Sunday, May 18, 2008

Homo Universalis

I have been called some things in my life. Crazy, punk, pompous, egotistical, kind, nice, mean, wild, savage, stupid, lazy, no good and the blog moniker as of recent times. I guess they were all fitting of the diverse way folk saw me. Of recent, I have been called something that flattered me and made me question myself – A renaissance man.

I mean I guess the way I see myself is a lot differently than the way others see myself. I question this because I know what they mean in a slim fashion, but the anal pore in me want to be strict and note that folk here aint no man of the renaissance or period of reformation. In my research over the past night, I have discovered that they call such folk polymaths - a person who is skilled in multiple fields or multiple disciplines, and who has a broad base of knowledge.

Not to mention, the people I consider renaissance men, I couldn’t hold toilet paper to wipe their butts. Folk like Fredrick Douglass, Voltaire, Winston Churchill, Voltaire, Ida B Wells (I know she aint no man), Chekih Anta Diop, Imhotep, Ben Franklin, Thomas Jefferson and Martin Luther King Jr. To me they are folk like the illegitimate son of a man living in Vinci, Italy, Leonardo Da Vinci. They say his genius was very apparent by the age of 15. He was basically self taught via reading. The only thing I see that we have in common is that from “Between 1490 and 1495 he developed his habit of recording his studies in meticulously illustrated notebooks. His work covered four main themes: painting, architecture, the elements of mechanics, and human anatomy.” I just wish, as he did, that I could have met Niccolo Machiavelli, author of "The Prince."

Charles Van Doren asserted that a “Renaissance man is neither an expert nor a specialist. He or she knows more than just a little about "everything" instead of knowing "everything" about a small part of the entire spectrum of modern knowledge. The term is essentially ironic, for it is universally believed that no one really can be a Renaissance man in the true meaning of the term, since knowledge has become so complex that no human mind is capable of grasping all, or even a large part, of it.”

I just think being a hard worker and a risk taker would be more appropriate than Renaissance man. But as blog culture dictates, i'm finna ask yawl. What is a renaissance man? How do they differ from a genius? Who would you consider and do you know any folks that would fit that category in your immediate circles? And do I fit the worth of being venerated Homo Universalis?

SIDE BAR: I have been hood winked by a fellow Morehouse Alum, Kevin Ross, to be on his talk radio show, which I think airs on NPR too. The show will air next Wednesday and the topics they want me to discuss (lmbao) will include the White Morehouse valedictorian, gay marriage in light of the California Supreme Court ruling yesterday, 2008 Democratic Presidential election results, and cougars (older women hooking up with younger men - i.e. Mariah Carey). George Alexander, editor-at-large of Black Enterprise and a fellow Morehouse man, will be joining us!

I just wish we could talk about the war and the economy.


The Jaded NYer said...

I'd consider anyone capable of higher thinking, logic and reasoning a genius, but of course they'd also have to have some sort of talent or appreciation or knowledge of the fine arts as well.

All of my friends are like that; I can't tolerate ignorant people in my life.

TheophaniaPaige said...

Renaissance Man is fitting.

I will be sure to tune in! What time?

karrie b. said...

im tired of hearing abt the economy and fucking poliitics.


James Tubman said...

i want to hear solutions

i'm so sick and tired of the media always tellin what's bad

still tell us what's bad but also tell us what works

where is that investigative reporting

PrettyBlack said...

Congrats on the invite. Yeah I seen that on cnn about the white Morehouse graduate. So would that also be considered breaking the color barrier...or just having something to prove?

I don't think people that are as highly intelligent as you are even need a label. Your intelligence oozes in everything you say, it may be spelled all fucked up...But the shit is highly intellectual and understandable! lol

Seriously if I were to label you it would have to simply be as an intellectual.

msladydeborah said...

Let me begin my comments with this phrase, *you should be on the radio*, you remember me saying this to you? :-)

Now about your question...I believe that you could be a polymath or a renissance man. Why? Because you are intelligent and willing to share your knowledge.

I also see you as an individual who can connect with many people on different levels.

One of my favorite things about your post is going on the mental journey that you provide in your writings.

We are going to need some renissance folks in this century too. I believe that you have just enough old school and new school in your mix to be interesting. A person who can bridge the gap is always fun to hang out with. Even if it is on the internet.

sista gp said...

Someone who acts as if they know something about everything gets labled as a "know-it-all". Unfortunately, I have been aquainted with several of those.
Of course, when I am in the mood to converse with them, which is rare, it is my duty to prove that they do not.

Kieya said...

Well, I think that definition by Charles Van Doren is pretty accurate...maybe knowing more than just a little though in a wide range of subjects paired with hard worker & dedication to numerous crafts.

Maybe you should figure out a way to slide in the war & economics....just use Mariah & Nick to illustrate your point lol...

Lovebabz said...

You my friend are indeed a polymath. I know this annoys you, but you have accomplished what only a small percentage of African Americans have accomplished (and OH and White folks too). You have earned the highest academic degree there. You have done so much in your life in a short period of time that when laid out for the world to see is stunning (writing, publishing, music--reading/writing/performing. Science/research etc) Everybody ain't like that, no matter how hard they try. What you have is special and different and unique. Indeed it sets a fine example as to what commitment to academic scholarhsip could be and should be.

Knowing this, does not compromise your authenticity. We get you are a Man from Memphis, and I get that there is a certain cache about that. I get that you at your core are a country boy...not simple mind you. I suspect being a polymath can be a heavy burden to bear, but we all have to carry some weight, yours seems to be intelligence, scholarship.

Take a page from the men you admire. And add Paul Robeson to the list.

You are indeed a renaissance man, now quit whinning about it and continue to DO YOU.

The True Urban Queen aka Sharon said...

I had to look up reaissance. Something about reviving art and learning. So, I guess it does fit.

Oh when you are on the radio talking about us Cougars make sure you metion that men have been dating younger women for years with out any backlash.

KIKI said...

I think polymath best suits you, but I can definately see why you'd be referred to as a renissance man.

My definition of Renissance man/woman would be someone knowledgable in history & arts and applies that knowledge to change up, improve on, or make a differnece in present day events.

Hell...I just call you sexy. Intellegent, articulate, knowladgeable on various topics, not bad on the eyes one damn bit, and a good ole southern boy! SMOKIN!!!

no_slappz said...


The link to the radio show gave me an error message.

Be sure to have the interview recorded and available to readers of your blog.

YaBoy Po said...

Iono you and don't know shit bout no renasance man lol from yo blogs I figure you jus a cool ass smart southern nigga who is very vocal in his opinions and such

But eh yo is yo dogshop hiring?

no_slappz said...


Until I read your blog, I didn't know anything about the white valedictorian at Morehouse. Interesting development.

Here's a comment from Vinson Muhammad, one of the valedictorian's classmates:

""I don't necessarily support him being here, but because he's here and we can't discriminate against other races, I support him and his mission to be successful in life," says Muhammad, a junior. "I just kind of wish he had done it at a different institution.""

I don't need to be a mind-reader or have supernatural powers to know the public response if a white student had said the same of a black valedictorian at a predominantly white school.

The Flyyest said...

im wit KB on that one!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

but hey you ARE mos def a renaissance man!!!!

luv it!!!!

Torrance Stephens bka All-Mi-T said...

The Jaded NYer
all my folk tight to hon

thank u i will let u know

karrie b.
i like making money and geting it so im never tired of the economy

James Tubman

how about scholar or well read i like them more

thank u and i know u want me to be on the radio, but we listen and look too much and dont read - proponent of written word here

sista gp
thanks so i am anow it al? lol

thanks and best believe i will do that

u know i wrote a play about Roberson called FOR THOESE WHO OPPOSED INDEPENDENCE will be in book of plays called why i'm a gangster and other plays n thank u im flattered

The True Urban Queen aka Sharon
thank u and will do, my daughters mom is 24

me sexy, im flattered

i will chk it out and will do as far as the other alum, i disagree. i think he will represent well, u should read what i said about hime when they interviewd me about it for this aper down here. 4.0, economics, his brother is coming? I can only applaude him is what i said and that he will rep us well. Besides he picked the best school in the world, next to the morehouse of the north, i mean harvard. As long as he can sing dear old morehouse and contribute im good and welcome him as my fellow alum

YaBoy Po
lol stop by the shop folk

Torrance Stephens bka All-Mi-T said...

u biased, being my lil sister

sista gp said...

I said 'who ACTS as if they know something about everything'.
You speak on what you know and have the research to back it up. It is not an ACT.

ACTS are for plays, lol.

Yasmeen Christian said...

Just looking, listening, and learning. Smile.

Blah Blah Blah said...

I'd like to hear you speak on those...although...not sure about the topics. Ok, maybe I'd just like to hear your

Unfortunatley i can't...*huge sigh*

Don said...

i can't really say for sure what a renaissance man or woman is. but i do know that the term renaissance, for me, speaks of a person who is definitely on some mo' ish. which i use in a positive manner.

so, yeah, when i think of your thoughts and opinions and the fact that you are extremely educated...then yes i will say that you fit the description. i don't know of any person whose blog i've read that takes it where you take it.


sidebar: i haven't received my book advance yet. hopefully the book will be in print before '09

VAR said...

Rawdawg country folk scholar! lol... It would take a lifetime to describe all that you be, all that you've been and will continue to become... Tell folk to read all your books and that will at least give them half the description of who you are. Beyond that, just watch, observe, listen, etc.. and big congrats on that store! What's the complete address of the place? And yeah, see if we can be able to listen to the recording of the talk show. I dont wanna miss that one...

Tha BossMack TopSoil said...

Renaissance Man, I see myself as that also. Good Post peoples.

Kitty said...

I vote yes on you being a renaissance man. What time is the radio show??

Dark Daughta said...

"polymath". I've learned a new word. Many thanks. It gives me another word to describe who I am. :)

msladydeborah said...

In reply to your comment.

I am all for reading. But what about learning styles?

Some folks need to have some different types of ear candy! And I think you would be a great supplier :-)

Fame < Infamy said...

woah your blog is dope.... I have become super hooked this is so going on my blog roll or as I call it my fave blog list....... add me if you like!!!

Thanks for the comment.... i really need to get the word out about mine more could you help?

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