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Primers: Introduction to how polymaths learn multiple things


Primers are great to keep track of everything.
For polymaths, we tend to have the affinity to study different fields at many different times. But, how do we keep track of what Fields that we study in?  This is when I have an issue that is unique to my own character and that is, where do all my notes go?

It’s all over the place. It’s on my Keep, it’s on my Drive.
I have them in Word documents stored on my laptop and in multiple folders.
I have various research articles, documents and ebooks to go through which means that all my information is fragmented and separated into different files. It doesn’t really help that as much as I remember what all this is about if I want to show them to someone, I’d have to search through every nook and cranny for just a few sentences.
So! It’s time for a new format.

Primers: What are they?

A primer is an introduction or small textbook to ‘prime’ the reader to their topic of choice. For the sake of continuity, I have decided to type my notes up in the form of a primer, so that readers can get a quick, surface-level understanding of the different kinds of topics I am diving into.
This lets me make good use of my notes, which I compile like crazy in my Drive. A lot of people that know me personally tend to think that I know a lot of things. Maybe I do because I take my time reading all kinds of topics and fields, but to describe exactly what I know is very difficult. Keeping it in the form of a primer would be a format that anyone can understand. It’s similar to a ‘For Dummies’ book.

Where did they come from?

The word is a mixture of two older ones:

  • Primarius, which stands for ‘Primary (book)’
  • Primarium, which stands for ‘Primary (manual’)

Back then, these two words would interchange to describe different texts to introduce things. For example, an elementary textbook! We’ve been reading primers in our childhood. The first intro textbook you get for a course in university counts as a primer too.
For your reference, the pronunciation is as such: /ˈprʌɪmə/

Thanks Google!

Let’s take an example: Here is A Primer to F. Scott Fitzgerald’s Classic Books.
It’s an article that describes F. Scott Fitzgerald, a notable writer of the 20th century. You may have heard his name, but if you don’t know anything about him, a primer is a good way to start. Side note: He wrote The Great Gatsby.

What can you expect from my Primers?

I’ll be giving my own personal commentary on the various fields as well as provide relevant references for further reading. If the primer was detailed and entertaining enough for you to want more, I can always point you to the right sources. Expect very basic language to describe the various theories, diagrams and the history of many people in each field for your good understanding. If that doesn’t help, there’s always analogies: who doesn’t love analogies?
Not only am I writing this to help you understand everything I’m going into, but it also gives me the chance to practice teaching people using simpler vocabulary. If I can describe the most complex of things in the simplest ways, it’s proof that I have practiced my articulation skills.
That in itself is a very difficult skill to practice, but I’d be happy to any day.
Onwards, to the first Primer: Polymaths!