Some laymen are very fond of deprecating the work of specialists, holding that specialisation tends to narrowness, to inability to see more than one side of a question.
It is, of course, true that the specialist tends to “go off at a tangent” on his particular subject, and even to treat with contempt or opposition the views of other specialists who differ from him. But all work that is worth doing is attended by its own peculiar dangers. It is here that the work of the non-specialist comes in. It is for him to compare the opposing views of the specialists, to reveal one in the light thrown by the other, to help into existence the new truth waiting to be born of the meeting of opposites.
Specialisation spells division of labour, and apart from division of labour certain great work can never be done. To do away with such division, supposing an impossibility to be possible, would simply mean primitive savage. But we have no call to attempt the abolition of even the minutest division of labour. What is necessary is to understand and guard against its dangers.
Specialisation may lead to madness, as electricity may lead to death. But no specialist need go far astray who, once in a while, will make an honest attempt to come to an understanding with the man whose views are diametrically opposed to his own. For thus he will retain elasticity of brain, and gain renewed energy for, and perhaps fresh light on, his own problems.
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