Modernism

I am visiting friends, and we have decided to spend the entire day of December 25 cooking, eating, watching “Game of Thrones” and hanging out. The latter mostly means discussing various random topics of philosophical interest.

At some point our discussion wandered to the question of Modernism. We spent a while going around on this topic before realizing that we couldn’t agree on what Modernism is.

So at some point somebody looked it up on the Wikipedia. And it turns out that the word has multiple and decidedly contradictory meanings. Some have used it as a synonym for the technological progress we associate with the modern era, the sort of “technology makes things better” narrative of human progress that one hears these days from Google, Apple, etc.

Others have used it in a nearly opposite sense — as a cynical view of the modern condition that arose in reaction to the horrors of World War I, horrors which were very much enabled by advancing technology.

So it seems that the word “Modernism” itself has no agreed upon meaning. It’s enough to make one question whether words themselves can have reliable meanings.

How postmodern!

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