Bob Draper compares Artists and Discoverers and the "star system:"
>There's a sort of right time right placeness about many so called geniuses.
>For instance take Beethoven, if he hadn't been there then someone like
>Weber would have taken up the mantle. There is a certain inevitability
>about some developments in human evolution.
>Take the example of Murray Gell-Mann and his quarks. Another physicist
>Weis (I think) was working on identical ideas at the same time. This
>example suggests to me not that ideas exist in space waiting to be grasped
>but rather that they are the culmination of development by many people.
>Hence it is ludicrous that we heap so much credit on a few people.
I think it might be very difficult to rank Artists in the same way that we
The forward momentum of Scientific discovery is linear, and, knowingly
or unknowingly, collaborative. Ironically, though great discoveries are
a team product, it is somehow only *the* Discoverer who always gets the
credit. (Think Columbus.) So I agree with you here, Bob.
But, a great work of art is the product of a unique imagination.
Ironically, we try to identify the collaborative elements of a creation.
(Haydn + Mozart = Beethoven.) Since Art, unlike Science, is a series of
experiments radiating outwards in all directions, is it possible to
discover a linear progression?
Discovers the world over focus on a common target--the universe waiting to
be mastered and mapped. Can you imagine two Artists striving for the same
I think what makes it so hard to rank artists is the fact that Artists
"add," while Discovers "replace." A scientific work is measured by how
many earlier works it makes obsolete, but comparatively speaking, a
groundbreaking artistic work doesn't displace all that came before it.
In the Arts, we have to award laurels to everyone, or no one.