Monday, January 30, 2012

Humanism as the germinal period of modernism

The title of this blog came from a recent article I found. I would highly suggest the read.

I have often been confused by the term "humanism." Any definition I come across seems very vague and usually takes pages to explain. I have attempted asking people the definition of humanism and have yet to get a single sentence response. Perhaps by the end of this post I will be able to create that one sentence definition, perhaps not. This article portrays humanism as a break from current tradition back to the old tradition. In 16th century context, it took the medieval attitude of supernaturalism, brought it back to the classics where it got loosely tied to a mixture of art and critical thinking, and threw it into the 18th century which is where modernism was born. This few hundred years of societal conflict has be dubbed the Renaissance. To me, it is one of the most fascinating times of history to consider. There was so much going on in the realm religion and science together, the conflict nearly tore them both apart inside and out. The basics of religion were being attacked by people inside the church like Martin Luther as well as scientists such as Galileo. In this strange battle between science and religion in the Renaissance era who one? Neither. The aesthetic nature came out on top. The world idea was changing into beauty and emotion. I'm not sure why we have called it humanism. To me, the name is more confusing than insightful. A better word could simply be pre-western as this was truly the time where an individualistic idea was brought to the forefront. Where Europe began thinking like we think today. And thus the west was born.
So, what is humanism? I still cant give a solid definition but I feel like I have cut off some edges and am slowly coming to an understanding. If you have any other insights or if you have found that one sentence definition, please share.

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