Paul Nervy Notes
“Jokes, poems, stories, and a lot of philosophy, psychology, and sociology.”

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Philosophy, specialization and generalization.  ---  .See also: Philosophy, interdisciplinary philosophy.  ---  12/30/2000

Philosophy, specialization and generalization.  ---  .This section is about specialization and generalization.  Topics include: .  ---  1/24/2006

Philosophy, specialization and generalization.  ---  (1) Amateur, generalists, dabblers vs. experts, specialists.  (2) Humans evolved and survived as adaptive generalists.  (3) Relying on "experts" for everything can be dangerous.  (4)  The amateur tradition is a noble tradition.  ---  11/20/2003

Philosophy, specialization and generalization.  ---  (1) Definition of terms.  Specialization defined as a narrowing of focus and interest.   Narrowing in terms of space, time and subject matter.  Generalization defined as a widening of focus and interest.  Widening in terms of space, time and subject matter.  (2) The problem.  There are forces, psychological and sociological, that coerce people to specialize.  Specialization can have significant, often overlooked, negative effects on the individual and thus society.  (3) The solution.  Develop awareness of the negative effects of specialization.  Encourage people to generalize.  ---  4/26/2005

Philosophy, specialization and generalization.  ---  (1) Generalizing: acknowledge your many abilities and make the most of them.  Multi-talented and multi-faceted.  Well balanced.  (2) Specializing: Does not acknowledge our many abilities.  It is unhealthy.  It is unbalanced.  It is wasteful.  ---  6/5/2000

Philosophy, specialization and generalization.  ---  (1) In the past, people were too deferential to "experts". People mythologized the doctor, lawyer and professor too much.  Today we are less deferential, and that is helping us achieve a healthier balance in our lives.  The Internet is helping us achieve this balance.  For example, in the recent past, before the age of the Internet, those who held the occupations of stockbroker, travel agent, real-estate agent and car salesman at first tried to tell us they were helping us.  Then they tried to tell us that we couldn't make a move without them.  We gave these specialist experts too much power and they started to use it against us to their advantage by charging exorbitant commission rates.  The Internet helps take back some of the power from the stockbrokers, travel agents, real-estate agents and car salesmen.  The Internet helps put some of the power back into the hands of the consumer where it belongs.  My point is that the Internet helps restore a balance of power not only for the above "middleman" occupations, but for all occupations.  The Internet helps balance power between the consumer and the "professional" occupations such as doctor, lawyer and professor.  The Internet helps reduce the need to pathologically deify the above professionals.  There is no need to "do whatever they say".  We are less at their mercy and whim.  We do not have to blindly obey them.     (2) The problem arose when we gave up thinking for ourselves and we let the specialist "experts" have all the power.  At that point the so called experts tried to solidify their power-base, in order to retain their jobs and income, by trying to convince us that only they knew what to do.  The Internet helps combat knowledge-hogs, money-hogs and power-hogs.  But to do so the Internet requires that we give up a certain amount of passive, mindless ease.  It requires that we think for ourselves. It requires that we actively learn.  ---  9/22/2000

Philosophy, specialization and generalization.  ---  (1) It is to the economic and political advantage of the system to create specialists, even though it is to the overall disadvantage of individual people to become specialists.  (2) There are many ways the systems endeavors to create specialists.  (A) One way the system tries to create specialists is through hyper-competition.  The system tries to create specialists by saying that only first place matters, and by saying that winning is the only thing, and by trying to convince people to devote all their time and energy to one pursuit in order to "be the best".  Setting up mindless competitions is one way how the system tries to create specialists.  (B) Another way the system tries to create specialists is by trying to get people to be "experts", and by trying to get other people to defer completely to so the called experts.  A system of so called experts and unthinking followers is not a healthy system.  ---  10/18/2004

Philosophy, specialization and generalization.  ---  (1) People specialize out of fear.  Specializing lets people hide in their little world.  Specializing is how some people avoid taking a stand on controversial issues.  Specializing is how some people avoid confrontation.  Specializing is how some people avoid thinking.  (2) People specialize out of greed and laziness.  People realize that if they specialize they can make more money and do less work.  However, money isn't everything, and the pursuit of money isn't everything.  Also, there are some things that require work, the avoidance of which is an ethical wrong.  ---  9/7/2005

Philosophy, specialization and generalization.  ---  (1) Political basis of specialization.  People specialize to gain power.  People specialize to feel like powerful experts.  People also specialize to avoid confrontation in areas in which they do not feel powerful.  People specialize to avoid feelings of powerlessness, to avoid feelings of ignorance, and to avoid feelings of lack of control.  (2) Economic basis of specialization.  People specialize because people want money and they realize society will reward a person with money if the person specializes.  (3) Specialization, whether for political or economic reasons, has drawbacks that are often unrecognized.  Specialization, in the long run, can disempower people and devalue people.  ---  12/20/2005

Philosophy, specialization and generalization.  ---  (1) Political ulterior motive to get people to specialize.  If you get someone to specialize then you limit that person's knowledge.  When you limit someone's knowledge you limit their options.  When you limit someone's options you limit their power.  (2) Economic ulterior motive to specialize.  If you get someone to specialize then you can sell them all the goods that they need but that they cannot make themselves due to the fact that they are specialized.  ---  11/12/2005

Philosophy, specialization and generalization.  ---  (1) Politics.  Encouraging people to specialize can be a political ploy to seize power.  (2) Economics.  Encouraging people to specialize can be an economic ploy to make more money.  (3) Psychological.  The individual specializing can be a psychological ploy of repression, avoidance and denial.  ---  6/15/2005

Philosophy, specialization and generalization.  ---  (1) Specialist as fearful, repressed, head in sand, avoidant, obsessed.  Generalist as brave, exploring, curious, and inquisitive.  (2) Specialist as parochial and fearful of wide world.  Generalist as cosmopolitan.  (3) (A) Physical generalist.  Self reliant homesteaders and survivalists.  Do everything themselves.  (B) Mental generalist.  Know about everything and think about everything.  (4) Argument for specialization: concentrate on your strengths.  Argument against specialization: neglects your weaknesses.  ---  9/15/1998

Philosophy, specialization and generalization.  ---  (1) Specialization is about "willful, ignorance" (ignoring everything outside your area of specialty), which is ethically inexcusable.  (2) Specialization is about using only one small segment of your abilities, which is ethically inexcusable.  (3) Specialization is about over-developing one area of your brain and under-developing other areas of the brain, which is psychologically unhealthy.  ---  6/1/2001

Philosophy, specialization and generalization.  ---  (1) Specialization is like a political dictatorship or an economic monopoly of one area of your mind over all other areas of your mind.  Specialization is unjust.  Specialization is unhealthy.  (2) Generalization is like a political democracy or an open economy where each area of your mind can have its say.  Generalization is just.  Generalization is healthy.  ---  7/5/2000

Philosophy, specialization and generalization.  ---  (1) The concept of specialization and generalization is related to the psychological concept of multiple selves.  Generalization is akin to having multiple selves, which is a good thing.  Specialization is akin to having only one, uni-dimensional self, which is a bad thing.  (2) An example of the negative effects of specialization is the following: often people use the phrase "I am a lover, not a fighter".  These people feel that they must specialize.  They feel they must choose to be either a lover or a fighter.  The unfortunate result is that this creates lovers who cannot fight and fighters who cannot love.  ---  8/4/2000

Philosophy, specialization and generalization.  ---  (1) The effect of specializing is to make individuals stupid and powerless.  (2) There are certain segments of society that would like to see other segments remain stupid and powerless.  ---  6/15/2005

Philosophy, specialization and generalization.  ---  (1) The French Encyclopedists were generalists.  (2) Polymaths are generalists.  (3) All humans evolved as adaptable generalists.  ---  1/15/2005

Philosophy, specialization and generalization.  ---  (1) The specialist is someone who wakes up in the morning and says "I just need to focus on one thing".  The generalist is someone who wakes up in the morning and says "I need to consider everything".  (2) Today's society rewards specialists with money.  Today's society penalizes generalists.  What happens to generalists in today's society?  They often fall by the way side.  ---  12/9/2000

Philosophy, specialization and generalization.  ---  (1) When people are raised as specialists, they are taught that it is best to focus on one area (at the expense of other areas), do their job, and let other people worry about other areas.  It produces bizarre results: unhealthy, unbalanced people.  (2) People are taught to be specialists in school when young, and that pressure continues as adults.  Just get the A+ grade, just get the degree, just do the job, just excel at one thing, at all costs, in order to get money, fame, status.  I would rather be mediocre and balanced than excel through obsession with one area to the exclusion of all other areas.  (3) There is a hidden assumption in society that says to get the A+ grade, do the job, and then relax and party on the weekend.  The pressure is to not think outside the guidelines.  Actually, on the weekends, we should be thinking and working like hell.  The ancient Greeks knew that we worked in order to gain leisure time, in order to pursue the development of our complete selves.  (4) Specialization produces people who think in dichotomies: either/or, black/white, us/them.  They think their special area is good and worthwhile and everything else is shit.  When a person is a generalist they have a more tolerant view, and they can look at things from more than one perspective, and their views are not so narrow.  (5) Examples of specialists:  Business without art.  Art without business.  Science without business.  Business without science.  Art without science.  Science without art.  ---  02/22/1997

Philosophy, specialization and generalization.  ---  Academic specialization, common wrong attitudes of.  (1) My subject X is important.  Your subject Y is unimportant.  (2) Your subject is less important than my subject.  (3) Your subject does not make any significant, useful contribution to my subject.  (4) My subject is the most important subject.  (5) By ignoring everything except my subject I am helping myself and the world.  ---  10/25/2001

Philosophy, specialization and generalization.  ---  Adages for each.  (1) Generalization: "Cover all your bases".  (2) Specialization: "Don't spread yourself too thin".  ---  5/27/2002

Philosophy, specialization and generalization.  ---  An analogy: similar to the way that egoism and extreme individualism are conservative notions that run counter to the social-mindedness of progressives, so to is specialization a phenomenon that narrows and isolates the mind of a person in a negative and conservative way rather than widening and expanding the mind in a socially progressive way.  ---  5/13/2007

Philosophy, specialization and generalization.  ---  Analytic thinkers specialize.  Synthetic thinkers generalize.  ---  9/15/1998

Philosophy, specialization and generalization.  ---  Anti-intellectuals say to not think.  Specialists say to not think outside of your area of specialty.  So specialization is not very far from anti-intellectualism.  ---  11/22/2005

Philosophy, specialization and generalization.  ---  Anyone who concentrates or specializes on one thing to the exclusion of all other things, in order to avoid things, is engaging in cult thinking, which is a form escapism, which is neurotic thinking.  ---  04/12/1989

Philosophy, specialization and generalization.  ---  Argument for generalism.  When people specialize in thought and action, on their job, or by having only one or no friends, and then they lose faith in that one thing they specialize in, then they have nothing to live for and end up committing suicide.  Generalizing spreads you out.  It is safer.  You have a safety net.  It is healthy.  ---  04/24/1997

Philosophy, specialization and generalization.  ---  Argument for generalization.   A healthy individual is an integrated individual.  Integrated means all parts present and working in harmony.  (1) A human person has many sides.  Humans are social animals.  Humans are political animals.  Humans are technological.  Humans are artistic.  The many sides of person need to be integrated.  (2) Humans live in the world.  The world has many aspects to it.  The world has a biological side.  The world has a physics.  A person needs to know about the many different parts of the world.  ---  3/25/2006

Philosophy, specialization and generalization.  ---  Arguments for generalism.  (1) General knowledge for personal satisfaction.  (2) General knowledge of current state of big picture is important because advances in one area lead to advances in another.  ---  12/30/1992

Philosophy, specialization and generalization.  ---  Arguments pro generalizing vs. contra generalizing.  Arguments pro specializing vs. contra specializing.  ---  12/30/1992

Philosophy, specialization and generalization.  ---  At its base, specialization is about barriers.  Barriers against outside thoughts.  Barriers to separate the in-group from the out-group.  ---  10/4/2000

Philosophy, specialization and generalization.  ---  Becoming a specialist, or calling people specialists, is a way of making people feel special.  And everyone wants to feel special.  ---  10/27/2003

Philosophy, specialization and generalization.  ---  Causes and effects, both good and bad, of specialization and generalization, in individual and in society.     (1) Causes.  (1)(A) Causes of specialization.  (1)(A)(i) Individual causes of specialization.  One way experts are created is when they become obsessed with their field to the exclusion of all else.  Examples, Bobby Fisher, Paul Erdos.  It is a type of psychological repression.  (1)(A)(ii) Societal causes of specialization.  (1)(A)(ii)(a) Society wants people to specialize as experts in order to make technological advances and discoveries.  (1)(A)(ii)(b) Society wants individuals to specialize in order to achieve economic efficiency (standardization of parts and specialization of labor).  (1)(A)(ii)(c) Society reveres and idolizes specialists and experts.  Society instills this attitude in its young when it says to them "Be the best at something.  Winning is the only thing.  Second place does not count.  Second place is for losers."  These attitudes produce specialists.  (1)(B) Causes of generalization.  (1)(B)(i) Individual causes of generalization.  (1)(B)(i)(a) The healthy individual wants to know it all.  (1)(B)(i)(b) There are also cases of intellectual megalomania.  (1)(B)(ii) Societal causes of generalization.  Are there any?     (2) Effects.  (2)(A) Effects of specialization.  (2)(A)(i) Bad effects of specialization.  The individual can become isolated and weird.  They can develop ignorance in other areas of life.  Hot house flower, dependent on others, no self-reliance.  Narrow minded.  All eggs in one basket.  (2)(A)(ii) Good effects of specializing.  Get paid well.  Make a new discovery or invention.  (2)(B) Effects of generalizing.  (2)(B)(i)  Good effects of generalizing.  Well traveled.  Tolerance.  Wisdom (broad knowledge).  Independent.  Self-reliance.  Well balanced.  Adaptable.  Healthier.  (2)(B)(ii) Bad effects of generalizing.  Information overload susceptibility.  No focus.  ---  9/15/1998

Philosophy, specialization and generalization.  ---  Contra specialization.  (1) No unity, scattered, shattered, fractured, distracted.  (2) Loss of ground or foundation.  (3) No vistas.  Can't see the forest for trees.  Lost in the big thicket.  (4) Knowing more and more about less and less.  ---  12/30/1992

Philosophy, specialization and generalization.  ---  Generalist views the big picture.  (1) Global.  (2) History, current and future.  (3) Develop the entire person.  ---  1/25/2004

Philosophy, specialization and generalization.  ---  Generalist: Amateur, does it for love, can drift and wander.  Specialist: Professional, does it for money, must stay focused.  ---  12/30/1992

Philosophy, specialization and generalization.  ---  Generalists are adaptable.  Specialists are not adaptable.  Today's society needs specialists.  The message being sent to young people is to become specialists.  We are creating a bunch of non-adaptable people.  The result of not being able to adapt is not being able to cope.  Higher levels of stress, more depression and anxiety.  When you ask people what they are and they say "I am a doctor.", "I am a lawyer.", "I am a mechanic.", you know they have specialized to the point where they see themselves as a narrow, static being.  Monopods are liable to tip over.  When you create a specialist and the person psychologically internalizes the view that they are specialists, and accepts that they are specialists, and identifies with the role of the specialists, and then suddenly the situation changes and their specialty is not needed, the person is cut adrift psychologically.  They have no options.  They have no psychological safety net.  They have no psychological support.  They suffer a psychological crisis.  ---  7/25/2000

Philosophy, specialization and generalization.  ---  Generalists tend to be well rounded.  Specialists risk becoming lopsided.  ---  11/2/2003

Philosophy, specialization and generalization.  ---  Generalists: synthetic, tangential, interdisciplinary, foundational.  Specialists: narrow minded, analytic, branches not roots.  ---  12/30/1992

Philosophy, specialization and generalization.  ---  Getting people to specialize in knowledge and behavior makes that person dependent, dis empowered and servile.  ---  11/12/2005

Philosophy, specialization and generalization.  ---  If Howard Gardener's theory of eight types of intelligence is true (and it has a lot of support) then that is an argument for generalizing, and it is an argument against specializing.  ---  6/5/2000

Philosophy, specialization and generalization.  ---  Inter-disciplinary philosophy is based on the specialization/generalization issue.  Interdisciplinary philosphy takes the generalist argument.  ---  12/30/1992

Philosophy, specialization and generalization.  ---  Life is pluralistic, therefore specialization is unethical?  ---  12/30/1992

Philosophy, specialization and generalization.  ---  Monotheism is an example of modern humans tendency to specialize.  Ancient man was predominantly a generalist who, in the area of religion, was often polytheistic and worshipped many gods.  Modern humans are predominantly specialists who, in the area of religion, are often monotheists who focus on one god.  Possible causes of specialization in modern humans: (1) It may have been a change in the human physical brain that caused modern humans to start specializing.  (2) Another possibility is that specialization is a cultural meme that spreads like any other meme.  (3) Another possibility is that the specialization in the area of work that came with civilization (10,000 BC) led to specialization in other areas such as religion.  ---  10/5/2000

Philosophy, specialization and generalization.  ---  Most people think as generalists very poorly and rarely.  Most people think as specialists too much.  ---  12/30/1992

Philosophy, specialization and generalization.  ---  PART ONE.  People often become specialists in order to simplify their view of the world, because simplification of the complex world makes some people feel less anxious and uncertain.  Complexity and uncertainty is something that some people cannot handle.  People specialize in an attempt to manage their negative emotions.  People put blinders on themselves when they specialize.  PART TWO.  The attitude of, "KISS: Keep it simple, stupid", has its drawbacks.  People can handle more complexity than they think they can.  But some intellectually lazy people want their knowledge dumbed down, simplified and narrowed to a minimum.  Specialization has much in common with anti-intellectualism.  ---  11/6/2004

Philosophy, specialization and generalization.  ---  People are first taught to specialize in school when they are forced to pick a major, which is an area of specialization, and that is bad thing. Interdisciplinary studies is a major that is becoming more available in more colleges.  ---  7/25/2000

Philosophy, specialization and generalization.  ---  People sometimes specialize because they are overwhelmed by information.  Information management technology, both computers and mental methods, will help people deal with information (ex. Notes).  ---  6/1/2001

Philosophy, specialization and generalization.  ---  People specialize and become experts for the following reasons:  (1) Respect from other people.  (2) Money.  In our society experts make money.  (3) Obsession.  (A) Biochemically caused obsession.  (B) Psychologically caused obsession in order to block out (repress) all else.  (4) There is a demand for experts.  The people who become experts are just filling a social demand for experts.  The reason there is a demand for experts is because people want to be led.  However, when we listen to experts only, we abdicate our responsibility for creating our own selves.  ---  9/28/2000

Philosophy, specialization and generalization.  ---  Problem is that people, forced to be specialists at work, act as generalists rarely and poorly in their free time.  ---  12/30/1992

Philosophy, specialization and generalization.  ---  Society tells the individual "It is best for society if you specialize, and we will reward you economically."  But it is not best for the individual to specialize, in fact it is bad.  ---  12/30/1992

Philosophy, specialization and generalization.  ---  Specialist attitude limits and disempowers the specialist by not allowing for growth.  Generalist attitude empowers by allowing for growth.  ---  2/10/2001

Philosophy, specialization and generalization.  ---  Specialist takes a serial approach.  First do A then B then C.  Generalist takes a "shotgun" approach, also known as a "multi-tasking" approach.  First do A and B and C.  ---  2/10/2001

Philosophy, specialization and generalization.  ---  Specialist/generalist spectrum (subject matter, and degree of abstraction).  Your psychological tendency vs. where you push yourself.  ---  12/30/1992

Philosophy, specialization and generalization.  ---  Specialists push forward; generalists clean up.  ---  12/30/1992

Philosophy, specialization and generalization.  ---  Specialists tend to be single issue people, Johnny one notes.  ---  11/1/2003

Philosophy, specialization and generalization.  ---  Specialization creates uni-dimensional people, which is pathological.  ---  8/15/1999

Philosophy, specialization and generalization.  ---  Specialization has to do with mental focus.  Focus can be a form of psychological repression, the pathological extreme of which is obsession.  Generalization some may criticize as a state where one cannot mentally focus and cannot commit to a course of action, the pathological extreme of which is tangential rambling.  I must say here that the pathological extreme of specialization seems much worse than the pathological extreme of generalization.  ---  2/10/2001

Philosophy, specialization and generalization.  ---  Specialization in the world of work is one type of specialization we have discussed.  Another type of specialization is specialization in leisure time.  An example of leisure specialization is the all-consuming hobby.  Rather than having many hobbies, some people have just one hobby to which they devote most of their leisure time.  The single hobby can quickly develop into a leisure lifestyle.  All the person thinks about is the hobby.  All the person talks about is the hobby.  The person uses hobby-specific jargon for all communication.  The person wears hobby-specific fashions in all situations.  The person cops a hobby-specific attitude toward all things.  The person hangs-out with other hobbyists.  However, underlying the language, attitude, fashion, etc. is the particular lifestyle philosophy which consists of the inobvious, often unconscious, set of assumptions held by the hobby-lifestyle devotee.  These assumptions often include: (1) I can base my life on this hobby activity.  (2) This hobby-lifestyle will provide all the answers that I seek.  It will fill all the needs I have.  (3) We who pursue this hobby are better than others who do not pursue this hobby.  (4) Three examples of lifestyles are those based on the tripartite highschool typology: the brains, the jocks and the rebels.  (5) The lifestyle often takes the place of religion.  The lifestyle often fills the role that religion once played.  The lifestyle provides a belief system and a community of believers.  The lifestyle is an attempt to create meaning in one's life.  The lifestyle is often a tribe or a community.  The lifestyle is often a single-minded quest.  ---  10/5/2000

Philosophy, specialization and generalization.  ---  Specialization is a necessary evil.  We specialize for money, glory and societal advancement.  ---  12/30/1992

Philosophy, specialization and generalization.  ---  Specialization is a turning away from most of the world; a form of denial.  Generalization is a willingness to confront everything that exists.  Generalization can take a lot of work.  Generalization can be a little overwhelming at times.  Generalization can sometimes result in information overload.  What's needed are tools to gather and organize information.  ---  3/20/2004

Philosophy, specialization and generalization.  ---  Specialization is easy.  Specialization takes less work, less brains and makes more money than generalization.  That is the appeal.  Specialization appeals to the lazy and greedy.  The problem is that specialization leads to narrow-minded, blindered people.  To be well-rounded is to be a generalist.  ---  9/6/2005

Philosophy, specialization and generalization.  ---  Specialization is narrow and parochial.  Generalization is cosmopolitan and universal.  ---  4/29/2001

Philosophy, specialization and generalization.  ---  Specialization is often an attempt by power-holders to isolate and control individuals.  It is an attempt to limit your thought, words and actions.  Encouraging specialization is a political ploy.  ---  3/10/2004

Philosophy, specialization and generalization.  ---  Specialization is often used by individual's as a means to limit and manage their world.  That is to say, people often decide that they will think only about a small, narrow, simple, pleasant, happy part of the world because thinking about the entire world is too strenuous or confusing or painful.  Specialization in this sense is a form of withdrawal from the world.  It is an attempt to deal with the world by isolating oneself from the world.  That is not the optimal way.  Better for the individual and the world if the individual engages the world.  ---  8/14/2004

Philosophy, specialization and generalization.  ---  Specialization is sometimes a defense mechanism by individuals overwhelmed by life's complexity and confusion.  Specialization is an attempt to oversimplify one's life.  Its a slogan.  ---  3/10/2004

Philosophy, specialization and generalization.  ---  Specialization often functions, intentionally or accidentally, as a means to isolate and control individuals.  Specialization can be used as a means to "divide and conquer" peoples.  When they convince you that its in your own self interest to specialize they have taken a step toward disabling your ability to see the big picture, disabling your ability to think, disabling your ability to dissent, which enables them to seize power.  ---  10/5/2004

Philosophy, specialization and generalization.  ---  Specialization produces ignorant, narrow-minded, under-utilized, pompous, unhealthy, dangerous people.  HomoSapiens is an adaptable generalist.  ---  10/25/2001

Philosophy, specialization and generalization.  ---  Specialization produces thinkers who do not act, and actors who do not think.  Specialization produces thinkers who do not feel, and feelers who do not think.  ---  6/23/2005

Philosophy, specialization and generalization.  ---  Specialization, to a degree, involves putting all your eggs in one basket, which is not recommended.  ---  10/2/2003

Philosophy, specialization and generalization.  ---  Specialization: society rewards it, but it hurts you.  Generalization: society sanctions it, but it helps you.  ---  12/30/1992

Philosophy, specialization and generalization.  ---  Specialization.  (1) People specialize for effectiveness.  Expertise.  (2) People specialize for money, i.e., economic reward.  (3) But people also specialize out of fear.  They think if they stay in their corner then no one will bother them.  They are wrong.  (4) People also specialize to make their world smaller and more manageable.  People specialize because its a big, complex, confusing, conflict-ridden world with many bad elements in it.  ---  2/6/2004

Philosophy, specialization and generalization.  ---  Specialization.  People often become specialists at the expense of forgetting everything else they ever knew.  That is an unhealthy situation.  ---  2/12/2004

Philosophy, specialization and generalization.  ---  Specializing helps you succeed at your job.  Generalizing helps you pick a job you like, and helps you get along and succeed in life.  ---  12/30/1995

Philosophy, specialization and generalization.  ---  Specializing is a way of hiding from the world.  You are painting yourself into a corner, specialists.  ---  5/13/2007

Philosophy, specialization and generalization.  ---  Specializing is not so much about focus as it is about ignoring the rest of the world.  Specialization is a suboptimal attempt to simplify and control one's life by ignoring and repressing the rest of the world.  ---  4/4/2005

Philosophy, specialization and generalization.  ---  Specializing: too much vs. not enough.  Generalizing: too much vs. not enough.  In today's society, people are specializing enough but aren't generalizing enough.  ---  12/30/1992

Philosophy, specialization and generalization.  ---  The Intellectual Bruce Lee.  He is from the school of "no school".  He studies every style and subject.  He takes the good points of each style and leaves the bad.  Be eclectic.  Be versatile.  Be formless.  Like water.  Why is it that one person points at the moon, and the second person only sees the booger on the fingertip?  ---  5/28/2006

Philosophy, specialization and generalization.  ---  The key strategy of a specialist expert is to try to convince you that "its too complicated for you to understand".  Bullshit.  Its not too complicated.  They try to make it complicated in order to keep their jobs.  ---  9/22/2000

Philosophy, specialization and generalization.  ---  The primary attraction of being a specialist is blissful ignorance.  The specialist does not want to know what is going on.  The specialist does not want to see the big picture.  The specialist does not want the entire truth.  The specialist seeks to avoid emotional pain and any sense of responsibility.  The specialist pleads ignorance to avoid feeling guilt and shame.  The specialist wants to squeak by.  ---  4/29/2001

Philosophy, specialization and generalization.  ---  The professional expert specialists in academia, business and government have had their own expensive private communication networks in place for a long time.  The Internet is for the amateur.  The Internet gives the amateurs a voice against the experts.  And amateurs are frequently generalists.  For a long time (the last several hundred years) the system stacked the deck in favor of professional expert specialists and against amateur generalists.  There was an imbalance of power (political power, money and knowledge) in favor of specialists.  With the help of the Internet that power imbalance between professional specialists and amateur generalists is beginning to equalize.  ---  10/5/2000

Philosophy, specialization and generalization.  ---  The public generalist should be prepared for opposition from all sides.  Be prepared for dissenting views from all sides.  ---  11/1/2003

Philosophy, specialization and generalization.  ---  The special interest magazines, the hobby magazines, try to define a small limited world, a consistent world, an understandable or comprehensible world, a manageable world, a world that makes sense, a structured world, a comforting world, a safe world, a friendly world, a peaceful world.  They ignore the rest of life, they ignore the pain, they ignore the overwhelming complexity.  The special interest magazines want to focus on the topic of you having fun in your little world at your leisure.  Ignore, deny, avoid, repress.  Ignorance, Denial, Avoidance, Repression.  Specialization is a form of psychopathology.  ---  4/26/2005

Philosophy, specialization and generalization.  ---  To call yourself a specialist, to be an expert, boosts self confidence, but lowers actual overall usefulness.  ---  6/10/1997

Philosophy, specialization and generalization.  ---  Viva la amateurs.  If the only people who wrote were people who could make a living as professional authors then the world would be a veritable idea desert.  (2) On some level, to write is to think, so there would be fewer people thinking and that is bad.  (3) There would be fewer people doing anything useful.  There would be only couch potatoes.  (4) So viva la amateurs.  ---  7/25/2002

Philosophy, specialization and generalization.  ---  We work and study as specialists.  We live as generalists.  ---  04/30/1993

Philosophy, specialization and generalization.  ---  When you specialize it is easier to end up being a genius in one area and a moron in another.  Specialists screw up worse than generalists.  ---  8/8/1998

Philosophy, specialization and generalization.  ---  Why be a generalist rather than a specialist?  (1) Balance.  (2) Comprehensiveness.  (3) It is tough to tell where you are weak and where you need help, so address all areas in order to develop all areas including your weak areas.  ---  5/22/2000

Philosophy, specialization and generalization.  ---  Why be a generalist?  Why should an average citizen bother to think about all subject areas and everything when there are specialists who devote their entire lives to narrow areas of expertise and who supposedly know it all?  The answer is because the number of instances is extraordinarily high where a person with no knowledge of a specialized domain walks in and immediately perceives the solution to a problem that has baffled the experts.  It happens with alarming frequency.  ---  4/6/2001

Philosophy, specialization and generalization.  ---  You say it is neurotic not to settle down with something.  I say it is neurotic to specialize.  ---  03/13/1989

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Paul Nervy Notes. Copyright 1988-2007 by Paul Nervy.