I am in the middle of a grad class called The Enlightenment. To date, we are focusing on the works of the great thinkers…the philosophes. It strikes me that these men were not only pioneers in their work, but thinkers beyond the bounds imposed during the period. Voltaire, Diderot, Robertson, Montesquieu, the list goes on. They were historians, mathematicians, writers, actors, thinkers…one can say today that they were true Renaissance men. What happened to them today? Maybe more to the point, are those men in existence today? If they are, it seems that we don’t hear much about them, do we? Great men of letters, while certainly in existance today, don’t seem readily apparent. Oh yes, we have some great writers, great money making writers to be sure. What do they write about? Tom Clancy, Michael Crichton make a great deal of money writing about entertaining things, but do they match Voltaire, Rousseau? Do their works change the way that we think or see the world around us? This is not to disparage their work at all, but rather to challenge what we deem as important. Humans need to continue to push, to move forward much like the shark if we are to improve. We cannot be told, we must find. I fear that we are more content to be entertained and told rather than to find for to find would require work. Maybe that is the problem.
I sit among them, almost counting them as friends, but never having met them. I can almost hear their