Thursday, October 22, 2009

AoE Commentary 4

Chapters 10-13 in Hobsbawm's AoE follow a general path to changes in certainty - as well as the belle epoque - and the consequences these upheavals had. The changes in the sciences I thought was an interesting phenomenon. Up until that point in time, many people were knowledgeable in science and the qualifications one had to be educated or a master in something were so minimal that one could be an expert of everything. However, with the changes in science and math based on less tangible ideas and more theoretical phenomenon, the laymen became greatly distanced from science and math. In addition, the sciences became something hard to understand and more complicated in depth and concepts. Hence, it was no longer feasible to be an expert in everything as there was so much knowledge to be had. One could say there was a scholarly specialization that went on during this time. The schools of thought like Nietzscheism also changed how people thought and what was thought of the belle epoque.

With all these changes occurring in the schools of thought and what everybody knew to be facts about society and the universe, there was naturally a move toward revolution as a response to the upheaval. I think this in context of preWWI is closely tied to nationalism. Minority groups [whether by virtue of size or rights] combined nationalism with what is considered revolutionary - violence - in order to bring about change. I find Hobsbawm's statement in an eariler chapter, that the masses do not fully understand sometimes that complete social change is needed to implement they changes they want, i.e. they want these specific changes without changing the whole system.

Going along with the nationalism, people in WWI at first were very patriotic and surprisingly, there was a small amount of people who resisted or skipped out on the draft. As can be seen my sentiments in the later WWI and post WWI, this enthusiasm was really a result of the people expecting the war to be quick, short and easy. People in Britain and France surely thought they would win the war quickly and maintain their supremacy and get rid of the German problem quite easily. This obviously was not the case. The chapters leading up to the final chapter in AoE is quite fittedly a rendition of the consequences of the long chain of events and phenomenon described in the preceding chapters.

I found the chapter regarding the distancing of the layman and science very interesting. Obviously, in today's day and age, everybody is not a scholar and everybody is not a scientist. This roles are specialized. I found it interesting to see that at one point everybody knew a lot about science. However, it is important to point out that "a lot" back then was not much now, because as a whole, we knew less back then as compared to now.

I understand how sciences changed and how people and society changed based on these changes. However, I am unsure about the equivalent changes and responses in reason, and also philosophy, like nietzscheism?

No comments:

Post a Comment