Some laymen are very fond of deprecating the work of specialists, holding that specialisation tends to narrowness, to inability to see more than one side of a question.
It is, of course, true that the specialist tends to “go off at a tangent” on his particular subject, and even to treat with contempt or opposition the views of other specialists who differ from him. But all work that is worth doing is attended by its own peculiar dangers. It is here that the work of the non-specialist comes in. It is for him to compare the opposing views of the specialists, to reveal one in the light thrown by the other, to help into existence the new truth waiting to be born of the meeting of opposites.
Specialisation spells division of labour, and apart from division of labour certain great work can never be done. To do away with such division, supposing an impossibility to be possible, would simply mean primitive savage. But we have no call to attempt the abolition of even the minutest division of labour. What is necessary is to understand and guard against its dangers.
Specialisation may lead to madness, as electricity may lead to death. But no specialist need go far astray who, once in a while, will make an honest attempt to come to an understanding with the man whose views are diametrically opposed to his own. For thus he will retain elasticity of brain, and gain renewed energy for, and perhaps fresh light on, his own problems.—[Eds.]CAMPING OUT. IV. The Five-Foot Sausage.
The question of blankets and mattresses may be taken as settled. We can now sleep quite comfortably, take our fresh air sleeping and waking, and find shelter when it rains. But that same fresh air brings appetite and we must see how that appetite is to be appeased.
Take a frying-pan. It should be of aluminium for lightness; though a good stout iron one will help you make good girdle-cakes, if you get it hot and drop the flour paste on it. You must find some other way of making girdle-cakes, and if you take an iron frying pan with you, don't say that I told you to.
Though it is obviously necessary that a frying-pan should have a handle, I was bound to tell Gertrude that I do not find it convenient to take handled saucepans when I go camping. I take for all boiling purposes, including the making of tea, what is called a camp-kettle. Most ironmongers of any standing seem to keep it, and those who have it not in stock can show you an illustration of it in their wholesale list. It is just like the pot in which painters carry their paint, except that it has an ordinary saucepan lid. You should have a “nest” of these—that is, three in diminishing sizes going one inside the other. The big lid then fits on the outer one and the two other lids have to be carried separately.
You hang these camp-kettles over the fire by their bucket handles, from the tripod or other means of getting over the fire. Sometimes the bough of a tree high out of the reach of the flames will do. Sometimes a stick or oar thrust into the bank or in a crevice of the wall behind the fire is more convenient than a tripod. Again, you can do without any hanging at all, making a little fireplace of bricks or stones and standing the saucepans “on the hob.”
It is a simple thing to tie the tops of three sticks together and make a tripod. Then from the place where they join you dangle a piece of string, pass it through the handle of the kettle and tie it to itself, in a knot that can be adjusted up or down to raise or lower the kettle from the fire. This knot is our old friend the two half-hitches. Pass the loose end round the down cord, letting it come back under the up cord, then round again with the same finish, and lo! the up cord makes two half-hitches round the down cord. You can slip, them up and put them where you like and they will hold, but you have to undo them to take the kettle clean away from the fire....