In Emerson's "The American Scholar" (1837),

he describes how people working by themselves, without a connection to the rest of humanity, become “monsters.”

The gods of some origin myths, Emerson says, did not create Adams and Eves, or individual humans with separate identities and functions, but one integrated humanity. The gods decided to

…[divide] Man into men, that he might be more helpful to himself; just as the hand was divided into fingers, the better to answer its end. [For this reason] … you must take the whole society to find the whole man. Man is not a farmer, or a professor, or an engineer, but he is all. Man is priest, and scholar, and statesman, and producer, and soldier. In the divided or social state, these functions are parcelled out to individuals, each of whom aims to do his stint of the joint work, whilst each other performs his. …the individual, to possess himself, must sometimes return from his own labor to embrace all the other laborers.

But unfortunately, this original unit, this fountain of power, has been so distributed to multitudes, has been so minutely subdivided and peddled out, that it is spilled into drops, and cannot be gathered. The state of society is one in which the members have suffered amputation from the trunk, and strut about so many walking monsters, a good finger, a neck, a stomach, an elbow, but never a man.

I contend that wiki-ing may be able to keep us from the isolation of specialization and over-individualization. I’ve seen teachers get that way. Wiki-ing allows them to be more personable through their machines. It provides humans with that common place where the separate parts of the species freely achieve greater efficiencies.

I think a wiki can save a person from becoming a lonely monster.

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