September 20, 2007

The extinction of the Renaissance Man

Does anyone remember the term "Renaissance man"? It was a title referring to someone who had mastery in countless different professions and tastes. Take Leonardo da Vinci for example. Not only was the man an artist, but a scientist, engineer, anatomist, botanist, etc etc. The list goes on. He was basically a "universal genius." And he was not alone. In the European courts of the day, the nobility were trained in every field of study.

But in out time, when people think of a Renaissance man, they think of da Vinci or some other long-gone ancient. Why? Why don't we have such well-rounded people anymore? I am highly concerned, because that's just what I want to be, a Renaissance man. Unfortunately, the closest major is "Liberal Arts" and that isn't thought of as highly as a degree in one certain area. I often think I am too well-rounded. It is bizarre to find someone who love physics and also politics, reads classics and also sci fi fantasy, plays several instruments but also loves to work out at the gym.

I suppose my goal will be to do a little of everything, yet still be successful at it all. That is one of the ways I would like to be remembered as when I die, a Renaissance man. Benjamin Franklin said "If you would not be forgotten as soon as you were dead, either write things worth reading, or do things worth writing about." That is the essential Renaissance Man, author not of just books, but of fame and history, too.