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The understanding of modern urban life - Essay Example

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The understanding of modern urban life

Simmel underlined that "the city conspires to erase difference by assaulting the individual with an overwhelming and never-ending stream of visual stimuli" (Byram, 2002) and also that our society consists of individual interactions and this defines its identity: "While there is no perception of society until individuals begin to interact, once formed by the interaction of individuals, the society affects the individuals as an outside force" (Crow Ch., et al., 2000).
Benjamin considered the modern urban experience through the development of technologies and supported communications development; he was positive about new technologies, emphasizing their liberating influences. He was positive towards such technologies as film and photography: "New media technologies such as phonographs, epic theatre, and especially film and photography, not only destroy art's 'aura' but demystifies the process of creating art, making available radical new access and roles for art in mass culture" (Bicket, 2001).
Simmel and Benjamin both underlined the importance of technological development and its influence on art, culture and our understanding of social environment. Simmel's views tend towards the negative influence of urban life on individuals, while Benjamin is more positively inclined tof technological and cultural aspects of modern and post-modern urban society.
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Link both essays in together and edit from 1100 to 600 words ie what is contained between the line above and the line at the end

A utopia is an imaginary place, situated in a particular time and space, that is socially, morally, and politically ideal, and a dystopia is its exact opposite. Ideologies are as transient as fashions and can be subjective, as they are relative to the perspective employed. Hitler and his comrades had a utopia in mind when they sought to create the Thousand Year Reichbut Jews, Gypsies, homosexuals, and other victims of his vision would beg to differ (Tartar, 2004).
Human rationality implies, for enlightened thinkers, an attempt to know and understand the natural world. As Norman Hampson writes, "human reason, operating by means of careful observation and checking its conclusions by further observation or experiment, could for the first time in the history of man reveal the mechanism of the natural world. "The extreme rationalism of Descartes, its traditional alternative and empiricist aspects and the debate between them, constitute the most influential part of Enlightenment in the nineteenth century.
The Enlightened thinkers were generally confident that they could use rational principles to solve social interaction problems and this belief led to the Enlightened faith in social progress and the culmination of the Enlightenment ideals in a utopian society. Nietzsche opposed this Enlightened faith in progress as nave;but being unable to elude it, itwas the Enlightenment's utopianism that accompanied him through his most radical critiques (Call, 1995).

A second theme involves the contradictions that necessarily exist between communality and individuality. Human consciousness is passive in accepting ideology, doctrine, orthodoxy and mass thinking and often sees reality in terms of the liturgy of certain ...Show more

Summary

There is a necessity to understand different features of modern urban life and the place of man in modern city. This paper will demonstrate Georg Simmel and Walter Benjamin's positions on modern and post-modern urban experience, and a new understanding of modern city and the influence of the mass media.
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