By Marshall Berman
"A effervescent caldron of principles . . . Enlightening and valuable." —Mervyn Jones, New Statesman.
The political and social revolutions of the 19th century, the pivotal writings of Goethe, Marx, Dostoevsky, and others, and the construction of latest environments to switch the old—all have thrust us right into a glossy global of contradictions and ambiguities. during this interesting publication, Marshall Berman examines the conflict of periods, histories, and cultures, and ponders our customers for coming to phrases with the connection among a freeing social and philosophical idealism and a posh, bureaucratic materialism.
From a reinterpretation of Karl Marx to an incisive attention of the influence of Robert Moses on smooth city dwelling, Berman charts the growth of the twentieth-century adventure. He concludes that model to continuous flux is attainable and that therein lies our desire for reaching a very smooth society.
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Extra resources for All That Is Solid Melts into Air: The Experience of Modernity
Introduction 29 administered," programmed to produce exactly those desires that the social system can satisfy, and no more. " 1 2 Now this is a familiar twentieth-century refrain, shared by those who love the modern world and those who hate it: modernity is constituted by its machines, of which modern men and women are merely mechanical reproductions. But it is a travesty of the nine teenth-century modern tradition in whose orbit Marcuse claimed to move, the critical tradition of Hegel and Marx.
What is more surprising, and more disturbing, is the extent to which this perspective thrived among some of the participatory democrats of the recent New Left. But this is what happened, at least for a time, at the very end of the 1960s, when Herbert Mar cuse's "One-Dimensional Man" became the dominant paradigm in critical thought. " The masses have no egos, no ids, their souls are devoid of inner tension or dynamism: their ideas, their needs, even their dreams, are "not their own"; their inner lives are "totally • A more dialectical perspective may be found in some of Weber's later essays, for instance "Politics as a Vocation" and "Science as a Vocation" (in Hans Gerth and C.
Experiences like these unite us with the nineteenth-cen tury modern world : a world where, as Marx said, "everything is 36 ALL THAT I s Souo MELTS INTO AIR pregnant with its contrary" and "all that is solid melts into air"; a world where, as Nietzsche said, "there is danger, the mother of morality-great danger . . " Modern machines have changed a great deal in the years between the nineteenth-century modernists and ourselves; but modern men and women, as Marx and Nietzsche and Baudelaire and Dos toevsky saw them then, may only now be coming fully into their own.