Scholar Of The Connected Mind
It's the kind of scholarship Alan Jacobs wants to do:
We need some faculty who are irresponsible to their disciplines and responsible first to integrating and connecting knowledge. This is a precise and concise summation of what I’ve tried to do for many years now. There’s a price to be paid for this kind of thing, of course: expanded interests do not yield expanded time. The day’s number of hours remain constant, and then there's the matter of sleep. So the more I explore topics, themes, books, films whatever outside the usual boundaries of my official specialization, the less likely it is that I will read every new article, or even every new book, in “my field.”
...Is the unswerving focus on a specifically bounded area of specialization the sine qua non of scholarship? Is it even intrinsic to scholarship? Is there not another model of scholarship whose primary activity is “integrating and connecting knowledge”? I think there is such a model, and I think it deserves to be called scholarship, but I’m not going to fight about the point. Call it what you want, it’s what I love to do, and God willing, I’ll be looking for new and interesting connections for the rest of my life.
This is why, when I entertain my habitual urge to drop this blog and retreat into a private space and read books for a few years, I hesitate. How could I find a way to learn from books what Dish readers inform me about on an hourly basis? How would I sustain the constant energy that interaction and debate provoke as opposed to solitude and walking around in one's own thoughts?
Yes, they are different; and vive la difference. But I remain unsure of where this collective mind model will take us, and whether one day it will utterly supplant the old model of thinking. So I hang in, pursuing the intimations, wondering what they will bring.