I think it is wonderful to have a passion for a profession and become a specialist in a particular field, but I find it not only frustrating but harmful when our categorization of knowledge and education inhibits interdisciplinary connections. For example, I’ve found that learning about the agricultural industry - which really has nothing to do with my major or future career - has enriched my understanding on both a personal and professional level, both as a consumer and an immigrant advocate. In another case, my philosophy professor informed me this week that discussing the hierarchy of man, animals, and nature according to culture or world view is not pertinent in our ethics class, because the concept characterizes a separate branch of philosophy called metaphysics. I believe that the ability to find “common denominators” across disciplines - or see what we all share - is essential for compromise, collaboration no matter our differences (of which there are seemingly many), and ultimately respect and appreciation for diversity. In my college classes we have studied authors from previous centuries who were engineers, inventors, politicians, philosophers, and much more, all in one individual! Yet we look at our leaders today, and their degrees and areas of “expertise” are largely homogeneous.
I believe that the illusion of division is the greatest challenge facing humanity and the world today - whether it be division of peoples or knowledge - and that the cultivation of skills which take advantage of diversity and bring our world together, instead of further apart, is absolutely vital.