There are a lot of smart people in our world. Some people are expert in only an extraordinarily narrow field. Most basic scientists fall into this category. Some people are expert technicians and their intelligence lies in the perfect application of a prescribed protocol. Many physicians and surgeons fall into this category. But then again, so do nurses, auto mechanics, ice sculpters, bakers, etc.
Believe me, I respect and admire the skill and intellect of all of these types of minds. But what really inspires me are people who are able to step back and provide perspective and are able to synthesize ideas. People like:
- Watson and Crick who deduced the structure of DNA without actually performing an experiment at the bench;
- Kevin Kelly whose perspectives on information technology and its convergence with biology seem more true today than they were 7 years ago;
- Stephen Wolfram and his fearless pursuit of a unifying principle.
(I’ve only posted a couple of people…simply due to time restraints.)
This is the kind of thinking that inspires me. The kind of thinking that makes me want to think. The kind of thinking that we need in our world. Specialization is a 20th century concept…a lesson from the industrial revolution. The real power lies in being able to make connections between these specialists. There is so much incredible information out there…but so few people who know how to
- get ahold of it,
- understand the disparate vocabularies of multiple specialties, and most importantly
- be able to discern the patterns.
You think that we’re smart now? Wait until we truly understand and embrace that concept.