Death of the Renaissance Man/Woman?

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Ramon Amira
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Re: Death of the Renaissance Man/Woman?

Post by Ramon Amira » Tue Jan 08, 2019 5:12 pm

jscott wrote:
Thu Jan 03, 2019 9:15 pm
Players overall today are better conditioned, better informed about their opponents and coached at a higher level beginning earlier in their careers than players of old. The spread of excellence.
Upon further consideration Gould’s theory does not even pass the Logic 101 test. If “Players overall (your emphasis) today are better conditioned, better informed about their opponents and coached at a higher level beginning earlier in their careers than players of old - the spread of excellence,” then the overall level of improvement applies to the entire spectrum of players, batters included, and everything remains relative. So we should expect the same relative distribution of skill, and yet there have been no .400 hitters.

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Re: Death of the Renaissance Man/Woman?

Post by jscott » Tue Jan 08, 2019 5:20 pm

I forgot to mention, because I forgot this part--Gould posits an upper limit of human capability. HItting .400 over the course of a season has always been a rarity. It's a lot easier if you face a good amount of mediocre (by today's standards) pitchers and infielders and outfielders. But there are upper limits. Ever see someone hit a homer every at bat, or always get a hit or walk and never strike out? Can't happen. By the way, even during the steroid era, no one hit .400.

Nearly the same thing holds for baseball's Triple Crown--it used to be a fairly common achievement. I think that there's only been one winner over the last several decades--doesn't happen.

I'm curious as to your alternative explanation for all of this?

edit: oops, I jsut saw Rick's last post--that's a plausible explanation too.

finally, (you hope!) one could take this in the other direction. The four minute mile used to be an unbreakable barrier. Now, it's commonplace to run under four minutes. But a three minute mile? There are upper limits of what is possible given our bodies. Still, Olympic records are falling all the time. Assuming drugs aren't responsible for all of this, you have to gather that better coaching and preparation is responsible. Despite the presumed imminent collapse of civilization due to the spread of the so-called lower and stupid classes that some here irritatingly posit, new levels of excellence are always being achieved.
Last edited by jscott on Tue Jan 08, 2019 10:50 pm, edited 3 times in total.

Ramon Amira
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Re: Death of the Renaissance Man/Woman?

Post by Ramon Amira » Tue Jan 08, 2019 7:54 pm

jscott wrote:
Tue Jan 08, 2019 5:20 pm
I'm curious as to your alternative explanation for all of this?
I don't got to show you no stinkin' badges!

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Rick Beauregard
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Re: Death of the Renaissance Man/Woman?

Post by Rick Beauregard » Wed Jan 09, 2019 7:14 pm

Ramon Amira wrote:
Tue Jan 08, 2019 5:12 pm
jscott wrote:
Thu Jan 03, 2019 9:15 pm
Players overall today are better conditioned, better informed about their opponents and coached at a higher level beginning earlier in their careers than players of old. The spread of excellence.
Upon further consideration Gould’s theory does not even pass the Logic 101 test. If “Players overall (your emphasis) today are better conditioned, better informed about their opponents and coached at a higher level beginning earlier in their careers than players of old - the spread of excellence,” then the overall level of improvement applies to the entire spectrum of players, batters included, and everything remains relative. So we should expect the same relative distribution of skill, and yet there have been no .400 hitters.

Ramon
When did you last see a complete game pitched by a starter? When Williams played, how many games a season were complete games? How many now? Pitchers are much better now, for 5 innings max. Hitters are great now after a pitcher has made >100pitches. They just don’t see them as often.

If there is a dilution in Renaissance-ness, you can’t prove it in baseball, or I submit in any field. Another unanswerable question. As all such questions, interesting, but even more interesting is how people cling to their opinions without the least shred of proof.

https://www.forbes.com/sites/robertkuen ... becc327e58
Last edited by Rick Beauregard on Wed Jan 09, 2019 7:26 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Death of the Renaissance Man/Woman?

Post by jscott » Wed Jan 09, 2019 7:22 pm

Rick: yep, again, I'd guess that Williams had it easier in this regard than players today.

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Re: Death of the Renaissance Man/Woman?

Post by StuMayes » Fri Jan 18, 2019 9:30 pm

A thread on the death of the 'Renaissance person' descending into baseball stats is probably quite humorous, no?

Renaissance means re-birth, a re-awakening. Might not the 'internet age' be seen as a new renaissance?

According to Plato (in Phaedrus) when Hermes invented writing and showed it to the Pharaoh Thamus, the Pharaoh was not happy. "Skillful Hermes, with your invention people will no longer have to train their memory, They will remember things merely because of an external device."

It's the eternal fear, the fear that new technology will destroy something which we consider precious.

There's a great scene in I, Claudius where the poet Virgil is talking to an out of work actor, now working as an usher for the Emperor. The actor bemoans the lack of work for thespians and says "the theatre isn't what it was." Virgil rejoins, "And I'll tell you another thing, it never WAS what it was."

I also think the common understanding of what a 'renaissance man' was is somewhat off the mark; the original concept refers to a small clique of persons who were trying to unify all knowledge into a 'theory of everything', fusing New-Platonism with Jewish cabala and Hermetic texts, to try to prove the existence of an over-arching wisdom of the ancients, not forward looking well-read, fact seeking scholars but backward looking revolutionaries, to coin a phrase. Perhasp the nearest thing to that type of person today, might be one suffering from the 'conspiracy theory of society' who is trying to join all the links of a tenuous illuminatii diaspora, with a subsequently voluminous library of weird and whacky texts.

The other commonly held idea of 'renaissance man' is confused with the concept of the 'courtier' as originally espoused by Castiglione, which is more to do with the artful posturings of knowledge and grace, rather than the actual possession of the same.

It's all wind and smoke!

The best time to be alive is always NOW, there is no golden age, and perhaps nostalgia for times past is just part of the natural order of ageing.

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Re: Death of the Renaissance Man/Woman?

Post by Rognvald » Sat Jan 19, 2019 4:08 pm

"It's all wind and smoke!

The best time to be alive is always NOW, there is no golden age, and perhaps nostalgia for times past is just part of the natural order of ageing." StuMayes


Well, Stu . . . never let it be said that you won't take a stand! It must certainly be the dominant Norse blood of the Vikings cursing through your veins. And, as a brief aside, it would be a dream cruise for me to sail the Orkneys and the Faroes and retrace the great heritage of the wandering Norse. So, back to the meat and potatoes. Statement #1: disagree; statement #2: agree with qualifications. The relevance of History tells us that there were periods of History in the last 2,500 years that had greater significance than others. We think of the great Persian empire under Darius the Great and Suleiman; the flowering of the Greek and Roman Civilizations under Leonidas and Alexander the Great in Greece and Rome under Caesar; the Renaissance of DaVinci and Michelangelo and The Age of Enlightenment with Galileo and Voltaire are a few examples. The best and the brightest will always prevail even in the worst periods of Knowledge but it is the Common Man who has seriously degraded in a culture of bad TV, movies, music and education witnessed in the declining national educational test scores for Language, Math, and Science that must be graded by the "Bell Curve" to validate their sensitive feelings of self-worth in real time failure mode. And, yes . . . there is a difference in our views as we age that I do not contribute to nostalgia but rather to a more introspective perspective of one's life and our place in the universe as we look back at the significant aspects of our life and Civilization. Perhaps, one day you might feel the same. Thanks for the reply. Playing again . . . Rognvald
"And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music." Friedrich Nietzsche, Thus Spake Zarathustra

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StuMayes
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Re: Death of the Renaissance Man/Woman?

Post by StuMayes » Sat Jan 19, 2019 6:40 pm

Rognvald wrote:
Sat Jan 19, 2019 4:08 pm
but it is the Common Man who has seriously degraded in a culture of bad TV, movies, music and education
Yep I agree that some periods in our collective culture have more significance on today's world than others, but just think about the above.

For most of human existence the Common Man had a truly horrific time, low life expectancy, infant mortality rife, no education at all, most living in bonded servitude, things only really started to improve for the masses once penicillin had been discovered. And just think what life was like for women before emancipation! Absolute nightmare.......

TV, movies, music etc, haven't they always been mostly 'bad' with a few gems thrown in? Pick any decade really, lots of rubbish we forget but the 'good stuff' is remembered, skewing the perspective.

To paraphrase Harold Macmillan, "You've never had it so good!".

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Rick Beauregard
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Re: Death of the Renaissance Man/Woman?

Post by Rick Beauregard » Sat Jan 19, 2019 7:28 pm

StuMayes wrote:
Fri Jan 18, 2019 9:30 pm
A thread on the death of the 'Renaissance person' descending into baseball stats is probably quite humorous, no?
Descending! I suppose using cricket would be more ascendent?
Rognvald wrote:
Sat Jan 19, 2019 4:08 pm
The best and the brightest will always prevail even in the worst periods of Knowledge but it is the Common Man who has seriously degraded in a culture of bad TV, movies, music and education witnessed in the declining national educational test scores for Language, Math, and Science that must be graded by the "Bell Curve" to validate their sensitive feelings of self-worth in real time failure mode.
If we added those commoners (especially the women) from the Renaissance period to the bell curve, todays commoners would look like, well Rennaissance persons.
All this time I thought I was making music; it was making me.
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Re: Death of the Renaissance Man/Woman?

Post by kirolak » Sun Jan 20, 2019 3:51 pm

What a delightful, thought-provoking thread. . and if "the Viking blood cursing through the veins" really is a typo, it's a wonderfully amusing and apt one :)

To add my tuppence worth, I love the art, music and the high-mindedness of the past, but I am also glad to be alive now, with internet virtuosi at my fingertips, scores to download, great books available free to print out or download, and a forum like this to virtually interact with other beings. One can be an introvert and still share ideas and opinions.

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Re: Death of the Renaissance Man/Woman?

Post by jscott » Mon Jan 21, 2019 5:34 pm

Just to be clear: Gould told the baseball story in order to illustrate some points about how evolution in nature works. (And he loved baseball!). My point in telling his story was to illustrate why we don't have people alive who can master all of physics ,math, medicine, anatomy and the arts -the Renaissance man. It's not because we've grown degenerate, as has been posited. It's because those fields have grown exponentially. Yesterday's Renaissance men wouldn't be so if they were living today.

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Re: Death of the Renaissance Man/Woman?

Post by StuMayes » Mon Jan 21, 2019 7:48 pm

jscott wrote:
Mon Jan 21, 2019 5:34 pm
Just to be clear: Gould told the baseball story in order to illustrate some points about how evolution in nature works. (And he loved baseball!). My point in telling his story was to illustrate why we don't have people alive who can master all of physics ,math, medicine, anatomy and the arts -the Renaissance man. It's not because we've grown degenerate, as has been posited. It's because those fields have grown exponentially. Yesterday's Renaissance men wouldn't be so if they were living today.
Oh I know there was a serious point, it just tickled my funny bone. :D

True, specialization has become a necessity as all fields of study have ballooned over time, and perhaps philosophy has evolved -especially since Foucault- into a discipline largely concerned with what it all means, and how it all connects.

The main trouble with specialization is one may become an expert in say, quantum electro-dynamics, but at the same time be completely unable to boil an egg.

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Arash Ahmadi
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Re: Death of the Renaissance Man/Woman?

Post by Arash Ahmadi » Tue Feb 05, 2019 7:27 pm

People are being bombarded by information these days, some of which is not useful or helpful in anyway. These days it's easier than ever to find the book or the musical album, etc. but also been easier to publish a book (as ebook or hard-copy) or release an album, etc. Therefore, many have taken the short-cut and even achieved success... it's undeniable that it's hard to avoid the pop-culture that is being advertised 24/7 and in every form imaginable.

But there are true artists out there making masterpieces too...
Becoming a great musician is about becoming a great human being.

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Re: Death of the Renaissance Man/Woman?

Post by Rognvald » Thu Feb 07, 2019 10:34 pm

"But there are true artists out there making masterpieces too..." Arash

Yes, Arash . . . but are they making a living? And how many are there in relation to the totality of "entertainers?" Taste in Art, for the most part, is sadly controlled by the LCD Factor: the least common denominator---does it appeal to the masses?.. how low can we go? Playing again... .Rognvald
"And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music." Friedrich Nietzsche, Thus Spake Zarathustra

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Mark Clifton-Gaultier
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Re: Death of the Renaissance Man/Woman?

Post by Mark Clifton-Gaultier » Fri Feb 08, 2019 9:39 am

Rognvald wrote:
Arash wrote:"But there are true artists out there making masterpieces too..."
Yes, Arash . . . but are they making a living?
Lol Roggers. Are not artists historically renowned for starving (and dying) in garrets? To quote Marlowe (knowing your penchant for the occasional rather questionable, if not entirely redundant, literary allusion):

“Cut is the branch that might have grown full straight ... burned is Apollo’s laurel bough.”
Rognvald wrote:Taste in Art, for the most part, is sadly controlled by the LCD Factor: the least common denominator---does it appeal to the masses?
Really? "The least common denominator" ... surely you are not serious? That would be taste arbited by the most uncommon denominator.

For a supposed writer and teacher (albeit self-proclaimed), your capricious exercise of the English language frequently suggests an entertainingly tenuous comprehension such that I am unable to determine your intent, to either tease or troll.

You are, at the very least, the most consistently amusing pseudo viking on these pages. Chuckling again ... Mark

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