Sunday, May 21, 2006
I think that Marxism was the greatest ideological revolution from the 1850's to the beginning of the 20th century. That's when the first beginnings of the modern women's movement start developing, but it will only come into fruition several decades later. In the 20th century, along with the explosion and spread of the women's movement, the broad and profound development in the domain of knowledge regarding human psychology is to me the other enormously revolutionary ideological change in modern society.
Modern psychology (which should not be confounded with psycho-babble or cheap psycho-professionals/therapy-industry/pro-homosexuality-porn-pedophilia junk) has rendered a lot of previous "wisdom" found in many religions as stale and stunted in knowledge.
I think most religions today are relevant because of ethical and morality teachings, family values, commitment and developing a personal and spiritual conscience, but not regarding knowledge about a lot of complex human psychology and behavior issues. This partly explains, though, why so many very old religions appeal to so many people today. The majority of humans on Earth still have very little knowledge and also very mediocre minds when it comes to understanding life and others and long years of complex study doesn't do it for most people. Not to mention, like in all sciences, the more complex it gets, the more it restricts the number of people capable of grasping it. I'm still a silly optimist to think that it could all still be greatly improved and that we could someday have a much more informed and knowledgeable mass of human creatures running around the Earth. Nevertheless, the results of the opening of the "Da Vinci Code" and the colossal audiences for reality shows and "American Idol" go to show how dellusional my hopes are.
Probably one needs to include all the anti-racism movements together with the women's movement as tremendously revolutionary, but I'm not sure how much the civil rights/anti-racism struggles have prevailed. In the US, a lot of the racism has shifted from skin color - disapproved, at least on the level of public discourse - to profound racisms now played out in nationality (American vs. non-American)/West vs. Islam realms - all very much touted and approved of.
On the other hand, maybe the anti-racism movements don't seem that big to me because I could not imagine being born in a society that had slavery and Jim Crow as normal and right. Although one side of my family in the past had slaves (if I am remembering things correctly), both sides have always been extremely racist. It seems so distant though and that is probably proof of how much has changed, in other words, it attests to how revolutionary the paradigm shift has been regarding slavery, and consequently, racism.