Such torment, as I learned, those souls acquire whose condemnation comes from mortal sin, subordinating reason to desire”.Dante, Inferno, V, vv.37-39
We are a team of people who invest all in talent.
A “talent” was once an ancient unit of weight. It was a reference weight for commerce, as well as a measure of value equal to the corresponding quantity of precious metal.
The talent is mentioned in the Iliad when Achilles gives half a talent of gold to Antilochus as a prize, and in the Bible when the talents of gold, silver, bronze and iron are mentioned as donations for the construction of the first temple of Jerusalem.
In several languages, talent has taken on the meaning of “gift” or “ability”, adapting to the current use of the metaphorical meaning also present in the famous parable of Jesus.
Over the centuries, talent has become a natural endowment.
It is naturally endowed – and if it is not, it cannot be learned – a natural inclination which is so much more profound than an ability, so much more deeply rooted than a passion, so much more distinctive than an appearance or manner, that it cannot be reproduced or feigned. It is a part of the self.
The ancient meaning of a unit of weight and a sum of money casts light on important connotations of this word.
The talent was a unit of weight and a sum of money since the coin itself was of precious metal. In Athens, a talent was equivalent to more than twenty kilos of silver.
Serious wealth, therefore, is derived from investment in the transformation of that talent, that weight, into power and freedom.
And this short passage from Dante expresses the medieval meaning of talent:
“Intesi ch’a così fatto tormentoDante, Inferno, V, vv.37-39
erano dannati i peccator carnali
che la ragion sommettono al talento”.
“Such torment, as I learned, those souls acquire whose condemnation comes from mortal sin, subordinating reason to desire”.
But who, then, is a talented person?
The first meaning is that of ‘desire, will’, which prevailed in the Middle Ages, and began in Provence; the second, that of ‘natural or acquired aptitude’, occurs sporadically in Italy and in France, but only bursts fully on to the scene during the Renaissance.
Talentoso had already appeared in Italian in the thirteenth century with the meaning of desirous, lustful, and at that time, the adjective was also used in the sense of ‘very dear, pleasing’.
“Quand’io passo vegiendovi davanti, lo cor si parte, a voi vien talentoso di dicer ciò ch’io sento per amare”
“When I walk by and see you, my heart leaps, it longs to express my feelings of love”
(Chiaro Davanzati, Rime, XIV, 13th century);
During the Renaissance, we find it also used in the sense of ‘very precious’ as in the attestation of Francesco Colonna from Hypnerotomachia Poliphili:
“And who shall be the possessor of such an inestimable and precious treasure?”
The first Italian evidence of its use in the sense of ‘full of talent’ is much more recent: the GRADIT gives the year 1857 when “There can easily be… more talented people but likewise easily more melons” is written in the Family letters with memories of the last years by Francesco Guerrazzi.
The first occurrence of the talentuoso form appears soon afterwards;
Therefore, both forms are well evidenced. However, compared with the answers given to us by the dictionaries, referring almost exclusively to talentoso, verifying the actual use of the two adjectives provides some surprises.
The majority refer to the world of football or, more generally, to sports (although the adjective also appears in artistic, culinary and other texts).
Here there are some definitions of “talent”:
Paolo Luchetta (Arch)
“We can reasonably agree that talent in itself is a gift, a natural inclination that each of us possesses to a different degree and whose recognition, exploitation and expression should permeate training courses in our society. But the critical factor seems to be the project, the passion with which people who recognise their own talent decide to share this individual capital socially. The quality of our condition largely depends on these choices and the gaps that are created in society. I could therefore venture to say that being a talented person nowadays has a lot to do with a sort of sense of the responsibility shared by citizens who are strongly committed to using their individual talent to build the future of the world around us, a scenario which is more than possible, because in part it exists already.”
“Talent” is “a word little used today, at least in the intellectual field, as it is so often used in the worlds of sport and entertainment, but if we talk about entrepreneurial skills or cultural interests it is not common to use this word, perhaps also for reasons of modesty. Modesty due to no longer being able to take for granted that people with talent can develop it and see it recognised, or that it really counts in a society that tends to favour economic and political power over culture and knowledge.
Talent is a gift and so is the identification of its existence. It should be family and schools which spot the signs, but I fear that the latter in particular find it hard to identify the real gifts of some, appearing as they do at a young age in confused forms, often hidden by exuberance and agitation (physical and intellectual), characteristics that teachers usually do not like.
We do not want to see talent in those who have it because such awareness leads to a responsibility: to cultivate and develop that talent, which needs care, attention and therefore time, an ingredient which must nowadays be accounted for and endowed with an economic cost that someone must pay.
On the other hand, I am convinced that even those who are apparently devoid of talent can eventually develop qualities in their own field, through study, reading and curiosity. We can all find within ourselves a small talent and make it grow if we have the strength to develop it and, especially young people, the good fortune to meet a mentor, a contact, a guide, endowed with a critical spirit to ensure we do not deviate from the true path.”
“In the current economic and social environment being a talented person also means being courageous. It is not enough to have skills: you also need the courage to express them.
Having talent today means having the courage to have ideas and communicate them, the courage to dream, to try to stand out, to take risks and to know how to involve other people in your projects.
It means having the courage to look beyond, into the future. In this static, politicised and gerontocratic society, being a talented person means having the courage to explore new paths; your own.”