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Futurism Case

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Throughout the course of history, man has taken many different approaches to dealing with the uncertain and the mysteries of things to come. Individuals naturally strive for a sense of comfort in knowing what will happen to them in this world, or possibly an afterlife. Therefore, religion, and in particular, Christianity, has played a large role in shaping the beliefs and actions of the populous towards the unknown future, often calling upon God or other religious figures for answers. The age of materialism brought with it the industrial revolution in the late 19th century, which marked a period of great change and polarization of the classes. Colonization and industrial capitalism allowed for a few select individuals to achieve financial success, while leaving the majority of people impoverished, working hard hours for small wages in factories. A growing poor population needed guidance, creating a socialist movement that seemed to fear industrialization and mass mechanization. From that point on, this fear was reverberated and expressed to the general public in both literary and visual landmarks, allowing a common forum for discussion about the current state of the world, and what may become of it. Through the twentieth century, revolutionaries such as Karl Marx and Friedrich Nietzsche, along with visionaries, such as Aldous Huxley and Stanley Kubrick, projected their ideas of the future towards the mass audiences who were eager for answers. By looking at landmarks such as the Futurist Manifesto and 2001: Space Odyssey, it is evident that technological advancement and futurism may be beneficial to the few, but detrimental to the many.

Darwinian thought, or survival of the fittest, may be deemed somewhat extreme in the eyes of the public. However, a few revolutionaries believed that the success of a nation relied upon abandoning the past and revering the new and modern, creating the basis of futurism. Friedrich Nietzsche was considered radical for his views opposing religion and Christianity, claiming, "God is dead," and for his ideas on the Ubermensch or "superman," in his novel Thus Spoke Zarathustra. Nietzsche rejected looking to God for answers but rather believed in the superiority of man over nature, as evident in the current success of industry, with its uses of railroads and cast iron structures. He clearly demonstrates his preference towards Darwinian thought in his "Campaign against morality," disregarding the plight of the populous and promoting survival of the fittest. Although Nietzsche was a little ahead of his time, his ideas and literature laid the basis for the movements such as Fascism, and the Futurist Manifesto.

Much like the ideas of Nietzsche, the "Manifeste du Futurisme", written by Filippo Tommaso Marinetti, drew upon the superiority complex created by the German philosopher, promoting an even more diverse and violent state, which would enable future success. As the true founder of futurism, Marinetti completely disregarded the past and looked only to the present and future for answers, admiring speed, technology and mass industrialization in the country of Italy. Continuing to promote the elimination of morality, futurism stated that violence was in a sense, hygienic, and that war and killing were essential to the success of man and a country in general. These radical ideas were often very controversial and fittingly rejected by socialists and those who battled for the rights of the many. In addition, many believe that futurism and the ideas of Frederich Nietzsche played a large role in the influence of the German Reich and the Nazi regime. The time of futurism was revolutionary for individualism and the secular pursuit of power, creating nations and powerful humans who believed the future was in their hands, for only them to control.

This growing fear of a developing superior minority created a sense of uneasiness and resent towards the future and the modernization that came with it. The general population did not want to see the world they knew so well drastically change, nor did they want to see the divide between classes get even bigger than it already had. Therefore, revolutionaries such as Karl Marx, along with Friedrich Engels, created the Communist Manifesto, in support of socialism and against the plight of the wealthy few who controlled all industry. In it, Marx discusses the idea of the growing proletariat, or working class, who have fallen victim to the growing industrialism and need to act before the future played its course, stating "Working Men of All Countries Unite!" However, with the introduction of the assembly line and mass mechanization in the early twentieth century, it was now easier than ever to create numerous amounts of cars and other machinery, at the hands of the helpless lower class.



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