Let’s make moves toward a Neo-Renaissance

By Samuel Kottoor, Columnist

Here’s a thought and a half: Imagine a society that lacked music, art, visual entertainment, etc. It would be rather bleak. It occurred to me that future civilizations, while studying history, may think to themselves, “The people who lived in the Late Modern Contemporary era, specifically around the 2020s, were bleak. They didn’t have x, y and z!”

I desperately tried to brainstorm what x, y and z might be — the ways in which we may be totally lacking as a society. I concluded that in theory, our generation hasn’t yet tapped into our full potential for creativity, and what’s more, we’re content with where we are.

Disclaimer: I want to be clear that this idea is food for thought and not necessarily a solution or an answer. My goal is for you to question whether you are living up to your fullest creative potential, and to think about what ways society may be lacking in culture. Do we work too much as a culture? Are our brains too cluttered with everyday tasks that we can’t produce more art?

Currently, there are a select few individuals in this world whose lives are dedicated to writing stories, painting canvases or composing music. Imagine if more people, maybe even a majority of people, engaged in the arts in their day to day. The influx in creative content would break us out of our current age. Future historians would label our time period as the Neo-Renaissance, when mankind decided that 40 hours a week at a desk job was hindering our species from total cultural revolution.

To start, let’s compare America with other countries around the world. Roaming down the streets of America, you’ll be greeted by cars whizzing past you, billboards perpetuating corporatism and a plastic bag making its rounds. If you take an airplane down south, far south, to Bolivia let’s say, you’d find yourself in a different kind of setting.

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Vendors line the streets trying to sell you this or that, and people populate the area trying to buy this or that. Instantly, the scene changes, because the streets that are a mode of transportation from point A to point B in America become a mode of transportation from point A to C in Bolivia, with lots of B in the middle.

This itself isn’t necessarily a production of the arts, but the activity and noise that enters the environments can stimulate your brain more than the streets of America. To top it off, there are regular parades accompanied by music and dance filling the streets in countries like this, livening up the scene by placing culture right in front of you.

It makes me wonder what is wrong with America, if anything. To be fair, the lack of street vendors in America indicates a more successful economy where people don’t have to line the streets as much to sell things to make a living. But when I try to think of what American culture is, it’s impossible to think of a specific song and dance, ritual or event that is unique to American culture. I find this deeply unsettling.

Sure, we have baseball and football, but every country has national sports. We have the “Star Spangled Banner,” but every country has a national anthem. I’m scared that we as Americans don’t embrace the arts as much as we could be.

I ask that you reflect on your own life and wonder if you are too caught up in menial tasks that don’t bring color into your life. We are constantly grinding every day, telling ourselves it will be worth it in the end. But there isn’t enough creative consideration for the now.

Samuel is a junior in Engineering.

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