Here’s a thought that could—and likely should—be further developed, but I won’t do so: the thought being that life is much too interesting and varied to become overly specialized.
I’m not saying that specialization is all bad, or that I can even name the line where it becomes myopic, insular and just plain ridiculous. I’m just saying that most of us (in the Western world) crossed this line some time ago, and that I refuse to let philosophy, politics, photography, theology, culture, technology, or any other -ology or -ism put me in the ingeniously small boxes (they’re getting smaller all the time!) that the modern world has made for us.
Life is much too broad, much too varied and fertile for that kind of thing.
5 responses to “Against Specialization”
A friend of mine hols that life -just- long enough to do all the things you really want to do…
i agree, and the example of this? i am apprehensive about going to grad school because i don’t want to write a master’s thesis on one lonely topic. i don’t WANT to specialize, not that way. life is, like you said, just not specialized. everything is connected. viva les interdisciplinary studies!
trav: I hope your friend is right…
heather: indeed. I think that the notion of interdisciplinary studies is (slowly) making a comeback in the broader academic world. I love the idea of exploring connections between the part and the whole rather than seeing how much I can lose the whole because of my exclusive, narrow focus on the part…
A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.
-Lazarus Long, Time Enough For Love
Matt: “specialization is for insects” about sums it up!