We return to the topic of generalization and specialization.
Because of another one from Wilder's blog. RTWT.
We'll be here when you finish.
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Generalists are good. Specialists are good.
Just, please, not in the same job. (I want the guy flying my plane, for instance, to be Jimmy Stewart, not Hardy Kruger nor Richard Attenborough. Especially in Flight Of The Phoenix.)
But my point remains that Heinlein was talking out his fourth point of contact, even as he wrote that bit about "Every human being should...". And he knew it when he wrote it. It was sociologically and entomologically a load of codswallop, from start to finish.
But JW's idea about everyone rewriting it for themselves? Genius.
My riff off of this one will probably be my own Notebooks Of Lazarus long - Aesop version.
Every human being should be able to swim a river, cross a river, make a target, shell a target, storm a beach, surf a beach, comb a beach, cause bleeding, stop bleeding, make a baby, deliver a baby, feed a baby, build a boat, sink a boat, salvage a boat, build a building, tear a building down, teach a lesson, learn a lesson, make money, save money, spend money, use language, speak another language, play an instrument, shovel bullsh*t, detect bullsh*t, win an election, subvert an election, lead people, follow people, ignore people, do the math, ignore the math, start a heart, stop a heart, know what matters, when it matters, why it matters, and when nothing matters.
Specialization is for everyone.*
But if I'm stocking a society, I'd rather have an army of people who specialize in generalization, than one of people who generalize in specialization. One looks like Renaissance men, the other looks like an army of eclectic autistic mediocrity.
And if I'm making a list of things that "Every human being should...", in order to bank the fires of civilization in darker times (which always curiously takes the form of setting fire to banks and living in the dark - weird, huh?) it wouldn't look anything like Heinlein's list. And he knew that too.
Every human being should be able to find water, store water, purify water, make fire, put out a fire, build shelter, hunt food, gather food, grow food, store food, preserve food, cook food, harm people, heal people, gather knowledge, disseminate knowledge, store knowledge, synthesize knowledge, build a city, take a city, run a farm, run a business, run a race, build a base, and propagate a race.
Or you're going to be a historical footnote.
And as I think of it, even his list wasn't that of a generalist; it was a list of things he could specialize in.
It was nothing like a list of things "every human being should" be able to do.
I have to wonder if Heinlein knew that too, and that knowledge was his Easter Egg Of Insight towards which he was leading the reader; or if he was actually that self-unaware.
Your contributions in Comments, sil vous plait.
*(For anybody interested, yes, I've done every one of those, and more, successfully, and far more, and as an adult. As have you too, in all likelihood.)