January 31, 2012 Leave a comment
The other day I was reminded of a quote I love by the prolific science fiction Robert Heinlein. It goes like this:
“A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.”
I’m not sure when he said it, or where, but I just really like the Thoreau-esque notion of self-sufficiency. And the end, where instead of acknowledging that some people will become multi-disciplinarians and others specialists, he derides specialization as being for insects. None of this “free to be you and me” shiny, happy bullshit. Either you are with him, or you are an insect (or maybe you are neither, some unskilled idiot). I like that.
[writers note: I believe I can do 10 of those things listed above.]