Archive of UserLand's first discussion group, started October 5, 1998.

Re: Person of the Millenium: Explorers, Scientists?

Author:Edwin Gustafson
Posted:1/1/1999; 5:17:08 PM
Topic:Person of the Millenium?
Msg #:1792 (In response to 779)
Prev/Next:1791 / 1793

This gets to the heart of whether we're selecting a person for his individual achievements or as a proxy for the important historical forces he represents.

Both are interesting and worthy approaches. I haven't given much thought to the first one, but as for the second I would pick Christopher Columbus as a leading representative of the Age of Discovery. Columbus and his fellow explorers opened the door for waves of conquerers, colonists, and traders whose collective achievement was to make sure that no human civilization could exist in political, economic, or cultural isolation ever again. I see this as the biggest difference between the state of humanity in 1000 and the state of humanity today.

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