Wednesday, November 10, 2004


I used to complain, to a much older and wiser friend, that I hated the way my mind works.

"I'm a dabbler. I skip from thing to thing, and I never finish. I can't concentrate on any one thing long enough to attain some kind of rigorous understanding and depth; I just have all of these bits and pieces of things floating around in my head all the time. Why can't I just concentrate?" (Of course I know the answer to that now.)

She replied, "You're a generalist." I must have given her a look of skepticisim, because she went on, "Yes, there is a word for how you operate. It's not a flaw. It's a difference. And people who think the way you do are, in fact, needed."

I couldn't accept the fact that my own modus operandi was valid and useful, without also generalizing that idea to all other ways of thinking. But, then, that's what being a generalist means. And generalism is coming more into favor as time passes, and the worldwide flux of information shows no signs of slowing. We're needed, to make patterns, to skip lightly over the top of all of this informative matter and produce something (more or less) coherent from it. Bloggers are often generalists, but not always. Many of my favorites are actually specialists, and there's nothing so delightful to a flighty generalist as a deeply entrenched specialist who has lots of data to stitch together in new and attractive patterns.

But, in celebration of generalists:

I found Creative Generalist today on blogspot, and was pleased to see I'm not alone. You should go check it out; some interesting things to see there.

I followed a couple of links, and found this: Cooking for Engineers. Watch out for cooking metaphors in my philosophical blatherings as time passes. Yes, I cook. I'm a generalist! I do almost everything! Not well, but hey, it takes all kinds to make a blogosphere.

While you're surfing, check this out: music and the brain. I'll find a way to stitch all of this together later.