Social Question

DaphneT's avatar

If the Renaissance was about creativity, the Enlightenment about scientific analysis, can our current status be summarized in one word?

Asked by DaphneT (5745points) April 4th, 2012

It seems to me that we are in the midst of a war between the two, when we should really be about the marriage of the two. EnREn comes to mind.

Why don’t the two coexist in harmony? Will they ever? What are your thoughts?

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

41 Answers

Trillian's avatar


janbb's avatar


syz's avatar

Greed. Although I like Stupidity, too.

Cruiser's avatar

The age of Selfishness.

Renaissance as you say was about creativity, and the age of Enlightenment was all about reason and advancing knowledge, we are know taking that creativity and knowledge and flushing it all down the toilet in a selfish grab fest to secure whatever one can at the expense of anyone and anything. Damn thy neighbor and fu@# the environment….“just give me what I want that I know I am entitled to!!!”
(not me…just figuratively)

thorninmud's avatar

From where I stand, this is another period of transition. I’d characterize the past several decades as having been about Consumption above all else. We were just gorging on the fruits of our technological prowess.

That continues, of course, but I think that when we look back at this present period from down the road, we’ll see this as the beginning of the era of Connectivity. When I think about the changes that the internet and our other communications technologies have wrought on our way of relating to each other, our knowledge of what’s going on in the world, the power of the people to rapidly and decisively affect policy, the increased pace of societal change, the accessibility of information…I see this as being as radical a transformation as humanity has ever experienced.

majorrich's avatar

I’m kinda liking Lobotomy.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

I liked stupidity and Lobotomy, but would add idiocracy. How else can you explain the GOP primary or the candidates. God help us.

picante's avatar

Like @thorninmud, I believe future generations will look back on this period (the past few decades) and see the impact of the Information Age. As with all periods of great change, there is good and bad. Selfishness, greed and idiocy are certainly the negative consequences of too much, too fast, too mindlessly.

Our great-great-grandchildren might label our upheaval as the Age of Assimilation, as I believe we’ll come out of this turmoil with values that are more globally “assimilated” for lack of a better term. What stands out now are those factors that are working against assimilation (the GOP primary being an easy example). We sit right now in a time of abundancy with little regard for consequences—a gross generalization, of course.

Charles's avatar

I don’t know about you all, but I can’t remember a time when personal technology was advancing as fast as it is now. Every week or two, there’s a new smartphone/broad band or google feature or internet or wireless service or high resolution video service or “app”. Kids are walking around with more computing power in their hand held games than the entire Johnson Space Center had during the Apollo moon landings.

Sunny2's avatar


Aethelflaed's avatar


@Cruiser Hold up. The Renaissance was the movement that was so decadently extravagant that it inspired Luther to write his 95 Theses, and tons of others to then follow him… But now is the selfish period?

janbb's avatar

@Aethelflaed The Renaissance was also about rediscovery, humanism and exploration. I guess we would both agree that one-word characterizations of an age are overly simplistic.

Coloma's avatar

Yep, selfishness. The age of Narcissism. Me, me, me, all about me all the time.

janbb's avatar

Redacted due to second thoughts.

Trillian's avatar

@Aethelflaed Don’t blame the rennaissance for what Luther did. He didn’t like the corruption and hypocrisy of the Church.

Cruiser's avatar

@Aethelflaed BIG difference between then and now. Then it was the “haves” who were doing all the extravagant decadent stuff at the “have-not’s” expense. Today it is the “have-not’s” that are demanding their entitlement to this same decadent extravagance at the “have’s” expense.

ragingloli's avatar


Zaku's avatar


The Renaissance was about a fad for not just being a retarded Christian who ignores all other learning.

The Enlightenment was about developing new ways of learning.

The Retardation is a fad about returning to Dark Age thinking, believing the media, your minister, and your clique, and not thinking too much.

fundevogel's avatar

Sometimes I call it the Misinformation Age.

Aethelflaed's avatar

@janbb I would agree that one word really isn’t enough. I just think we tend to see the Renaissance as some great pinnacle of humanity, instead of some really great art at the expense of tons and tons of others in so many ways.

Earthgirl's avatar

Cross-pollination, i.e. creation of something new by combining 2 different tnings; different disciplines, culfures, culinary traditions etc ad infinitum to create a new something wnich is more than the sum of its parts.

6rant6's avatar


Berserker's avatar

Exploitation, and as @ragingloli says, consumption. Seems to me a big part of the world and societies today is just making money. Is that what enlightenment and creativity was meant to lead to?

dabbler's avatar


Linda_Owl's avatar

I’m with @Adirondackwannabe , idiocracy is what we have in the US at the present time.

Plucky's avatar


Fly's avatar

Based on the general pessimistic direction of these answers, a lot of you might be interested in this thread.

I think people have been a tad too harsh (and this is coming from a chronic pessimist). While there certainly is idiocy, selfishness, etc., there are many good things that have come out of modern society, such as greater acceptance and tolerance. However, as the good becomes greater and as society progresses, the bad becomes more obvious. I would personally call our status as simply progressive (ignoring the past ”Progressive Era.”)

Earthgirl's avatar

Fly I totally agree with you. The thread is way too pessimistic. That’s why I chose to look on the positive side. :) There is much in the world that is progressing and improving.

DaphneT's avatar

Thanks to everyone for answering. And @Fly, thanks for that link. I just wanted everyone’s off-the-cuff; I’m not surprised that most of the answers reflect cynicism. Were the plebes of the Renaissance and the Enlightenment just as cynical when confronted with the great thinkers of their era?

@Earthgirl, looking on the positive side is good, but are you saying you don’t see that history swings between periods of dark ages and light eras? If you could pin a name on this era, what comes to mind?

@Thornimud proposes Connectivity, @picante proposes Assimilation. One is a positive spin, the other the negative. When our grandchildren’s grandchildren look back on this time, which way do we want them to see it? Can we forecast the steps that will occur to lead us to one place or the other?

Ron_C's avatar

Darkening. The predominant political forces are anti-education, anti-science, and anti-freedom, and pro-war, are more concerned with punishment than rehabilitation. The make greed a virtue and propagate ignorance and intolerance.

I expect in a hundred years we will devolve into local fiefdoms supported by private armies and ignorant serfs. With religion supporting the power of the elite.

Earthgirl's avatar

DaphneT Cross-pollination may not be a catchy word but I think it expresses things pretty well. The cross-pollination will happen with cultures, economics, politics and just about everything. There will be things that die out and things that combine and recombine and yet still retain some of their initial distinct characteristics. There will be anxieties about decreasing cultural diversity and cultural “integrity”. There will be devolutions such as fundamentalism as well, exacerbated by the perceived threat of cultural and ethnic takeover. This book, which I have just skimmed on Amazon, not read, seems to be a good synopsis of what I am talking about. It’s a really broad subject. I prefer the term cross-pollination to hybridization because it expresses joining and not necessarily blending things. This author seems to agree but has no objection to the term hybridization either. I think I may buy the book. It touches on a lot of the things I think about when I try to look into the challenges of the future.

Ron_C's avatar

@Earthgirl I skimmed it too, the book seems to repeat the same idea over and over. “We are bound to mix religions, ethnicity, and citizenship. The faster we complete the process, the less violence we are likely to encounter.

I don’t think that I could bear to read the whole book.“Keys to the 21st Century” reads like a high school history book. The author my be correct but the book is unbearable.

Earthgirl's avatar

ā€ Ron cā€: http:// Maybe Maybe some people should go back to their high school history books since it seems they still haven’t leaned the lessons inherent within them

Earthgirl's avatar

Darn phone….that should be one maybe not two!

DaphneT's avatar

@Earthgirl Thanks for the link, that is an interesting book, definitely worth skimming, maybe even delving into the chapters deeper.

Answer this question




to answer.
Your answer will be saved while you login or join.

Have a question? Ask Fluther!

What do you know more about?
Knowledge Networking @ Fluther