I was thinking about all of the extraordinary American writers in Paris in the 1930’s. In part I suspect because I had recently watched Woody Allen’s film Midnight in Paris.
It seemed amazing authors including: Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Henry James, Gertrude Stein and Mark Twain were all in Paris at approximately the same time.
This caused me to think about other places and times that were filled with extraordinary creativity. Think of the artists in the Italian High Renaissance (1475-1525). Imagine Michelangelo, Raphael and Leonardo da Vinci in the same place at the same time creating the masterpieces we still admire today. Think of the ancient Greek Philosophers. We still talk about thousands of years after their deaths. Socrates, Plato and Aristotle all are quoted and referenced even today.
Think of Greenwich Village in the 1960’s with its impact on music. Artists such as: Bob Dylan, Jimi Hendrix, Joni Mitchell, Simon and Garfunkel, Lou Reed, James Taylor and Carly Simon essentially performing at the same place and time. Think of Haight-Ashbury in the 1960’s with bands like the Grateful Dead, Janis Joplin and Jefferson Airplane.
The point of this blog is not to provide a history lesson on interesting places and times but to consider why these events occurred and will they occur again? I suspect that part of the reason these events occurred is that the competition and conversation between these great thinkers and artists encouraged them to be their best. In addition creative work was encouraged by the communities they were in. If they were not financially encouraged they were certainly provided a venue and emotional support.
In addition these communities provided a fantastic opportunity to seek expert advice to hone their skills. If not advice than just the ability to hear and see the works of others had to have an impact on their own work.
Thus, will there be another Renaissance of ideas, art and music? I believe the answer is yes. In fact I believe it is going on now. I don’t see it as part of a physical community like Haight-Ashbury but as part of the larger on line community. I can remain in small town Illinois and reach out to someone in England or China with a touch of a keyboard. It is easier to find other’s with similar interests then ever before. If I am interested in a subject that few people in the word have expertise in I can locate those people on-line. Books, music and the exchange of ideas are what the internet is all about. Well it is also about other stuff but it can be used for books, music and the exchange of ideas. I understand that it is easy to be inundated by to much information. Yet, if a person is willing to sift through the content within the web it may be possible to find books, music and ideas that can make a difference in our lives.