I need all the feedback I can get preparing for the essay portion of the GRE. Below is a short essay I wrote for practice. Please give me your feedback, as this is the first essay I have written in roughly 14 years!
Topic: "In any field of endeavor, it is impossible to make a significant contribution without first being strongly influenced by past achievements within that field."
Instructions: Write a response in which you discuss the extent to which you agree or disagree with the statement and explain your reasoning for the position you take. In developing and supporting your position, you should consider ways in which the statement might or might not hold true and explain how these considerations shape your position.
We are born knowing nothing. Due to this fact, it is mandatory for us acquire knowledge about a field in order to make significant contributions to it. The automobile could not have been invented without the creation of the wheel. Einstein developed quantum mechanics by observing flaws in Isaac Newton's theory of relativity. Thomas Edison invented the first method of recording sound only after years of studying physics and electricity and operating telegraph systems. In nearly every field, skills must be taught and knowledge sought to develop a basis on which to start. However, one field remains that does not require any previous knowledge to succeed in. That is art.
Throughout history, prodigies who have had no exposure to art have created master pieces from unexplained origins of influence. At a very early age, they paint or draw, realistically or abstractly, from intuition. It is once their talents are realized that pundits step in, eager to take them under their wing, and expose them to the most famous styles and works. However, the reality remains that the children were born with a skill that did not need to be taught. Had these children continued to live in isolation and paint or draw in the solitude of their provincial town, they still would have created master pieces, which would have eventually included great contributions to the art world.
Perhaps no other field offers such an open ground for talented contribution. The statement that "In any field of endeavor, it is 'impossible' to make a significant contribution without first being strongly influenced by past achievements in that field" is incorrect because it is not impossible. A more correct term would have been "difficult" or "improbable". However, in defense of the statement, the common man is not born with knowledge or esoteric skills. Due to this fact, most of us require progressive learning in order to contribute to our field. Globalization has made competition more fierce than ever. Our creativity is challenged. We require studying what is already present in order to compete with the latest technology. Therefore in every field, except for art, it is necessary to study past accomplishments and stay abreast with the current trends to make a significant contribution that is unprecedented. And the chances of succeeding without the study and influence of past achievements is improbable.