The most spectacular displays of modernism are not to be found in a museum of expressionist art or a collection of prose poetry, but in the avant-garde political collaborations that sought to come to terms with a brand new world regarded as unstable or dangerous.
Modernism is both a philosophical movement and an art movement that arose from broad transformations in Western society during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. A movement politicians took over.
A phenomenon, modernism as the worship of the state, is actually something more. It is the worship of a particular kind of state, the state reimagined as the absolute embodiment of the people and the nation, the Hegelian idea of the state as a spiritual force that alone gives meaning to an individual’s life–in Hegel’s words, “the Divine Idea as it exists on Earth.”
As seen in communism, ostensibly eager to usher in a borderless international brotherhood of workers, succumbed to modernist nationalism upon ascending to political power around the world during the twentieth century.
Upon that several libertarian thinkers have attempted to show that the modern American state is essentially a fascists look, and not a form of “outright socialism” – certainly not a consistently (classical) liberal republic.
Naturally, the American political and intellectual establishment, firmly grounded in the ideas of progressivism, sought to distance itself historically and ideologically from Nazism, to treat it not as simply another iteration of modernist welfare statism, but as something else, an aberration or regression.
In 1944, in his book “Omnipotent Government”, Ludwig von Mises argued that even while they fought the German National Socialists, the progressive establishments of the United Kingdom and the United States were eager to abandon any vestiges of a market economy, “step by step, adopting the German pattern of socialism.”
The movement reflected a desire for the creation of new forms of art, philosophy, and social organization which reflected in the emerging of the industrial world, including features such as urbanization, new technologies, and war.
During the last century, the state’s war machines extinguished the lives of untold millions. Its welfare apparatuses subject society’s most vulnerable to degrading, humiliating control, failing to apprehend the underlying battle between the ideas and policies that lead to poverty and those that lead to prosperity – this always tightening the grip of the former.
Modernity and Political Thought authors examine the thought of figures in the history of political philosophy in light of their possible contributions to our understanding of modernity, the way in which it is constituted, and the problems and promises that remain latent within it.
Since its inception as a category of literary study during the 1930s, “Modernism” has proven notoriously resistant to definition. This resistance has been one of its hallmarks as an object of literary enquiry; nowhere is it more pronounced than with respect to the relation of Modernist art to politics.
Arising out of the rebellious mood at the beginning of the twentieth century, modernism was a radical approach that yearned to revitalize the way modern civilization viewed life, art, politics, and science.
This rebellious attitude that flourished between 1900 and 1930 had, as its basis, the rejection of European culture for having become too corrupt, complacent and lethargic, ailing because it was bound by the artificialities of a society that was too preoccupied with image and too scared of change.
This dissatisfaction with the moral bankruptcy of everything European led modern thinkers and artists to explore other alternatives, especially primitive cultures. For the Establishment, the result would be cataclysmic; the new emerging culture would undermine tradition and authority in the hopes of transforming contemporary society.
There are a lot of questions here. How does Modernist literary activity stand in relation to the political ideologies and the epoch-making modes of power that were its informing context? What purchases does Modernism have on the social experience of modernity’s subjects and citizens?
Among the factors that shaped Modernism was the development of modern industrial societies and the rapid growth of cities, followed then by the horror of World War I and II. Modernism also rejected the certainty of Enlightenment thinking, and many modernists rejected religious belief.
As in W. H. Auden’s admonition that “Art is not life and cannot be / A midwife to society.” But even this way of understanding – indeed, constituting – literature, as a mode of willed withdrawal, amounts to a political stance; and only a certain cadre of English-language Modernist writers and texts subscribe to this view.
The modernist period in ideology arose around the beginning of the 18th century, as both religion and politics became arrayed along a binary dimension of traditionalist/conservatives against progressive/liberals.
Analytically, however, the structural bases of conflict are triangular: in politics, moving among the poles of centralization, mass participation, and a decentralized balance of powers; in religion, the corresponding poles are church hierarchy, sect enthusiasm, and spiritual elites. Rebellion against authority and tradition can take place from any pole toward any other.
During the Reformation and the religious wars, neither Protestantism nor Catholicism could be arrayed along the modernist dimension of liberals and conservatives; in many respects, the social organization of the Catholic church made it more anti-traditional than Protestantism.
It is the period of struggle for secularization and religious toleration which crystallized in the liberal/conservative polarization of the Enlightenment and the French Revolution.
This binary dimension has broken down again in the late 20th century, giving rise to the self-doubts manifested in the ideology of “postmodernism”.
The Definition of “Postmodernism” can be seen in political science, which refers to the use of postmodern ideas in political science.
Postmodernists believe that many situations which are considered political in nature can not be adequately discussed in traditional realist and liberal approaches to political science.
Postmodernists also believe that people resist realistic concepts of power which are repressive, in order to maintain a claim on their own identity. What makes this resistance significant is that among the aspects of power resisted is that which forces individuals to take a single identity or to be subject to a particular interpretation.
A positive evaluation of deconstruction highlights the notion of difference which enables one to develop a politics of plurality based on the principle of the negotiation of difference.
The leading postmodernists all reject “Enlightenment politics”, which can be defined as the project of constructing a world according to principles of universal reason.
Many thinkers were following Nietzsche in being suspicious of all claims to universality and reason; such claims always mask the power interests of those making them. Imperialist nations, ruling classes, males, whites, heterosexuals, doctors, psychiatrists and criminologists have all claimed that their perspective defines a universal and rational outlook.
Frederich Nietzsche blames this dormancy on the 19th-century’s preoccupation with form. In his seminal work “The Birth of Tragedy”, Nietzsche had traced the origins and development of drama back in Ancient Greece to the balance that existed between two gods who existed in opposition to one another, Apollo and Dionysius.
The modernists concurred with Nietzsche that art had degenerated because it was too concerned with the rules of form and not enough with the creative energies that lie underneath the surface.
Ironically, the modernist portrayal of human nature takes place within the context of the city rather than in nature, where it had occurred during the entire 19th-century.
The year 1900 ushered a new era that changed the way that reality was perceived and portrayed. Years later this revolutionary new period would come to be known as modernism and would forever be defined as a time when artists and thinkers rebelled against every conceivable doctrine that was widely accepted by the Establishment, whether in the arts, science, medicine, philosophy, politics etc.
Although modernism would be short-lived, from 1900 to 1930, we are still reeling from its influences nearly hundred years later.
In the period between 1850 and 1940, railroads, steamships, telegraphs, electricity, telephones, automobiles, motion pictures, radio and airplanes were introduced, all of which combined to transform daily life in ways as profound as any transformation today.
The circulation of images and spectacles depends upon the ownership and control of satellite discs, information networks, video technologies, studios and television stations.
The postmodernists’ stress on the importance of differences and multiplicity, on the social construction of meaning systems, and on the incursion of the circuit of capital into more and more dimensions of social life are all valuable insights that can greatly enrich historical materialism.
Historical materialism culminates in a call to confront the power of capital directly. We have seen it raised with Facebook, Google and Amazon. They all have influenced human thinking and feelings, and taken part of psychological thinking.
Freud was not the only psychological theoretician who asked us to gaze inwardly to better understand the human psyche.
His disciple, Carl Jung, was also to develop another theory delving into the unconscious which explored the nature of the irrational self and which explained the common grounds shared by so many cultures.
Jung’s Theory of the Collective Unconscious, about an area of the mind that he believed was shared by everyone, states that there are patterns of behavior or actions and reactions of the psyche which he calls archetypes that are determined by race.
These instinctive, universal patterns manifest themselves in dreams, visions, and fantasies and are expressed in myths, religious concepts, fairy tales, and works of art.
In modern political thinking all these attitudes are used within the social world of today. The democratic process is from this view under transformation like it has been in centuries.
Democracy is not a static science but a movement. We have to live it that way, and we have to understand the human psyche.
We often blame the behaviours of those who have power and abuse it on the individual and his or her personality. That is, we make what psychologists call a dispositional attribution.
Psychologists define power in multiple ways, but commonly accepted definitions converge towards two aspects of power.
First, a powerful person is one that has control over their own and others’ resources. Resources can take many forms (e.g. financial resources, or in a more primitive sense, land or food…) but can also be symbolic resources (e.g. recognition, status…). Second, someone can be said to be powerful when she / he has the capacity to influence someone else, and stay uninfluenced by others.
And within the human psyche, most people like other people with a strong power, which can be both religious and politically powerful people. People they can follow and identify themselves with.
The effect of power goes beyond the way we process information. Power has been shown to affect the experience of emotions.
The human mind is a set of cognitive faculties including consciousness, perception, thinking, judgement, language and memory. It is usually defined as the faculty of an entity’s thoughts and consciousness. It holds the power of imagination, recognition, and appreciation, and is responsible for processing feelings and emotions, resulting in attitudes and actions
Powerful individuals tend to pay less attention to the emotions of others. They are capable of influencing the emotions of others, and tend to make emotional displays only when they really experience emotions (e.g. smiling when they really experience smiling).
And generally speaking, powerful persons experience more positive emotions and fewer negative ones.
Powerful politicians are using these techniques to get the most influence from their voters, and are using their voters’ social networks to get their voice out in the common space.
Political psychology aims to understand interdependent relationships between individuals and contexts that are influenced by beliefs, motivation, perception, cognition, information processing, learning strategies, socialization and attitude formation.
In essence political psychologists study the foundations, dynamics, and outcomes of political behavior using cognitive and social explanations.
Group behavior is key in the structure, stability, popularity and ability to make successful decisions of political parties. Individual behavior deviates substantially in a group setting therefore it is difficult to determine group behavior by looking solely at the individuals that comprise the group.
The application of conformity is key for understanding group influence in political behaviour. Decision making within a group is largely influenced by conformity. It is theorized to occur based on two motives; normative social influence and informational social influence (Asch, 1955).
Evolutionary psychology plays a significant role in understanding the state and people of how the current political regime came to be. It is an approach that focuses on the structure of human behavior claiming its dependence on the social and ecological environment.
In order to make inferences and predictions about behavior concerning voting decisions, certain key public influences must be considered. These influences include the role of emotions, political socialization, political sophistication, tolerance of diversity of political views and the media.
Political psychology is a thriving field of social scientific inquiry, with roots in political science and psychology and connections to a range of other social sciences, including sociology, economics, communication, business, education, and many other fields.
Political psychologists attempt to understand the psychological underpinnings, roots, and consequences of political behavior. Other political psychology involves the development of completely new theories to provide psychological accounts of political phenomena.
Political psychology thus illuminates the dynamics of important real-world phenomena in ways that yield practically valuable information and also that enhance the development of basic theories of cognitive processes and social relations of using Social Platform’s.
This is the Modernism of Political Power – the social way of communicating and influence. It’s not anymore happening on the Platform of the Congress.
This is the New World of Democracy.