Chapter 5Reconditioning the Mind

The first step toward bringing down a system infected by specialisation is to detoxify our own minds.

We all are born with an innate disposition that is curious, creative and versatile. Obsessed with homogeny, order and conformity, society then conditions each mind to forget her original self. This inflicted amnesia comes at our peril – as individuals and as a species. After all, what value will we, as inadequately trained mechanistic specialists, have in a world of superintelligent machines that can easily out-specialise us? How will our conditioned, one-dimensional mind be capable of comprehending the complexity of twenty-first-century challenges? How can we emancipate ourselves from the multitude of unnecessary biases that shape our decisions, morals and opinions? Perhaps more importantly, as complex beings who seek self-actualisation in its entirety, how can we fulfil our own many-sided potential? For this we must rediscover the polymath within.

Through a synthesis of traditional wisdom, modern cognitive science and lessons from the lives and thoughts of polymaths over history, we can chart the epistemological journey of the polymath, which can then be internalised to recondition our own minds. There are six main components to such a journey:

  1. Individuality – Understanding oneself
  2. Curiosity – Continuous, boundless enquiry
  3. Intelligence – Nurturing, exercising and optimising various abilities
  4. Versatility – Moving seamlessly between different ...

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