After five years of this running this site (yes, my blog-child is old enough for kindergarten!), I have been contemplating the need for my own collective renaissance, or ‘rebirth’, if it pleases you. The theme of ‘rebirth’ appears often enough in popular culture; in fact, DC Comics recently relaunched their entire line of monthly superhero comics in their “DC Rebirth” arc, which reimagined quite a few of our favorite heroes. We expect singers and artists to “reinvent” themselves every few years in order to keep our interest, but what does it mean for us in our everyday lives? Do we need personal renaissances to reinvent ourselves at home, work, or school?
Renaissances are often characterised by advancements in society and culture–notably in science and in the arts. Italy had DaVinci, who was not only a painter, but also an inventor, and his art and designs are still widely recognisable, even centuries later. England had Sir Thomas More, whose satirical work Utopia brought on decades (if not centuries) of critical debate and helped to shape the sociopolitical systems of the period, and beyond.
As a student of literature, I am most familiar with the English Renaissance, which gave us Sir Thomas More, Edmund Spenser, and most famously, William Shakespeare. The Bard famously wrote in As You Like It:
All the world’s a stage,
And all the men and women merely players:
They have their exits and their entrances;
And one man in his time plays many parts.
-Shakespeare, As You Like It,
Act II scene vii
Shakespeare understood the need for renaissance, or reinvention, but is this idea of rebirth like the phoenix? Should our former life burn completely away, leaving a new person to rise from the ashes?
Or is rebirth more like Bollywood film Om Shanti Om, in which Om’s reincarnation leads to a new life to seek justice for the wrongs done to him in the previous? Om is reborn, but not remade; he carries with him the memories/anger/pain/love of his past life as he remakes his new one. Sidenote: if you haven’t seen Om Shanti Om, you absolutely should. Should our remaking of ourselves carry remnants from our past with us?
I don’t have a good answer for this. Rebirth simultaneously feels necessary and inconsequential for those of us who lead regular lives, and it seems that most people who go through a renaissance go through a trial by fire first (and in fiction, sometimes that’s literal). However, I do believe that change is part of human nature; we must grow, and we must adapt, or we risk being lost in the shifts of time. Renaissances are brewed in advancements and change, and I believe that for the Renaissance-with-a-capital-R to happen, it must first happen for the individual.
This above all: to thine ownself be true.
And it must follow, as the night the day,
Thou canst not be false to any man.
-Shakespeare, Hamlet, Act I scene iii
That said, in the upcoming weeks and months you will see The Collective Blog growing and adapting to the progression of time. Some of these changes will be more obvious than others, and while we stay committed to our purpose of exploring popular culture through the lens of highly educated feminist fangirls, I am also excited for our own renaissance. For the first time in several years, I am not entirely sure what comes next; like all renaissances, this is a work-in-progress, but it is time for my blog-child to step into the next stage of its life, and I am glad to have our Collectors with us on this journey.
Just another player on the world’s stage,