TED Conversations

Ryan Price

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Is it possible to start another Renaissance?

The original Renaissance began in Southern Italy and proceeded to spread through most of Europe. The Medici family had a large part to do with this by commissioning paintings and allowing creativity to flow.

Is it possible with enough money and to start another age in which the outpouring of creativity was so great that it's works are looked to as the pinnacle of achievement? Or am I just being naive?

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    Dec 15 2012: Why when we've been in one since ww2, if you can't see it is because you are in it. Just reassess you own view of what renaissance means. It practically has no meaning when applied to modern and future life, it was just a part of the planets history in a small location. Perspective. I have artists in my family and support them by buying a piece of their work that catches me other than that they get airy-fairy on me when we get on the wines and they start to go into the molecular, They keep forgetting the whole family could be what they have chosen and most of humanity if they applied themselves.
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      Dec 16 2012: It may have started even earlier than that. The recent death of Dame Eizabeth Murdoch (b. 1909) caused me to consider the changes in the world during her lifetime. At her birth she would have travelled home in a horse drawn carriage and news of her birth would have been spread by newspapers, letters and possibly over the telegraph. At her death she travelled by automobile, people will fly in jetliners to attend her funeral and the news of her death spread globally in an instant over the internet plus instant live coverage on HD TV of every second. That's some progress for one lifetime!
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    Dec 15 2012: The amount of energy/resources applied in creative directions plus the opportunities for cross-fertilization of ideas have possibly never been greater than today. What is also true, though, is that with so many people engaged in these pursuits, it is harder for any particular ones to stand out.
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      Dec 15 2012: Which is a good thing as the standing out part (notoriety) is a liability to the individual.
    • Dec 22 2012: Hi Fritzie!

      When we talk about a future (or existing) Renaissance, I look at where chess research was 20 years ago and where it is today. It used to take years to put together a "good" book i.e. vast research, consultation with professionals and tests over the board.

      Any book written on chess theory PC (pre-computer) dealing with analysis is generally scoffed at. Anyone can sit down with a strong computer today and generate theory better than the strongest World Champion could 20 years ago---I know because I've done this and yet am only an average player. It used to take years to assemble classic games from around the World; now it can be done with the click of a mouse. "Anyone" can write a decent book on chess theory just by allowing machines to chew on positions for hours.

      But with the rise in computing we see the steady erosion of intellectual property. Will copyright law catch up to the computer? An "urban myth" used to be that a poor man's copyright was to mail a letter to himself left unopened upon receipt until the need arose. Does posting on the internet for the first time constitute the creation of intellectual property i.e. copyrighted material?

      Can we ever get another Renaissance in the absence of acknowledgement of intellectual property? As long as we blur primacy of ideas we have what is, in effect, the return of intellectual communism where everyone is equal yet some are more equal than others. Those capable of garnering infatuation by the press will be promoted; those not facile in modern communication will fall by the wayside.

      When I look at a Renaissance Man, I think of Ben Franklin. He was so accomplished in so many fields that it would be all but impossible for anyone today to excel in as many fields as he excelled.
  • Dec 17 2012: I believe we are already on the verge of another Renaissance.
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    Dec 15 2012: I think we are already in one such phase. Perhaps a few genartions later they will call our period a Renaissance 2.0. Just that the investments and recognition has just gone further than paintings, music and other forms of art. Look at the spectacular buildings being built around the world today, the development in technology, creativity is flourishing in several industries such as clean energy, telecommunication, automobiles, geology, etc. The new billionaires of the world are investing in new forsm of art, next generation toys etc that is giving birth to many new ideas and possibilites. We are in it but too busy with our heads down texting.
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    Dec 15 2012: Hard to do in a dystopian setting.
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    Dec 15 2012: The setting from which the European renaissance came must be compared to our setting today. Many will say we live in a world quite the opposite of the Dark Ages, while others will insist we are clearly poised for another renaissance. Either way it will require people like: Christopher Columbus; Ambrose Paré; Galileo Galilei; Andreas Vesalius; Robert Hooke; Nicolaus Copernicus; John Calvin; Johannes Gutenberg; Aretmisia Gentileschi; Sir Thomas More; William Shakespeare; Martin Luther; Pieter Brueghel;Niccolò Machiavelli; Filippo Brunelleschi; Leonardo da Vinci;Miguel de Cervantes; Michelangelo; Prince Henry of Portugal; and Louise Labe'; and many more. Is it possible? My best guess is that it is a non-zero probability.
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      Dec 15 2012: Hmm a non-zero probability is a crazy bet.
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        Dec 15 2012: I hesitate to say a flat-out "NO", but I think I may have to.
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      Dec 15 2012: A lot of what allowed them to be great was the circumstances they lived in. If a Shakespeare lived during this time, and due to the patent laws, experts have said that he would be in prison for copyright infringement. All I want to know is it possible to start another Renaissance that will allow those types of individuals to flourish.
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    Dec 15 2012: I believe that another rennaisance has already begun, and it doesn't cost a penny. People around the globe are becoming self-aware in a spontaneous way. These people have unlocked their creativity and their power. Our numbers grow daily.
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    Dec 15 2012: Two very important things that are not common among creatives in our world today:
    1. Focus- There are so many distractions. Not much can be done when you've got so many gadgets distracting you.
    2. Passion- This, (not money), is the real open-sesame for exceptional expressions of creativity.

    Am I saying that the artists of our days are not passionate? No, they just dont have that quality of the Da Vinci days that seperates the outstanding from the beautiful.
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    Dec 15 2012: This caught my eye today... not exactly the arts, but an intriguing use of private wealth:


    "The cost of a world-class medical education should not deter our future innovators, doctors and scientists from the path they hope to pursue," Geffen said in a statement. "We need the students at this world-class institution to be driven by determination and the desire to do their best work and not by the fear of crushing debt. I hope in doing this that others will be inspired to do the same."
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      Dec 15 2012: Very generous but it does not address the core problem.