“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.” — Robert A. Heinlein
They said, the generalist is gone. We say, the generalist is yet to come. The generalism of the pre-industrial age was no real one, as the world knowledge was quite limited. Now that world knowledge is larger, it becomes clearer what a true generalist might be like. And now that we have computers, it becomes clearer that this is feasible. It is not about knowing everything at every moment and being able to do everything at every moment, as this is physically impossible. But it is about having computers with free software at ones disposal, which serve like a “brain extension”, and to have all the qualifications that are needed to aquire new computer-mediated knowledge and abilities in very short time. These “meta qualifications” were named previously “to know where it is written”, but now this includes also technology use that potentiates abilities. This stuff is the only necessary stuff to be taught in school, instead of factural knowledge. If the “meta qualifications” could be a limited set, and the free software that serves as brain extensions could be comprehensive and well-standardized, that would be great.
Examples: There is no need to be able to draw 3D things by hand, as this ability can be “crystallized” in 3D software. There is just the need to be able to operate 3D software. Likewise with calculations, orthography etc.. However, what also must be included, is the ability to quickly “drill down” and understand and perhaps adapt individual calculations done in the software etc.; being a dumb operator is not being a generalist. But being a “universal scientist, artist, social worker and handicraftsman” is.