From Sophocles to Elon Musk: Geniuses of the Past and Present

World history is made of names. Those are the names of people with exceptional intellectual and creative power capable of changing the world around them. These people are great leaders, scientists, artists, inventors, and athletes whose abilities were so extraordinary, people called them geniuses. Of course, the definition of a genius might be somewhat vague, but in general, history is made by these people. Looking back, we can recall numerous names of such exceptional individuals, and sometimes, it is quite challenging for us to evaluate our contemporaries. However, if there’s one man on this planet who’s universally considered to be a genius these days, it’s Elon Musk. Today, we are going to take a look at some of those individuals and mention some of the geniuses of the past as well as the present

The Virtue of a Genius

Back in the times of Ancient Greece, the philosophers and playwrights like Sophocle, Aeschylus, and Euripides would place an emphasis on the role of an extraordinary individual in the fate of their state. Sophocle and other thinkers valued virtue, beauty, and wisdom striving to become perfect citizens of their respective city-states. Some of those virtues are described in Sophocles’ tragedy Antigone where the author discusses the role of a leader and the suffering of people under unjust rule. The genius was a man capable of courageous actions and wise decisions. The philosophers of Ancient Greece, like Plato and Socrates, were interested in finding out what it means to be just a man, a good citizen, and a virtuous leader. The ideas of these ingenious men still remain relevant, and though our society has changed drastically, the virtues they found the most precious still remain the virtues we find essential today.

Nowadays, individuals like Elon Musk strive to improve our society and make the world a better place for us all. People like Musk are not just citizens, they are leaders who try to make a difference by standing against the odds and trying to make the improvements where most would just go with the flow. Musk and his many endeavors have already produced a positive impact with more and more people switching to driving electric cars and space travel becoming much cheaper. Musk and his vision of a better world are infectious, which is why people around the world admire this man and want to take part in his ambitious projects.

The Power to Invent

Talking about the great inventors and scientists, we cannot omit such individuals as Isaac Newton and Leonardo da Vinci. Of course, there are many other names we could mention, but these two might be some of the most important minds of the Renaissance and Enlightenment eras. Leonardo is famous for being one of the most outstanding polymaths in history – an ingenious painter, experimental and natural scientist, the inventor of impossible machines, and an engineer. He is the man who comes to mind when we think about the very notion of genius, and for a variety of good reasons.

Isaac Newton, the father of modern science, changed our perception of the world around us and the larger universe in which our world exists. His theories of gravity and planetary motion revolutionized contemporary science and laid down the laws of physics as we know them today. Newton was also a politician, and quite good at that, which makes him one of history’s greatest polymaths.

When it comes to modern polymaths, we would surely like to mention Mr. Musk, a man who revolutionized e-commerce by creating PayPal, changed the perception of electric cars, came up with the idea of the hyperloop, and currently works on sending a piloted mission to the surface of Mars. Musk made millions on his PayPal endeavor and became a billionaire engineering and selling electric cars. Right now, the world sees Musk as one of the smartest and the most enigmatic men on Earth. Though some do not support his aspiration to colonize Mars, it is quite a reasonable idea as it would allow us to become a multi-planetary species in the future, which would guarantee our survival in case something goes wrong on our planet.

The Unsung Hero

Unfortunately, it often happens that extraordinary individuals end up being treated unfairly and end up being lost, broken, and forgotten by their contemporaries. That happened to Nikola Tesla, a Serbian-American inventor and futurist whose inventions were either not recognized by his contemporaries or just downright stolen by other people and passed on as their own. Unfortunately, the man himself did not live long enough to see people finally appreciate his contribution and having his name immortalized more than half a century after his death. Musk named his car company after Nikola Tesla and made everything he could to help people finally realize what a genius this man was. Musk works on improving the Tesla cars, making them safer, faster, and cheaper to give everyone the opportunity to drive the eco-friendly electric car named after the great inventor of the alternating current electricity supply system.

Wrap Up

Of course, each generation needs its heroes, and this generation has Musk. Of course, time will show what comes out of his ideas, but right now, it is hard to even imagine a person who does more for the survival and sustainable development of humankind than Musk. Right now, Musk is a popular and generally respected man who works on a variety of projects that, according to his plan, will help get mankind to other planets. Right now, it might be hard for some to see the practical value of a manned mission to Mars, but in the centuries to come, this will be remembered as one of the most important steps in the history of our civilization. Musk wants to be the man who made that happen, and we are all looking forward to the successful accomplishment of his dream. As Musk himself admitted, he would be glad to die on Mars, just not upon landing. We all hope he can do that and lead a successful piloted mission to the surface of the red planet.