To be modern is to find ourselves in an environment that promises us adventure, power, joy, growth, transformation of ourselves and the world–and at the same time that threatens to destroy everything we have, everything we know, everything we are.

— Marshall Berman, All That Is Solid Melts Into Air, p. 15.

To be modern, I said, is to experience personal and social life as a maelstrom, to find one’s world and oneself in perpetual disintegration and renewal, trouble and anguish, ambiguity and contradiction: to be part of a universe in which all that is solid melts into air. To be a modernist is to make oneself somehow at home in the maelstrom, to make its rhythms one’s own, to move within its currents in search of the forms of reality, of beauty, of freedom, of justice, that its fervid and perilous flow allows.

— Ibid., pp. 345-346.