Is this the making of a new generation of Leonardos?

 

Leonardo da Vinci can be considered the archetype of the Renaissance man. In every field of his interest, arguably the entire universe of knowledge, not only he excelled. He became the outstanding referent for it, from painting to music, from architecture to engineering. Nothing that involved creating was alien to him. A number of coincidences has this writer wondering if we are in the threshold of a new generation of polymaths. This is certainly counterintuitive. Curricula all over the world seem to be going the way of specialization, shedding classical subjects that only decades ago were considered a must for the making of an educated person. Recently, the partner of Verb.Company based in the States visited with his family his colleague based in Italy. Conversation topics included Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind, by Yuval Noah Harari, a book on our origins and how the outstanding ability of Homo sapiens that made him prevail over the Neanderthal, who had a bigger brain and more brute force, was his ability to build larger societies based on a common tale and myth. That helped Homo sapiens make a network of allies. One night, contemplating the sky of Venice, the American partner of Verb trained his mobile phone on the stars and using the Sky View app, was able to tell Jupiter from Mars and the other celestial bodies on a particularly pristine night. Yet another friend, an artist visiting from Berlin, spoke about her son, who had begun a pre-university course in Germany with the ultimate goal of enrolling in the Faculty of Physics. Yet he had decided to study simultaneously Philosophy, to have a broader understanding of the theories that explain our universe. And today we found out that Mircea Cărtărescu was awarded the Gregor von Rezzori prize in Florence for Blinding: The Body, a novel, tells us Corriere della Sera, in which the Romanian author uses “every field of knowledge for his tale: from theoretical physics to religious beliefs.” In the pendular course that history seems to follow, it is well worth wondering if the popularization of knowledge that the Internet and mobile communications have enabled are bringing us back to the ideal of what was called “general culture.” It is the awareness that reality is too vast to read it with only one eye.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.