The greatness of individuals can be decided only by those who live after them --- GRE essay
The author contends that the value of individuals' works is merely determined by the people who live after them, and one's contemporaries have no saying in evaluating their deeds. Although some exceptions may exist, this is a contention with which I generally disagree for the following reasons.
In most cases, the necessity of an individual's work is more comprehended by his/her contemporaries than those who live after him/her, in that they live to see the outcomes of what those persons have done. In such cases, people who live at the time of the individuals are in better positions to make judicious judgments on what the individuals have done. For instance, Steve Jobs, the former chief manager of the Apple Company, was honored during his lifetime due to his contributions to Apple in fabricating innovative and high-quality mobile phones and laptops. Nearly everyone who used Apple's productions admired him for his creativity. People attributed the innovativeness and high quality of Apple devices to the acumen of Steve Jobs. There are many persons like Steve Jobs that are given due credit during their life by their contemporaries who feel the greatness of their deeds. Artists, singers, and musicians such as Shakespeare, Michele Jackson, and Mozart are examples of individuals who received acclaim during their life span.
Today, mass media plays a great role in helping individuals to be evaluated precisely by their contemporaries. People can share their findings with other individuals through the internet, conferences, the Television, Magazines, Newspapers, etc. Mass media provides individuals with the means to be seen and assessed by their contemporaries. Moreover, there are many organizations and competitions that contribute to passing an acumen judgment on one's deed; Olympic s, the worldwide sport-competition which is held every four years, can help giving credit to athletes for their accomplishments in their lifetime.
However, what I alluded to in the two paragraphs in the body should not be overgeneralized. That is, in some cases the greatness of an individual can be decided only after his/her death. This happens when the importance of the individual's deed is not fully understood by his contemporaries. For example, Galileo, a philosopher, challenged the religious conventions at his time. In contrary to the prevalent beliefs at that time, Galileo stated that the earth is not the center of the universe, and it revolves the sun. For this theory, not only he didn't receive acclaim, but Galileo was convicted of holding heterodox beliefs and imprisoned.
All in all, generally, the greatness of persons can be resolved by their contemporaries as well as the people who live after them. Nonetheless, there are few cases in which the values of individuals' deeds were underestimated during their lifelong in that they were iconoclastic or unintelligible to the people living at the same time as those individuals.