Im discussing the true multitalented thinkers such as Da Vinci and the aforementioned Michelangelo. In addition to their obvious expertise, they invented, created buildings, weapons, and developed many innovative techniques in the arts and science. This isnt to slight the scientists such as Galileo, Copernicus, Descartes, Bacon, Kepler, and finally, Newton, who technically arrived a few decades later. But they were somewhat one-dimensional, compared to the two aforementioned.
It wasnt until the birth of Benjamin Franklin, that a true Renaissance-like person emerged again. One whom could invent, write, and astound the scientific community with new ideas regarding electricity and heat conduction. Later, in the early twentieth century, Thomas Edison would assume the role of current genius, although he wasnt grounded in any of the arts. Therefore, the Renaissance moniker wouldnt justly fit his demeanor or countenance either. So where does one look for a modern-day, Renaissance person and why is it important?
These are two different questions. First, consider what it takes to be considered on the same page as Michelangelo or Da Vinci. They were so far ahead of all others in their field, they cannot be reasonably compared to anyone. So, with their exception, what can we hope to define as Renaissance-like? Obviously, versatility is the first hallmark of such a person.
They should be capable of performing in many of the arts and humanities. At the very least, they should be able to paint, draw, or sculpt to qualify as an artist. It would be important for them to write or author books or articles to express their ideas. They could also be accomplished as musicians, being competent in composing, playing music, or both. Of course, in the finer tradition of science, they should be a great thinker in mathematics, physics, or other discipline. At the very least, they should be an inventor or innovator, and perhaps also an entrepreneur. They must be worldly, therefore being well-traveled and well-read. It wouldnt hurt if they were an accomplished in the ancillary arts such as cooking or interior designing, decorating, or architecture. The more areas they are proficient in, the closer to the true ideal they become. Having several degrees from recognized universities wouldnt hurt either.
In general, they should be interested in a variety of areas ranging from the personal and domestic to the abstract and controversial. By reading a diversity of the classics and contemporary writings, they would have formed a foundation for going into many different directions. So, who might qualify in todays world, you might ask? Did you think of Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, or even Stephen Hawking? Well, they are brilliant, but not very well-rounded. Actually, the late Walt Disney was closer to the mold. You can see its fairly difficult to join this exclusive club, although the member doesnt have to be famous.
Author: Jeffrey Hauser