Modern, Modernism and Postmodern words are like cup of tea these days. Everybody loves to talk about it, everybody wants to show he/she is modern even postmodern by hook or crook. Everybody is running after the word “modern” either by wearing the dresses in unusual shapes or drinking in da pubs or bars, singing English and rap songs, watching English movies, going for weekends and everything possible frm their income. Nobody wants to represent the older generation, even our prime-ministers and other leaders have started making fun of national dress DAURA-SURUWAL in the name of being modern (although it doesn’t suit them very well). Here the question arises: R we really trying to be modern or r we on the way of modernity??
So today, m thinking about discussing on modernity! Taking the references from Michael Foucault I am talking where we r going towards.
There are two famous definitions of modernism which are so popular. Firstly people have defined a period as modern period or they think it happens to be. They say after 1890, it was pre-modernism, around the first four decades of the 20th century, it was modernism and after the Second World War, it was postmodern period. This is epochal definition which looks like a student giving an answer for “What is Saturday?” as “The next day of Friday and the previous day of Sunday”. This is just a mere speculation that modernism and postmodernism could have existed in English literature around this period. That nowhere means modernism only represents the era we are living with or the era there was modernism in the English literature. In another kind of definition, people define the lavish lifestyle, the unmatchable dresses and ornaments, the quarrelling like music, uncontrollable drinking, smoking and drugging habit, innumerable gadgets, social networking sites, internet, adventure sports and other behaves of us will surely prove us modern, probably most of us think this way as well.
So, do these things make us modern?? Are we really as modern as we think after breaking traffic rules, after abusing others in social networks and newspapers, after laughing in unnecessary current day trended jokes, after being so-called social drinker and others?? Do we represent modernism?
According to Michael Foucault, modernism or postmodernism lie neither on period we represent nor the dress-coat we present, it simply lies on our attitude. Foucault has shifted the epochal definition of “modernism” into ethos which relatively means our attitude. For him, “Modernity is an attitude of relating with contemporary reality. It’s a questioning of time and then rupturing of traditions not destroying the learning and outcomes of it. It’s a process or attitude going towards out of fashion. Moments are always fleeting and a modernist is the one who captures the fleeting moments and heroizes it.”
Just looking Foucault’s ideas, let’s think are we really modern? Let’s take an example of our own well-known Gautam Buddha. Before becoming Buddha, he was Siddhartha Gautam, son of a king with inheritance to be a king, husband of a beautiful wife, dad of a son. Before quitting the palace he could have thought about the lines which would match that time. “As being a son of King, people expects him to rule them, his wife and son wants him to be with them forever, his old mother and father could have expected for a rest in old ages shifting the responsibility of kingship and all that.” If he had thought those things according to the fashion of that time, he could never have become the famous Buddha we see today. So, although he represents the era of 2600 years ago, his attitude was modern because he related his life with the contemporary reality, ruptured them and captured the fleeting moments to heroize them. In this sense, Buddha can be said modern in his attitude. We can even take the burning hot example of Steve Jobs, who used to wear out-of-fashion clothes, no shoes on the feet, was like mad and out-of-mind character, most of the time went on with odd looking ideas but we can see him as one of the representatives of twentieth century. If he would have gone with society, fashion, suits, jobs and other social traditions without questioning, he could have nowhere like us neither with glorious past nor with hopeful future. He dared, had an attitude to question the time, went out of fashion, related the possibilities into contemporary realities and heroized them, today nobody can say Steve Jobs was not modern just because of his torn clothes or feet or anti-social looking character.
My main point writing this post is to appeal you all that wearing good clothes and all other fashionable things doesn’t make us modern at all. We should have an attitude of questioning the time and realities (most of them are so-called realities) that our society cultivates. We can herioze the present if we dare to throw ourselves out of these chains of fashion and fun. Let’s think, what example we are setting towards the coming generation. Giving the example of Gautam Buddha and Steve Jobs, I nowhere mean to quit education, home and run away like them but we can think in a new way to change the today to make remarkable. :)