From the Interstices of Authority


Modernity, as a frame of mind or a set of ideas, accommodatesvarious and sometimes incongruous definitions. As ahistorical era, its advent, and some contend its demise, can bedifficult to place. Some point to Galileo's refutation of the earthcentricuniverse; others identify Descartes' invocation of theprimacy of individual human reason. Eric Voegelin traces itsorigins to the gnostic musings of Joachim of Fiore, while MartinHeidegger attributes to Plato the first "modern"" thoughts. Thesubject's pliability explains, to some extent, Western civilization'scontinuing difficulty in addressing modernity's challenges andinadequacies. We cannot legitimately expect to diagnose theera's problems and identify its potentialities while its rootsremain occluded.
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