A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.
He tells of one night when his niece slept over at his house and set out a little photo of her dog, Pepper. Why, he asks, when your phone has dozens of such pictures? The point of the phone, she says, isn’t to be a picture of Pepper, “while the point of the picture of Pepper is to be a picture of Pepper.” Physical objects possess richly specific, intrinsic characters, and can be repositories of meaning in ways that a powerful portal to the entire world cannot manage.