The Specialist Society

By Bargo



Specialization has become one of the many banes of modernity. But what in the world is this specialist society? If you read my High Intelligence is Overrated article, you might remember that I said that others and I do everything we can to avoid "worker-bee" jobs, that is, jobs that are hyper-specialized to the point of worthlessness outside of their necessary contexts.

Now that last part isn't always true: oftentimes it can simply be a case of a limited viewpoint brought about by us only seeing one part of the person, and not seeing their other activities. I'm not talking about these people, I'm talking about people who are hyper-specialized in an activity who, as soon as they get home, hop on the couch and watch television until they go to sleep. These people have ONE skill, and its their job; what if their job disappears?

Don't Be a Worker Bee!

If a bee came back from gathering materials for its hive and saw that it was utterly destroyed, the bee would probably be doomed to die. A worker-bee person, or an "expert"/specialist has no clue what to do outside of their job, and if that job goes south, then their left without a paycheck. To avoid such a situation, every person should make it a point to accumulate as many diverse, measurable skills as possible.

I know that last sentence sounds like I'm shilling for a liberal arts education or something, but I mean accumulate skills that you can actually use outside of the "hive" or collective. It never hurts to know another language, how to do basic carpentry, how to fix your car, etc. These are skills that will be useful to anyone who can aquire them even if the collective fell apart.

Specialization Makes You Dependent

I can never say it enough: autonomy is the goal for all free spirits, and autonomy is what occurs when freedom and independence intersect. But guess what? If you're so specialized that you don't exercise other potential skills, then you are almost certainly going to be a dependent on the system. I think looking at the stereotypical city dweller can provide us with some insight: they have one job, useful or not, but they cannot produce anything by living in the city due to a lack of land, and freedom. We're all consumers, that's a fact of life, but if we do not produce anything, then we're consoooomers. Subtle difference, but it makes the difference between the manliest man and the most infantile man, the man and the manlet.

Some will cry, "But Bargo! I make money which I trade for resources, how is that dependent?" Fiat currency has serious issues, as I should hope my readers would know, and ultimately your currency is only useful within the system. Take for example, the American dollar: its useful in America, but its got zero value to nomads in Mongolia, or hunter-gatherer types in the Amazon; heck, it might not even be useful to some people in America who would prefer to barter for an item, or to trade in crypto currency to avoid the centralized currency. Goods however, like farm goods you can produce with the requisite land and assets, are valuable not only to you and your family, but to everyone, thus you have value in your possessions and in your skills. These goods (and even your skills) can be used for bartering even if the currency disappears; after all, that is how economics started in the first place with the barter economy. As a specialist, will you be valuable in this situation if your only skill is using Microshaft Excess? Good luck with that.

Obviously, I've left a little bit of an exception for specialists that are experts in a very useful skill such as farming, but only the smallest wiggle room. While their specialization is extraordinarily useful, it still suffers from being one skill, and like any good financial advisor will tell you, you need to diversify. At this point, I should hope that my dear readers understand that many average skills are better than one great skill from a perspective of independence. Sure, specialization makes sense in a collective: you get the best people for the job, but this severely damages independence, because the individual is left with little to show for himself, but has plenty to show for his respective collective upon which he depends.

Don't Dab on Excellence

All this talk of the idiocy of specialization might lead you to think that excellence is worthless: let me assure you that that is not the case.

specialization != excellence

Specialization is all about the work becoming increasingly specific, not about doing the work well. Excellence is all about doing something, anything really, well with no attitudes towards the specificity of the activity. Just because you're a specialist does not mean you are excellent at your profession, and just because you are excellent in one skill does not mean you are a specialist; you may have other skills. Don't ever think that being specialized means being excellent at the task at hand.

Skills That Are Independent

Here I would like to mention some skills that avoid the problem of specialization, skills that grant the possessor increased autonomy over his fellow consoooomer. Note that if your job is very specialized, you can still acquire skills that are useful if you are in the correct environment i.e. not in a city. It helps to think like a doomsday prepper.

This is, of course, a very incomplete list, but hopefully it demonstrates skills that are useful to the possessor, and not just his CEO.

"But... I'm Comfortable..."

You're on the wrong blog then, puddin'. Stop being selfish for a moment and think of your kids, or your future kids: do you really want to demonstrate that they can simply get by in life by getting a job and trying to live as comfortably as possible? This is some serious boomer-tier idealism that I won't stand, because frankly, its a lifestyle with its entire premise based on staying comfortable until death; truly despicable when you consider what the strong, active, persistent, and autonomous man can accomplish. Carving out a highly specific niche and calling it a life is not good enough for me, and I should hope it isn't good enough for any of my readers. I'll leave you with a quote from Marcus Aurelius (Meditations Book V, no. 1); remember this anytime you feel too comfortable in a specialist position.

"Why then am I dissatisfied if I am going to do the things for which I exist and for which I was brought into the world? Or have I been made for this, to lie in the bed-clothes and keep myself warm? --But this is more pleasant.--Dost thou exist then to take thy pleasure, and not at all for action or exertion?"

Now get out there and learn some new skills. Become as useful to yourself and your family as possible instead of being a specialized consoooomer your whole life; after all that's the goal of the system, and you wouldn't want to play into its hand would you?