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Salim Solaiman

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We need another renaissance soon

While human civilization was choking under the strong fist of religious rule , renaissance came in 14th century & brought fresh air.

Art, literature, science etc progressed at greater speed enjoying freedom and enriched the treasure of art , literature in one hand on the other scince brought the industrial revolution.

Do you feel similar choking time human civilization passing due to different reason like , prevailing unrest at different parts of the world . In this era of connectivity unrest of any part can create imbalance to other parts as well. If feel so , do you think we need another renaissance soon ?

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Closing Statement from Salim Solaiman

The time we are passing by not the one that all compassionate human being look for. Peace is at stake in different part of the world , while with ever improved connectivity in any unstabilty anywhere impacts one or the other way the whole world.
People uprise in Middle East against tyrant, riot in London, henious killing of innocent people in Norway, struggle of bearing day to day bills by majority of US pepople, as usual plight of palestinians ...... there are so many......

In such situtation it seems to me we need another Renaissance , a Ranaissance of internet age to give the power centers an wake up call for the sake of humanity.

Contributors here agreed almost unanimously about that. Many thought internet itself is that Renaissance, but IU feel thats the vehicle to bring and spread renaissance in every corner of the world with enormous speed unlike the last one that happened in Europe.

Friends thanks for your thoughts and contribution..... people like you really will make that happen one day sooner or later.

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    Apr 29 2011: Definitely renaissance not revolution.

    I think the renaissance is happening. It will just take some time for it to pervade legislation and politics. The power-mongers are always resistant to changes to the status quo. Power to the People!
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      Apr 29 2011: Can't agree more , what you said about resistance to change. The fallacy is we all know change is the only absolute thing but even then resist change by all means. For power mongers it is even more true.
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        Apr 29 2011: And I think that's very interesting because a lot of times change like this is better for everybody!
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      Apr 29 2011: Scott, exactly
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    Apr 29 2011: i think our generations renaissance began with the internet
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    May 1 2011: The Renaissance was an attempt by intellectuals to improve both the secular and the physical world. Many great strides were made by civilization at this moment but it also was a period where these ideas were used to explore for resources and to control other civilizations with religious missions. I often wonder at our world and think what it might have been like if Mayan, Incan and other cultures were left to develop without a Renaissance fueled drive by Europeans to conquer and plunder their civilizations. In my humble opinion I sincerely hope we do not reinvent the last Renaissance and hopefully new technology although controlled by Renaissance like corporations does encourage individuality in our world. Somehow I think the reverse may be true and future generations will look back in wonder at yet more lost civilizations and cultures. I apologize for swimming against the tidal view that the Renaissance was a golden age but this is a debate after all.
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      May 2 2011: Hi Alan thanks for enriching the discussion with your thoughtful insights. Believe me those kind of thoughts have been in my head for long and even before posting here the premise was thinking whether to put it the way I put it or not. Later decided let's put it in a way it is mostly perceived & get food for thoughts.....

      Well lust for ruthless invasion & destruction of culture by the mighty empires was there since long before but my feeling is that renaissance might have brought some qualitative change in that agression. Yes renaissance was Europe specific and I see some qualitative changes there.

      Indian sub continent was invaded by mongols , huns, persians etc well before Europe did. Not only they destroyed the indigenous temples of the sub continent but also they destroyed ruthlessly the knowledge and try to kill culture. But as European invasion happened after renaissance to the sub continent , the destruction was there but was not that brutal in comparison.

      Just as an example post renaissance European invasion Christianity spreaded in sub continent but the way it spreaded , it took the "missionary way" instead of forceful conversion that used to happen earlier.

      Hiistory written by winners in thier term is more publicized but mindful people like you also finds out the losers' version to come to a neutral point. We talk much about the Philosophy , Socio-Political thoughts, economics , astronomy and so on of European origin because mighty Europe was the victor. But sub continent was also very rich in ancient time in those which did never get much attention because those were from losers side and was marred repeatedly.

      In todays era of powerful tool like Internet, destruction or distorsion of culture in the hand power don't need any physical presence.
      So was thinking of renaissance to come thru, though culture is not static it may evolve its own but we shouldn't kill or speed up death of any.

      Will love to hear your thoughts again... :)
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    May 22 2011: Come on TED community , it's going to be closed soon , looking forward for your thoughts :)
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    May 15 2011: Hi Salim, thank you for your kind words.

    The good aspects of the Renaissance, as you point out, advanced civilization. Mostly these advances were driven by new thinking, developments in learning, art, architecture and other intellectual pursuits. Could a similar revolution take place in the future, I think so.

    What I would love to see would be cultural Renaissance where the richness and diversity of the world is once again marveled at. The Indian sub-continent in particular is really fascinating, the cultural richness of this region could be a great source of new learning. Just recently I see that some schools in England have introduced sanskrit studies. Fresh minds, with the aid of new technologies, studying the richness of language, art and architecture at the root of these cultures could develop into a new Renaissance, a fresh way of examining these cultural dimensions.

    By studying, enjoying and celebrating the diversity of cultures human civilization can grow in harmony.

    My wife is in the travel industry and encourages global tourism. She is currently working on travel arrangements for a group in Canada to go to Ethiopia to witness and participate in the ancient festival of Timkat, see video link. Developing ideas from these ancient cultures could be the new Renaissance.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v_2T_4Jfl9s
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      May 16 2011: You are welcome Alan and thanks for your great contribution.
      Yes I see with the power of connectivity the world can transform in to a cultural melting pot if being used positively to strengthen the beauty of diverse culture through practice of art, literature, and other intellectual pursuits as you mentioned rightly.

      I feel that should come fast to bring some fresh air in the prevailing choking environment.
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    May 7 2011: Wondering why is not there any gush new great art, literature, philosophical thoughts at global / local scale are not coming out as it happened in last renaissance in Europe. With science it's visible though ?

    Or it's there just I am missing out ?
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    May 2 2011: I agree with the part about the internet. I believe it is a powerful tool, as the revolts in Egypt show.
    What the renaissance did was formulate a new way of living, scientifically and culturally. What I feel as the new age renaissance is globalisation. However, globalisation is something that threatens to wipe out a lot of indigenous cultures by promoting the American style all around the world. While I welcome new cultures, it shouldn't be at the cost of other cultures. And ironically, it is the internet enabled people, specially the youth, who are most vulnerable to this trend.
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      May 3 2011: Hi Somak , good thoughts about identifying Golbalisation to be modern renaissance while internet is a great tool that has speeded and will be speeding it up more. This proved my thoughts in a different way now which is

      I feel Globalisation as a process not the renaissance itself & internet is the tool.
      As you rightly said "renaissance is new way of living , scientifically & culturally". Yeap new way of living is happening which actually is impacting individual culture already. Culture being a broad term including peoples day to day things like feeding habit, way of interaction , social norms, belief system, spending habit and so on. And I feel it's dynamic , it's not static.

      The other point is even with in the same society with in broad cultural umbrella is not culture different in different socio-economic strata ? With in the same country speedy urbanization also impacting culture of village where most of our cultural roots embeded (may be different to developed fully urbanized country).
      So culture eveolves with each factors influenced

      It's not internet alone , is not expansion of business corporations and consumerism changed a lot of our , eating (e.g. expansion of fast food , soft drinks uase) & spending habit (this generation has higher spending habit than their forefathers) already.

      Keeping all these in mind how we can keep our culture evolving instead of being extinct thats the point.Don't know what people were saying when the first Radio or TV came. But I heard many intellectual of country crying (without doing anything) our culture is going to die due to aggression of sattelite TV and again Young generation is most vulnerable they thought.
      e.g. lot of Rock , Rap , Pop based music came out in my country from young generation but interestingly only those band group succeeded those were more folk based
      So my feeling if any culture is really strong it will not die at this age it will only evolve only thing is that how can ensure it evolves positively
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        May 3 2011: But there is a risk here of the culture getting wiped out with time. As the new generation is exposed more and more to the globalized culture, he/she will feel that is the only option available. And if this happens over some generations, some practices may indeed die out.

        However, there is a positive side as well. The media, specially the internet can be used to propagate a native culture as well. I know of people who have started businesses whose products on Indian culture, traditions, sights and sounds.

        So while the internet and globalization runs the risk of destroying a culture, it also has the potential to spread it and keep it alive.
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          May 3 2011: You see , humankind is yet to be globalized or internationalized in their mental arena. So if not all a gretaer part of humankind go for in search of the root , identity etc and to differentiate them through their cultural expression.

          Let's keep aside trend of globalization and internet and it's impact for the time being and pick the issue immigrants. I know Bangladeshi Immigrants who is living in US , Australia or England for 2/3 generations , they left their country and culture my their own choice. But what happened after going there ?

          Do they all forgot their Bangladeshi roots (they can and they should because the generation born their have no connection with Bangladesh , it's only a country of their forefathers)? No they haven't or couldn't forget so they are clinging to the cultural expression of Bengali way whenever they get opportunity and I agree that definitely an evolved version but still it holds Bangla culture. Same happens to so many Indian I guess.

          I agree what you said the positive part about internet , so we can use it's power to spread our culture instead of being only recipient we should start offering something , thats the way I feel culture can survive , otherwise I don't disagree the possibility of extinction. So it's not globalization or internet that can kill a culture but it's the lack of effort from owners of that culture to move forward with what they have using the strength of internet or whats so ever.
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        May 3 2011: Of course preserving a culture is dependent on the people of that culture itself. In that I agree with you. But here is my theoretical process which I believe can gradually lead to the extinction of a culture. This is theoretical as I mentioned and may or may not happen.

        If say, 30 percent of people of one generation are affected by globalization, either by the internet or by immigration. Now the future generation of these people will be less likely to know their original culture, and gradually this process can increase the number of people who are ignorant of their culture to a considerable extent.

        If we see one generation who are unaware of their culture grow into adulthood and produce progeny, then it is unlikely that that progeny will learn of their culture.

        However, this theory is a pessimistic one, and I am confident that the tools of globalization can also hold a culture true to its origins and its people.
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          May 3 2011: That's an interesting hypothesis:).

          I don't deny culture can face extinction because its a fact so far e.g. Maya, Inca totally vanished , culture of Red Indians or Bushman culture if not extinct full are about to be. But for those at macro level two factors were there one is deliberate effort from powerful invadors to destruct , two those cultures was not scietifically , technologically (at the time aggression) sound enough to fight back to keep it alive , not sure whether intension was there or not.

          Well one thing I forgot to mention which is pivotal for culture , thats is language. In your theoretical hypothesis did you considered that those 30% also will forget there langauge completely ? By the way what is the basis of taking 30% in to account (just curious)?

          Which will be next culture in globalization you think ? With quantitative and qualitative presence of chinese culture and as more and more people are trying to be closer to it due to commercial reason do you think that can be a possibilty of evolving global culture ?How can we save unique other cultures alive for long in the advent of globalization?

          I feel that can be our effort which will be called as renaissance next ?

          Loved your input for enriching the discussion.
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    Apr 29 2011: As many posters have noted - we are in the midst of another renaissance. Enhanced means of communication which bypass normal authoritative channels has enabled it. The inevitable increase in transparency is a side benefit.

    Salim: I think you have focused on the primary inhibitor - religion. The ossified mindset which binds us to archaic thought patterns must be overcome. And with time, will be overcome.
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      Apr 30 2011: Hi Tim your thinking is right to a great extent about my focus. Still our power centers using ghostly mask of religion to deceive people in this post modern era. Always wonder how come so many people even in the highly advanced and educated first world still fall prey of those fake masks used by power centers.

      However I also intended to focus all other discrepancies that are prevailing in the name of racism and hate in different form. Our extreme lust for wealth and power resulting unrest and unstabilty which I felt already created choking environment that once religious rulers or midevial kings did with the support of religion in pre-renaissance time.

      Good news is that we have internet & IT revolution as correctly pointed out by TEDsters here. At first I thought yes IT revolution is our renaissance, but as I kept thinking now I felt its the great tool or vehicle that can carry the real renaissance quickly globally.

      We advanced exponentially (if not overstated) since the industrial revolution in our science and technology , but what about advancement of art, literature & philosophical thoughts? How many masterpieces of art or literature we could create at the same time. I feel those brings more fresh air to human civilization. Let's use our opportunity of having widest ever window of internet and IT revolution to pass through lot lot fresh air.

      I really feel choking.......
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        May 2 2011: Salim: I think I understand what you mean by choking ... but just want to be sure.

        Can you explain what you mean by that?
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          May 3 2011: Hi Tim good to meet you again

          I wanted to mean an extreme feeling of uneasiness due wide spread of ignorance & intolerance still embeded in archaic thoughts in different form even in this space and internet age.

          Do you think it's overstating or my threshold level is low really ?
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        May 3 2011: No Salim, I totally agree with you.

        Growing up in the US we were always taught how scientifically advanced the country is. And I always assumed that religion was on its way out. Yet in the 1980s there was a major movement to restore faith in the form of the "moral majority" as represented by Ronald Reagan and later Newt Gingrich. There are movements to allow prayer in school, teach creationism, make abortion illegal, put the 10 commandments on public buildings, discontinue government social programs and allow churches to fill the gap, etc., etc.

        I recently spent a few months in Germany and a friend there asked me to explain about the Bible-belt. He was baffled how such a technologically advanced nation could have such a phenomena. To me, it is an embarrassment. Unfortunately evolution (change) doesn't always move in a forward direction. We have regressed.

        My hope is that we are just going through growing pains and temporarily hanging on to the familiar past in order to get through the current deluge of change. And hopefully there will be an awakening (enlightenment?) and rebirth (renaissance) and human-kind will emerge to a better life...

        ... on the other hand, we could be on the verge of entering another Dark Age.
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          May 6 2011: Tim when I meet someone like you from the most powerful country of the world I rather feel relieved and encouraged that new renaissance will be on it's way....

          To be totally fair and honest with you, with my limited exposure to US citizens in US my feeling is that they are very nice people once one go to them otherwise they are a bit myopic so don't go to others and not aware of much of others beyond US (please don't get me wrong, I meant it as I found their prominent thoughts is US is end of the world, there is nothing beyond, my feelings can be totally wrong or I might have met wrong bunch of people).

          I was also baffled a bit like your friend in Germany and was scared with the thought that people of this powerful country of unipolar world could easily be deceived by the politicians who can lead them to the way they prefer.............
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    Apr 29 2011: I agree. Even if we have doing giant step in technology our economic and social systems have remain stagnant. For example, in medicine the ethic is way behind compare to what we can do. The " I will prescribe regimens for the good of my patients according to my ability and my judgment and never do harm to anyone." Oath is some times not so harmless. I believe we are at the end of the productivity era. Time for the ideology production era.
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      Apr 29 2011: I can't agree more. Yes social media & internet boom will be great tool to do so, but we need a "giant step" (beautifully coined really) forward to shift our thinking process and value system. Bio-ethics definitely one area to focus.
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    Apr 29 2011: Hi Salim, nice to be talking with you again.

    I'm not quite sure what a renaissance would be like in modern society so it is really hard to say. I think in some bizarre way, the internet revolution is a renaissance of sorts. The biggest problem I still see unfortunately in the world is intolerance and ignorance. I would love to see large chunks of the world stop being choked "by strong fists of religious rule" (as you so eloquently put it). I think in a lot of countries where holy lands and religious differences are causing death and intolerance, a renaissance would be beautiful. The real question is how do we reach that level of enlightenment globally to where people can be involved in things that cause cultural advancement? How do we convince the world to just set aside their difference and focus as one entity...a human race that works in unison to better themselves in science, art, and literature? I think maybe we should provide global internet and one computer per household for everybody!
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      Apr 29 2011: Hi Ted , yeap it's great to meeting and talking you again.

      I agree with your & Tim Blackburn's post. Wow that's my blind spot ! Yes Internet & Social Media is the vehicle renaissance of this age !

      Also agree with Scott's post here about the resistance.
      Thanks to all TED-Sters for your thoughts.