Do you suppose that specialization and innovation have the sort of relationship that could be graphed as a parabola? That Adam Smith was right to imagine that being able to focus on one process would allow a laborer to master and improve that process, but that at some point the law of diminishing returns hits a wall and bounces back? I'm thinking about the daunting task of becoming an expert on anything these days. It seems you can't exercise any influence until you've spent most of your life indoctrinating yourself with the enormous mass of knowledge on which your innovations are supposed to be built. I made reference earlier to the possibility that we are now able to "construct our essays from paragraphs instead of words" and then later to conversation littered with references from "The Simpsons" - Perhaps there is a way to climb the mountain of knowledge by taking bigger steps through some sort of meta-process of learning. I mean we use words like "paragraph" (para "beside" + graphein "to write") all the time without investigating their inner meanings. Perhaps the broadband revolution, the cut-and-paste, the iMovie, etc. will give us the tools to speak in a higher-level vocabulary. (You know, like artists and musicians have done for centuries)

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