It occurred to me that we live in a world of specialists!  Everyone in their own little knowledge niche busily specializing in something special.    What happened to the polymaths, the people who knew something about a range of subjects and processes; who were capable of all work, yet masters of none?   These are the people who are really interesting to talk to (or play Trivial Pursuit with) because they can hold forth on so many subjects, yet are not such snobs as to think they have the last word on everything.  They know what they do not know, and I say we need more people like that and less talking heads who think they do know it all.  It would make for a far richer intellectual landscape than we know inhabit and I suspect, a much more interesting one.


About Bob

Born in 1949 in Colfax, Washington. Attended grades 1-12 there, spent one year at Spokane Falls Community College, then 3 at Eastern Washington. Graduated from there with a degree in Anthropology. Married my wonderful wife in 1970, joined the US Air Force in 1971 and spent 20 years as an aircraft mechanic. Along the way had two great children, a boy then a girl, 4 grand kids and two step grands. After I retired from active duty I finally found myself a public library manager, and now after doing that for 18 years I find myself finally retired for good and all.
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One Response to Polymaths

  1. Michael Gants says:

    The polymaths still exist. They just are less (or more) visible than ever. In a world where specialization is a requirement, most well-trained people ARE polymaths. Heck, in the world of Navy Nuclear Power, virtually every person I work with, from the 19-20 year olds fresh out of the training pipeline, to the oldest chiefs and officers, could be included in this group. Look at the interest levels in series showing on Discovery Channel, the Science Channel, or even the Cooking Channel. People are better versed today in the various pieces of the world around them and able to intelligently discuss them than they have ever been before. So what was once an unusual group, has become the standard. What I believe that you are now talking about are the new polymaths, who would almost be considered on the level of Da Vinci or Newton by todays standards.

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