It could be said that one entire book of Barfield's,
Apart: A Dialogue of the Sixties, is about specialization,
for this Socratic dialogue was inspired by a confessed concern over the
inability of the "worlds apart" specialists in all the current disciplines
of intellectual inquiry to talk to one another.
"What struck me so forcibly, and not for the
first time," Burgeon explains, relating how he had been moved to arrange
the colloquy imaginatively recorded in Worlds Apart,
was that a new book on any subject--history,
philosophy, science, religion, or what have you--is always dealt with by
a specialist in that subject. This may be fairest from the author's point
of view, but it conveys a disagreeable impression of watertight compartments.
. . . It wasn't that people can think at once
and confidently and oppositely about almost everything that matters--though
that too, can sometimes be a sobering reflection. It wasn't that they disagreed.
I wished they did. What was biting me was the fact that these minds never
met at all. . . . (9-10)
In that book Barfield has Brodie, a physical scientist,
lament: "I'm just thinking of what's been going on among the physicists.
The old Lord Chief Justice [Bacon] defined a specialist
as 'a man who knows more and more about less and less.' But some among
us are beginning to wonder if he isn't a man who knows less and less about
less and less!" (17).
|See in particular
Worlds Apart, passim.