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Archive for December 24th, 2008

 

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

polymath (Greek polymathēs, πολυμαθής, “having learned much”) is a person whose knowledge is not restricted to one subject area. In less formal terms, a polymath (or polymathic person) may simply refer to someone who is very knowledgeable. Most ancient scientists were polymaths by today’s standards. 

 410px-hildegard2Saint Hildegard was a German abbess, author, counselor, linguist, naturalist, scientist, philosopher, physician, herbalist, poet,visionary and composer. I guess that makes her a polymath. As an herbalist, she was fond of spelt. This is a grain closely related to wheat but considererd healthier. I use spelt flour in my bread. I suppose it’s healthy, I just like the taste. Hildegard’s parents donated her to the church. Things were different back then.

Leonardo di Vinci was a polymath, Albert Einstein wasn’t. This illustrates the difference between a genius and a jack of all trades, so to speak.

I never met any of these people. I’m not that old. Well, except for Einstein, but I was only three when he died and I probably wouldn’t remember him anyway. But I do know a polymath.

Wayne was an infantryman in Vietnam. He never mentioned it, but I imagine this made him very knowledgeable on things like keeping your feet dry and your head down. He was also a homebuilder and cabinett maker. This made him very knowlegeble in business, as well as in practical trades like plumbing and carpentry. Wayne is an especially knowledgeble (and still licensed, I believe) electrician, who wired his new house with the care and joy of an artist. He was a shop teacher for many years, and half the people I know here remember him from the classroom well and fondly. Wayne is also a musician who plays guitar and sings in a local bluegrass band. He and wife have raised two daughters, and that I imagine will make a man knowledgeable. Wayne enjoys a cold beer on occasion, and a good Scotch, too. And he knows how to catch a fish.

Wayne is a blue-collar polymath.

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