Via Tecta (Sacred Way)

In Praise Of Wholeness – Or “Where Are The Polymaths Gone?”

‘The School of Athens’ by Raffaello Sanzio da Urbino.


Written by Nicolas Lecerf
Afterwords by Nalan Özkan Lecerf

It is a cultural and thus political answer: Our society is nurturing specialists and not polymaths, as they don’t fit in the social design devoted to industry and production that has been our framework for centuries. All this is well documented, no need to go deeper here. What needs a bit of time spent pondering is this: What happens if we were educating our children to become polymaths? The implications are so great that the consequences are model altering!

A very different model of society emerges from the raising of children as polymaths. Here’s why. When we are from childhood involved in a society that has no division, that does not know separation, the outcome is a holistic society, where everything is lived wholly, as everything is inter-connected. All the inter-active holistic parts fit into a living and intelligent whole, that shares purpose and vision.

We are so used to consider everything in life through the lenses of our disconnection, that nobody can embody the genius of the polymaths of the past anymore, as real power and knowledge are concentrated and shared with very few, leaving us dependent of sub-levels of power and knowledge, making us by design, not self-sufficient. Here, we can see that many disciplines that propose a vision and a purpose in life are actually manifesting this fragmented incompleteness in a rather conscious manner but pretending that it is not so. And these would be like any applied sciences, medicine, psychology, organized religions. Each is assessing a level of our being without the others in our body-soul and mind and claiming exclusivity about it. Each claim that their part is the whole and after so many times repeating this obvious lie, we finally began to believe it is true. What end product can come from a fragmented view? A limited good, not a holistic one, so a half-baked good that is not cooked enough and is hard to digest. No need to continue with this image, as our food system is beyond recognition and is the reflect of the monstrous life we have been accustomed to live.

We live with everything half. We are halves, chasing ‘twin flames’, Yin looking for Yang, Adam for Eve, etc…, never satisfied, always frustrated. How can it be otherwise? This is the system we have come to accept. We have given up, having lost our selves for the illusions of empty virtual worlds.

The ancient education system of the Greeks, Paideia, and its roman Hellenistic avatar, was in origin all about the raising of polymaths. Philosophy and science, altogether with physical education were bringing up upper class children to become serving members of society and participate in many different levels of its efficient administration. Pythagoras and Orpheus are legendary models, later figures like Parmenides, Platon, Aristotle, Porphyry, Hypatia, were all polymaths and their contribution to society is still felt deeply. There is no need to say that this educational system was very quickly ‘adapted’ by the elites. When you want to keep power, you divide. ‘Divide to conquer’, says the realpolitik saying. We have been invaded and conquered, at the cost of almost losing or souls.

The Renaissance and its classical world ideas revival showcased spectacular polymaths, Da Vinci, Raphael, Botticelli, Ficino, Pico della Mirandola and many others later, like Comenius, Michael Maier, Robert Fludd, Isaac Newton. This ‘golden thread’ slowly goes into extinction with the birth of industrialization in the 18th century, with figures like Benjamin Franklin, Wolfgang von Goethe to name a few. In the heart of the spiritless 19th century, a group of scientists in France from the polytechnic school were nicknamed the ‘green cardinals’ with Albert Cochon de Lapparent to name one, as they were trying to restore the inter-activity between every disciplines of life, the balance between reason and faith but had to do it indirectly or they would have been discredited.

What makes them all special and universal at the same time? Their holistic approaches. What is the approach of these polymaths? Their curiosity about everything, examining every angle of the living environment, of nature, of the living beings, animals, the flora, humanity and the challenges that life brings them on a daily basis. Finally, their love for life and the people.

Our society celebrates these polymaths of the past, but is making sure that none of us becomes like them, as they are the very threat to the capitalist model that celebrates mediocrity and shallowness as the ideal norm to induce the obedience that frames us to fit into rigid and inhuman production models and systems that serve the cynical few effectively holding the real power and knowledge and who are not intending to give them away back to the real owners, us, the betrayed, the lied to, the molested, the slaughtered.

The answer to our redemption is the shift from mono to poly,

from the sterile mono cultures

to the fertility of dissimilarities.

Are we up to the task?


Many years of esoteric teaching with groups have shown us, that most of the people are still separating ‘spiritual’ and ‘material’ life, although there is just one – Life. There is no holistic view most of the time, people live their journey either in only one or maybe two of the bodies (body, soul and mind) and/or have an intellectual spirituality, still discriminating between ‘them (most of the time same profile and/or social status)’ and ‘others’.

As we are a whole, undergoing an experience on this Earth, we are obliged to understand our own wholeness, the wholeness within humanity and last but not least universe with all living beings.

The purpose of Hygeia is – as far as possible – to re-establish this perception of life as a polymath. To see spirituality in ordinary (sometimes material) things and to see ordinary things in spirituality – briefly, to not separate anymore. To have a consciousness regarding an inter-disciplinary way of life.

In the coming years we want to include many disciplines, talents, people living their virtues, growing a community, living loosely together, in order to be more and more holistic. So you will see us sharing a philosophical post here, sharing a food recipe there, sometimes an article about education, sometimes an image about sacred nature… as All is One for us… and One is All.

This is the legacy we want to leave behind us.

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