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Podcast: Navigating a new age of discovery - and upheaval

19 September 2016

Michelangelo's statue of David

Michelangelo's statue of David   Photo: Public Domain CC1.0

When Michelangelo unveiled his statue of David in 1504 what people saw was entirely unexpected, says Chris Kutarna, co-author of The Age of Discovery. David had almost always been depicted in his moment of victory, holding the severed head of Goliath. But here was David on his own, his face clearly depicting “a moment of choice, a moment of decision”.

“Michelangelo … really believed that that was the metaphor for the moment Florentines were in then … a time of tremendous upheaval and possibility,” Kutarna said on a visit to UTS Business School.

We are in a similar age, he suggested as he surveyed the scientific and technological leaps we are making along with the social and political disruption we are experiencing – including Brexit in the UK and Donald Trump’s rise in the US.

In such times we need to consider that the impossible may be possible, says Kutarnaa fellow of the Oxford Martin School.

“This is my perspective, my lens – to see the present as a second Renaissance … but whether it’s my lens or someone else’s, the important takeaway, given the recent record of events that just shock us, is that we do need to try to take a step back and stretch our imagination somehow, so that what we expect to happen gets a little bit closer to what is actually happening.”

Listen to Chris Kurtana’s talk here …

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Read Thomas Friedman of The New York Times on Age of Discovery: Navigating the Risks and Rewards of Our New Renaissance.