A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, design a building, conn a ship, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve an equation, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects [Heinlein, 248].

A well-known quotation (among science fiction fans) from the notebooks of the fictional character Lazarus Long. The quotation (and Lazarus Long) first appeared in Robert Heinlein's novel, Time Enough for Love.

A companion (or corollary) quotation to Long's is Miyamoto Musashi's "From one thing, know ten thousand things." [Musashi, 21]. While Heinlein's quotation enumerates, Musashi's merely is. And I believe their essence is the same.

This is self-education, and, unfortunately, neither Miyamoto Musashi nor Lazarus Long are your hobby-laden uncle (with time to spare on a weekend). Nor do they sit on the curriculum committee of your country's board of education. Nor do they write textbooks, manuals. websites, or nodes to describe to seekers the millions of facets of life on this planet. And given the finite amount of time afforded us by our own mortality, it's a good thing we're not insects.

1: Heinlein, Robert. Time Enough for Love. 1973, Penguin Putnam Inc., New York.

2: Musashi, Miyamoto. The Book of Five Rings. 1982, Bantam Books, New York.

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