There is, I think, a case to be made for a new area of study to counter the monopathic drift of the modern world. Call it polymathics. Any such field would have to include physical, artistic and scientific elements to be truly rounded. It isn’t just that mastering physical skills aids general learning. The fact is, if we exclude the physicality of existence and reduce everything worth knowing down to book-learning, we miss out on a huge chunk of what makes us human. Remember, Feynman had to be physically competent enough to spin a plate to get his new idea.
Polymathics might focus on rapid methods of learning that allow you to master multiple fields. It might also work to develop transferable learning methods. A large part of it would naturally be concerned with creativity — crossing unrelated things to invent something new. But polymathics would not just be another name for innovation. It would, I believe, help build better judgment in all areas.
Robert Twigger makes the case that anyone can learn to be a polymath.
Surely, there is evidence for the value of “polymathics” – Nobel-winning scientists are 25 times more likely than average to also engage in the arts.
The history of philosophy, in superhero comics – roof-jumping with Kierkegaard to demonstrate the dizziness of freedom, archaeological digging with Foucault to explore the depths of being human, wayfinding in the woods with William James to exercise consciousness, and more.
The world is a looking-glass, and gives back to every man the reflection of his own face. Frown at it, and it will in turn look sourly upon you; laugh at it and with it, and it is a jolly kind companion; and so let all young persons take their choice.
William Makepeace Thackeray (July 18, 1811—December 24, 1863) in Vanity Fair
Song: “Mirror, Mirror” by Dr. Dog
How I Shoot: Danny Clinch’s Concert Photography
Danny Clinch (@dannybones64) has photographed musicians and documented their performances since the mid-1980s when he was an intern for Annie Leibovitz. Along the way, Danny has captured Bob Dylan, Johnny Cash, Bruce Springsteen, Tupac Shakur and Björk in his signature unobtrusive style. He posts some of those intimate, modest moments on Instagram and even shared a few of his concert photography tips with us:
- Try to find a point of view that is different from the people around you.
- The most interesting photograph is not always of the lead singer at the microphone.
- Watch what happens between songs.
- Try different angles. The view from the furthest seat in the house can be as rewarding as the front row.
- Develop relationships with people in the music industry—both venue employees and band members—for behind-the-scenes photo opportunities.
Starting tomorrow, Danny will be photographing the four-day Bonnaroo festival (@bonnaroo) in Manchester, Tennessee. Follow him and performers like The XX (@the_xx_), Reggie Watts (@reggiewatts), Porter Robinson (@porterrobinson), Alana Haim (@babyhaim) and The National (@ntnl) for a behind-the-scenes look at the music and comedy festival.
Exploring Japan’s Modern Ruins with @neji_maki_dori
For more photos from abandoned sites around Japan, be sure to follow @neji_maki_dori on Instagram.
Tokyo-based Instagrammer @neji_maki_dori has been exploring abandoned buildings in Japan ever since his first visit to the ruins of a sulfer mine in 2006. “The overwhelming scale, inorganic and deserted feel, moldy smell and excitement were all very refreshing and inspiring to me at the time,” he says. “I’ve been captivated by ruins ever since.”
@neji_maki_dori sources locations from printed materials about abandoned sites and the collective knowledge base of his fellow explorers. From mines and towers to apartment blocks and even a larger-than-life building in the shape of a cow, his adventures take his followers through some of Japan’s most forgotten places.