The Art of Human Endeavor

October 26, 2015 § 1 Comment

I was very intrigued by the conversation that we had last class about the driving force of human endeavor, the cyclical, dynamic nature of progress, and our ability to predict and redirect that progress. “The Two Cultures,” a lecture by British writer CP Snow, addresses the schism between the two camps of science and the humanities, in a way that very much condemns this divide and calls for a more interdisciplinary approach to human endeavor. But with doing away with more generalized investment in progress, and shifting more towards a multidimensional collaborative experience where specialization is one element of an aggregate of progress, do we lose the space for singular human genius? A previous blog post touched on this idea in a different way, by addressing the idea of remembering Greats through their achievements but not through the lives they led.

I find this model for human endeavor empowering.

But the “Which came first?” problem which presents itself when we think about the Great Man. The Great Man, who pioneers progress and whose biography is itself the history of human endeavor. (read more about the Great Man Theory here: Do they drive human endeavor or are they products of an ever-evolving social context? I guess this question is a little more difficult to gauge in our current age because so few individuals are singularly spearheading human endeavor – whether that is scientific exploration, artistic creation, or social and political change. So much of human endeavor now is collective, crowd-sourced, many headed, teams of people, research groups, think tanks, social media enterprises. What is the driver of a social movement? What is the inspiration for cultural change? What is the motor of scientific curiosity?

-Rani Banjarian


§ One Response to The Art of Human Endeavor

  • daniellecgwilliamson says:

    Great post!
    A question that spins off of this thought experiment for me is how important are individuals within crowd sourced movements. For example, is the presence of a specific person necessary to catalyze this process, even if that person just sets the process in motion, and doesn’t finish it? Or will the process inevitably happen?


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