THE RENAISSANCE MAN What is a Renaissance Man (source: http://www.wisegeek.com/what-is-a-renaissance-man.htm) Thanks to one of my good friends Michael Pokocky, my nickname Renaissance Man was born. Wisegeek describes a Renaissance Man as: A renaissance man or polymath is a person who is skilled in multiple fields or multiple disciplines, and who has a broad base of knowledge. The term renaissance man is largely based on the various artists and scholars of the European Renaissance, (starting in about 1450 CE), who pursued multiple fields of studies. Perhaps the quintessential renaissance man of this period was Leonardo Da Vinci, who was a master of art, an engineer, an anatomy expert (for the time), and also pursued many other disciplines with great success and aplomb. The term polymath predates renaissance man and is from the Greek polymathes. To thinking men like Plato, and then Aristotle, the idea of "having learned much," the literal translation of the Greek word, was extremely important. Aristotle, in his diverse writings, strongly advocated that people who would choose to study rhetoric should be well versed in a variety of fields, since this gave them the opportunity to comment on a variety of situations, and develop "commonplaces," short prepared remarks that could be used in extemporaneous speech. Another polymath who followed Aristotle was Archimedes who studied and mastered numerous subjects, from math, physics, philosophy, and engineering. Being a polymath was something to aspire to, and occasionally remains so. Though we have many people who would be considered geniuses in one specific area, the renaissance man or polymath shows skill in numerous areas. A virtuoso violinist like Itzhak Perlman may be considered a genius, but he is not necessarily a polymath. If he also took up philosophy and engineering, then he'd have a better chance of being classed as a renaissance man. In the actual Renaissance period, men who were educated aspired to become Renaissance men. They were expected to know several languages, understand philosophy and scientific teachings, appreciate literature and art, and further, to be deft sportsmen. Such emphasis was inspired by earlier periods, and for the first time, scholars had access to many of the Greek philosophers and writers whose work had been lost for centuries. Further, becoming a renaissance man was clearly an extension of the earlier knights and courtiers who became educated during the Middle Ages. Now before you think that I am living on a pink cloud, I imagine that the nickname came no so much from being great in different disciplines but from having a wide range of interests which include more artistic things such as writing, music, and photography next to matters such as law, sociology, criminology, philosophy, theology, politics, business and management, fraud, corruption, money laundering and other essentially non-violent crimes (ok ok I know that is a debatable position). I guess that is reflected nicely in this blog as it covers anything that keeps me occupied. After a career in risk management and investigations I am now fully committed to God, family community, music, photography and photo editing and other forms of creative outlet. I am available still for public speaking in the areas of fraud and investigations.
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