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Wednesday, August 13, 2014

De-specialization

            I’ve been listening to Lost Enlightenment, which suggests something interesting that I had remembered before and assimilated into my own life, but now I think it needs to be incorporated into higher education.
            The ancient and Renaissance thinkers did not specialize. They didn’t exclude disciplines of thought in favor of one area, or even a sub-area of an existing area. Da Vinci, Newton, Aristotle, Socrates, and others wrote and thought about everything from mathematics to art to philosophy, treating the interactions of what we think of as disparate areas of thought as simply pieces of a larger whole.
            It’s understandable that specialization, or even hyper-specialization in fields of knowledge would become necessary in order to advance even further, but we’ve gotten away from crucial truths that areas of academic interest are all related when it comes to their general spheres of information.

            Why, then, do we treat these areas as specialized at these general levels? I believe that extending the boundaries of subjects and realizing how they incorporate and touch upon these other spheres leads to a greater understanding forces the mind to grow in ways reminiscent of what these great thinkers experienced.
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