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  1. #71

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    Quote Originally Posted by ptgatsby View Post
    I think this would be the best so far. I guess part of it comes from the concept that ideas that were generated by multiple people would of been discovered either way, making the person behind them less impressive than someone who actually steered history, like Khan.

    If we measure influence as in "if removed, how much of an impact...", then Khan would be my favorite. If we measure influence as "who contributed most to this present reality", I could see an argument for the thinkers... but even so, I think the "actors" would dominate.
    Actually that was how I was thinking of it (re: if removed). I do think, however, some ideas were powerful enough to rival "actors" in history.

    It's just hard to think of which ones fit this example and in which order of importance. I'm not sure how much Einstein's relativity impacted the world vs the invention of the lightbulb (which can't just be accredited to one person). How to measure Turing's impact vs the inventor or the transistor. It's easier for me to think of actors like Khan, because the effects are easier to imagine.

    Once you get into how ideas or inventions affects future thought, it gets to complex for me to envision. How long would it have taken us to figure out Newtonian mechanics without Newton, is something I can't even guess at comfortably. When would we have figured out gunpowder, the compass or paper? if it wasn't for the Chinese, etc.

    It's like that BBC show with James Burke - "Connections".
    Last edited by meanlittlechimp; 08-17-2007 at 10:51 PM.

  2. #72
    Resident Snot-Nose GZA's Avatar
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    I don't see how Shakepseare is that influential... When he is great, he is really great, but when he isn't, which is fairly often in my opinion, he is fairly mediocre. Plus his plots are stupid, he just covers them up with fancy language. Cervantes is better, and possibly more influential... Don Quixote is supposedly the first modern novel, correct?

  3. #73
    Oberon
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    Quote Originally Posted by GZA View Post
    I don't see how Shakepseare is that influential... When he is great, he is really great, but when he isn't, which is fairly often in my opinion, he is fairly mediocre. Plus his plots are stupid, he just covers them up with fancy language. Cervantes is better, and possibly more influential... Don Quixote is supposedly the first modern novel, correct?
    That would make Cervantes a very influential novelist. But how influential are novelists, in the grand scheme?

  4. #74
    Senior Member ptgatsby's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by oberon67 View Post
    That would make Cervantes a very influential novelist. But how influential are novelists, in the grand scheme?
    Rowling would be offended (Actually, probably not).

    But certain books have changed the world pretty effectively. You don't sell hundreds of millions of books and have a multi-billion dollar market around those books without causing some sort of future influence.

    If anything, I think they deserve a special nod because they create "Art" - stories. It never had to happen... it wasn't an eventuality. What they contribute, no one else would ever be able to create. That is rather unique, compared to the sciences and explorers. It's rather like leaders that way - people who change the course of history by their contribution alone.

  5. #75
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    Art is undeniably influential. But the novelist vs. the inventor/explorer vs. the statesman...it's difficult to evaluate unless you're talking about individuals.

  6. #76
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    Quote Originally Posted by ptgatsby View Post
    If anything, I think they deserve a special nod because they create "Art" - stories. It never had to happen... it wasn't an eventuality. What they contribute, no one else would ever be able to create. That is rather unique, compared to the sciences and explorers. It's rather like leaders that way - people who change the course of history by their contribution alone.
    I don't see inventors and explorer's accomplishments as being reduced just because "someone would likely have come up with it eventually", since a lot of inventions, scientific advances, explorations still take a lot of intuitive leaps, skill, risk taking, etc. (So although some other person or people may have come up with the gravity law, laws of motion, etc., that person or those people would still be influential and would be quite an accomplishment for the people who did it.)

    It is also debatable how much an eventuality things would be. (Newton's laws of motion came from experiments done by other people, but someone still had to put them together, and it took awhile. China had a number of explorers finding out many different parts of the world, but gave up and left other explorations and conquering to Europians.)

  7. #77
    Senior Member ptgatsby's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zergling View Post
    I don't see inventors and explorer's accomplishments as being reduced just because "someone would likely have come up with it eventually", since a lot of inventions, scientific advances, explorations still take a lot of intuitive leaps, skill, risk taking, etc. (So although some other person or people may have come up with the gravity law, laws of motion, etc., that person or those people would still be influential and would be quite an accomplishment for the people who did it.)
    I would still be proud of being the first to discover anything - don't get me wrong, being first is an incredible achievement.

    However, that's the question I have... how do we measure influential? Removal of that person from history to see "what would of happened"? Or just their individual contribution.

    It is also debatable how much an eventuality things would be. (Newton's laws of motion came from experiments done by other people, but someone still had to put them together, and it took awhile. China had a number of explorers finding out many different parts of the world, but gave up and left other explorations and conquering to Europians.)
    I agree, but in cases like Darwin, he did put it together and champion the cause... however, the research he did was already being gathered by others, with similar results. So some are more obvious than others... I don't pretend to know this, so I'm just thinking large scale - what really would change the course of history the most. I still believe social leaders would be the class that can carry the weight of the world the most.

  8. #78
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    Quote Originally Posted by GZA View Post
    I don't see how Shakepseare is that influential... When he is great, he is really great, but when he isn't, which is fairly often in my opinion, he is fairly mediocre. Plus his plots are stupid, he just covers them up with fancy language. Cervantes is better, and possibly more influential... Don Quixote is supposedly the first modern novel, correct?
    The genius of Shakespeare was not in the plots but in the characters and dialogue. Most of his plots are based on some piece of history. The characterizations are genius because everyone had a complete personality, even the bit parts had fleshed out characterizations. And the main parts...well the internal dialogue of Hamlet is arguable the greatest thing ever written. There might not be an focus on a person's internal conflicts if it were not for Shakespeare. Hell there may not even be MBTI (or psychology for that matter) without Shakespeare. All of the focus of storytellers over the years to consider the internal workings of a person is essentially inspired by Hamlet. There is a reason why it is arguably the greatest play ever written.

    And when it comes to dialogue, is there any doubt that Shakespeare is tops? The two most quoted sources by far in Western civilization are Shakespeare and The Bible, and it is hard to tell which is quoted more. He's basically inspired all storytellers that have come after him. Imagining a world without Shakespeare is almost like imagining a world without literature. So yeah, I'd say he's fairly influential.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ptgatsby View Post
    I would still be proud of being the first to discover anything - don't get me wrong, being first is an incredible achievement.

    However, that's the question I have... how do we measure influential? Removal of that person from history to see "what would of happened"? Or just their individual contribution.



    I agree, but in cases like Darwin, he did put it together and champion the cause... however, the research he did was already being gathered by others, with similar results. So some are more obvious than others... I don't pretend to know this, so I'm just thinking large scale - what really would change the course of history the most. I still believe social leaders would be the class that can carry the weight of the world the most.
    The equivalents I can see to this are smaller things like being good on a sports team, being good in school, being married to someone else, etc. In, say, marriage, it is likely in a lot of cases that the two people in the marriage could have found others to be married to and have successful marriages, however, they still likely consider themselves special and/or important to each other. The same sort of logic seems to apply to inventors, scientists, explorers, etc.

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