We Europeans take to Descartes with all the abandon of an alcoholic and a brewery. Result: methodical doubt and reductionism kick off modern scientific method. Turn the process of innovation into a noodler’s paradise, and drive us all deep into the fissures and cracks of specialist data, so deep in the long run, we start to lose site of where we are, because pretty soon back then, the reductionist mission statement becomes the one that has driven innovation and expertise of any kind ever since then. Learn more and more about less and less. Like a pal of mine at Oxford who got his Doctorate in the seventeenth century poet John Milton’s use of the comma. He is now Head of Department at a senior American University, because he did what reductionism requires you to do to get ahead: make your specialist niche so small there’s only room in there for you. And then explain yourself only in your own gobbledygook. In this way, you are incomprehensible and therefore irreplaceable.
— James Burke, dConstruct 2012