The Mentat Must be a Generalist

Above all else, the mentat must be a generalist, not a specialist. It is wise to have decisions of great moment monitored by generalists. Experts and specialists lead you quickly into chaos. They are a source of useless nit-picking, the ferocious quibble over a comma. The mentat-generalist, on the other hand, should bring to decision-making a healthy common sense. He must not cut himself off from the broad sweep of what is happening in his universe. He must remain capable of saying: "There's no real mystery about this at the moment. This is what we want now. It may prove wrong later, but we'll correct that when we come to it." The mentat-generalist must understand that anything which we can identify as our universe is merely a part of larger phenomena. But the expert looks backward; he looks into the narrow standards of his own specialty. The generalist looks outward; he looks for living principles, knowing full well that such principles change, that they develop. It is to the characteristics of change itself that the mentat-generalist must look. There can be no permanent catalogue of such change, no handbook or manual. You must look at it with as few preconceptions as possible, asking yourself: "Now what is this thing doing?"


Sounds like the fox and the hedgehog.

Folksonomies: fox hedgehog dichotomies

/business and industrial/business operations/human resources (0.613047)
/society/crime/personal offense/homicide (0.499786)
/science (0.415423)

healthy common sense (0.916234 (positive:0.603925)), Generalist Sounds (0.794491 (positive:0.463832)), ferocious quibble (0.713817 (negative:-0.781462)), great moment (0.713724 (positive:0.770857)), broad sweep (0.703506 (neutral:0.000000)), real mystery (0.681936 (negative:-0.580104)), larger phenomena (0.681708 (neutral:0.000000)), narrow standards (0.665058 (negative:-0.344673)), permanent catalogue (0.663723 (negative:-0.342745)), mentat (0.617325 (positive:0.463832)), universe (0.515260 (neutral:0.000000)), principles (0.495541 (positive:0.382196)), generalists (0.486564 (positive:0.770857)), preconceptions (0.484005 (neutral:0.000000)), comma (0.479483 (negative:-0.781462)), hedgehog (0.476471 (positive:0.463832)), change (0.474294 (negative:-0.063708)), chaos (0.463832 (positive:0.565484)), specialist (0.463819 (negative:-0.396580)), decisions (0.463551 (positive:0.770857)), fox (0.462686 (positive:0.463832)), Experts (0.459487 (positive:0.565484)), specialists (0.459437 (positive:0.565484)), thing (0.459361 (neutral:0.000000)), source (0.457582 (negative:-0.838577)), hand (0.456774 (neutral:0.000000)), handbook (0.453788 (negative:-0.407859))

Decision making (0.929339): dbpedia | freebase
English-language films (0.772603): dbpedia
Universe (0.699047): dbpedia | freebase
Physics (0.692069): dbpedia | freebase | opencyc
Reality (0.686463): dbpedia | freebase
2000 albums (0.672836): dbpedia
The Narrow (0.641785): dbpedia | freebase | yago
Expert (0.640920): dbpedia | freebase | opencyc

 Children of Dune
Books, Brochures, and Chapters>Book:  Herbert, Frank (2008-06-03), Children of Dune, Penguin, Retrieved on 2014-03-22
  • Source Material []
  • Folksonomies: fiction


    22 MAR 2014

     Orders of Mental Discipline

    Fictional and real: mentats, maesters, stoics, confucians, vulcans, psyches... scientists.