Modernism & the Individual
First, and foremost, it is important to recognize that the principles of Modernism are essentially a clash of ideas between two distinct groups. On the one side, there were those of the Enlightenment, who believed that all questions in life can be answered by way of reasoning and mathematical equations; by way of science. On the opposing side, there were (and still is, as is the case with the Enlightenment) the Romantics, who delved in, well, obviously, romanticism. Those of the "Romantics" beleived that the mysteries to life could not alone be solved by science or completely rational ways of thinking. With all this about, what Modernism succeeded in donig was create a whole callage of ideas that, basically, compromised ideas from both sides. It said that there might be multiple paths to "the truth," and that maybe no one idea is more significant than the other.
The first passage given is an excellent example of the mind of the modernists, in general. It clearly states, "we are on a road that only leads to a second one, and then to a third one, and so forth, and the real highway will not be sighted for a long time..." The roads are representative of the many paths individuals takem and the one path alone is not a means to the answers, whatever they may be.
Further, Modernism stresses the importance of the individual and attempts, in many cases, to bring us back to nature and away from the harsh truths of war and destruction in society. One poet, William Carlos Williams', is an example of this idea of "returning back to nature." His poems are merely retellings in his own interpretations of the Brueghel Paintings, which are significant in themselves since they are the potrayal of myths.
Myths have always been important in serving as fables that help to guide whatever generation is reading them. Albert Camus, author of The Stranger, expresses in his "The Myth of Sisyphus," the ways in which his views can be seen in that classic myth...of Sisyphus. He describes Sisyphus as being infinitely happy even after his eternal punishment of pushing a boulder up a hill has been set. He interprets the boulder as life. It is inevitable because it would always be there anyway. But he says, "he is stronger than the rock," referring to Sisyphus, and stamps the mentality that is important to recognize in comparison to Modernism. This way of thinking is ultimately a return to nature. It is one choosing to recognize and go through with an imminent reality, and enjoying what has been blessed: life.
"Life" is the overall inspiration for Modernism. In the passage, life is that road, or the many roads. It is not in the achievements that might come toward the end, but in the time spent in between. The passage states, "the real highway will not be sighted for a long time/the accomplishment of hopes remains an always unexpected miracle/the miracle remains forever possible." This is where the Gods lose in their punishment toward Sisyphus; where Meursault of The Stranger can never be affected; where the indstrialization and potential destruction of the modern world can never bring us (mankind) down. This is because the individual holds more power than anything else and why that "inconceivably beauitful diversity" is what fuels an eternal passion for life.