What defines a worldly man in a world where everything is a easily found at the tip of your fingers? When a worldly man decides he needs some information about a certain country or what is the best route to get to the theater (within context), he can very easily lift his phone and find out. However, does this make him any more precious or special than a man living his life experiences without using much of technology? How much knowledge should a man have in his mind to be deemed “a renaissance man.” Respectively, should we be respecting a “renaissance man,” or should we be looking for a man of one specialty?
Many people nowadays are boasting about knowing the world and venturing out to new activities but how much work does a man have to put in his days to know, really know, cultures?
I had these questions in my mind because I have concentrated on a great reading project in 2019 whereby we, as a group of readers, read books set in different countries around the world. Most of the books we read represented heartache, pain, and suffering of people but at the end of the year, all I knew was that I knew too little about each country. How can I expect to understand the ins and outs of lives when I am not with them? How much understanding can I have to the Afghans or the Iranians without being submerged in the subjectivity of the author. And then, aren’t all books flawed anyway?
Then I come back to my country, and how much do I know of it? How much history is enough to be considered a subject matter expert, when does learning end? Does it ever end?
Let’s take, for example, an average 18 year old high school student from anywhere around the world, how much does he know? Is he going to find himself in his first job, first divorce, or first traumatic experience?
We humans are merely a set of experiences conditioning our minds to cope.
Are we not?
Would we rather be generalists, having some knowledge from many different areas, or would we rather be specialists in our subjects of interests? Weren’t the geniuses of the past specialists, and therefore admired for their specialty? How much of an individual are you and why are we all trying to fit in the mold represented to us by the social media.
When it comes to me, and I represent a large number of people, I know that I am very comfortable in my place. I am comfortable with my routine, with taking the same route to work, seeing the same people, buying grocery from the same places, and traveling every once in a while just to come back home enriched with a few pictures and a few new words that I will probably forget in a couple of weeks. To me, I am worldly enough for my liking because in the end, I am content with my choices.
Let the nomads roam, I prefer to read my way into knowing people’s lives.