"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."
Let's see which ones I have down --
Diaper? Check. Throw in "give baby a bath" for good measure.
Invasion? insufficient data :)
Balance accounts? Check.
Build a wall? (What kind?) I'll put down "Maybe"
Comfort the dying? I could do that.
Take orders/Give orders: Check
Cooperate/Act alone: Check
Equations? (Again, what kind?) Maybe.
Analyze problem? Check.
Pitch manure? Check.
Write program? Check.
Fight efficiently? Don't know about that one...
Die valiantly? Untested/insufficient data.
I like this quote because I like the idea of the "Renaissance Man". I think that, to a certain extent, we SHOULD have a 12-year-old's knowledge of ALL sciences and disciplines. We can't be a PROFESSIONAL or EXPERT at everything -- but we can know the basics.
Mathematicians are experts; but EVERYONE should be able to solve X + 13 = 20.
Botanists are experts, but everyone should know how fruit is formed on a tree/vine (pollination).
Not everyone is a construction worker, but everyone (even women) should know how to use a shovel, in case they ever NEEDED to.
Astronomers are experts; but everyone should know that the sun rises in the east and sets in the west, and that the sun takes a lower arc during the Winter months.
Chefs/Cooks are experts; but everyone should know the basics, like Tomatoes are acidic and so they bring flavor out of herbs, leach iron out of iron pots, and are easier to preserve because they are acidic.
And so on.
If it takes you a few minutes to learn, why not learn it? EVEN IF it is far, far outside your normal profession.