Walking encyclopedia

walking encyclopedia
American cognitive science philosopher Daniel Dennett’s 2001 conception of the processing system of a walking encyclopedia type of person, which he characterizes as the one kid in school who knows it all, answers all the teachers questions, memorizing all the capitals of every state and country in the world, etc. [4]
In nouns, walking encyclopedia is a semi-literal figure of speech used to refer to someone in possession of a large amount of knowledge, in general or sometimes on a specific subject, often being immediately reproducible. [1]

Genius | Walking encyclopedia
Some people, to note, may be classified as a "walking encyclopedia", e.g. memory savant Kim Peek, able to recall the exact contents of some 13,000 books, but not necessarily classified as a genius, e.g. Peek was classified as an idiot savant. The following quote may give some feel to this model:

“Nineteenth-century man is a walking encyclopedia, stuffed with useless knowledge.”
— Nietzsche (c.1878) (Ѻ)

American cognitive science philosopher Daniel Dennett’s 2001 conception of the processing system of a walking encyclopedia type of person, shown adjacent, gives insight into the notion that a genius may devote more time developing the "belief fixation", "planning", and possibly action (e.g. inventive genius, military genius, scientific genius, etc.) than as compared to the pure encyclopedia genius (e.g. trivia genius) who may devote more time to pure memory of all knowledge generally, allocating equal amounts of memory energy to each factoid, without thought to the relative importance of each bit of knowledge, in respect to analysis, belief, planning, and action. [4]

“To know and not to do—is not to know at all.”
Goethe (c.1815) (Ѻ)

The above quote by Goethe lends some credence to this model of having knowledge but not doing or putting the knowledge into action.

Some of this overstuffing of useless knowledge may have something to do with the theory of axon-dendrite trimming, that supposedly occurs in children during the general education to focused application process.

Encyclopedist | Walking encyclopedia
A related term is encyclopedist, referring to one who writes encyclopedias. One may, for example, be both a walking encyclopedia and an encyclopedist, though not always. [1]
Libb Thims (walking encyclopedia)
American Libb Thims depicted as a "walking encyclopedia" epitaph assigned to him by several people, including Milivoje Kostic (2013).

Among American Presidents, to go through an example, is American political philosopher Thomas Jefferson, with his 180 IQ, 6,487 book personal library, and "last persons to know everything" and polymath-polyglot status, has often been characterized as a walking encyclopedia:

“Mr. Jefferson was, himself, a living and walking encyclopedia.”
— William Wirt (1833) (Ѻ)

Although he, himself, was not an encyclopedist per se, i.e. he did not actually write any form of exhaustive encyclopedia on any given subject, he did frequently meet up with other actual encyclopedists at the famous Café Procope—meeting ground to Voltaire (IQ=195) and Denis Diderot (IQ=165), the latter maker of the first modern encyclopedia (see: epicenter genius) — those including: Benjamin Franklin, and John Paul Jones. [2]

Thims | Walking encyclopedia
An example of someone who is often described as a "walking encyclopedia" and who has written an encyclopedia (Hmolpedia) is American electrochemical engineer Libb Thims:

Libb Thims is [walking] encyclopedia of human thermodynamics.”
Milivoje Kostic (2013), introduction to Libb Thims during his April NIU lecture [3]

A related term that has made its way into the fiction world as of late is “walking Wikipedia”; though an actual non-fiction person associated with this term seems to be lacking. (Ѻ)

See also
Walking molecule

1. Walking encyclopedia – MacMillanDictionary.com.
2. Café Procope – Wikipedia.
3. (a) Kostic, Milivoje. (2013). “Introduction of Speaker Comments”, in: full video (time: ), Apr 16.
(b) Thims, Libb. (2013). “A Guidemap to Human Chemical Thermodynamics: Goethe's Elective Affinities to Human Free Energies” (abs) (NIU announcement) (cover) (main) (full video) (abs video), Lecture to mechanical engineering thermodynamics students (professor: Milivoje Kostic), Northern Illinois University (NIU), Apr 16.
4. Dennett, Daniel C. (2001). “Things about Things” (§:Walking Encyclopedia, pgs. 137-), in: The Foundations of Cognitive Science (editor: Joao Branquinho). Oxford University Press.

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