefore modernity would lie in striking balance between past, present andfuture and it can’t be acquired by sentiments alone. It requires properunderstanding. The keys lie in detached objective critical analysis and holisticthinking starting from whatever station of life you are in. Accept no limitations toyour intellect. Think beyond dogma, tradition and boundaries of your currentdomain. Develop a proper understanding of things and events. Cognition anddifferential response are the keys to what is right and just. There is no use inblindly following tradition or dogma. We must appreciate that we are largelyrational entities and not historical entities. Rationality is the common threadunderlying past, present and future.Therefore to be modern means to be wise, prudent, pragmatic, fair, just,reasonable etc. while keeping one’s dynamic equilibrium. The one who blindlyfollows what is in fashion or in trend only to masquerade as modern can’t beregarded as truly modern.Author: Dr Mahesh C. Jain is a practicing medical doctor has written the book“Encounter of Science with Philosophy – A synthetic view”. The book begins withfirst chapter devoted to scientifically valid concept of God and then explainscosmic phenomena right from origin of nature and universe up to origin of lifeand evolution of man. The book includes several chapters devoted to auxiliaryconcepts and social sciences as corollaries to the concept of God. “What ismodernity?” is in line with author’s understanding of nature.Visit: http//www.sciencengod.com http://www.sciencengod.com/clipboard/

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