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Little Or Lot?


Grido
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Where's the Nothing about everything or everything about nothing?

Personally I'd rather know a little about alot, this way you can add your two cents into everything and you'll always know at least something relating to a conversation. If you know alot about a few topics, people might not like talking to you because you might come off as a know it all for those topics, and have no knowledge of other topics which they might be more interested in.

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Imo it's handy to know much of everything in case someone is curious enough to know if the sun also rises in the east on Venus? Or what the nearest star is. Or does "e" on E=mc[sup]2[/sup] actually stand for Einstein? ;P I think its better to speak up on a topic to make a good point or to clarify something, and to shut up when its wise to do so and not be a show off.

Edited by Magnus X
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I also believe that common sense is ten times more valuable than knowledge... Some of the smartest people I know are also some of the dumbest.

For instance this girl I know is majoring in marine biology with a minor in psychology.

She thought her laptop was water proof. I don't need to say more.

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While I do agree that there is a lot of value in having someone who is knows a little about everything, but I myself lean towards the "a lot about a few things".

Why? There are so many people in the world these days, the era of the Renaissance man is over. There are no more Gausses (brilliant man, look him up if you don't know who Gauss is) or Leonardos; the people who could make stunning advances in a series of fields.

No, today is the generation of the specialist. Everything is at such an advanced state, if you spent your entire life learning a little about a lot you would hardly get far. It is often only possible to reach the cutting edge of success by being a specialist.

Awi

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awi just pointed it out, if you want to leave a lasting impression on this world, you need to be a specialist

question is if people want to go through that trouble, though XD

personally, i think that knowing a lot about 'your field' is necessary to earn money and advance in that field, maybe to the point of achieving new knowledge there, but still know enough about life, the universe and everything to avoid the mistakes Fenrir's friend made ^_^ and to have a nice life in general, if you can only think about your job, you won't get happy...

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I would rather know a lot about a few things...and just wiki the rest.

In this age, so much useless information is readily available that no one needs to bother acquiring such trivia. As Awi and Burns mentioned, I would much prefer to possess deep and profound knowledge of few topics than to be able to recount that which could be learned with a quick internet search.

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For conversations, if a person knows only the very basics about a lot of things, you can never have an in depth conversation. Actually if I encounter people who specialize in impressing people with their vast amount of subjects, but don't know more than the first ten pages of a single book, be it textbook or novel, I consider them annoying. They spent all that time working only on looking smart instead of actually being smart.

@Pipstickz: some people do try.

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[quote name='awiiya' date='17 December 2009 - 08:47 PM' timestamp='1261111648' post='50508']
No, today is the generation of the specialist. Everything is at such an advanced state, if you spent your entire life learning a little about a lot you would hardly get far. It is often only possible to reach the cutting edge of success by being a specialist.

Awi
[/quote]

Hmm, yes and no. I agree that most progress is made by those who know more than a little about their topic of interest. I would argue that the real cutting edge of success is often on the borders of disciplines, though, and that is more true today than it has ever been. Think of all the recent advances in biotechnology that required knowledge of biology, chemistry, physics, and business to make happen. If your knowledge is too narrowly focused, you lack the ability to see those broader connections and to synthesize the resources and insights of multiple fields. How many opportunities have been lost because those who knew a lot about a little didn't even know enough about other things to ask the right questions of those who held other pieces to the puzzle they are trying to solve?

Edited by asryn
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Of course, for society to be efficient, people need to specialize.
However, their areas must be chosen well, and this should not come at the cost of zero knowledge in all other areas, or else the laptop gets wet... :)

So, ideally there is a compromise. The question is, which side of the compromise do you lean toward? And what do you find most worth your while to learn?




I heavily invest my efforts toward science and a bit in art (photography & film mainly; I've tried pottery and I like it, too), while completely ignoring things I consider useless, such as sports. I read very little literature. I only know general history, not many specifics (I think I'm better with prehistory than history.).

But within the realm of science, I know something about nearly everything, from gravitational waves to sickle-cell anemia.
I know the name and symbol of every element in the periodic table and which general section of the table they fall into.


I was at one point mistaken for being an expert on lysozyme, just because I could say the name, where it is, and what it does. :D
(My short beard hides my age of 18. I'm told I could pass for 30.)


At this point in my life I need to choose an area to specialize in. The choice is extremely hard. :D

Edited by apophys
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I would say "a little about everything". Now, how much that "little" actualy is, it waries meaning it can be more than just some basicss...
And upon that, know a lot or "everything" (realising you can never ever know everything) about the area you are working in.

That way you can excel on your field since it is your expertise and at same time can stand a chance when conforted with other topics.

Edit: Stupid typos... and I bet there are more, I just dont see them. :)

Edited by LadyDawn
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