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Thread: studying one thing vs studying everything?

  1. #11
    Senior Member Array
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    Sep 2011


    A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.

    -Robert A. Heinlein

  2. #12
    Honor Thy Inferior Array Such Irony's Avatar
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    Jul 2010
    5w6 sp/so
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    My goal in life is strike the perfect balance between these two extremes. I don't want to study one thing so much in depth that I miss out on other things. Yet, I don't want to spread myself so thin that I never feel like I've mastered anything.
    5w6 or 9w1 sp/so/sx, I think
    Neutral Good

  3. #13
    Intergalactic Badass Array mujigay's Avatar
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    Jun 2011


    Quote Originally Posted by EJCC View Post
    Are you an enneagram 1? The only people I know of who would want to ask "What career would be more useful to the world as a whole, because that's the career I want" are type 1. (I am included in there; sometimes I wish I wanted to be a doctor, because I'd be good at it and the world needs doctors, but the problem is that I'd be miserable.)
    Damn, that really pinged for me. I've spent a long, long time feeling guilty because I hate the maths and sciences and really, really don't want to go into medical, research, or engineering, but it's the kind of contribution the world needs. Then I feel selfish, because instead of doing something for the world, I'm being an asshole and picking the irrelevant things that I actually like. Ah well.

    In response to the actual OP, studying for it's own sake only really works if....ya know, you're actually learning, not just jacking off and smoking a joint and occasionally spouting off something pseudo-philosophical, which is the tendency of many self-proclaimed intellectuals that I have witnessed. In theory, being a Rennaissance man would give you the edge, but in actuality, specializing in something, particularly if it's rare can give you the edge when driving your career. Of course, that only matters if you actually care about advancing a career, which some people genuinely don't, and that's fine.
    1w9 sx/sp
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  4. #14
    Superwoman Array Red Herring's Avatar
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    Jun 2010
    5w4 sp/sx


    If you want to broaden your horizon and enrich your mind - become a generalist!
    If you want to be well repected for your knowledge and make money - become a specialist!
    If you want to contribute something new and revolutionary to science or the world in general - study two or more seemingly unrelated fields and build a bridge between them!
    The good life is one inspired by love and guided by knowledge. Neither love without knowledge, nor knowledge without love can produce a good life. - Bertrand Russell
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  5. #15
    Senior Member Array Lark's Avatar
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    Jun 2009


    I started out just wanting to master one topic but now I just want to learn everything.

  6. #16
    Senior Member Array Habba's Avatar
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    Jul 2008


    Quote Originally Posted by xisnotx View Post
    Would you say it would be "better" (define that how you wish) to devote yourself to studying one thing in depth or studying anything and everything that captures your interest?
    If something captures your mind, you should already know it is important to you.

    Also, it might feel like studying everything, but after sometime you should start finding the underlying pattern. You begin to notice that you aren't interested in random topics, but there's something common in the topics.

    Quote Originally Posted by xisnotx View Post
    The ultimate goal is to contribute to the collective intellectual effort in a significant way.
    This usually means going where no one has gone before, or taking a view no one has taken before.

    Depth of knowledge gives you the former, width of knowledge gives the latter.

    Quote Originally Posted by xisnotx View Post
    study for its own sake vs study with a goal in mind.
    Learning is the goal in life, not knowing. When you start knowing and stop learning, you become old. Knowledge makes you certain. Certainty makes you prideful. Pride makes you ignorant.

    Quote Originally Posted by xisnotx View Post
    study what makes sense to you vs study what doesn't.
    Depending on what you mean with "making sense":

    Sense, as being reasonable and logical - Makes little sense to study something you already understand. You should study the things that escape your mind.

    Making sense, as being opposite of supernatural - When studying esoteric studies, there's lots and lots of false logic and evidence. However, I believe that these supernatural phenoms are related and based on actual psychological aspects of human mind, and thus can be valuable area when studying the human mind.

    Quote Originally Posted by xisnotx View Post
    study something physical vs study something non physical.
    The more physical it is, the younger you have to be to benefit from it. Your body begins to degenerate after early twenties, but your mind can peek much later. But neither is superior to the other. Except that masters of physical things get much more money and women. xD

    Quote Originally Posted by xisnotx View Post
    study going "in" or study going "out".
    Now this is a weird one. Cool people wants to stay in, but going out is cool. So can an outgoing person be in? Is it hot to be cool? Can one study how to be in, or is it in not to study?

    (BTW, I'm 1w9)

  7. #17
    Senior Member Array King sns's Avatar
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    Nov 2008
    6w7 sp/sx


    I like studying everything. Thankfully, it actually helps my career to study everything- (nursing- a lot of stuff applies when dealing with people all day- you don't need to, but it makes you better at the job- science, medicine, philosophy, psychology, sociology, health, world affairs, etc.) Something I wrote in a paper about personal goals related to career other day, lifelong learning- (kind of a cop out, since it's a personality trait/ lifestyle choice more than a goal..) I think a lot of careers are similar, so you can kind of try to engulf a huge amount of information but with a focus. It also helps with life in general. I can see pros to having more of an intense focus, but the cons outweigh a lot.

    So yeah. 1 for broad knowledge base.

    (and this is what I tell myself when up till three in the morning on wiki.... )
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    06/13 10:51:08 shortnsweet: no you!!
    06/13 10:51:12 shortnsweet: go do your things and my things too!
    06/13 10:51:23 five sounds: oh hell naw
    06/13 10:51:55 shortnsweet: !!!!
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