Written by Preben Wik
Sometimes when I think of the state of the world, it strikes me that our adaptability as a species has worked to our benefit, and made us the top dog on the planet, but it also works to our disadvantage, and could become our downfall.
It is not a good idea to adapt to a society that is currently in a state of insanity.
We think we are smart, making new gadgets and apps that are much better than last years, and new scientific discoveries teaching us how to convince people to consume more, how to yield more crop from every square meter, and how to transport more goods, faster, cheaper, to every corner of the world. Although we do see the connection between the climate crisis and our insane, insatiable consumption, we accept it.
We see capitalism as an unstoppable force that is so ingrained in our current mindset that it is almost unthinkable to live without it.
I remind myself that it is only that we are stuck in a mindset, and we don’t see a way out of it.
We need another mindset.
We need another mindset.
A mindset with another set of values.
A mindset where we want to contribute to the advancement of society. Not that we are forced by necessity or new laws to consume less than we want, when what we really want with our innermost desire is to consume ourselves to death. No, with another set of values becoming fashionable, we would want with our innermost desire to do something else.
Reminiscent to the shift that well-off people in the rich world are seen as more successful when they are tan and fit, than if they are pale and fat. It used to be that rich people showed their wealth by body size, and only working-class people that had to use their muscles and be out in the sun all day were tan and fit. It was a symbol of poverty, that is now a symbol of richness and success. And it is the new poor that eat ultra processed food and sit in front of the TV all day that are pale and obese.
We could use another mindset.
Capitalism has not always ruled the world. What other times were there?
Something reminds me of the renaissance period, and I start to wonder if that could be an alternative way out of our downfall?
The renaissance period was around the 14th to the 17th century, and it idolized the idea of the renaissance man, a person who is skilled in many areas of knowledge and expertise, and is well-rounded and versatile.
At that time it was an elitist activity, and the typical farmer was not able to do much more than care for the next meal. but for all those who could focus on anything else, they were encouraged and rewarded for other things than we are today.
Overall, the renaissance was a period that celebrated human potential, learning, and cultural achievement. It encouraged individuals to be proficient in various fields, both to enrich their own lives and to contribute to the advancement of society. This broad-based education was often referred to as a “Renaissance education” and it aimed to produce well-rounded, knowledgeable, and cultured individuals.
Could a revival of that be something that could save us from our downfall?
If we all tried to become Renaissance men and women? What would that be like?
There is something attractive about the values of the renaissance man that we could use more of today – by analogy, not literally. An updated version. The Renaissance Man 2.0
“The Renaissance Man 2.0” project could be a modern-day attempt to revive the values and virtues of the renaissance period, which emphasized the pursuit of knowledge and excellence as a never-ending process. The project would aim to encourage people to embrace all knowledge and develop themselves as fully as possible, much like the renaissance man of the past
The epitome of the Renaissance man is Leonardo da Vinci.
Not only is he regarded as one of the greatest artists who ever lived, but he also made remarkable contributions to engineering, architecture, science, urban planning, cartography, philosophy, and anatomy. but there were many others we could be inspired by..
In 2023 we would probably idolize other sets of skills that are more in line with modern man of today. What would they be? We do not necessarily all have to do archery, horseback riding, write poetry and menuets to be versatile. There is a point in being broad, versatile and skilled in many areas. The versatile aspect in mind, what are the cool areas we could learn to embrace today?
I could think of some:
To be a survivalist. know how to make your own stuff, and survive on a shoestring. To take pride in managing well on a small sum of money, instead of living a wasteful life, not managing well even with a large sum of money.
How little one can manage to live well on can be something to brag about instead of how many cars or jet planes one has?
Who would you like to bring with you on a deserted island?
someone who can catch a fish, and knows what plants to eat, and how to build a hut.
Think of the movie: the triangle of sadness. It was the skills of the filipina toilet cleaner that came to everyone’s rescue (but then she became a tyrant..)
Could we perhaps think of an alternative CV, The Renaissance CV, as a way to show the world what we are capable of? In addition to the standard CV it would focus on our versatility, and eagerness and capability to learn all kinds of new things.
What would that CV look like? What would the categories be?
Versatile as a virtue – We need to take care of mind, body and soul, meaning intellectual stimulation, physical stimulation and the arts.
I need to discuss this with someone..