Thursday, November 10, 2011

The renaissance revisited.

Over the last two decades or so, historians have begun to shy away from calling the Dark Ages the Dark Ages. The notion that the world was engulfed in uneducated dumbness and violence has been assailed. While Europe was no longer enthralled in the glory that was Rome, and the Renaissance had yet to begin, historians have uncovered gleams of light. They have become less absolute in their assessment of the period.

I'm thinking about this because amid all our collective gloom about the world, part of me wonders if we aren't living, right now, in the best of all possible worlds. If we aren't enveloped in a flowering of thought, art and literature.

Right now in the budget-constrained world we inhabit, there is probably more good writing available to more people--for free--than in any time in the history of the world. In fact, just yesterday I happened for the first time upon this blog and I almost cringed. It was so good. How could I ever find the time to squeeze even more into my reading list.

Last night, a dvd arrived in my house of an amazing movie made 40 years ago, "I Never Sang for my Father," starring a young Gene Hackman, and old Melvyn Douglass and Estelle Parsons. Virtually every movie ever made is available to you now. Usually for less than $10 a pop.

Museums, at least in New York, are getting bigger and better, if more expensive.

Taking the subway home last night I was exposed to three genre of live music in three locations. They weren't all my taste but they were all pretty good.

It's all around us, this flowering.

Sure, there are cretins all around us, too. Rick Perry. Sarah Palin. Michelle Bachman and more. Sure we are Lohanized and Kardashianed almost to death. But even a voracious reader like myself keeps falling further and further behind. There are more great books being published today than any other time in world history.

Hey, it's Thursday already.

The weekend is almost here.

Make plans to hear some music or visit a museum.

And lighten up, willya.


peggy said...

living in the best of all possible worlds? no. a definite no. i think nowadays we live in a world of educated dumbness and violence. i wish the kantian enlightenment would have a renaissance. and people would lighten up indeed. i agree though, it is amazing that we can access great thought, art and literature. we can select. and we must. which is both a blessing and a curse.

peggy said...

oh hey, speaking of educated dumbness... which government agency do i want to axe again? commerce, education and ... ummm ... ummmm ... lets see ... ooops.