And yet older isn’t always better. Within the green movement I regularly run across people who insist that our ancestors got along just fine without irradiated food or sterilized milk, completely ignoring the fact that our ancestors regularly died of food borne illness. I’m sure these people exist in other spheres as well.
There are many ways to tie this back to the Renaissance Ideal, but I’m going to focus in on this one: it is incredibly easy to get caught up in our own circles. They’re comfortable and easy. But the problem with circles is that reality changes just a tad while you’re inside them. Maybe in your circle it’s considered normal to broadcast your every move on the internet. Or maybe your circle considers pasteurized milk to be the root of all evil. If you never challenge yourself to move outside your circle, you’ll never know an alternate viewpoint. You’ll never be exposed to information contradicting your position, and you’ll never have a chance at understanding the world outside your circle.
The crux of the Renaissance Ideal is breaking out of your circle. Yes, we aim to nurture multiple passions and become competent in many areas, but we are doing so in order to understand the world outside our circles. We are doing so to become informed critical thinkers. That can’t be achieved from inside a circle.