"To be a cowboy learn how not to be an astronaut
To be a doctor learn how not to be the President
To be the center of the Universe, don't orbit things."

--The Loud Family, "Good, There are no Lions in the Street"

The end-result of overspecialization in a society that gives up the idea of the "well-rounded-individual" or generalist, a person averagely capable in any given situation likely to be encountered by a human being, and capable of adapting to novel circumstances by analogy with patterns recognized in the already familiar, as the typical model of a person: in favor of a splintering, for the majority of people, into increasingly restricted areas of technical expertise or otherwise limited scope of functioning which do not, and increasingly cannot, communicate directly with one another.

Instead, the more and more of the daily interaction a person has is with others distinguishable from himself mainly by incidental or superficial aberrancies from the norm for his subculture, and even language used in contexts common to all adopts more of the technical vocabulary, adding to the Tower of Babel effect. This increases a poignant sensation of unique individuality on the part of all, since as one's daily associates become more and more like oneself, smaller variations from the norm qualify as idiosyncrasies, unique insights, bizzare perspectives, original personalities. And the more strikingly the standard set of conformities for the given subculture clash with those of others, accentuating perceived individuality through identification with an artificially created or distinguishment-enhanced minority group in society.

Instead of beginning from a general exposure to the totality of human experience, people learn from early on not to take risks with the unfamiliar, not to try to understand what does not come easily, because if comprehension of a thing doesn't almost force itself on them, it's probably "not for them", and thinking about it at all would just be a waste of energy.

And energy is one thing we can't afford to waste, in such a situation, because if people are reduced to life as one trick ponies it is going to be really easy to tell which ponies are nailing it and which ones are just hanging onto the gig for the security. An expert-based system is innately hierarchical. Someone is always going to be more of an expert. For 99% of the pyramid, anyway. So if we don't want to look like slackers, we pour all of ourselves into the struggle for expertise, for authority. The respect and honor once considered due to whoever had expanded their mind to be the equal of as many situations as possible, to be fully human and, if attaining excellence beyond others, in a more general, all-purpose way, is then accorded to the one who has striven to be the master of as many of his rivals as possible, and most successfully cut off all involvement with any part of life not, directly and with crude obviousness, related to his narrow pursuits, concentrating vital energy only through these restricted channels.

Under these circumstances, we learn that we depend on others, radically, to interact with large portions of our own experience for us, to be our intermediaries to an unknown, intractable, hostile world. That we are not entitled to an opinion that generalizes from one topic to another, and makes use of anything but the most technical specificity, in regard to any subject.

In short, that we are inadequate, necessarily so, to encounter the world in independence and with, if not full awareness of the interactions between us and it, at least a broad general picture not lacking in some detail where it is most important. We learn instead to preserve the parental relationship with others throughout our lives, not because they are older and wiser, but because that is "their field," within the confines of which they can be held accountable.

If you would object that it is this very cult of specialization that has allowed the rapid development of scientific comprehension and technological advance in the recent history of our world, it may not be possible to entirely disagree, though it may be that it is the also a great part of the reason behind our, if not new found by any stretch, at least newly enhanced and sophisticated ability to carry on with our business without regard for the consequences, since they lie outside our area of expertise.

-- Something I Heard a Strange Raspy Metallic Voice Mumble In a Dream Once

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