Is It the Time of Polymaths?

In recent years, there have been many articles in the press on polymaths. Specialization has prevailed in all scientific fields which have been fragmented.

For instance, economic science is now divided into sub-fields such as business administration, finance, accounting, macroeconomics etc.

t could be suggested that this persistence in specialization is also the reason for the declining course of activities not associated with it. For example, piano and French do not exist as a necessary education for the bourgeoisie, they belong to the past. People learn foreign languages mainly as a means to find a better paid job and not because they are keen on them and the national culture they represent. Learning to play a musical instrument is considered a hobby and not part of basic education. The same is true to everything related to art and culture and the lack of it has brought negative consequences for society and living quality.

Being a polymath today resembles a little to what Aristotle or Leonardo da Vinci were. Its concept is different since it means having the knowledge of several scientific objects but not the depth required by the specialization. Polymaths, even in the recent past, were “punished” by business and headhunters. They were considered as not “focused” in a field, they could not be classified. The repercussions for businesses and organizations are visible and negative in particular in their struggle to find a competitive advantage through the recruitment of talent and polymaths are real talents.

This debate on the return of polymaths is surprising because it is self-evident that over-specialization prevents the global view of things, people become one-dimensional and persistent in what they know.

Polymaths have this comprehensive view and can find solutions more easily. In practice, this is obvious in scientific fields such as marketing which requires a good knowledge of sociology, psychology, mathematics, economics, informatics and statistics, otherwise it can not be applied successfully.

Similarly, the lack of polymaths can be seen in decisions about the economy that do not take into account the historical, social and cultural elements of the society in which financial measures are imposed and thus there is no strategic thinking.

The lack of polymaths is surprising in our era where by a simple search on the Internet questions are answered and numerous opportunities on learning different subjects exist – from foreign languages ​​to computer programming. The advent of Artificial Intelligence and machine deep learning will definitely eliminate all routine repetitive jobs such as data entry etc. Some people think that being a polymath is a way to survive in the world of Artificial Intelligence and will be easier to find a job. In particular, being a polymath is considered to offer flexibility since people are obliged to work, during their lifetime, in many different jobs.

Consequently, being a polymath becomes more compulsive, however, it lacks the element of search and curiosity that Aristotle and Leonardo da Vinci had or even the element of a basic bourgeois culture, while, on the contrary, it will be a means for professional survival unless polymaths will be a medium-term transition before the complete domination of the machines.

What do you think?

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