Wednesday, October 5, 2022

Are Polymaths and Polyglots Polymorphously Perverse?

Benjamin Franklin (portrait by David Franklin)

Is there a connection between polymathism and polymorphous perversity? Are polyglots polyamorous? You’ll never accuse a polymath or polyglot of narrowcasting, but when one knows a great deal about many things, there's always the danger of spreading oneself thin. Polyamory is the country cousin of polymorphous perversity. If you're polymorphously perverse you're a hop skip and a jump from polyamory, if you aren’t already there. There probably aren’t too many polymaths who aren’t polyglots too, though not every person who speaks more than one tongue can be said to have a wide range of knowledge. Languages, which are a world unto themselves, create their own meanings, but a polyglot is not necessarily going to have read Beckett’s essay on Proust or the famous essay about the nature of consciousness, “What’s It Like to Be a Bat?” by the philosopher Thomas Nagel. Nagel is a polymath, but not a dilletante which is what happens to many polymaths who spread themselves thin. Benjamin Franklin, one of the most prominent polymaths in American history, was famously polyamorous as were George Simenon, the mystery writer and Wilt Chamberlain, the legendary basketball player, who claimed to have slept with over 1000 women.

read "Pornosophy: Is F*cking Losing Its Meaning?" by Francis Levy, HuffPost

and listen to "Don't Make Promises" by Tim Hardin

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