I consider myself a polyglot, namely “a sort of organ wound up for the performance of certain tunes, than of a being endowed with reason” (though certainly without the greatness of Mezzofanti… ).
Indeed, the major problem of language learning is that it gives the illusion to be clever than the others (although even a child can learn a second language): this satisfying feeling, paradoxically, brings to a weakening of intellectual curiosity.
But polyglotism can’t be an ersatz life, a surrogate: I can’t deny it’s a pretty good way to balance the intellectual dimension of existence with the social one, but it’s not fair to limit the “learning aspect” only to language learning. Especially since, unlike what everyone thinks, the current spread of polyglotism is more related to a nihilist/reductionist approach to culture than to a mere increase in telecommunication traffic. Our epoch expects from polyglotism more than cheat sheets: it demands something like intellectual endorphins (in addition to a new lifestyle and a key to understand the meaning of everything).
For these reasons, learning a new language is becoming an expedient to get cultural factors down to basics, on the one hand, and to avoid frustration caused by the impossibility of taking up all available opportunities, on the other. Many polyglots admit that in order to settle their inferiority complex, they re-enact the typical learning conditions of childhood. That’s praiseworthy, but an adult man shouldn’t forget his status. And if he does, there emerges an animal conception of existence that leads to consider human language as a variant of simian screaming (which may also be a very interesting insight, if approached precisely as a full-grown man).