The term modern refers to anything solid or abstract that is of the current time and not the distant past. Modernism arises from wide-scale and far reaching changes in society that influence the way of life and thought of the people. Thus, modernity is the state of being current or of the present time. The modern era or history highlights a timeline of history that occurred after the middle ages. The start of the pre-modern era can be traced back to the sixteenth century when Muslim Spain and Constantinople fell. The winds of change around this time brought about the renaissance.
The pre-modern was a transitional time from the Middle Ages where life was greatly defined in terms of religious faith. In this era people had no sense of time because most of their activities were not pegged on time and its flow did not define much for them. The human body was thought to be sacred and exclusively meant to serve a higher being-God. Human thought and reason did not matter a lot in shaping human destiny and existence. The edicts of the religious settings dictated that human thought should always be focused on a higher being-God. The dogmas served by the religions claimed that god or gods were the only sources of knowledge-both of worldly and non-worldly nature. During this era there was no sense of space. This was because people in small secluded organizational set-ups of community were only familiar with the small geographical zone around them. There was minimal mobility and people did not travel far from there residential areas. Least was known about the world at large because traveling relied on animals and thus; was limited. During this era man only worked on a subsistence basis to cater for his existence (Mukherjee, 2008).
The modern era was ushered in by the revolutionary changes that occurred in mobility, the art of thinking and change of beliefs. These are the factors that spurred the onset of the modern era as a whole. Human curiosity rose at around this era as man sought to understand better the surroundings in which he existed. Man began to gather knowledge through empirical observation and inquisition. This inquisition took on a systematic mode of thought, and thus; logic developed. The use of logical thinking in inquisitions led to the development of scientific, experimental methods. Therefore, systematic thinking, observation and experimentation became recognized as the new source of knowledge. As a result, this appreciation watered down most of the mythical beliefs of middle ages and pre-modern times. During this era humans found out that the mind was a tool of knowledge acquisition and the body was a tool of the human mind as it tried to achieve its quest. The belief of the sacredness of the body still held in the religious realms but no to all of humanity. Therefore, communities were based on ideas and thoughts that defined them rather than the life and fate ideology from the middle ages.
Communal and individual identity grew based on the growing knowledge about the geographical surroundings of man (Vecchi, 2004). People began identifying themselves with territorial kingdoms and later nations. The developments related to transport enhanced mobility and created a better sense of space. People began to develop an understanding of space as well as its mapping. Inventions by Ptolemy on map projection gave people a toll to define space as well as other elements that related to space on a quantitative and spatial view. Man came to an understanding that time defined his activities through seasons of time. Therefore, he timed many of his undertakings using the calendar and the daily cycle of time.
According to Mukherjee et al.the developments and advancements of the modern era formed seed for the growth of the post-modern times. This era is characterized by the implementation of ideas and technological advancements that developed in the modern era. These times were characterized by the industrial revolution of the nineteenth century. There existed a demand for new technologies as well as the goods and services that they offered. This led to the development of large-scale production of goods and services. In this era man was viewed as a tool and machine for use in the production line. Men could be hired and fired without much ado because they were merely tools that acted as a means to an end. Space and time became more defined. Man’s activities were pegged on time and schedule because he had to work according to deadlines and targets. Therefore, time defined activities to a great extent. Space shrank as communication and transport technology advanced. Space also became more defined and understood through advanced mapping technologies. The picture of the world took the pictorial concept a global village. The sense of belonging was based on two views-that of a nations citizen and global citizen (Vecchi, 2004). Politics took shape and nations became identities for geographical areas (Finger & Flusser, 2003).
Mukherjee, S, Wang, E.Q, Iggers, G. G. (2008). A global history of modern historiography. Essex, UK: Pearson Longman.
Vecchi, B. (2004).Identity: conversations with Benedetto Vecchi. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley-Blackwell Publishers.
Finger, A. K. and Flusser, V. (2003).The freedom of the migrant: Objections to nationalism. Chicago, IL: University of Illinois Press.