Gentlemen Scholars - The Multidisciplinary Spectrum S01E04

TL:DR | Someone who is perpetually in school, and/or learning. However not actively pursuing to execute and do something with that knowledge. These are the dabblers and dilettantes!


6 min read

Here is a video relation to this post, as well as the PolyCast!


This is a term that many people may not think belongs on this spectrum, but I had heard it a few times over my years online. It stuck around, and I think it is worth mentioning. If not for the negatives and positives behind it.

Please note that this term is inherently male in nature, as that was the gender people referred to for it. However you can probably see at the end of this post, that it can be applied to any gender. There are really TWO definitions if you will for this, and that is based how you say it:

Gentleman Scholar

This one is the one we are mainly explaining today, as it goes into the idea of the dilettante. Someone who learns much, but does nothing with it. Someone who spends too much time in school, and fails to get out into the world.

The reason why I think that is important, as it can highlight one of the negative qualities of Polymathic/Multidisciplinary people... that at some points we can be flakey on endeavors, and other times our autodidactic side is over working.

Not everyone quits on an endeavor, but it can look that way from the outside. As well as, it is pretty well known that pretty much all polymathic people are autodidacts in some way shape or form.

A Gentleman and a Scholar

This definition is more on the literal basis of the words, and I believe both definitions is how I understood it.

I couldn't find the links for this, but it had been said around the time of the founding fathers.

The idea of both is that someone is of stature in court decorum, and spends his time learning. Even if one may not be an "intellectual", as it was the case for Thomas Jefferson.

Thomas Jefferson, Gentleman Scholar
The title of Kevin Hayesโ€™s new study of Thomas Jefferson, โ€œThe Road to Monticelloโ€ (Oxford University Press, 752 pages, $34.95), holds out several possibilities. Is it a book about Jeffersonโ€™s famous house, which he spent much of his life building and

I would also hold Benjamin Franklin to a similar stature, but probably would declare Franklin as more polymathic than a G.S.


How this impacts you

This is the reason why I made this post. As generalists we are constantly bombarded by the specialist way of life, and moreover way of thinking. Which means we do have to go on the defensive sometime, and by looking at the Gentleman Scholar we can get a picture of how specialists view generalists.

As even people in the generalist community would perhaps "look down" on the lack of accomplishments of someone just purely learning. Although encourage them to keep learning nonetheless, but maybe with a motivation to do something with that new learning. I.e. learning how to blog.

Take all of this with a grain of salt, as I personally try not to ever look down on people. So most of this is a matter of speech, and to give you a window.

The saying Jack of all trades master of none comes to mind again. That is a branding issue, and memory too! haha As it does continue into saying "but oftentimes better than a master of one.", purely because the cross-discipline knowledge pools help you gain better perspectives. However many specialists can't think that way right off the bat, and so it just seems that we are dabblers to them.

Even if you have had your hand in the cookie jars of a few kinds for a decade. Meaning you could go toe to toe with most lower level specialists, if not a few high level ones too.

Point being it is a misunderstanding of each other.

As Gentleman Scholars the idea was to improve your knowledge and poise.


As a Man | as a Better Person

Again this is more geared towards the male population, but I encourage everyone to read it. Becoming a better man also entails becoming a better person in general, so the ideas are universal.

The idea of the gentleman scholar seemed to be quite dated to me, but being someone of elegance, poise, intelligence, and knowledge; All seem like good traits to me. Just the other aspect of someone who is always learning, but not pursuing their goals after that stage does not. At some point you have to learn to quit or stop, and move onto to something else.

I taught myself how to be a better man. From the ilk of Aurelious to Seneca, and even YouTube channels like Alpha.m and Charisma on Command. Learning to poise myself with better style, more interesting spoken word, and how to engage a crowd. I used those skills at karaoke, or duing my fitness classes, etc.

I even wrote a blog post modernizing some of those ideas:

League of Charismatic Gentlemen
The manhood in life, whether it is protecting your family, or taking care of them at home when SO is doing the opposite. Reaching the ideal of a Complete Man.

So what now?

The idea of the Gentleman Scholar is two fold, we get that, but the elegance vs dilettante seems like a weird distinction.

Perhaps this term wasn't the best suited for this series, or maybe it is perfect to have a negative connotation. Although one could say that perhaps it wasn't so negative after all.

Point being that we should keep an eye out for growth in charisma and gentlemanhood/ladyhood (is that a word?), as well as make sure we don't slip into too much learning and become a dilettante.

"Someone who is in school for a perpetually long time, for a scholarly degree that has no practical use in the real world.

Urban Dictionary: gentleman scholar
Someone who is in school for a perpetually long time, for a scholarly degree that has no practical use in the real world. Usually describes someone who comes from a wealthy or aristocratic family since pursuing such a degree costs a lot of money and wonโ€™t help the individual obtain a job. In politeโ€ฆ

Not progressing their multi-disciplinary lifestyle, they're stagnant, and need to execute more in life. Achieve more actions, and do something with their knowledge.

The Generalist Specialist: Why Homo Sapiens Succeeded
The Generalist Specialist: Why Homo Sapiens Succeeded
David Epstein Makes the Case for Being a Generalist
A new book argues that specializationโ€”in sport and lifeโ€”is overrated
You Can Excel at More Than One Thing: 4 Ways to Become a Polymath

https://growingkings.org/journey-of-a-king/scholars-and-gentlemen/

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