Humanism is the term generally applied to the main social philosophy, intellectual and literary presence of the period from 1400 to 1650. The return of interest in the pagan classics stimulated the philosophy of secularism, the appreciation of worldly pleasures, and above all the want for personal independence and individual expression. Enthusiasm for the classics was a result as well as a cause of the growing secular view of life. The increase of trade, growth of prosperity and luxury, and widening social contacts generated interest in worldly pleasures. They welcomed classical writers who revealed similar social values and secular attitudes. Medievalists see humanism as the product of the Middle Ages. Modern historians are perhaps more likely to view humanism as the earliest stage of modernism. Perhaps the most we can assume is that the man of the Renaissance lived, as it were, between two worlds. In other words, Renaissance man may indeed have found himself struggling between faith and reason. Humanistic contributions to science consisted mainly in the recovery of Greek scientific literature which show clearly a more accurate and acceptable body of facts and ideas than most medieval scientific works.
The Printing Press helped the production and distribution of books across Europe. With the wide spread of books which include: new authors and classics would cause a wide spread emphasis on education and knowledge. People yearned for wisdom in every field they could get their hands on those people were referred to as the “Renaissance Man”. The study of engineering and science, anatomy, medicine, and art became some of the most popular fields of interest. Renaissance encouraged and strived for individual improvement and rewarded excellence with honor and fame. The talents of an Artist were considered to be one of the highest talents and were definitely the icons of the Renaissance, they were the masters. Art was no longer just being created for the Church or for religious the stories behind them. The production of portraits, wedding commissions, and pagan art became more and more popular. With the ideas that come with humanism also come the egotist wants of many of the middle class who commission such lavish works of art, showing off themselves rather than religious icons in their minds they were the icons.
I see many similarities in our society today and the society from the Renaissance. We have a growing production of electronics, so much that many families can’t even keep up with the growing technology. We have more and more people striving for a higher education and a never ending battle to obtain a higher standard of living. On the down side of this I also see people now days making more money off of scamming the average everyday person than providing an actual service or talent. It seems like many are focused on having their desires being fulfilled and entertainment than for health or educational purposes. As a society is more focused on beauty than were are the brains, and talent. Do we need a Reformation? I think so!