There's More Than One Way to Crack a Modernist Egg
The Modernists thought the world had a lot of problems, and they were intent on fixing them—or at least talking about fixing them. Unfortunately, none of their ideas involved baking chocolate chip cookies. Come on, dudes.
|Author||Eliot - T. S. Eliot|
Huxley - Aldous Huxley
London - Jack London
Pound - Ezra Pound
|Social Studies||U.S. History|
Take American author Jack London.
This adventurous gentleman, who had been an oyster pirate and a tramp, among other things,
all before the age of twentyÉ
Éthought modern conveniences had turned mankind into a bunch of wimps. Sissies. Pantywaists.
London's solution to the global wuss problem was to have everyone drop everything and head
into the wilderness. He figured people had forgotten how to survive without the aid of
air conditioning and toilet paper...
...not that he did a great job with the whole outdoorsy thing himself, seeing as how he
contracted scurvy during the Klondike Gold Rush.
The poet Ezra Pound didn't think life should revolve around surviving grizzly bear attacks.
While Pound would have agreed with London that the beauty of human life was connected
to some basic animal desireÉ
Éthis future fascist believed that mankind could only return to its apex by studying
the classic art of the ancient world...
...although Pound may not have been as interested in classic art as he let on.
After all, his favorite stories were about Dionysus<<die-oh-nigh-sis>>, who just so happens
to be the ancient Greek god of wine, sex, and a really good time.
Pound's good buddy T.S. Eliot bought into the whole Òclassic-art-can-make-us-betterÓ
However, unlike Pound, Eliot was pretty sure wine and sex weren't an integral part of humanity's
revitalization. He preferred a more spiritual approach to life.
In Eliot's opinion, most people were just too ignorant to realize how beautiful the
world was long ago...
...and the only way to get back to that beautiful world, Eliot thoughtÉ was to read about it.
Then there's the British novelist Aldous Huxley, whose masterpiece Brave New World describes
a terrible future for humanity. Is there a terminator apocalypse, complete with the Governator?
Has nuclear armaggedon turned the world into a radioactive wasteland? Nuh-uh.
Is mankind plagued by Graboids? No.
The reason why Huxley's world is so awful is because people get absolutely everything
they want out of life. Anticlimactic, no? For Huxley, the problem with the modern world
wasn't that people were suffering and unhappy. It's that they weren't experiencing enough
suffering and unhappiness.
In his opinion, the human spirit couldn't thrive without a dunk in the Well of Despair
every now and again.
With mankind living it up with the help of dishwashers and antidepressants, the human
soul was doomed to wither like a dying flower. Doomed, we say. Doooooomed.
And that's what four of the titans of Modernism thought about the seeming crisis of the early
While they may not have agreed on what exactly was wrong with the world, all four believed
that something was amiss and in need of fixing...
...although the wide variety of solutions they offered gives a whole new meaning to
the phrase, ÒThere's more than one way to crack an egg.Ó