The individual life, analysed by Georg Simmel, provides analytic tools for an understanding, not only of man in early industrial society, but also of the man of today. Imitation and distinction, fashion and theatre, the circulation of money, or the models of individuality expressed by Goethe and by Rembrandt, represent "aesthetic solutions" to the quest for identity that lacerates modern man in the face of the crisis of absolutes and the polytheism of values. There is a deep weft, indeed, in the writings of Georg Simmel that justifies a revision of the current academic definitions of "sociological impressionism" and "journalistic philosophy". This is a unified mesh created by constant references to aesthetics, understood as a philosophy that explores the structures of meaning of individual and social life. This bringing together of fields of investigation traditionally considered as remote and incommensurable – such as sociology and aesthetics – makes Simmel's meditation one of the most stimulating adventures in contemporary thought.
IED, European Institute of Design, Italy