The Renaissance Cyborg

Specialization Is for Insects, Part 2

(This is a follow-up to our discussion on Realizing Possibilities…Fast back in December. )

What kind of knowledge and skills will we need to thrive in a world where everything is a coffee shop?

Rationally it would seem that there are advantages to possessing specialized knowledge and general knowledge. But are we becoming too focused on the former?

Rather than letting technology make us ever more specialized, we should use it to broaden our horizons. At one time, the Renaissance Man was the model of the widely adept human being. Maybe now it’s time for the Renaissance Cyborg.

R. Buckminster Fuller was a fierce advocate of human beings as generalists.

We are in an age that assumes the narrowing trends of specialization to be logical, natural, and desirable. Consequently, society expects all earnestly responsible communication to be crisply brief. Advancing science has now discovered that all the known cases of biological extinction have been caused by overspecialization, whose concentration of only selected genes sacrifices general adaptability. Thus the specialist’s brief for pinpointing brevity is dubious. In the meantime, humanity has been deprived of comprehensive understanding. Specialization has bred feelings of isolation, futility, and confusion in individuals. It has also resulted in the individual’s leaving responsibility for thinking and social action to others. Specialization breeds biases that ultimately aggregate as international and ideological discord, which in turn leads to war.

Bucky explained why he thought U. S. Navy officer training was the perfect generalist education in his book Utopia or Oblivion?

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Eternity Kevin MacLeod ( | Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License |

About Phil 523 Articles
Phil Bowermaster is a nationally recognized author and speaker. He has more than 25 years experience writing about emerging technologies and the future. As co-host of the popular Internet radio series, The World Transformed, Phil has talked with leading scientists and technologists, best-selling authors, philosophers, filmmakers, artists, entrepreneurs and others who are shaping our understanding of the amazing era of transformation in which we live. Phil helps leaders and their organizations develop strategies for managing accelerating change. He shows how imagination, optimism, empathy, and humor can make all the difference in both understanding and making the most of the powerful currents of change we face.