In developing yourself and your various capabilities as a person, do you feel that there is a preference for skills of a cerebral nature, physical nature, or technical/vocational?

I mean, is there fundamentally a higher value for abstract intellectual skills, such as being able to do mathematics and computer software programming, versus physical activities such as the proper way to diet and exercise for your good health, versus being able to repair a car if something happens to it?

This is a question that has fascinated me recently. I am wondering which is more important, knowing the finer points of philosophy (which helps teach the meaning of life and ethics and develops your worldview), knowing how to defend yourself in case of a violent confrontation with some guy when you go out somewhere (boxing, wrestling, MMA, etc.), or carpentry (fixing up the house, doing repairs and saving a ton of money, customizing your place).

Interesting question, no?


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The technical/vocational side has always felt the most important to me. 

I think everybody has different leanings. I skew to the brain side of things. But I think what's really important for developing yourself as a person, is learning new things, going outside your own box. One of my friends just finished his undergraduate degree in pure maths, his hobby is rebuilding vintage motorcycles. With just one life, I want to shoot for a well rounded experience.

All of the above.

“A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, control 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

Amen Brother!


Nice quote.

For the most part, I find practical knowledge far more useful than philosophical knowledge.  And, I say this as someone with a wall full of degrees.  I always find amusing people with a working knowledge of higher disciplines, who can spend hours upon hours debating the finer points of science, philosophy and politics ...

... and who can't even change the oil in their car.  I keep picturing the guys from The Big Bang Theory.  Brilliant, but useless.

Bottom line -- figure out which one you're best at ... and focus a bunch of energy on the other one.  If you're a grease-monkey -- bury your head in a book.  If you're an over-educated bookworm -- bury your head in a toolbox.


They aren't useless. Normal people like you just won't feel the impact of their discoveries until ten-twenty-thirty maybe even a hundred years down the road. 

Yes, its an interesting question. 

Personally, i've got the intellectual skills and as I entered mid-life I wished I had more technical skills and it depressed me.  Thanks to the internet and owning an older house, I've gained lots of carpentry, plumbing and electrical skills in recent years and I've also began a woodworking/carving hobby.  I know now that I should have learned a trade after high school. 

I also think the environment you live in can influence the importance of each kind of skill.  In NYC booksmarts might get you ahead, but they won't do you much good if your lost in the Australian outback. 

There is no right answer to this question.

You are a unique combination of genetics and nurture, skill sets and talents. You get to make up your life script, you get to decide how specialized or diversified you need to be.

Whatever brings you joy and satisfaction.

Great Answer.

I spend my working life in front of a computer looking at reports plans etc..

I spend my weekends Camping privately or with the Scouts

I spend any free time on my hobbies such as wood work. the reason why they are my hobbies is because i am not good at them so i learn while working. it is a relief to my brain to focus on something completely different.


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