Context: Culture Constructed Worlds of the 1900s
The 1900s was a hodgepodge o culture coming together to form what we now call the USA. The end of WWI, WWII, and the Korean War saw a reshuffling of the global community. Traditional USA beliefs shifted away from Imperialism and Capitalism to the Great New Deal and Social Democracy. You could say, “Make America Great Again’ was a call back to pre-war ideas. But, honestly, the 1900s had no such significant era in time. There were prosperous times for a small portion of the population, but the community was struggling to hold it together. This accumulated in the marriage between Surrealism and Existentialism.
Before starting this portion of the journal entry, be sure to accurately and coherently provide specific textual details and examples to your response. This project will end with your expressing your understanding of both Surrealism and Existentialism in the context of how World Wars impact the community, no matter the country.
Type out your responses directly after the questions.
1) Surrealism is the exploration of the unconscious mind, the absurd, illogical, and irrational. On the other hand, the Existentialist knows it exists but struggles to find a purpose in a nihilist world. it has been said that ‘Post-modern art is permeated by Absurdism.’ Existentialism claims there is no truth while Surrealist claims that the very notion of truth is ridiculous even if there was the truth. WWI and WWII heavily influenced that attitude. Why?i. Answer the question here
2) Surrealists and Existentialist claimed that religious truth was absurd. They claimed, Christianity, Judaism, and Islam spoke of a Kingdom of God so great and prosperous, you need but only believe. And, in the next life, you would be rewarded for your obedience. However, the dropping of the atomic bomb, mass murder of the Jewish community, and rape of the African continent, to them, showed God had no interest in loving his chosen people in this life. Holding out for things to come was a ridiculous truth. How does this attitude towards truths impact the ‘self’ and the beliefs the individual holds?i. Answer the question here
3) The 1900s decline in morality shattered optimistic attitudes towards human nature. The Surrealist/Existentialist believed that nothing matters. One day to the next was life. Nobody cares about your Instagram, and nobody cares about your problems. They only care for themselves. That doesn’t even matter because soon you will be dead, and nobody will remove you in 100 years. Life is absurd. Humanities search for meaning is an exercise in futility, as seen in the play Waiting For Godot. Discuss your thoughts on that attitude.
Today when death and old age are increasingly concealed behind euphemisms and comforting baby talk and life is threatened with being smothered in the mass consumption of hypnotic mechanized vulgarity, the need to confront man with the reality of his situation is greater than ever. For the dignity of man lies in his ability to face reality in all its senselessness: to accept it freely, without fear, without illusions- and to laugh at it (Esslin 316). Waiting for Godot
i. Answer the question here
4) What is your takeaway from these two eras of the 20th century? And, do you see history repeating itself in our 21stcentury?