August 3, 2022


Does Education Play a Role in Being a ‘Renaissance Man’?

By: David Collins

According to Brittanica, a Renaissance Man is “limitless in his capacities for development, and led to the notion that men should try to embrace all knowledge and develop their own capacities as fully as possible.”

To repeat, man is limitless in his capacities for development…man should embrace all knowledge…man should embrace their own capacities as fully as possible.

If this seems like a tall order, it absolutely is! Though I’m writing about it, I’m surely no Renaissance Man. But I’m sure, like many of you, I could snap my fingers, go back in time, and make different life choices to develop the skills and knowledge necessary to become one.

And the things I’d do differently boil down to how I wish I approached education at an early age.

Education is inherently linked to being a Renaissance Man, and it is the foundation of reaching one’s potential, whether academically, skillfully, or physically.

Without education, one can not embrace knowledge, which is a central tenet of being a Renaissance Man. And expanded knowledge leads to greater capacity to venture into new things well.

Not everyone can become a Renaissance Man, as it involves a lot of time, persistence, and energy, but with a good education and a quest for knowledge, all have the ability to be more like a Renaissance Man, no matter what stage of life one is in.

A prime example of a Renaissance Man is Nicolaus Copernicus (1473-1543). Copernicus was a Polish astronomer, mathematician, artist, physician, economist, military strategist, diplomat, and politician.

Is this a tall order? Yes. Is it even possible? Also yes.

We all are naturally born with unique gifts and capabilities. What sets Copernicus apart from an ordinary man is his quest for knowledge at multiple opportunities over the course of many years.

One is not born a mathematician or a military strategist…and definitely not a politician (libertarian plug). The difference lies in seeking out knowledge through reason, and applying it to the fields or disciplines that give us the greatest fulfillment.

In terms of education, we must do a better job of instilling in our kids this “quest for knowledge” and education serving a higher purpose, while also realizing that it’s not too late for ourselves to expand our horizons, whether academically, skillfully, or physically.