Where have all of the polymaths gone?

polymath

Where have all of the Leonardo DaVinci’s and Archimedes gone?  Several writers have suggested that the enlightenment of all ( or most) has reduced the need and prevalence of polymaths. With the enlightenment there has been a push towards specialization and mastery of one’s skills.  Though I think this isaccurate, I don’t think it has to be the case. I think we can strive for mastery of everything that we are interested in and eventually do. I imagine this was DaVinci’s motivation. I’d like to think that the polymaths of old pursued their interests because they were intrinsically motivated to do so, they had the resources, and the talent.  In my opinion, we are currently meeting a zenith in the arc of knowledge distribution such that polymaths will become more and more prevalent again because of the ubiquity of knowledge that the internet provides. The ability to access almost any knowledge at any moment allows for people to pursue their interests in a much more efficient and broad way. Thus the resources are there for anyone who has the motivation and talents to become a jack of all trades and master a few along the way. I’ve always been inclined to learning all sorts of new skills. When I really enjoy a particular skill, I first try to figure out a path towards mastery, then I try to figure out how to get paid to work towards mastery. I am still learning new skills I enjoy and have yet to fully master most of my skills, but the pursuit is what makes it satisfying and fun.

Ready here for more interesting writings on the subject:

http://www.moreintelligentlife.com/content/edward-carr/last-days-polymath

http://ideas.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/09/29/twilight-of-the-polymaths/?_r=0

http://www.dubage.com/API/ThePolymath/1.1/ThePolymath0701plo.html

Da_Vinci_Vitruve_Luc_Viatour

Do you find yourself drawn all sorts of directions?  You don’t have to stick with the straight and narrow path. Most of us now have the ability pursue anything that tickles our fancy. Let me know what your interests are and which one’s you are working to master. Also, as always, let me know what you think…this writing thing is something I’m working on mastering 😉

–Curious Cory

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