Robert Duncan suggests two modernist concepts, that knowing you path in life leads to an overall beautiful life and that we understand the world better though one’s downfall. To say that an average person knows where there course of fate is untrue, but if one were to know it, modernist thinking suggests it would lead to a fuller life. We are united only through “common human suffering.”(Duncan 79)
If one knows their fate there life holds more “beauty”(Duncan 79). This concept is an interesting view brought on by modernist thinking, Sisyphus is very aware of what the rest of his fate looks like. He will ever be pushing a rock up a hill, until it’s weight forces it to fall down again. Camus suggest that “we must imagine Sisyphus happy,”(Camus). He is happy now that his tragic love for life brought him a conscious, although repetitive, fate. His downfall brought a better fate in Camus’ eyes, Sisyphus now knows his world and where it is going. To better know one’s world leads to a closer understanding of our fate. Borges better learned of his fate through loss of sight, God granted him “books and blindness at one touch"(Borges). Then his life had more direction after his blindness started. Duncan suggests that Oedipus “tears out his eyes and sees at last,”(Duncan 79) which is a more literal connection to Borges than Duncan meant for us to deduce. Borges lived his life mostly thought literature and worked through his blindness .
Sometimes fate leads us to a downfall, but this downfall brings us to see the world. Oedipus knew his fate and once it was fulfilled he couldn’t bare to see his world from a physical standpoint. He left his sight to later understand tate one can’t escape their fate. Mersault from Caums’ “The Stranger” later learned of his fate, this lead him to confront the bishop and say “everyone is privileged,”(Camus) No life is better or worse than any other. To know your life’s course is to know happiness. Mersault’s downfall was his lack of personality. Only when we about to be executed did he finally show emotion to the bishop. He could finally be human only after his downfall. This downfall leading to better understanding is suggested in modernist thoughts.
This concept of better understanding through out downfall is not a completely original modernist thought, but modernist took bigger downfalls and better understanding. Learning from you mistake is a philosophy that has been around fro ages. Modernist, however, made the “mistakes” personality flaws and made them so big they cause death. The learning, in modernist thought, may be as big as becoming human and having emotion, like in Mersault’s case.
Modernist thinking is hard to surmise a list of core belief. The modernists are linked only through “suffering in loss and longing.”(Duncan 79) that was brought on by their world. Some thinking were directly influxes, others less. There thought starting the same place, but were directed by their lives.