Effects Of Modernity Essay, Research Paper
The old-traditional way of life has vanished for ever. Today only villages and some small towns remind us of this kind of life, and as time passes, more people choose to abandon traditional way of life, to move to the ?big city?. Modern way of life has nothing in common with the traditional one. Human habits, values, norms have changed. The most important of these social changes can be observed in human relationships, family economy, education, government, health, and religion. To be able to examine these changes, one has to juxtapose traditional and modern way of life.
In traditional societies, to begin with, there is a strong fellow-feeling; everybody is considered a friend and is expected to act this way, in case of personal or family crisis. In every-day life one would be happy to lend his neighbor anything he is asked without expecting anything in return. This fellow-feeling does not exist in modern cities, where the general rule taught to city-people when they are still children is: trust no one. The size and density of population, anonymity and high rate of criminality may be responsible for this kind of behavior. Despite the fact that each city group chooses to behave this way for different reasons, the result will always be the same (Gans: 235-237).
In addition to the change in human behavior towards people outside his family, there is change in family life as well. The extended family providing all means of socialization and economic production, became nuclear, still having some of its socialization functions, but up to a point, and finally considered more as a unit of consumption rather than a unit of production (Macionis: 460-461).
Furthermore, education changed. Pre-industrial societies addressed education only to the elite and the rich. Being educated at that time was considered a privilege. In modern societies, however, basic education is open for everyone, and the number of persons achieving higher education is rising all the time, while the number of iliteratured is diminishing (Macionis: 514-515).
The most important changes were brought in the economy and the way of earning income. Industrialization turned everything upside-down in this sector of human activity. In pre-industrial societies income and the economy as a whole, were based on agriculture and manufacturing in home. Wealth was not something to be pursued, the character and personality of the individual had greater value than his wealth: ?the hard-working poor man is superior to the lazy rich man? (Vidich: 230). In modern economies everything is based on industrial mass production and white-collar jobs have increased. The pursue for wealth is so high that if we compare it with traditional societies, modern ones would look corrupted (Macionis: 408).
The fact that traditional societies were small in size, made possible for anyone to participate with an active and direct way in the government of his community. ?Every one is urged and invited to attend public meetings, and everyone is urged to vote not as a duty but as a privilege? (Vidich: 229). In modern societies government is done indirectly and people have little participation in decision making. In addition, state intervenes in most aspects of human activity (Macionis: 437).
Moreover, traditional societies had limited technology, both in the production of food and in medicine, which caused shortages in the food supply and kept medicine incapable in dealing with most diseases. As a result, death rate was extremely high at that time. Industrialization eliminated both phenomena. By mass production supply met demand and new technological methods, applied by medicine helped to increase life expectancy (Macionis: 539-541).
Finally, the way people see religion has changed. Religion used to play a very important role in traditional societies, especially in medieval Europe, where everything, even political authority was placed around the church. As science became able to provide answers about the creation of the universe, a large number of people began to question religion. What has finally happened is that less people believe nowadays (in proportion) in major religious groups. People turn towards more sophisticated religion groups (sects) which are spread extensively worldwide (Macionis: 495).
On the whole, life in modernity has nothing to do with life in traditional societies; this doesn?t mean that the way of life became worse, it is just different or even better in some aspects. After all, if this statement wasn?t true, people would turn back to the traditional way of life. Modernism is mostly accused for the changes it brought in human relationships, making them impersonal and isolating individuals. Human in traditional societies, however, didn?t seem to have much better quality in their relationships, if we look at them a little bit closer. This fellow-feeling and greeting at everyone was done, most of the time, typically and not because they really felt this way. They would socialize not because they wanted to, but because they would be afraid of the consequences of not socializing: ?the person who feels he is above associating with everyone ? runs the risk of being regarded as a snob, for the taint of snobbishness is most easily acquired by failing to be friendly to everyone? (Vidich: 229). Social life in traditional life seems like having to give a performance all the time. Therefore, the only thing that seems to work better in traditional societies is domestic government, as anyone can directly participate in it. In all other aspects, education, health, economy and religion, things seem to have changed for the better.