Your author has been blogging in one form or another, on and off, since 2002. 14 years is a long tenure in social media, and like many who have taken key to screen my interest in the form has waxed and waned. But I still find writing for the web a creative outlet, and it scratches particular itches of prose and design, so here we are.
I prefer to write anonymously. It just makes things more simple. But if you’re curious to know about me, I’m male, in my 40s, and I have a white-collar job. I’m an American and I live in the States. I have a family. I travel quite a bit. And I have a lot of interests, some which I try to pursue to excellence, and others just for pleasure. Which leads me to the focus of the site.
In my idealized, romanticized form of myself I’m a polymath. Webster’s defines a polymath as “a person of wide-ranging knowledge or learning.” Wikipedia provides more:
A polymath (Greek: πολυμαθής, polymathēs, “having learned much”) is a person whose expertise spans a significant number of different subject areas; such a person is known to draw on complex bodies of knowledge to solve specific problems. The term was first used in the 17th century; the related term, polyhistor, is an ancient term with similar meaning.
The term is often used to describe great thinkers of the Renaissance and the Enlightenment who excelled at several fields in science and the arts. In the Italian Renaissance, the idea of the polymath was expressed by Leon Battista Alberti (1404–1472), in the statement that “a man can do all things if he will”. Embodying a basic tenet of Renaissance humanism that humans are limitless in their capacity for development, the concept led to the notion that people should embrace all knowledge and develop their capacities as fully as possible. This was expressed in the term “Renaissance man” which is often applied to the gifted people of that age who sought to develop their abilities in all areas of accomplishment: intellectual, artistic, social and physical. This term entered the lexicon during the twentieth century and has now been applied to great thinkers living before and after the Renaissance.
By no means am I a great thinker, and I do not have expertise in a significant number of different subject areas. While a polymath I may wish to be, a polymath I am not. A more accurate term for me is probably “philomath,” which does not warrant an entry in Webster’s but does in Wikipedia:
A philomath (/ˈfɪlɵmæθ/; Greek: φίλος philos (“beloved,” “loving,” as in philosophy or philanthropy) + Greek μανθάνειν manthanein, math– (“to learn,” as in polymath)) is a lover of learning. Philomathy is similar to, but distinguished from, philosophy in that -soph, the latter suffix, specifies “wisdom” or “knowledge“, rather than the process of acquisition thereof.
Philomath is not synonymous with polymath. A philomath is a seeker of knowledge and facts, while a polymath is a possessor of knowledge in multiple fields.
While I would not go so far as to describe myself as a possessor of deep expertise in multiple fields, I have no problem calling myself someone who likes to learn and seeks knowledge (and I’ll add to this, experience). One of the things I value about the Web and social media is that it has been a significant catalyst to getting smart about something. Whether it’s photography, fly fishing, travel, design, CSS coding, or great books, my curiosity has benefited time and again from others who were willing to share their learning, knowledge, and experience online. I hope to do the same here, while also satisfying my desire to write and mess with website design.
So this is a place for my philomathology. In this space you can expect me to share things I read, see, use, do, or experience as I pursue my interests and conduct my travel. You have my promise that I’ll share only things I think are worth sharing. If I write about it, I’m recommending it. If I post it, I find it useful or interesting and think you might, too. These are just my opinions, but I hope they might help some other philomath trying to learn or seek the facts along their own way. Maybe that’s you. If so, I hope you like what you find here.
If you have feedback to share or just wish to contact me, you may do so here.
Legalese: The thoughts and photography here are my own and do not represent the views of any organization. All rights are reserved. If you would like to use or cite something you see here, please ask.