Ever thought about your generation being the one that transforms the world? The one that brings the most massive amount of innovation and knowledge to a future America? Or what about becoming the ones responsible for the downfall of the entire human race, endangering the nation through pollution, corruption, and selfishness? Yeah, that’s just a little bit of pressure, right?
In the age of the Renaissance, it seems like this could be a common notion among European citizens. The Middle Ages brought about some of the most significant milestones the world had ever experienced. Artists flourished, engineering advanced, medicine healed, scientists discovered. New ideas and facts trekked across the continent. The invention of the printing press allowed new ideas and innovations to soar across the continent, allowing the people to share in the knowledge of a new era. So, what else could possibly spread like wildfire? Ah, yes, the perils of disease, violence, and authority. Sickness spread immensely as people traveled to growing cities. Along with them, the people brought their violent habits and issues of self-confidence. It seemed everyone wanted a taste of the good life, so they fought with friends and distrusted authorities.
Why does this matter to us? Haven’t we already moved way past these outdated methods of innovation? Well, this is where our two scholars on the Scientific American explain how this time in history may be repeating itself. They use the infamous David statue by Michelangelo to emphasize. “His brow was furrowed and his eyes focused determinedly upon some distant point. He stood, not triumphant atop the corpse of his enemy (the standard portrayal), but ready, with the implacable resolve of one who knows his next step but not its outcome” (Goldin, Kutarna). Woah, pretty deep, right? Basically, the men are saying that people of the Middle Ages and modern-day have the potential for change, but fear the result of their courage. So, the things we do today may forever change the nation we know 100 years from now. How do we decide to act?
Well, as I took a look at America’s National Archives, even the advancements (and calamities) of the 21st century alone are outstanding. Technology, social media, equal rights, and engineering have tremendously changed in the past 20 years, more than any other time period. On the other hand, the 9/11 attack, bombings, school shootings, and foreign tensions have brought much concern to American citizens. Any action will have consequences, whether good or bad.
So as a Minnesotan, sitting here in a coffee shop and writing this blog, the entire issue could seem insignificant to me. I’m just a young college student, searching to find a purpose for my life and how in the world I’m going to thrive. The craving for prosperity leads people to overlook the disasters and find inspiration in the compelling evidence of a better century to come. So, I guess this whole comparison is quite relevant after all.