Jailyn Williams Week 1

Georg Simmel’s claim is that the deepest problems of modern life flow from the attempt of the individual to maintain the independence and individuality of his existence against the sovereign powers of society, against the weight of the historical heritage and the external culture and technique of life. The eighteenth century may have called for liberation from all the ties which grew up historically in politics, in religion, in morality, and in economics in order to permit the original natural virtue of man, which is equal in everyone, to develop without inhibition. The nineteenth century may have sought to promote, in addition to man’s freedom, his individuality (which is connected with the division of labor) and his achievements which make him unique and indispensable but which at the same time make him so much more dependent on the complementary actions of others. Nietzsche may have seen the relentless struggle of the individual as the prerequisite for his full development, while socialism found the same thing in the suppression of all competition but, in each of these the same fundamental motive was at work.

The money economy dominates the metropolis in which the last remnants of domestic production and direct barter of goods have been eradicated and in which the amount of production on direct personal order is reduced daily. The psychological intellectualistic attitude and the money economy are in such close integration that no one is able to say whether it was the former that affected the latter or vice versa. It’s only certain that the form of life in the metropolis is the soil which nourishes this interaction most fruitfully, a point which Simmel will attempt to demonstrate with the statement of an English constitutional historian. He will be observing London.

A rural town consists of a more slower paced and habitual setting. A small town rests more on feelings and emotional relationships. In a rural area, they have more conservative personalities which makes it easier to adapt to the same rhythm events. Metropolitan type reacts primarily in a rational manner and they are less sensitive. They interact and react in a totally different manner than people in rural areas. Metropolitan people have an intellectualistic quality and money domination that also plays into how they interact with people. Money is concerned only with what is common to all with the exchange value which reduces all quality and individuality to a purely quantitative level negatively enforcing individualism.

People in the city have a blase outlook.  A blase attitude, in which the nerves reveal their final possibility of adjusting themselves to the content and the form of metropolitan life by renouncing the response to them. It is the consequence of those rapidly shifting stimulations of the nerves which are thrown together in all their contrasts. An immoderately sensuous life makes one blase because it stimulates the nerves to their utmost reactivity until they finally can no longer produce any reaction at all. Less harmful stimuli, through the rapidity and the contradictoriness of their shifts, force the nerves to make such violent responses, tear them about so brutally that they exhaust their last reserves of strength and don’t have time for new reserves to form. The incapacity to react to new stimulations with the required amount of energy constitutes that blase attitude which every child of a large city evinces when compared with the products of the more peaceful and more stable milieu.

The relationships and concerns of the typical metropolitan resident are so manifold and complex that, especially as a result of the agglomeration of so many persons with such differentiated interests, their relationships and activities intertwine with one another into a many-membered organism. The lack of punctuality in promises and performances would cause the whole to break down into a chaos. If time stopped even for an hour, it would affect the entire economic and commercial life by derailing it. Modernity is the

I believe Simmel is a functionalist theorist. I believe this because of the way he broke down the rural and metropolitan people. He observed the way they acted and what they contributed to society. He dissected the ways in which their environment shaped them, their behavioral outputs, and their numerous sensory inputs. For example, the environment of a metropolitan place is money dominated so, the people are going to be work oriented which can make them money hungry, causing them to act in selfish or rude ways, challenging their emotion towards their values. Valuing money than other things.

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