Knowing a lot about a little, or a little about a lot?

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Knowing a lot about a little, or a little about a lot?

Post Number:#1  Postby Ozymandias » March 10th, 2017, 2:04 am

Simple question: is it better to know a lot about a little, or a little about a lot?

That is, is it better to be well-versed in many subjects, enough to hold conversation about them and partake in them in your everyday life, or is it better to invest most of your thought in one subject and become an expert in it, at the expense of remaining ignorant of the other walks of life?

The former is not to exclude your profession. I should say "to know a little about a lot" in regards to subjects other than your profession.

For example, I am an artist/ designer and student by occupation, but I often find myself actively seeking to learn about many other things while I could be learning more about art and becoming better at my own vocation. The con of that state is that I'm that much less proficient at what I give to society. The pro is that I know enough rudimentary information about seemingly random areas of life to find small successes. Let's say I learn a lot about geology. I will be able to identify rocks and draw meaning about the land I'm in at a given moment. One such practical application of that is what's called a fault scarp. When tectonic activity shifts the ground, it can make slopes ranging from a couple meters to a few hundred meters in height, which are called fault scarps. They are seismically unstable and can cause damage to structure foundations. Homes are often built on fault scarps, unbeknownst to the buyers, thus giving them a raw deal. One well-versed but not expert in geology could catch this before falling into a shifty realtor's trap.

That is one example of why it is good to know random things.

But to know those little useful things, you must sift through a lot of information, much of which you will forget, and most of which will never come in handy. Instead, one might invest completely in one's own vocation, and leave the other subjects of expertise to other people, so that the world runs smoothly as everyone knows everything about his/her own contribution to their society.

So is it better to know a lot about a little, or a little about a lot?
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Re: Knowing a lot about a little, or a little about a lot?

Post Number:#2  Postby Venividivici » March 20th, 2017, 1:12 pm

It would depend on how you want to exercise knowledge. For example, if engaging in a debate, you want to know more about a particular subject so you can call out fallacies when you hear it, and counter with concrete arguments. If you're an artist/designer and want to provide clean drinking water to the thirsty and have enough knowledge to execute the idea, then that would suffice.
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Re: Knowing a lot about a little, or a little about a lot?

Post Number:#3  Postby Eduk » March 21st, 2017, 6:59 am

I think this largely depends on yourself as a human. How your attributes line up and what you want out of life.
More important I would say is learning how to learn and learning what you don't know.
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Re: Knowing a lot about a little, or a little about a lot?

Post Number:#4  Postby Rr6 » March 21st, 2017, 8:37 am

Ozymandias wrote:Simple question: is it better to know a lot about a little, or a little about a lot?


Specialization{ professional scientist jack-of--one trade, master of one } versus generalization{ layperson scientist jack-of-all-trades, master of none }

"Better" is the key word there and may vary in every individuals case. And what any knowledge may lead too has to also be considered.

I'm a jack-of-all-trades type of person including the sciences{ biology, cosmology, quantum mechanics, etc }.

My list includes, auto mechanic, cowboy, farmer, lumber jack, factory jobs of a variety including food production, retail stores, E.M.T license in two states, carpentry, electrician, plumber, painter, truck driver, door-to-door solicitor, forklift driver.

Never been professional cook or dishwasher in restaurant type environment.

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Re: Knowing a lot about a little, or a little about a lot?

Post Number:#5  Postby Woodart » March 21st, 2017, 12:40 pm

Everything is relative - is it not? Knowledge or knowing seems to be closely related to goals. Warren Buffet knows a lot about stocks and investing – his goal is financial. A monk knows a lot about meditation with a goal of nirvana. Is there a comparative advantage to one over the other? Is one more satisfied?
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Re: Knowing a lot about a little, or a little about a lot?

Post Number:#6  Postby Alias » March 22nd, 2017, 7:35 pm

It depends primarily on your ambition and secondarily on your energy.
If you hope to be concert master of a world-class philharmonic orchestra, you'd better spend six hours a day practicing violin, another two on music theory and never miss a rehearsal; if you just want to have fun with a local chamber group on weekends, an hour a day will suffice.
If you hope for a Pulitzer, you'd better learn your background information, triple-check your sources, organize your research material and hone your writing skill. If you just scribble in a blog, any interesting bits and pieces will do.
While it's possible to excel at a specialized profession or craft and still take an interest in other subjects, it grows increasingly difficult as your work-load and responsibility increase.
Unfortunately, that's also when your physical and mental energies are starting to wane. Oh well, you can always dabble after retirement.
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Re: Knowing a lot about a little, or a little about a lot?

Post Number:#7  Postby Rr6 » March 22nd, 2017, 7:51 pm

Oh yeah, also worked on oil-gas drilling barge as rough-neck for one winter in Gulf coast.

r6

Rr6 wrote:
Ozymandias wrote:Simple question: is it better to know a lot about a little, or a little about a lot?

Specialization{ professional scientist jack-of--one trade, master of one } versus generalization{ layperson scientist jack-of-all-trades, master of none }
"Better" is the key word there and may vary in every individuals case. And what any knowledge may lead too has to also be considered.
I'm a jack-of-all-trades type of person including the sciences{ biology, cosmology, quantum mechanics, etc }.
My list includes, auto mechanic, cowboy, farmer, lumber jack, factory jobs of a variety including food production, retail stores, E.M.T license in two states, carpentry, electrician, plumber, painter, truck driver, door-to-door solicitor, forklift driver.
Never been professional cook or dishwasher in restaurant type environment.
r6
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Re: Knowing a lot about a little, or a little about a lot?

Post Number:#8  Postby -1- » March 22nd, 2017, 8:04 pm

Whatever gets you through the night.

What is "better"? As a survival skill? As a means to social standing? As a means to getting girls? As a means to landing a good job? As a means to feeling happy? As a means to further your family's well-doing?

Whatever is "better"?

So if you want to increase your survival chances, spread out. Be a renaissance man.

If you want to feel happy, then do whatever feels comfy.

If you want to make love to many women (or men) and you want a lot of money, then either is good.

If you want your family to strive, either is good.

If you are shy with people, and they irritate you, and you wish they'd all go to hel, then turn inward, and find a hobby and learn things that interests only a very few, or preferrably nobody else but you.
Sweat the small stuff... because then the big stuff will take care of itself.
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Re: Knowing a lot about a little, or a little about a lot?

Post Number:#9  Postby LuckyR » March 24th, 2017, 4:39 pm

For your profession it is way more profitable to know a lot about a little (be a specialist), for your life it is funner to know a little about a lot AND a lot about a couple of things.
"As usual... it depends."
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Re: Knowing a lot about a little, or a little about a lot?

Post Number:#10  Postby Spraticus » March 24th, 2017, 5:05 pm

This is not a philosophical question. It's a matter of how it works in your life; there's no general principle involved.
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Re: Knowing a lot about a little, or a little about a lot?

Post Number:#11  Postby MindfulMystic » March 24th, 2017, 7:08 pm

I believe that one should aim at knowing a little about a lot...for do we not know a lot about a little? I guess it depends on if you don't know yourself. There is a time to know yourself-the rest is to find out, or put out your find :) not claiming to know yourself-allows you to know a lot about a little...you are little-and there are a lot about me! Then if you aim to know a little about my lot. I'll realize, a lot of little things-relate to a little big thing-ME. I don't claim me, perhaps it is for two;such are here ;)
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