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  • Like most Americans, he was a specialist, and had studied only that branch of his art necessary to his own interests.

  • There must be bands of enthusiasts for everything on earth — fanatics who shared a vocabulary, a batch of technical skills and equipment, and, perhaps, a vision of some single slice of the beauty and mystery of things, of their complexity, fascination, and unexpectedness.

  • The evolution of cell societies parallels that of human societies: there has been a constant movement toward specialization of the members of the society.

  • We develop all our sciences, archeology, cosmology, psychology, we tabulate and classify and cling to our sacred definitions, our divisions, without any attempt to synthesis, without the humility to see that these are only parts of a total knowledge. ... But somehow we ought to be able to keep the idea of the totality of experience and knowledge at the back of our minds even though the front's busy from morning til night with the life cycle of the liver fluke.

  • The whole of our civilization is founded on specialization, which implies the enslavement of those who execute to those who coordinate ...

  • Perhaps the inevitable tragedy of our complex civilization is that we must be specialists in our fields — and our fields have become increasingly difficult, so that communication is nearly impossible.

    • Joyce Carol Oates,
    • in Leif Sjoberg, "An Interview With Joyce Carol Oates," Contemporary Literature ()
  • The trouble with specialists is that they tend to think in grooves.