Q&A Friday #107: Who Are The Greatest Minds In American History?

Question: Who is the greatest mind in the history of the United States?

Doesn’t have to be nec. in the field of science, could be any field.

My candidates would be either Thomas Edison or Ben Franklin.

Bonus if you want to name the greatest mind in the history of mankind. — Vega – NY’s Smart Sexy Liberal

Answer: I have a different outlook on this question than most people.

In actuality, there are no “greatest minds.”

There are brilliant human beings who, through happy accidents of history, had the stars align to put them in a place where their gifts could be used to make extraordinary advances.

What I mean by that is that had even men as brilliant as Einstein or Da Vinci come along 25 years earlier or 25 years later, they would have probably never made a significant mark on history. The same could be said for generals, titans of industry, Presidents, artists, etc. There are legions of extraordinary human beings, who accomplished staggering amounts in their lifetimes, who’ve already been forgotten because fortune never offered them that extraordinary opportunity to stamp their names on human history.

So, yes, a human being does have to perform at a high level to become a truly great man, but he also needs an extraordinary amount of good luck to pick just the right field at just the right moment of history to shake the foundations of the world.

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