Age of Enlightenment and Modernity

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Modernity is a concept that affects us all, it is always present and continually changing. The beginnings of modernity can be traced back through diverse stages of history and social change. This essay will define modernity and discuss the Enlightenment period and the French and Industrial revolutions. These stages of history were witness to unprecedented social change and it is in these periods that the early stages of modernity originate.

Modernity is a condition that we all experience (Berman 1983:15) Modernity is an ever changing circumstance resulting in new modes of social life and organization. Modernity is all encompassing, we all experience modernity on a daily basis (Blatterer 2011:1).We are often not always aware of the effects or impact of modernity, yet it is everywhere. To live in modernity is to live with continuous change and doubt, it is where all aspects of society are open to questioning and debate (Blatterer 2011:8)Modernity arose with the growing emphasis of rationality over religion during the Enlightenment and the process of social change that accompanied this new way of life.

The Enlightenment was a period of extreme social change that impacted all realms of society. Society evolved from a traditional, feudal society where religion and God were central to one based on rationality and scientific knowledge. It is a time when society began to progress and enter the modern world (Blatterer 2011:4).The social changes as a result of the Enlightenment period paved the way for the French and Industrial Revolutions and it is during this time of unparalleled social change that the process of modernization began.

The ideas of modernity were born out of two revolutions, the French and Industrial revolutions. The ideals of liberty, equality and democracy that arose from the French Revolution created new political and social foundations. The principle that all men are created equal transformed society and still shapes our ideals today...
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