Death of the Renaissance Man/Woman?

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

Post by Rick Beauregard » Thu Jan 03, 2019 4:54 pm

bear wrote:
Thu Jan 03, 2019 2:10 pm
I believe it is the purview of old men to bemoan the dilution of all they hold dear by the generations that follow.
I have no idea what you younger folks are doing.
It was in fact in our lifetimes that old men saw rog’s beloved jazz form as obscene, just as before when Bach played too many notes and when the printing press threatened our existence as a race. These attitudes of old men don’t show our enlightenment but show our increasing irrelevance in the world which we attempt to arrest by denigrating anything we don’t understand. I’m guilty. Hip hop’s not my thing.

The printing press unleashed a power and unintended consequences unprecedented and often ominous. But it lifted so many more out of drudgery into the light. Today’s technology has a downside. But where else or when else could a young kid discover Monk or Bach on demand today? You need to get out and meet more amazing kids.
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Re: Death of the Renaissance Man/Woman?

Post by Ramon Amira » Thu Jan 03, 2019 5:54 pm

jscott wrote:
Thu Jan 03, 2019 2:42 am
The naturalist Stephen J. Gould wrote a great article on the demise of the .400 hitter in baseball. Where are the giants of baseball's past? He points out that no one averages .400 over a year anymore not because our species has declined in sport, but rather because of the spread of excellence throughout baseball. Most of the players in today's game are far better than those who played when the "Renaissance Batters" of old were playing. Ted Williams faced mostly inferior pitchers and outfielders relative to today's players. Many of today's batters would easily average .400 over the course of a year if they played in those earlier eras.

Sort of similarly, it's become impossible to be a Renaissance Man today because all of our fields of knowledge have expanded wildly since earlier ages. Think of physics, as a single example. Mastering many fields and becoming expert in each is far more difficult today than in earlier ages. We know more now. There's been a spread of excellence.

My guess is that this holds true in classical guitar as well. Where is our Segovia? Segovia played when the level of guitar playing in general was inferior to today's standards. Segovia is Ted Williams.
Segovia never batted 406.

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Re: Death of the Renaissance Man/Woman?

Post by cefyn » Thu Jan 03, 2019 5:56 pm

I think it's all still there. Buried deep in the e-smog. I think the skill nowadays is seeking out and actually finding what you're looking for. And when one comes across it, it's like finding a long lost friend, or a cousin one remembers from childhood. Like anything else that's rare and difficult to find, there's a joy in the act of discovery in itself. Even finding a good film (movie) to watch falls into this category these days. I have a friend who calls to see me every couple of months. We spend a couple of hours bringing each other 'Up to Speed' on the gems we've each discovered since our last meet. We drink a newly discovered bottle of something in the process. You have to get your kicks where and when you can, nowadays.

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Re: Death of the Renaissance Man/Woman?

Post by Rick Beauregard » Thu Jan 03, 2019 5:58 pm

Ramon Amira wrote:
Thu Jan 03, 2019 5:54 pm
jscott wrote:
Thu Jan 03, 2019 2:42 am
The naturalist Stephen J. Gould wrote a great article on the demise of the .400 hitter in baseball. Where are the giants of baseball's past? He points out that no one averages .400 over a year anymore not because our species has declined in sport, but rather because of the spread of excellence throughout baseball. Most of the players in today's game are far better than those who played when the "Renaissance Batters" of old were playing. Ted Williams faced mostly inferior pitchers and outfielders relative to today's players. Many of today's batters would easily average .400 over the course of a year if they played in those earlier eras.

Sort of similarly, it's become impossible to be a Renaissance Man today because all of our fields of knowledge have expanded wildly since earlier ages. Think of physics, as a single example. Mastering many fields and becoming expert in each is far more difficult today than in earlier ages. We know more now. There's been a spread of excellence.

My guess is that this holds true in classical guitar as well. Where is our Segovia? Segovia played when the level of guitar playing in general was inferior to today's standards. Segovia is Ted Williams.
Segovia never batted 406.

Ramon
Ted Williams never played the Chaconne. :D
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Re: Death of the Renaissance Man/Woman?

Post by pogmoor » Thu Jan 03, 2019 6:19 pm

jscott wrote:
Thu Jan 03, 2019 2:42 am
Sort of similarly, it's become impossible to be a Renaissance Man today because all of our fields of knowledge have expanded wildly since earlier ages...
Indeed; I've got degrees in Chemistry, Medicine & Surgery, Psychiatry and Music, but I can only claim to be an expert in one field - and it's not guitar playing!
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Re: Death of the Renaissance Man/Woman?

Post by Ramon Amira » Thu Jan 03, 2019 6:52 pm

jscott wrote:
Thu Jan 03, 2019 2:42 am
Most of the players in today's game are far better than those who played when the "Renaissance Batters" of old were playing. Ted Williams faced mostly inferior pitchers and outfielders relative to today's players. Many of today's batters would easily average .400 over the course of a year if they played in those earlier eras.
There is no basis whatever for these statements. It’s purely opinion. I see no grounds for supposing that today’s players would hit 400, let alone “easily” hit 400. Nor for saying that Ted Williams faced mostly inferior pitchers relative to today's players. I would love to see today’s players face pitchers like Bob Feller, Sandy Koufax, Warren Spahn, Bob Gibson, Don Newcomb, and many others.

Bob Feller’s fast ball was timed at over one hundred mile an hour. He was simply an overpowering pitcher, considered the best pitcher of his time and one of the best of all time. Ted Williams batted against Bob Feller 124 times. In 124 at bats against Feller, Ted Williams batted .347 with Nine home runs. From 1948 to 1956 against Feller, Williams hit .389 with eight home runs in 72 at-bats.

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Re: Death of the Renaissance Man/Woman?

Post by jscott » Thu Jan 03, 2019 7:45 pm

Ramon, Gould was speaking of the level of play for players as a whole--infielders and outfielders as well as pitchers. In any case, Williams' career stats against Feller were below .400. Of course there were great exceptions in earlier eras, but Gould argues that the tendency is for pro teams to have better players overall in the modern era. Players are better defensively. Hence, the disappearance of the .400 hitter. It never happens anymore.

Or, one can despair that all of the giants of the game are irrevocably gone and civilization is on a downward curve. Alas! except for ourselves of course...

By the way Gould was making a point about how evolution in the natural world occurs.

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Re: Death of the Renaissance Man/Woman?

Post by Ramon Amira » Thu Jan 03, 2019 8:28 pm

jscott wrote:
Thu Jan 03, 2019 7:45 pm
Ramon, Gould was speaking of the level of play for players as a whole--infielders and outfielders as well as pitchers. In any case, Williams' career stats against Feller were below .400. Of course there were great exceptions in earlier eras, but Gould argues that the tendency is for pro teams to have better players overall in the modern era. Players are better defensively. Hence, the disappearance of the .400 hitter. It never happens anymore.

Or, one can despair that all of the giants of the game are irrevocably gone and civilization is on a downward curve. Alas! except for ourselves of course...

By the way Gould was making a point about how evolution in the natural world occurs.
Putting aside the fact that really there is no way to compare one era with another, Gould’s statement that “the players are better overall in the modern era and players are better defensively hence the disappearance of the .400 hitter,” is simply a dogmatic statement that cannot be proven. One could just as easily say that the players of the past were better players than today’s, and hence Williams’ feat of batting .406 was even more remarkable.

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Re: Death of the Renaissance Man/Woman?

Post by Erik Zurcher » Thu Jan 03, 2019 8:36 pm

Bob Feller, Sandy Koufax, Warren Spahn, Bob Gibson, Don Newcomb ... were they Renaissance men? :wink:
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Re: Death of the Renaissance Man/Woman?

Post by jscott » Thu Jan 03, 2019 9:15 pm

Gould says the players hitting .400 over the course of a season happened a number of times--even regularly?--prior to Williams. Williams was not the only one to do this, but he is the last. So his initial question is 'why the disappearance of the .400 hitter, which used to occur on a regular basis but stopped with Williams?'. He says something has to explain this. Gould also can't go back in time to witness the demise of dinosaurs either, but that doesn't mean we can't have better or worse theories. Dogmatism isn't an issue in that regard.

To be honest it's been years since I read the essay. But the alternatives seem to lie between "there's been a massive falloff in talent in baseball" which would be the Rognvald explanation--(Giants once roamed the Earth never to Return); or--something like what Gould says has occurred. I'm convinced it's the latter. 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.

the same process has happened with classical guitar since Segovia's day. And of course, there were, well, Segovias back then too. They were far more of an exception and so they towered higher over everyone else. there are far more players in Segovias ballpark, so to speak, in contemporary times.
Last edited by jscott on Fri Jan 04, 2019 5:41 pm, edited 4 times in total.

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Re: Death of the Renaissance Man/Woman?

Post by soltirefa » Thu Jan 03, 2019 10:58 pm

Perhaps the death of Renaissance persons is in fact evidenced herein,

more often than should even warrant any of our careful considerations,

by this tiredly continuous and ubiquitous lack of indentation and paragraph spacing by the tritley self professed

know-much-mores with their oft repetitive self aggrandizements and stodgy snooze festivals...
I was beginning to think I was the only one who thought this. Thank you!

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Re: Death of the Renaissance Man/Woman?

Post by Rognvald » Fri Jan 04, 2019 12:54 pm

" But where else or when else could a young kid discover Monk or Bach on demand today? " Rick B (in reference to the internet)

Yes, Rick . . . the internet is a double-sided sword but sadly, I believe it is used, by most, for online dating, social media, video games, and mindless surfing rather than a real educational tool. And, unfortunately, your above statement is another excellent example of a failed educational system where the likes of historically important musicians/composers are neglected, if taught at all, since many school systems in our country have test scores in Math and English that fall well below national standards. Does it matter if they know Monk or Bach if they are essentially illiterate in the "basics." How is it possible to have a truly rounded educational system when the "basics" are not met? And, if we judge our educational system by its ability to educate "the masses," with the exception of upper middle class/upper-class areas, we have done, statistically, a horrible job. Secondly, when you state "You need to get out and meet more amazing kids," I'm certain there are some impressive young people today but my complaint is that those of whom I meet-- most are what I call "thin ice"--perhaps talented in one arena but sadly lacking in a general, rounded education and this, I believe, is the fault of our educational system as I mentioned earlier in this discussion. Perhaps, Rick, when we ask the question about the death of the Renaissance Person, we are really alluding to the death of a Liberal Arts education worldwide today. Playing again . . . Rognvald
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Re: Death of the Renaissance Man/Woman?

Post by Michael.N. » Fri Jan 04, 2019 1:12 pm

Renaissance man is probably doing fine. Bumping along at the bottom but then again it was always the preserve of a tiny minority. Far more important is how we learn to deal with the problems of ageing populations. It's of much greater importance.
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Re: Death of the Renaissance Man/Woman?

Post by Rognvald » Tue Jan 08, 2019 1:51 pm

Rasqeo wrote:
Thu Jan 03, 2019 2:05 pm
The uneducated, ignorant masses breed more quickly than the educated minority so it’s a gap that’s only going to get wider without a huge transformation in our culture, values and education systems. That’s not going to happen any time soon, so we’re doomed essentially.

Wow, Rasqeo . . . that took some B-LLS! I happen to wholeheartedly agree with you as does the world of Science and the proven concept of biological extinction. Why do you think we're so seriously exploring outer space? Aside from the expansion of pure knowledge, there is a very practical scientific basis for our exploration-- a surviving colony after the destruction of Man on earth. My one disagreement with you is that it's not "going to happen any time soon. . . " I have a much bleaker outlook for humanity in re its time sequence and its death and the demise and the Renaissance Man/Woman(a synonym for Culture) is a very reliable signpost along the way. 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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Re: Death of the Renaissance Man/Woman?

Post by Rick Beauregard » Tue Jan 08, 2019 4:53 pm

I’m not sure where baseball fits in this discussion, but technology and innovation is arguably the reason that the balance between hitting and pitching has changed to favor pitching over time: better glove design and materials, better shoes, truer fields, Tommy John Surgery, steroids, physical therapy, nutrition, night baseball, and instant replay... etc.
All this time I thought I was making music; it was making me.
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1980 Dauphin D30
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Almost as many fly rods as guitars
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