Polymathy

Consider this page to be perpetually incomplete. Perhaps there is just an outline here waiting to be fleshed out. There’s always more to add, but it was lasted updated on: [8/5/2020]

A polymath is “an individual whose knowledge spans a significant number of subjects, known to draw on complex bodies of knowledge to solve specific problems.” Maybe you’ve also seen the phrase “Renaissance Man” to mean the same thing. In the modern context, the word “generalist” works too.

Being a polymath is not the same thing as being an intellectual dilettante.

“A jack of all trades is a master of none, but oftentimes better than a master of one.”

Being a polymath means cultivating the ability to develop skills in new domains, often by importing useful frameworks from other domains. This is not only useful for salaried or academic work, but for the living of daily life and the achievement of joy.

Polymathy is not as valued as it should be in our world, and specialization is revered past a useful point.

Many new ideas cannot be achieved, and many problems in the world can only be solved, with cross-domain synthesis.

Polymathy isn’t just about intellectual pursuits. It involves mastering music, physical education, and more.

I think that humans are naturally polymathic, but that our social norms beat the attribute out and down.