A Conversation for Polymaths

polymathy discouraged

Post 1

Polly Math

I hasten to point out that my nickname is hopeful rather than descriptive - I might just qualify for the 'strong interest in a wide variety of fields' variety!

But even just the strong interest is in spite of education, not because of it. I hope things have improved, but at my school we had to split at about age 14 into Arts and Sciences, and never the twain shall meet.

I thought things were looking up when a weekly class was started, in the 6th form, for science people interested in English. Then one was proposed for those of us arts people interested in mathematics, and I put my name down for it. It later transpired that the teacher had crossed my name off, as she thought I wasn't 'the type'! (I'm still interested in the behaviour of numbers, many years later, in spite of painting, writing etc, so there!).

Artists and scientists are both creative. The better they are, I think, the more they have in common; open minds, curiosity, questioning of received knowledge, conscious & unconscious mind feeding each other and so on. Different fields of interest also feed each other.

I sometimes wonder how Leonardo, say, would be received by the critics now. He'd probably be made to work under lots of pseudonyms, so as not to confuse the public, who apparently can't even grasp the idea of someone writing, say, historical novels and thrillers.

I have terrible trouble fitting into pigeon-holes, but my hatred of them isn't just personal. They're not only unkind to individuals, but counterproductive for society. They hold things back, these artificial barriers, like any form of prejudice.

Phew. That's better! Thanks for the opportunity to get on the soap box with my hobby horse. (Quite difficult, especially with a bee in my bonnet at the same time)

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