Tuesday, September 23, 2008

The Snowball Effect

Johann Gutenberg's printing press spurred a fascinating trifecta of events. The Protestant Reformation, Humanism, and The Renaissance were all a sort of snowball effect that likely never could have happened without the invention of the printing press. Before the Protestant Reformation, society was vastly illiterate and relied heavily on the church to guide every aspect of their lives. Martin Luther's Ninety-Five Thesis as well as many other of Luther's writings having been reprinted and widely distributed is what helped people realize that they could actually think for themselves without the fear of going to hell. This public realization was the catalyst for the Protestant Reformation.

The introspective ideals within the reformation lead to a movement known as Humanism. This movement revolved around a more self-centered look at the world and the wonderful advancements within society thanks to the efforts and abilities of man rather an all encompassing God. Mankind's newly rekindled interest in advancement and knowledge was now able to flourish. Furthermore, without an overbearing omnipresent church, free thinkers could usher in a period known as The Renaissance. This was a time when art, science, and knowledge flourished thanks in large part to the availability of affordable books and universities. None of these world changing events could have happened without Gutenberg's printing press.   

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