What Is Modern Culture?

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“Modern culture” refers to the shift in collective thought that took place with the rise in scientific advancements during the Renaissance. The shift continues into the contemporary age. The term is often erroneously used to describe the most current developments in society, including ideas, beliefs, tastes and perceptions as well as scientific advancements.

In the United States, “modern culture” is often used to refer to the latter half of the 20th century through the present, a period during which many major inventions became common household items, such as cars, televisions and computers. According to Dictionary.com, however, the term “modern” is correctly applied to everything that has occurred since the end of the medieval period. At that time, a cultural shift in society’s beliefs began to occur. Classical societies explained nature, various events and their own origins by appealing to pantheons of gods. During the Middle Ages, a similar trust was placed in the Christian god. As new inventions and discoveries helped people understand the world they lived in, more people began to adopt a modern or science-based perspective. Key to the modern mindset was the idea that science would eventually lead to the discovery of all attainable knowledge, an attitude which continues to pervade Western culture.