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Has Modernity Failed?

Modernity is a universal term. It is at once a historical period, worldview and ideology.

As such, it’s got much in common with modernism, which signifies the character or quality of being, thought, beliefs and ideas associated with modernity as an ongoing chapter in history. The two concepts are often used interchangeably.

With its virtually global currency and endless ramifications, modernity was perhaps the most impactful phenomenon that has happened to mankind.

To be modern, to live a modern lifestyle, and to get modernized – that is, to realize man’s instinctive and total well-being here and now – was on everyone’s lips. Ideas and experiences materialized and unfolded at all levels of existence: individually and collectively, unofficially and at the level of institutions.

However, as the especially 19th and early 20th century modernity euphoria started to subside, it became increasingly clear that modernity was not what it initially was meant and expected to be.

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Modernity was envisaged to become a generator, as well as personification, of ultimate truth and freedom, leading, in turn, to the creation of new and significantly better societies. The whole world was expected to be made an exceptionally better and more promising place. At the core of this philosophy stood the belief in the perfectibility of humankind adorned with truth, equality, freedom and erudition.

The philosophical and civilizational paradigms of modernity denoted a synthesis of a theoretical utopianism, intellectual arrogance, and scientific along with technological overindulgence, which were permeated and sustained with the spirit of the notions of skepticism, humanism, nihilism and hedonism.

Due to the extraordinary nature and scope of modernity, its escalating drawbacks led the world to a crossroads. The very existence of human species and delicate earthly ecosystems appears today to be at stake. If any turnaround in fortune is to be made anytime soon, some tough ontological together with matter-of-fact questions will need to be honestly asked and as honestly answered.

This article discusses the two-sidedness of modernity, emphasizing the consequences of its separation from and setting itself on a collision course with the spiritual and traditional realms.

Read the full article in pfd.



About Dr. Spahic Omer
Dr. Spahic Omer, an award-winning author, is an Associate Professor at the Kulliyyah of Islamic Revealed Knowledge and Human Sciences, International Islamic University Malaysia (IIUM). He studied in Bosnia, Egypt and Malaysia. In the year 2000, he obtained his PhD from the University of Malaya in Kuala Lumpur in the field of Islamic history and civilization. His research interests cover Islamic history, culture and civilization, as well as the history and theory of Islamic built environment. He can be reached at: [email protected].