For the vision of a novelist is both complex and specialised; complex, because behind his characters and apart from them must stand something stable to which he relates them; specialised because since he is a single person with one sensibility the aspects of life in which he can believe with conviction are strictly limited
By 1914, the royal families of Europe were inbred to the point of pantomine. You feel about them as you do about koalas. Nothing so stupid has any right to exist on the planet. On the other hand, they are rather cute, and in grave danger of extinction due to their specialised needs.
Broadly speaking, there are two approaches to crime: the realistically detailed police procedural, usually grim and downbeat, and the more left-field, joyous theatre of ideas in which past masters once specialised. Knowing that I would never be able to handle the former, I set about reviving the latter.
I have always had the feeling that organic chemistry is a very peculiar science, that organic chemists are unlike other men, and there are few occupations that give more satisfactions [sic] than masterly experimentation along the old lines of this highly specialised science.
Lawrence Joseph Henderson
One of the differences between now and then is that the idea of body image is a much bigger issue now. Back then, just being kind of heavy and barrel-chested passed for heroic. Now, you wouldn't dare to play a hero without a lot of dieting and various specialised abdomen machines. But that was one of the things which was interesting about it and I did want to portray because there's good and bad.
The essence of spirituality does not consist in a specialised or narrow interest in some imagined part of life, but in a certain enlightened attitude to all the various situations which obtain in life. It covers and includes the whole of life. All the material things of this world can be made subservient to the divine game, and when they are thus subordained they become auxiliary to the self-affirmation of the spirit.
If I ask you who is the most famous scientist who ever lived, or the greatest scientist who ever lived you'll say either Einstein or Newton or something like that because their claims were supposed to apply universally. But the claim of somebody who is studying a particular feature of the evolutionary process like whether it's very fast or very slow, or occurs in steps and so on, that's not a universal claim, that's a rather specialised claim and so you can't claim to great fame and great success.
There were adventure stories supplied with cloths for mopping your brow, thrillers containing pressed leaves of soothing valerian to be sniffed when the suspense became too great, and books with stout locks sealed by the Atlantean censorship authorities ("Sale permitted, reading prohibited!"). One shop sold nothing but 'half' works that broke off in the middle because their author had died while writing them; another specialised in novels whose protagonists were insects. I also saw a Wolperting shop that sold nothing but books on chess and another patronised exclusively by dwarfs with blond beards, all of whom wore eye-shades.
The whole tendency of modern life is towards scientific planning and organisation, central control, standardisation, and specialisation. If this tendency was left to work itself out to its extreme conclusion, one might expect to see the state transformed into an immense social machine, all the individual components of which are strictly limited to the performance of a definite and specialised function, where there could be no freedom because the machine could only work smoothly as long as every wheel and cog performed its task with unvarying regularity. Now the nearer modern society comes to the state of total organisation, the more difficult it is to find any place for spiritual freedom and personal responsibility. Education itself becomes an essential part of the machine, for the mind has to be as completely measured and controlled by the techniques of the scientific expert as the task which it is being trained to perform.
Christopher Henry Dawson
Modern industrial civilisation has developed within a certain system of convenient myths. The driving force of modern industrial civilisation has been individual material gain, which is accepted as legitimate, even praiseworthy, on the grounds that private vices yield public benefits in the classic formulation. Now, it's long been understood very well that a society that is based on this principle will destroy itself in time. It can only persist with whatever suffering and injustice it entails as long as it's possible to pretend that the destructive forces that humans create are limited: that the World is an infinite resource, and that the World is an infinite garbage-can. At this stage of History, either one of two things is possible: either the general population will take control of its own destiny and will concern itself with community-interests, guided by values of solidarity and sympathy and concern for others; or, alternatively, there will be no destiny for anyone to control. As long as some specialised class is in a position of authority, it is going to set policy in the special interests that it serves. But the conditions of survival, let alone justice, require rational social planning in the interests of the community as a whole and, by now, that means the Global Community. The question is whether privileged elites should dominate mass-communication, and should use this power as they tell us they must, namely, to impose necessary illusions, manipulate and deceive the stupid majority, and remove them from the public arena. The question, in brief, is whether Democracy and Freedom are values to be preserved or threats to be avoided. In this possibly-terminal phase of human existence, Democracy and Freedom are more than values to be treasured, they may well be essential to survival.