The Modern Day Polymath

This article “The Modern Day Polymath is a guest post and is originally written by someone who wants to stay anonymous.

 

Polymath – someone who knows a lot about many different things (Merriam-Webster)

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Polymath is someone who holds knowledge about everything.

Also known as Renaissance Man, homo universalis.

The Renaissance Man – Leonardo Da Vinci

Every time I hear the word ‘Renaissance’ I think about one of the most accomplished human beings who ever lived. The creator of the world’s most famous paintings, this scientist, artist, philosopher, inventor, builder, and mechanic epitomized the great flowering of human consciousness that marks his Era – Leonardo Da Vinci.

 

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Leonardo Da Vinci

Reality

And here I am stress-eating about not being able to play the Barre chords on my guitar right. At this point you’re probably wondering who am I and why are you reading this. Honestly, I’m a nobody trying to be somebody, obsessed with perfection and yet a walking contradiction. Ever since I read the book ‘Think like Da Cincinnati’ by Michael Gelb, I fell in love with the idea of the being a Renaissance man. Waking up at 4 am and working hard to attain mystery over a lot of different and unrelated fields till 10 pm is easier said than done. When you call someone a Renaissance man today, it’s meant that his knowledge is profound and often also has proficiency and accomplishments in these fields and in some cases even at a level comparable to the proficiency or the accomplishments of an expert.

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Jack of all trades, master of none.

During the Renaissance period, the ideal of Renaissance of humanism included in the acquisition of almost all available important knowledge. Today, it is extremely difficult to genuinely acquire an encyclopedic knowledge. And even more to be proficient in several fields at the level of an expert. Usually, the word ‘polymath’ is also associated with a potentially negative connotation – jack of all trades, master of none.

I have come to realize that the information around us and fields of knowledge is growing at an exponential rate. A specialist’s understanding of knowledge is too narrow and that a synthetic comprehension of different fields is unavailable to her. What is much more common today than the universal approach to knowledge from a single polymath is several experts in different fields working together to pool their knowledge and abilities.

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Cross-section of a polymath’s brain.

Conclusion

Considering the olden day’s polymath as one in today’s age on the amount of knowledge they had would be wrong. The sole reason for this is the increasing number of researches and knowledge every day. In this age, we need each other to keep growing. Let us all grow together.

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