Schrödinger on Knowledge
18 November 2010
Erwin Schrödinger, physicist and father of quantum mechanics:
We have inherited from our forefathers the keen longing for unified, all embracing knowledge… But the spread, both in width and depth, of the multifarious branches of knowledge during the last hundred odd years has confronted us with a queer dilemma. We feel clearly that we are only now beginning to acquire reliable material for welding together the sum total of all that is know into a whole: but, on the other hand, it has become next to impossible for a single mind fully to command more than a small specialized portion of it.
I see no other escape from this dilemma (lest our true aim be lost forever) than that some of us should venture to embark on a synthesis of facts and theories, albeit with second hand and incomplete knowledge of some of them – and at the risk of making fools of ourselves. So much for my apology.
The modern world emphasizes and rewards narrow specialization. Specialization is for insects – how much energy are you investing in understanding the bigger picture?
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