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2010-08-30 11:17:01|  分类: 默认分类 |  标签: |举报 |字号 订阅

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  In this era of rapid social and technology change leading to increasing life complexity and psychology displacement, both positive and negative effects among persons in western society call for a balance in which there are both specialists and generalists.

  Specialists are necessary in order to allow the society as a whole to properly and usefully assimilate the masses of new information and knowledge that have come out of research and have been widely disseminated through mass global media. As the head of Economics at my university once said (and I paraphrase) :"I can only research what I do because there are so many people who have come before me to whom I can turn for basic knowledge. It is only because of each of the narrowly focussed individuals at each step that a full and true understanding of the complexities of life can be had. Each person can only hold enough knowledge to add one small rung to the ladder, but together we can climb to the moon." This illustrates the point that our societies level of knowledge and technology is at a stage in which there simply must be specialists in order for our society to take advantage of the information available to us.

  Simply put, without specialists, our society would find itself bogged down in the Sargasso sea of information overload. While it was fine for early physicists to learn and understand the few laws and ideas that existing during their times, now, no one individual can possibly digest and assimilate all of the knowledge in any given area.

  On the other hand, over specialization means narrow foci in which people can lose the larger picture. No one can hope to understand the human body by only inspecting one's own toe-nails. What we learn from a narrow focus might be internally logically and coherent but may be irrelevant or fallacious within the framework of a broader perspective. Further, if we only inspect our toe-nails, we may conclude that the whole body was hard and white. Useful information and thus perhaps useful inventions must come by sharing among specialists. Simply throwing out various of discoveries means we have a pile of useless discoveries, it is only when one can make with them a mosaic that we can see that they may form a picture.

   Not only may over-specialization be dangerous in terms of the truth, purity and cohesion of knowledge, but it can also serve to drown moral or universal issues. Generalists and only generalists can see a broad enough picture to realize and introduce to the world the problems of the environment. With specialization, each person focuses on their research and their goals. Thus, industrialization, expansion, and new technologies are driven ahead. Meanwhile no individual can see the holistic view of our global existence in which true advancement may mean stifling individual specialists for the greater good of all.

   Finally, over-specialization in people's daily lives and jobs has meant personal and psychological compartmentalization. People are forced into pigeon holes early in life (at least by university) and must consciously attempt to consume external forms of stimuli and information in order not to be lost in their small and isolated universe. Not only does this make for narrowly focused and generally poorly-educated individuals, but it guarantees a sense of loss of community, often followed by a feeling of psychological displacement and personal dissatisfaction.

   Without generalists, society become inward-looking and eventually inefficient. Without a society that recognize the importance of broad-mindedness and for sharing generalists, individual become isolated. Thus, while our form of society necessaritates specialists, generalists are equally important. Specialists drive us forward in a series of thrusts while generalists make sure we are still on the jousting field and know what the stakes are.

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