This may be the start of a new series, where I look at various blogs/channels/podcasts around the #Polymath subject. This cool website by Shoaib Mohammed, was intended to be an educational start to becoming a polymathic person. He goes into the the ideas of being a generalist, what is a polymath, and the research that goes into it. Now I will discuss a few things in this post: the website, topics, blog posts, and the concept from the name itself of Make me a Polymath.
The Half a Dozen Blog Posts
I say this in the title not as disrespect, but matter of fact. There was only 6 posts on the site. I am not even sure how I came across it at this point, although with my adventures with the polymath keyword I have seen over 600 tabs in my browser! 😂
I came across the interesting posts, of which I can't fully read due to the technical limitations. However I bring them up due to the right questions being asked. Shoaib goes into the ideas that many people often don't think about.
I'll list out the posts here, and talk about each one:
Again the site is limited, and so each post may be significantly longer when originally creating the site. However I cannot access the respective long form posts if they exist, so I will be going off of the smaller versions/excerpts I CAN see.
Make Me a Polymath – Intro
Short but sweet post, that incites the notion that polymaths are dying. I disagree as there are more polymathic people than ever before in history. This is because of population growth, for considering how common generalists are in the population. Not to mention how the world's population has grown 10 fold.
He speaks of how we lost the art of polymaths.
Have you ever wondered
exactly when, how, and why
did we lose the art of becoming polymaths?
This is sort of true, as the idea of specialism has permeated the entire global society. With some bits of generalism such as in Asian cultures, or in interdisciplinary studies.
Although the art is rather more of just the acquisition of the skill of balancing many different interests.
Then going into modern polymathy.
Do you want to join
the polymath renaissance
of the modern age?
Master the art of becoming a polymath.
I like the enthusiasm, and excited for sharing the world of being multidisciplinary.
‘Homo polymathus’ (?!)
The short post rather goes into the elitism of polymathy, and is for the idea of special treatment of polymaths. Maybe that should be the case, or maybe it shouldn't. I for one don't want to outright opinionize the level of importance of generalists over specialists.
As both kinds of people are necessary for a successful society.
I think a better route for this post he made would be to explain that polymathic people, or generalists, are prevalent throughout our human history. A couple theories even going as far as to say we only made it this far due to our generalist tendencies as as species.
This would be a much better use of the word he alluded to, the "Homo Polymathus", or one of many deep levels of knowledge.
Generalist vs. Specialist – The debate continues …
An honest proposition by Shoaib, that how to define the polymath along the lines of a generalist vs specialist. Given that those two words are quite familiar to most people, and the idea of polymathy can be rather old.
This is the same motivation behind my "Multidisciplinary Spectrum" that I have been working on. To help alleviate the strain people face when it comes to positioning where people may be according to their skillsets.
From little knowledge about 1 or more areas, to much knowledge in many areas.
Polymath – The Official Introduction
Of course the opener to the concept of polymathy will include a reference to the great Da Vinci. :D
Leonardo da Vinci is regarded as a “Renaissance man” and is one of the most recognizable polymaths.
A short post, however it does something different than many other sites/channels, and alludes to the Golden Age of Islam. A point of time where many great polymathic individuals came into existence. Contributing tons to humanity.
An area I hope to learn more about in the future.
Polymath vs. Polymath-researcher
A point that many need to make is that when someone researches into something, it doesn't always actually make them INTO that title. As in if someone researches polymathy as a "Polymath Researcher", they aren't inherently a polymath.
However I would like to personally clarify that in my experience, the various researchers I have come across in this space are QUITE polymathic. Even one who did her dissertation coming onto the PolyCast to share her wisdom too.
A couple comments that I would like to rebuttle:
[The second term ‘polymath-researcher’ may not exist in the first place, and may have been ‘invented’ by me (a typical ‘polymathic’ activity), a claim made for lack of evidence to the contrary.
There have been researchers in the space for longer than the blog has been in existence. Longer than even my content has been, which I started back in 2011 even.
I may note that there was no ending " ] ", for this thought, so it may have been rushed.
Just for those who are curious some notable researchers would be:
Dr. Angela Cotellessa
Michael Araki, Ph.D.
Just to name a few.
[Though, a polymath couldn’t care less, about the ‘Dr.’ before his name.]
To state that a polymath couldn't care less, is naive at best, but rather incorrect given that polymaths inherently pursue knowledge.
A doctorate is a great achievement in education, and even though I personally agree with the author that a polymath may not care about traditional means of learning systems; There is a ton of people who may not identify with the idea of polymathy, for most people I have come across who ARE polymathic didn't even know the word existed.
Meaning they do care about their title, as to them that may be the real accomplishment to them they can see. Over time perhaps gaining more degrees, as if they were Pokemon cards, or even going into multiple fields. Using their degree as a doorway to polymathy.
The Greatest Polymaths in History
Probably the most substantial piece, and one I will be basing a post of my own partly off of in the future. The idea of polymathy is not a western thing, but only the literal word is. Many people in the polymath world, regardless of what area, mainly focus on the western polymaths that we can easily think of. I.e. Leonardo Da Vinci. However there are great examples ALL over the world to choose from, and I hope to help illuminate many of them.
The best thing that can be said is that there are so many people on this list, that many of the readers of my own site may not have even heard of most of them. That is a great sign, for it means there is much to learn!
Here is a link to the page.
Note: Even though I may be critical of the author in some ways, there is a great respect for the person actually going out of his way to try and provide value the best way he can.
The Website Overall
I'll try to leave my bias towards wordpress out of it, but it seems it was built on the free wordpress.com; Which leads to a limited site experience, and even though the content is interesting the overall design leads much to be desired.
Now I will say it is not like the guy asked for his site to be reviewed or criticized, and my intention is not to be rude by any means. I just know how it feels to start off from wordpress.com too, as that was my first CMS.
I am making this post in the lens that maybe him or others could follow their polymathic desires. Either creating content around the subject, or even going back and updating the site.
When I came across it I was so excited to see someone excited about the same topic as me.
I really feel for the author too because my first blog posts were limited, for I was even younger when I made my first blog. So mine weren't as detailed as his are, and I eventually moved to medium or to wordpress.org, and now to Ghost CMS (ftw); Which lead me down a path of revamping old posts, and expanding upon past ideas.
How to make me a Polymath
Now how does one really get "made" into a polymath? One could say constantly learning, following your passions, finding your Ikigai (s), or even just throwing conventional wisdom out the window.
I created PolyInnovator as a means of something like that even, to go aganist the grain. The blog I shared with you today does a good job at introducing the idea of polymathy to the reader. Albeit with many more posts planned, that eventually got scrapped.
I connected with the author, and hopefully can see more from him in the future!
Leading to Polymathic Education
To me I get a didactic vibe from the site, where the author wanted to inform the reader. Whether that was of concepts, words, or definitions he seemed to go over a wide range. I get that perspective from the little amount of content on the site even.
It is the same mentality as well as the polymathic education tool I am trying to create. The Modular Degree, which was concieved because I wanted a polymathic learning path, to pursue each of my endeavors. Ironically learning about how to be a polymath had to be an autodidactic endeavor, which it really shouldn't be. We should be encouraged, or as the author of the site puts it "Be Inspired" to pursue being multidisciplinary.
That was the motivation behind the post to inspire him to pick it back up, and to inspire others to follow their content dreams.
He did have a channel as well.