Mid-Term - Carly Weil Challenges of Modernity Mid-Term...

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Carly Weil Challenges of Modernity Mid-Term Prior to 1859, the general public believed primarily in the fixidity of species, more broadly known as Creationism. It was held that there was a “conviction of a wise and benevolent design [God], which [was] exercised in producing [an] agreement between the internal constitution and the external circumstances of organized beings.” 1 That is, things appeared to be so perfectly in tune with their surroundings, that the only way to describe this phenomenon was God’s control of the world. This control promoted the idea of God as the ultimate center of the universe; God creates and rules all. Every aspect of society was underlined by this belief. In 1859, however, Charles Darwin published his book, “On the Origin of Species.” In it, he detailed his theory of Natural Selection, effectively disproving the idea of Creationism and throwing God into questioning. Natural Selection stated that organisms were not created as they are now by God, but rather were “descended from some one primordial form.” 2 Organisms change and evolve due to their surroundings by the convention that those more fit for the proximate environment would survive over those that were weaker. Darwin’s theory explained many issues that Creationism was not able to address, such as animals with seemingly unnecessary habits and structure and similarities between different species. Darwin’s book shattered the traditional image of God. The center of society’s world view was removed, leaving open a vast hole to be filled. 1 Appleman, Phillip, ed. Darwin . 3 rd 2 Ibid . (171)
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Thrown into period of intensive revaluation, people exploded into a frenzy to rectify this gap in ideology. Society began to undergo a rapid change in which new philosophies and beliefs emerged. One of the most prominent new ideologies circulating was Communism, as outlined in Karl Marx’s “The Communist Manifesto.” A direct response to the “oppressive bourgeois,” Marx called for the destruction of the current social system and for the implementation of “an association, in which the free development of each is the condition for the free development of all.” 3 Marx felt that the best society was one in which the people all ruled together. There was no person greater than any other and the power was given to the population as a whole. This political philosophy alleviated the void left by Darwin. Marx put people as the new center of society and of the world view. As with any new world view, everything was jostled by it. The humanist view overtakes all other aspects of society and transforms them to reflect this new center. Thus, its effects can be found in all corners of a nation’s culture. This idea of people as the center of society is seen clearly in Russia after the rise
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Mid-Term - Carly Weil Challenges of Modernity Mid-Term...

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