Marshal Berman was a Maxist humanist writer and an American philosopher. A professor of science at City College of Newyork and was professor in Graduate center of the City Universe of New York as well. The book All solids that Melts into Air about modernism is written by him. Marshall Berman examines the clash of classes, histories, and cultures, and ponders our prospects for coming to terms with the relationship between a liberating social and philosophical idealism and a complex, bureaucratic materialism.
Berman encounters the central vagueness of modernism in his book “ All Solids That Melts into Air”. In order to understand the world, men and women became objects of modernization so tha they can cultivate it and make it their Home. Author established an open ended conversation with the reader so that he or she can make his or her own understanding about modernization explained in the book in three different stages. These different stages of modernity starts with the first phase that is from 16th to 18th century. These were centuries when humans were trying to adopt the modern life. Secong stage of modernization began during the French revolution and in Gurella war period (1790’s). In the latter half, 19th century society becomes preoccupied with a nostalgic desire to gain knowledge about non-modern civilizations.
Encouraged from the thinkers like Nietzsche, Rousseau, Goethe, Baudelaire and Kierkegaard, the first three parts of the book identifies the implications of the workings by these modernist thinkers. Firs part of the book deals with the expressionof Goethe’s faust modernist quest while the second phase of the book poses a question about the Marx’s communist manifesto relationship with bougeous ecomies and with modernist culture can be accounted for. Afetr this Berman explains the work of Baudelaire in terms of art that human that are influencial and powerful in economical and political aspects are most likely to artisticly creative. However last two sectionsof the book discusses the elements of modernisin in terms of age race gender in different locations. Meanwhile Berman examined how much important is it to explore modernization by looking at the cosmoplitana nd imperial city of st Petersburg. In the last sectionof the book Berman explained how Newyork represented modern life imagined, ruined and how a modern man build its capacity.
The end of 18th century was promising to humanity. New planets were discovered [Uranus, Saturn], music had been created by Mozart, world’s furthest parts were conquered by great countries, the Rights of Man was approved after the French Revolution, etc. Times were saturated with scientific progress, marking events and inventions. Suddenly the world became smaller, much more accessible. Previously deadly illnesses were now curable, countries previously feared, were ruled. All was a promising great start. Until “faust” was seduced by “mephistophelis”. He sold his soul. To spread himself endlessly.
I think it is remarkably clever to use someone else’s text, to open it up, decode it and have untangled, clear human evolution within those disturbing times, though through one person’s life, but living as most of people did. It is sad, but then it is not the first time humanity was forced, accidentally or intensionally, to develop, to evolve, to grow. “Goethe sees the modernisation of the material world as a sublime spiritual achievement”. But then again Faust, as a symbol for humanity, was previously saved by the church from his death. It does sound incredibly alike to dark ages. Therefore, now, will humanity be saved by modernisation? By progress and development? Maybe it will, but somehow causing all material development, all structural changes in the world though hard as ripping band aides, is human.
It is man’s desire to control, to overpower, to be able to prove his superiority against nature. Because accidentally it gave in by letting man discover planets, cures. As man is cause of development of modernisation – developer, his spiritual and moral battles do not seize to exist. They might have been silenced for a while, but “four ladies” Need, Care, Want and Guilt occasionally let themselves to be noticed. Which is a paradox in itself, as moving and motivating development force, sometimes slows the process by doubting itself. It is therefore self-destructive and obsolete. Environments, institutions and all other people and things that are most dominant now may become obsolete in tehnext era. Even the moving forces like developers. Which is greatly illustrated by M.Berman by choosing appropriate historical events, facts and people. Sooner or later, regime, political system, or economical politics will be destructed. That is probably the greatest tragedy of human development. And development in general, as it will at certain point, will become obsolete and will halt.
Ending and beginning of the book involves the area of South Bronx, the area where Berman was born, raised and transformed in 1980’s. Robert Moses was the guy who wanted to tansform that area wher berman raised up, Moses wants to build an Expressway without having legal documents. The interaction between Moses and Berman transformed berman completely. The results were unimaginable as Robert along with other constructors damaged the government property in sucha way that even hole were not even left by theblocks demolished but arson attacks made a huge impact on them and they left. According to Mosses this was the act of modernism infact act of modernity itself.
The modern urbanism reperesented by berman, he has every single possible reason to demolish Moses. Rather he didi something more than nice. “Ordeal” is most commonly written in the first phase. He explained how the reactions and behaviours of a person changes as he experiences new things in the society. Person who demolished the area where Berman grew is the same person who made some amazing buildings, themes, amusemnst prks in new York. This made some confusion in the mind of an author that how a same person can be different in different situations. He concluded that as we move on towards to modernization more we loose the ability to differentiate between positive and negative.
To describe modernity in a more effective way, Berman used a figure of Faust who wanted to sell his soul in return for development and modernization. Through out the book Berman recommends Faust to read dialectally, as a story about the need to have improvised technology and modernization. Figure shows how much important modernization is for Faust that he is willing too exchange his soul to have this in his life. Scenario above stated that modernization did come with negativity as well. Lets recall that Robert Moses behavior how modernization changed his priorities and encouraged him to do that is not legally right.
Pastoral modernism is one of the initial visions to be explored, which is discussed in the earlier work of Baudelaire. In most of his earlier works he praised burgeois. There is no traces found in terms of dullness in jis working but the realization of idea in terms of political, artistic and industrial future. Main motive of the work was the desire that human progress effectively with the help of art. Above stated pastrol modernization claims that teher is a positive relationship between spiritual modernization and materialism. This claims that those people who aer dynamic and highly intelligent in political and economic life are most open to artistic and intellectual creativities. While finding out the power and dominance of beauty, Baudlelaire was not able to see the changing dynamics of the society.
We don’t know how to use modernism was one of the beleifs of Berman in 20th century even though, as he hastens to affirm, in the history of the world, 20th century might be one of the most creative era, and that “we have missed or broken the connection between our culture and our lives.” Regarding this matter, at least, it is averred that they ordered these things much better in the 19th century when the relation of aesthetic modernism to social modernization is claimed to have been more creative, more dynamic, more dialectical, and more wonderful in every way. This, above all, is the reason why we should now be setting our sights backward—on Baudelaire’s Paris and Dostoevsky’s St. Petersburg. There, apparently, the connection between “our culture” and “our lives” would have had much more to offer us than the dismal present. In this mural would be depicted, more or less (one gathers) in the manner of the old “Ballad for Americans,” a cast of thousands representing successive waves of immigration, radical sects, and prosperous Bronx alumni who have made their mark in American life. Never for a moment does Berman suspect that his “modernist dream”, which seems to have been compounded of 1930’s-style post-office murals, Soviet-style Socialist Realism, and perhaps a bit of Southern California kitsch represents everything that the modernist imaginative has long ago repudiated.
Afetr critically anlaysis of the book it is clearthat although Berman has painted a colorful picture of maxism and modernity but it still lacks in terms of missing elements like calss and gender. Book is clarifying for those who has difficulty in understanding post modern society. In order to create positive and structured outlook, Berman has consistently constructed ambient and dark visions of reality so that he could regain modernity and optimism, which is why it has been seen that sometimes he often contradicts the purose of book to provide greaer understanding of modernity. Book doesnot clearly clarifies every facet of modernity, provided literature is not enough.