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Monday, June 09, 2014

R.I.P. Renaissance Man


One of the most insidious words I've ever known is "hope," as in, "I have high hopes for this next generation."  Hope, to me, is poison. It's what the hopeless are given when their fate/doom is assured and they have no option other than wishing for miracles. The cure for hope is action, but our culture has been gradually lured to, and unwittingly enslaved by, the very technologies and services that were supposed to enhance it.

I'm no longer a young man. I probably have more past than I have future, so my view is likely biased.  But from where I sit, the future generation's chances to produce quality human beings are dwindling down to where hope seems to be its only option.  Let me explain:

My whole career is based on connecting social influences on individual behaviors, which in turn fuel the advance of the next wave of social influences. So I watch where the overall direction of culture goes -- and its influence on the masses.

It's not all gloom and doom. But for those of us with a richer frame of reference, it's not all good, either.

The atomization and dependency fostered on today's citizens was unheard of a generation ago, when self-reliance and community was the norm. It was a time when more people wanted to know more about everything other than themselves, rather than telling everyone everything about themselves. 

Importance was earned, not an entitlement.

We strove to become Renaissance men.  We took pride in being worldly and knowledgeable. And we did it through genuine education and real experiences, not by clicking an app to get just enough data to answer one narrow question. 

You see, to Renaissance men, getting the answer right isn't nearly as important as understanding why the answer is right.

Romantics. The lives of Renaissance men are riskier, but much nobler and far more rewarding.

To the Renaissance man, depth and breadth are admirable and make us better people. We care as much about human expression (art, literature, music -- real music, not melody-deprived, commercially-driven disposable jungle beats) as we do our ability to create and apply it. And when we write, we write to inform or persuade readers about real issues, rather than delude ourselves into believing people would be interested in photos of our lunches and cats and other self-involvements, simply because we have the means to instantly self-publish them.

The numbers of Renaissance men are rapidly dissipating. We are a dying breed. Where once people went to colleges and universities to become better thinkers and appreciative human beings, legions of drones march toward their diplomas expecting a job.  Increasingly, the tide is turning to a strictly utilitarian, tragically shallow society where each individual is confined to his own silo, relying on technology to connect to others -- for a low monthly fee. 

Sadly, it cultivates a loss of value in each person's own self-worth as each generation wonders why it feels so empty and at a loss.  I think the 30 second clip embedded in the article unwittingly exposed that agenda back when I first posted it.  Yet nobody said a word. Nobody objected.  Maybe because by that time, they didn't even know enough to object.

Rest easy, Renaissance man. You were the finest, shining example ever offered by the western world.  I doubt there will ever be others like you again.

But, I suppose, there's always hope.

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