Growing up i was taught to admire, look up to and aspire to be like the great thinkers and renaissance men, multi faceted multi talented wealth of knowledge. Einstein, da vinci, Tesla, Jefferson, Franklin, Edison, Ford. Intellectual giants of their time. They changed society as we know it and i was told i could too.
The corporate cubicle work drone was looked down on. Materialism was as well. Sales and marketing were looked on as dishonest. People knew how to do one thing and didn’t question things beyond an industrial cog in a wheel
I am a former naval nuclear electrician. Current microbiologist with a minor in chemistry with 9 years work experience, i know a semester’s worth of programming in 6 different programming languages two of which area obsolete, i have an intermediate fluency rate in German and French, i have 3 years experience in self taught 3d printing, i was a adjunct instructor for 2 years at for profit colleges in 7 different subjects, i am teaching myself android slowly, i study psychology and history for fun and keep up on all the latest science findings. I can cook, clean and sew. I was a semester’s worth of classes away from associates in electronics tech before i moved. I took extra classes to try and prove hypothesis i had from anatomy and physiology for massage, to air conditioning for long discarded ideas. I know how to and enjoy editing sound and videos. I have 3 bachelors degrees worth of college credits all paid for either the military or out of pocket i can tutor you in almost anything.
My gf has an equally impressive collection of skills but as this is my blog i won’t go into more details When people talk to us they just assume we must be absolutely loaded professionals, or at least comfortable enough to travel to exotic places. I have been to 4 countries because of the military and she had never left the country not for want of trying.
However learning a lot does not make you rich in this day an age. It barely puts food on the table. The lauded renaissance man is not recognized by the modern world as being worthwhile. Individuals who are really good at a certain skill set are people who make a living wage, but the people who make the most money and breakthroughs are the organizers.
The organizers know enough to get many people who are really good at their field, get them to communicate, collaborate and work together, blending their talents, spitball ideas in a safe space, try and fail, and eliminate bad ideas. Warren Buffet made it rich not because he knew everything but because he knew just enough to spot a good idea and the way it was organized to project a good investment win.
Every person at the center of a movement who changed anything politically was a great organizer, they motivated and inspired people to work, deliberate discuss and brainstorm ideas. They brought people together who should have been enemies and made them co-workers in a bigger cause. Sadly all of these people are painted as the great man myth or a renaissance man who were just so genius they did it all on there own, and you can’t do anything like that because you will never be a genius renaissance man.
The problem with the renaissance man is that they are trying to do everything themselves that a collection of individuals would do so much better. The organizer has employees that have knowledge on the tip of their tongue, can much better spot errors, they don’t have to struggle and do research themselves, it’s right there for them.
The renaissance man myth has lead to the libertarian ideals of “we don’t need to help out other people we can do it all for ourselves, otherwise you are just weak.” Dexters lab while funny is ridiculous, same with Batman with his many skills that would actually just make him really crappy at a ton of different things, including construction in a cave, auto maintenance, and suit and gadget assembly. People spend their entire lives getting good at each of these or even subsegments of these, yet he can do it all BECAUSE HE’S BATMAN!
Other than being interesting to listen to, assuming the person doesn’t think I sound like a know-it-all, my overload of things I know and the ability to explain them to the average person has given me zero material benefits, and hasn’t helped me invent anything, or become an entrepreneur as it’s often assumed. All the major discoveries and technological advancements that one person by themselves can do have already been discovered, now it requires collaboration of many people to create ground breaking change. It may someday in the future, but I will have to develop marketing skills as well as convincing investments into my ideas as people tell me that anytime I try ebegging on here I just sound desperate. I will have to focus on organizing people. Or maybe I will have to focus on learning to write and publish which is a collection of things to know on a level on its own. I also may want to go get my masters in biomedical engineering someday. Sadly my choices on which areas to focus on are made incredibly difficult by how much I know and how many options I have which causes me to lock up. If we had a living wage or knew I had a thousand years to try everything, being a renaissance man would eventually pay off but you can see why it is so rare these days.
We are a social species and only made it big for social reasons because of division of labor and knowledge. Sadly the people who are best at their jobs are absolutely ignorant of politics, science and societal issues, as they focus all of their brain power on doing the best job they can to make the most money and never really thinking beyond that. So I recommend a balance somewhere between myself, and these people. If you are around someone who appears smarter than you but you are really good at what you do and love it, enjoy learning from them. Focusing on what you need to know politically and societally and knowing enough science that you know who to trust and who to be skeptical of is essential as is cultivating empathy. But don’t try to be batman or the da vinci or the other great polymaths back when what there was to know was exponentially less. And if you want do real change, learn how to organize people and bring out their creativity and utilize their knowhow. You will make a much bigger difference than some over educated no-body like me on youtube.
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