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Quotes About Specialization

Quotes tagged as "specialization" (showing 1-26 of 26)
Mahatma Gandhi
“The expert knows more and more about less and less until he knows everything about nothing.”
Mahatma Gandhi

André Gide
“Be faithful to that which exists nowhere but in yourself- and thus make yourself indispensable.”
André Gide

Antonin Sertillanges
“It is a painful thing to say to oneself: by choosing one road I am turning my back on a thousand others. Everything is interesting; everything might be useful; everything attracts and charms a noble mind; but death is before us; mind and matter make their demands; willy-nilly we must submit and rest content as to things that time and wisdom deny us, with a glance of sympathy which is another act of our homage to the truth.”
Antonin Sertillanges, The Intellectual Life: Its Spirit, Conditions, Methods

Robert M. Pirsig
“The range of human knowledge today is so great that we're all specialists and the distance between specializations has become so great that anyone who seeks to wander freely between them almost has to forego closeness with the people around him.”
Robert M. Pirsig

Roger Lowenstein
“The modern spirit is a hesitant one. Spontaneity has given way to cautious legalisms, and the age of heroes has been superseded by a cult of specialization. We have no more giants; only obedient ants.”
Roger Lowenstein, Buffett: The Making of an American Capitalist

Richard P. Feynman
“Of course, I am interested, but I would not dare to talk about them. In talking about the impact of ideas in one field on ideas in another field, one is always apt to make a fool of oneself. In these days of specialization there are too few people who have such a deep understanding of two departments of our knowledge that they do not make fools of themselves in one or the other.”
Richard P. Feynman, The Meaning of It All: Thoughts of a Citizen-Scientist

Wendell Berry
“Because by definition they lack any such sense of mutuality or wholeness, our specializations subsist on conflict with one another. The rule is never to cooperate, but rather to follow one's own interest as far as possible. Checks and balances are all applied externally, by opposition, never by self-restraint. Labor, management, the military, the government, etc., never forbear until their excesses arouse enough opposition to force them to do so. The good of the whole of Creation, the world and all its creatures together, is never a consideration because it is never thought of; our culture now simply lacks the means for thinking of it.

It is for this reason that none of our basic problems is ever solved. Indeed, it is for this reason that our basic problems are getting worse. The specialists are profiting too well from the symptoms, evidently, to be concerned about cures -- just as the myth of imminent cure (by some 'breakthrough' of science or technology) is so lucrative and all-justifying as to foreclose any possibility of an interest in prevention. The problems thus become the stock in trade of specialists. The so-called professions survive by endlessly "processing" and talking about problems that they have neither the will nor the competence to solve. The doctor who is interested in disease but not in health is clearly in the same category with the conservationist who invests in the destruction of what he otherwise intends to preserve. The both have the comfort of 'job security,' but at the cost of ultimate futility.

... This has become, to some extent at least, an argument against institutional solutions. Such solutions necessarily fail to solve the problems to which they are addressed because, by definition, the cannot consider the real causes. The only real, practical, hope-giving way to remedy the fragmentation that is the disease of the modern spirit is a small and humble way -- a way that a government or agency or organization or institution will never think of, though a person may think of it: one must begin in one's own life the private solutions that can only in turn become public solutions.”
Wendell Berry, The Unsettling of America: Culture and Agriculture

John Steinbeck
“Old Sam Hamilton saw this coming. He said there couldn’t be any more universal philosophers. The weight of knowledge is too great for one mind to absorb. He saw a time when one man would know only one little fragment, but he would know it well.”

“Yes,” Lee said from the doorway, “and he deplored it. He hated it.”

“Did he, now?” Adam asked...

“Now you question it, I don’t know,” he said. “I don’t know whether he hated it or I hate it for him... Maybe the knowledge is too great and maybe men are growing too small... Maybe kneeling down to atoms, they’re becoming atom-sized in their souls. Maybe a specialist is only a coward, afraid to look out of his little cage. And think what any specialist misses! The whole world over his fence!”

“We’re only talking about making a living.”

“A living? Or money?” Lee said excitedly. “Money’s easy to make if it’s money you want. But with a few exceptions people don’t want money. They want luxury, and they want love, and they want admiration.”
John Steinbeck, East of Eden

John Steinbeck
“Nobody knows. What good's an opinion if you don't know? My grandfather knew the number of whiskers in the Almighty's beard. I don't even know what happened yesterday, let alone tomorrow. He knew what it was that makes a rock or table. I don't even understand the formula that says nobody knows. We've got nothing to go on -- got no way to think about things.”
John Steinbeck, Travels with Charley: In Search of America

Mokokoma Mokhonoana
“A specialist’s mind is a slave to his specialization.”
Mokokoma Mokhonoana

Henri J.M. Nouwen
“This leaves us with the urgent question: How can we be or become a caring community, a community of people not trying to cover the pain or to avoid it by sophisticated bypasses, but rather share it as the source of healing and new life? It is important to realize that you cannot get a Ph.D. in caring, that caring cannot be delegated by specialists, and that therefore nobody can be excused from caring. Still, in a society like ours, we have a strong tendency to refer to specialists. When someone does not feel well, we quickly think, 'Where can we find a doctor?' When someone is confused, we easily advise him to go to a counselor. And when someone is dying, we quickly call a priest. Even when someone wants to pray we wonder if there is a minister around.”
Henri J.M. Nouwen, Out of Solitude: Three Meditations on the Christian Life

Robert Graves
“But that so many scholars are barbarians does not much matter so long as a few of them are ready to help with their specialized knowledge the few independent thinkers, that is to say the poets, who try to to keep civilization alive.”
Robert Graves, The White Goddess: A Historical Grammar of Poetic Myth

Bertrand Russell
“The ideal of an “all-round” education is out of date; it has been destroyed by the progress of knowledge.”
Bertrand Russell, Sceptical Essays

Tom Robbins
“To specialize is to brush one tooth. When a person specializes he channels all of his energies through one narrow conduit; he knows one thing extremely well and is ignorant of almost everything else.”
Tom Robbins, Even Cowgirls Get the Blues

Mokokoma Mokhonoana
“Intellectually curious men become generalists. Intellectually lazy men settle for being specialists.”
Mokokoma Mokhonoana

Richard Fletcher
“It is a wholly deplorable state of affairs when specialists in any discipline talk only to each other, and accordingly I have sought to write a book which will communicate some of the fruits of research in a manner which will make them accessible to all.”
Richard Fletcher, The Barbarian Conversion: From Paganism to Christianity

Evelyn Waugh
“Rex has never been unkind to me intentionally. It's just that he isn't a real person at all; he's just a few faculties of a man highly developed; the rest simply isn't there.”
Evelyn Waugh, Brideshead Revisited

“The history of learning amounts to a history of specialization.”
Beryl Smalley, Historians In The Middle Ages

Lin Yutang
“The outstanding characteristic of Western scholarship is its specialization and cutting up of knowledge into different departments. The over-development of logical thinking and specialization, with its technical phraseology, has brought about the curious fact of modern civilization, that philosophy has been so far relegated to the background, far behind politics and economics, that the average man can pass it by without a twinge of conscience. The feeling of the average man, even of the educated person, is that philosophy is a "subject" which he can beset afford to go without. This is certainly a strange anomaly of modern culture, for philosophy, which should lie closest to men's bosom and business, has become most remote from life. It was not so in the classical civilization of the Greeks and Romans, and it was not so in China, where the study of wisdom of life formed the scholars' chief occupation. Either the modern man is not interested in the problems of living, which are the proper subject of philosophy, or we have gone a long way from the original conception of philosophy.”
Lin Yutang, The Importance Of Living

Matt Ridley
“The Sun King had dinner each night alone. He chose from forty dishes, served on gold and silver plate. It took a staggering 498 people to prepare each meal. He was rich because he consumed the work of other people, mainly in the form of their services. He was rich because other people did things for him. At that time, the average French family would have prepared and consumed its own meals as well as paid tax to support his servants in the palace. So it is not hard to conclude that Louis XIV was rich because others were poor.

But what about today? Consider that you are an average person, say a woman of 35, living in, for the sake of argument, Paris and earning the median wage, with a working husband and two children. You are far from poor, but in relative terms, you are immeasurably poorer than Louis was. Where he was the richest of the rich in the world’s richest city, you have no servants, no palace, no carriage, no kingdom. As you toil home from work on the crowded Metro, stopping at the shop on the way to buy a ready meal for four, you might be thinking that Louis XIV’s dining arrangements were way beyond your reach. And yet consider this. The cornucopia that greets you as you enter the supermarket dwarfs anything that Louis XIV ever experienced (and it is probably less likely to contain salmonella). You can buy a fresh, frozen, tinned, smoked or pre-prepared meal made with beef, chicken, pork, lamb, fish, prawns, scallops, eggs, potatoes, beans, carrots, cabbage, aubergine, kumquats, celeriac, okra, seven kinds of lettuce, cooked in olive, walnut, sunflower or peanut oil and flavoured with cilantro, turmeric, basil or rosemary ... You may have no chefs, but you can decide on a whim to choose between scores of nearby bistros, or Italian, Chinese, Japanese or Indian restaurants, in each of which a team of skilled chefs is waiting to serve your family at less than an hour’s notice. Think of this: never before this generation has the average person been able to afford to have somebody else prepare his meals.

You employ no tailor, but you can browse the internet and instantly order from an almost infinite range of excellent, affordable clothes of cotton, silk, linen, wool and nylon made up for you in factories all over Asia. You have no carriage, but you can buy a ticket which will summon the services of a skilled pilot of a budget airline to fly you to one of hundreds of destinations that Louis never dreamed of seeing. You have no woodcutters to bring you logs for the fire, but the operators of gas rigs in Russia are clamouring to bring you clean central heating. You have no wick-trimming footman, but your light switch gives you the instant and brilliant produce of hardworking people at a grid of distant nuclear power stations. You have no runner to send messages, but even now a repairman is climbing a mobile-phone mast somewhere in the world to make sure it is working properly just in case you need to call that cell. You have no private apothecary, but your local pharmacy supplies you with the handiwork of many thousands of chemists, engineers and logistics experts. You have no government ministers, but diligent reporters are even now standing ready to tell you about a film star’s divorce if you will only switch to their channel or log on to their blogs.

My point is that you have far, far more than 498 servants at your immediate beck and call. Of course, unlike the Sun King’s servants, these people work for many other people too, but from your perspective what is the difference? That is the magic that exchange and specialisation have wrought for the human species.”
Matt Ridley, The Rational Optimist: How Prosperity Evolves

Matt Ridley
“The Sun King had dinner each night alone. He chose from forty dishes, served on gold and silver plate. It took a staggering 498 people to prepare each meal. He was rich because he consumed the work of other people, mainly in the form of their services. He was rich because other people did things for him. At that time, the average French family would have prepared and consumed its own meals as well as paid tax to support his servants in the palace. So it is not hard to conclude that Louis XIV was rich because others were poor.

But what about today? Consider that you are an average person, say a woman of 35, living in, for the sake of argument, Paris and earning the median wage, with a working husband and two children. You are far from poor, but in relative terms, you are immeasurably poorer than Louis was. Where he was the richest of the rich in the world’s richest city, you have no servants, no palace, no carriage, no kingdom. As you toil home from work on the crowded Metro, stopping at the shop on the way to buy a ready meal for four, you might be thinking that Louis XIV’s dining arrangements were way beyond your reach. And yet consider this. The cornucopia that greets you as you enter the supermarket dwarfs anything that Louis XIV ever experienced (and it is probably less likely to contain salmonella). You can buy a fresh, frozen, tinned, smoked or pre-prepared meal made with beef, chicken, pork, lamb, fish, prawns, scallops, eggs, potatoes, beans, carrots, cabbage, aubergine, kumquats, celeriac, okra, seven kinds of lettuce, cooked in olive, walnut, sunflower or peanut oil and flavoured with cilantro, turmeric, basil or rosemary … You may have no chefs, but you can decide on a whim to choose between scores of nearby bistros, or Italian, Chinese, Japanese or Indian restaurants, in each of which a team of skilled chefs is waiting to serve your family at less than an hour’s notice. Think of this: never before this generation has the average person been able to afford to have somebody else prepare his meals.

You employ no tailor, but you can browse the internet and instantly order from an almost infinite range of excellent, affordable clothes of cotton, silk, linen, wool and nylon made up for you in factories all over Asia. You have no carriage, but you can buy a ticket which will summon the services of a skilled pilot of a budget airline to fly you to one of hundreds of destinations that Louis never dreamed of seeing. You have no woodcutters to bring you logs for the fire, but the operators of gas rigs in Russia are clamouring to bring you clean central heating. You have no wick-trimming footman, but your light switch gives you the instant and brilliant produce of hardworking people at a grid of distant nuclear power stations. You have no runner to send messages, but even now a repairman is climbing a mobile-phone mast somewhere in the world to make sure it is working properly just in case you need to call that cell. You have no private apothecary, but your local pharmacy supplies you with the handiwork of many thousands of chemists, engineers and logistics experts. You have no government ministers, but diligent reporters are even now standing ready to tell you about a film star’s divorce if you will only switch to their channel or log on to their blogs.

My point is that you have far, far more than 498 servants at your immediate beck and call. Of course, unlike the Sun King’s servants, these people work for many other people too, but from your perspective what is the difference? That is the magic that exchange and specialisation have wrought for the human species.”
Matt Ridley, The Rational Optimist: How Prosperity Evolves

Friedrich Nietzsche
“The progress of science has been amazingly rapid in the last decade; but consider the savants, those exhausted hens. They are certainly not “harmonious” natures: they can merely cackle more than before, because they lay eggs oftener: but the eggs are always smaller, [Pg 64] though their books are bigger. The natural result of it all is the favourite “popularising” of science (or rather its feminising and infantising), the villainous habit of cutting the cloth of science to fit the figure of the “general public.”
Friedrich Nietzsche, On the Advantage and Disadvantage of History for Life

William Barrett
“The path of specialization leads away from the ordinary and concrete acts of understanding in terms of which man actually lives his day-to-day life.”
William Barrett, Irrational Man: A Study in Existential Philosophy

“There is also hope that even in these days of increasing specialization there is a unity in the human experience.”
Allan McLeod Cormack

“To eliminate the discrepancy between men's plans and the results achieved, a new approach is necessary. Morphological thinking suggests that this new approach cannot be realized through increased teaching of specialized knowledge. This morphological analysis suggests that the essential fact has been overlooked that every human is potentially a genius. Education and dissemination of knowledge must assume a form which allows each student to absorb whatever develops his own genius, lest he become frustrated. The same outlook applies to the genius of the peoples as a whole.”
Fritz Zwicky

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