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Polymathy forum > what form should an Institute of Polymathy take?

My idea is to see what form people think an Institute of Polymathy should take? A clubhouse with cosy chairs? A virtual society? A series of micro-associations with reciprocal agreements all round the planet?

March 29, 2011 | Registered CommenterRobert Twigger

Inkeeping with the subject it should probably have many forms for starters.

March 29, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterchris

Hi, Robert, Chris

Fully agree with Chris. All available / functional means. Most especially virtual, since members will be from all around the planet (hopefully :)

Best wishes,

March 29, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJulio

Hi Robert, if you're looking for commitment, you may find that there is more in the real world than on-line; though of course many around the world will only be able to contribute on-line and being on-line will help others find you, if you want to achieve critical mass (it's not uncommon to have a group of 200 on-line with only a handful of regular contributors and you'll need a good head of steam). Facebook and twitter are good for getting a message out, but it's difficult to generate much interest in groups at Facebook. Some specialist forums such as conspiracy theories and paganism have masses of dedicated followers, bucking the growing trend and shift away from discussion to social networking, however).

If the forum will be busy, then I'd go for something like PHPBB or Simple Machine Forums (SMF), which are scalable, feature multiple forums and sub forums and above make it easier to follow complex threads. The MediaWiki software used by Wikipedia is also freely available, if you want to build up a collaborative knowledge base. All these use the MySQL database and PHP scripting, which you can either run on your own web server or run on a hosted server.

with good wishes,
eric t.

March 30, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterEric Twose

You could also look at a Content Management System (CMS) which allows you to build a multi-functional web-site using customizable plug-in modules. The forum module, however, may not be up to the task.

with good wishes,
eric t.

March 30, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterEric Twose

These are all great points and Eric, looks like you are talking yourself into the role of webmeister of the institute! I think though at this stage it's about playing with the idea and stretching it any old way you like- just having fun with it really, fantasising, looking far into the future as well as what might happen right now.

March 31, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterRobert

Pardon an ignorant question, but what would be the purpose (or purposes) of the Institute?

April 2, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterCarlos

not ignorant at all- in fact it is key. Is it for propaganda? Is it to readdress an overlooked need? I suspect the latter. I am also coming round to the idea that polymathy needs a little iron in its soul. Leonardo was as proud of his ability to bend iron bars as he was of his painting. So any re-introduction of polymathy must emphasise (along with art and intellect) competency in some physical arena- even pure brute strength will do. So I see the task as reintroducing all over the place a version of polymathy with teeth, so to speak.

April 3, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterRobert Twigger

It's the old 3H formula:
Head, Heart, Hands
Curiously enough, sometimes so-called ''intelectual'' problems find their solution doing some kind of manual labour. Or playing guitar. The reverse also holds true. The key is found not ''at home'' when it was lost but under the street light post.
Paradoxical, therefore (in this world of Space/Time) true.

April 3, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJulio

i had some thoughts.. i am starting up a roofing company again after a 10 or so year absence during which i did a few other things. a few months ago i started working at a company for wage and have been hatching, contemplating, imagining a company.this is simply a thought direction, nothing formed but forming ..what form should it take? a project say a high rise in downtown Vancouver, a client with an appetite for the artistic as well as the practical. firstly a well designed and installed membrane and green roof drainage system...tough hot and heavy work....watertight put on with a tradesmans' attention to detail, a rooftop garden...vegetables, a connection with the those that want to grow or to eat! a solar powered pump to pump rainwater as too!..( many of the rooftop gardens forget beauty and the idea of " secret gardens " beautiful gardens, water features streams and ponds... a stage of sorts for musical and theatrical performance...a place to speak or sing or dance or teach ..all this on a rooftop in a downtown environment...these ideas are simply to have a starting point , something to build around on or against..! ..

April 3, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterjohn

i also like the idea of learning in an accelerated way...i have thought over the years of an academy of sorts where people enter a course that is delivered intensely as in the TV program " dancing with the stars ",. a person from say football or a carpenter learns to dance quite well in a very short period of time because of the hours they put in! 10 12 hours a day over and over..using this method for say aikido (? ) seems to work. or roofing or dance or drumming or public speaking or clowning or any other skill that in learning frees us and allows us to see that our limits are self imposed.....

April 3, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterjohn

what form...cozy chairs and a lovely club? maybe. cairo or vancouver? a group of academies/ institutes formed in different cities..with special visits from robert. ! maybe winters in cairo summers in vancouver?

April 3, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterjohn

of course we have rob mustard himself here!!! so if the brute physical portion would include aikido then we might have some here. my shoulder may pop out but in the interest of the " institute " i will try...

April 3, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterjohn

RE: John's second point. There was a programme in the UK called Faking It where somebody would learn a skill, like being a chef for example, and then go up in a competition against pros. The idea was to see if they could con the judges and most did and won.
They were schooled in communication and deportment as well as the apposite technical knowledge fro the particular job. The thing was that in a month they probably learnt enough to continue learning the task and convincing people they were worth teaching. And it was always something well removed from what they were used to doing.
Basically I think we can learn to do a huge range of things well and remarkably quickly if the learning experience is intense enough.

April 4, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterchris

I think we need Robert Heinlein's immortal words on here as well since they pretty much constitute a polymath manifesto:

"A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects."

Polymathy with teeth enough for you Rob?

April 4, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterchris

micro associations sound good to me. mastery as the banner...

April 19, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterjohn

maybe intensive over term.... patient intensity, undulating intensity.

April 22, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterjohn

Along the lines of the heptathlon and the decathlon, the 'UCCA points' university entrance concept and scout badges I suggest the future members could as one of the institute's activities discuss and 'calibrate' individuals polymathic capabilities in a kind of linear way.

Individuals then have to do some kind of demonstration or exam that they come up with which could involve a mixture of viva voce plus 'stuff I made earlier'.

The plan I hatched for myself was to put on a show for charity in a Cabaret type setting (round tables plus stage) where I did the following:
Played the piano
Did portraits of the guests
Cooked the food
Made the cocktails (incl Bunuel Martinis??)
Explained global warming theory
Proved the 5 colour theorem
Did card tricks
Juggled a football
threw small prizes from the stage into peoples laps (having memorized their names and faces - ie having to know who to throw to as well as proving I was a good throw)
Told a story
Hypnotized someone

The idea of having a league table with 'objective' points and weightings may perhaps be taking it too far. My immediate feeling is that it's not right. But maybe some people like it.

That's it.

PS Are you allowed to pay compliments to Mr Twigger here?

Mr Twigger thank you for all this.

May 1, 2011 | Unregistered Commenteralex

the idea of apprenticeship. in the trades we have the apprenticeship system where one is taught the trade over 4 years. the schooling is yearly for 6 weeks and the hours logged to a certain amount required. it is functional but one can become say a plumber and spend the majority of the 4 years hanging cast iron pipe on some massive project. hours logged with low expectation schooling dutifully performed. the thought of having an institute where Masters of whatever subject are available....masters of their craft who not only teach the trade but the approach, the attitude the commonality of discipline required for the trade or anything in life. these apprenticeships could take the form required by the particular tradesman teaching the trade and could be long or short or site specific or moving. the future of this could be trades elevated to the quality that is possible but sorely underdeveloped at present.....and the " trades " could include anything blue collar or intellectual or emotional...hopefully all included.

May 7, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterjohn
Hi Ryan,
Now you ''lost me'' :)
Can't make heads or tails of it =:(
All best,
April 12, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJulio
Thanks Julio,
Christ in a hand basket, I guess I'm still playing on an overly associative mind field. I don't know what I'm babbling about... I'm no tongue fu master with a canary yellow sweater....sigh.... more like someone "chasing the tail of dogma" with a tube of preparation H.--> red shifting from the milieu, stuck on this event horizon wondering how an institute of polymathy could create a circle of light heartedness in my head. Guess I'm not as funny as I think I am =:0uch+
Good to hear from you,
April 13, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterryan
Hi Ryan,
Take a break from Abjad calculations from time to time :)
Lest it should happen to you what happened to the English yachtsman who slightly miscalculated his course and discovered England under the impression that it was a new island in the South Seas ;)
All best,
April 13, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJulio
Amen to that Julio!
April 14, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterRyan's Wife
As-Salāmu `Alaikum (السلام عليكم), Ryan :)
(786 in Abjad ;)
April 14, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJulio
I read the second post on this thread, after Mr Twigger's, ("Inkeeping with the subject ..."), as Innkeeping - i.e. Inn Keeping - and think that's not a bad place to start: the practice of presiding over a hostelry, a friendly and individualised spot, a refuge for regulars and a welcoming haven for distant travellers, strangers and others. A chain of these across the world ...
May 28, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterBonzo