Consider This

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Today’s world places great emphasis on ‘experts’. Titles are doled out to supposed deserving individuals by Academic Institutions and Associations, Professional guilds and collectives, and government agencies and councils. Letters are added to the end of names upon merit,ย distinction, or fame.ย  However, the focus has shifted from the search for knowledge to the image of dominion over a study. This shift has been a killing blow to our understanding of our history and the world around us.

Take the concept of aย Renaissance Man, this is a truly inconceivable idea to most people today. Awkwardly, most think that someone that knows a little bit about a few different subjects, enough to be entertaining from an average cerebral context at cocktail or dinner parties, fits the bill. In fact, this is very far from the truth, in reality those men of greatness that provided the example of what we now consider to be the “Renaissance Man” were not just merely acquainted with a few subjects, they were master students of many very diverse and broad areas of interest. The WHOLE of life and the world inspired them and drove them to seek understanding not just in the individual details of the subject matter, but also in the connectivity of all things within the universe. DaVinci was not merely interested in the flight of birds to make his art more realistic, he was consumed with the means and mechanics of flight in order to understand the very air we breathe and all its limits and limitlessness in our universe and the use of it to harness flight of man and machine.

leonardo-da-vinci-vitruvian-man
Vitruvian Man, c.1492 via allposters.ie

These men were inspired and driven to understand how everything worked and functioned and understood that each detail was merely one tiny piece of the huge jigsaw puzzle that made up the world around them and the universe we inhabit.

What made these men different from our scholars and scientist and ‘experts’ of today? These men of old were not seeking fame and fortune, a lot of the most learned have been forgotten to history, take for example Athanasius Kircher, considered the last man to know everything, they were seeking wisdom and understanding, they truly wanted to know how and why and where and when and what about it all! Their goal was universal knowledge as destined self-fulfillment of the mind and soul, the very purpose of our being.

We have lost that drive, that childlike passion and curiosity to know everything and how it is all connected. The ‘experts’ of today (in general) have tunnel vision and work in limited intellectual vacuums like blind mice in shoebox size labyrinths thinking they encompass their entirety. They might be true, in-depth experts of their one puzzle piece, however, they lack understanding of where and how that piece fits into the puzzle and thus in reality are not as expert as they think they are, for how the piece fits or doesn’t fit can change everything about the piece and that is the difference between seeking wisdom and arrogantly thinking one is wise.

Athanasius KircherAnd it is arrogance and ego that has created this prison of ignorance. We have become a species that is divided at the most basic level. We do not depend on the group, nor foster the group. We even lack the understanding of such creatures as the big cats that roam mostly in solitude, yet, still aware of and understanding their connection and dependence on the other of their own kind for their mutual survival. Not only do we put our individual self wholly and almost singularly on our priority list we will even destroy the rest of our species not for the sake of our physical survival, but for the survival of our own ego.ย We remorselessly kill those we deem less than us and abuse those we can gain some benefit from. This extreme of individualism has cost us dearly.

Thus, we cannot comprehend the savant of the idiot, nor the logic of the crazy, we cannot see good deeds can be done even by evil persons. However, all these things exist and to dismiss them because they are beneath our egos is merely the display of the smallest of individuals among us, namely the ‘experts’.