Posts Tagged ‘divide and conquer’

In the introduction to Hermes: Literature, Science, Philosophy by Michel Serres, the editors (J.V. Harari and D.F. Bell) wrote a lovely sentence about the accumulation of knowledge and its tendency to specialisation.

They point-out how the different disciplines, but especially the distinction between the exact sciences and the humanities, are growing more and more apart. It’s not merely a conceptual distinction. It’s also something that is institutionalised (different faculties) and noticeable in the different books, programs and other stuff. The cause of this division is found in the practical necessity of specialisation due to the accumulating nature of knowledge. This specialisation has achieved great results.

In this context, they write: “divide in order to conquer“.

While this sentence is usually used to express how someone from above creates unnecessary struggles between others, in this case, it are the searchers for knowledge themselves that create such a division among themselves. Next, they managed to conquer a lot more because of this division!

What a fun change of meaning…