The know-how god and the temptation of specialization

As Mirò argued, preserving the vitality of work involves stopping before becoming an expert. According to the painter, the temptation of specialization would sterilize the processes of research and growth. Throughout his life, Mirò experimented with diverse artistic techniques, exploring new territories such as when he ventured into the studio of the renowned ceramist Artigas. However, Mirò never became an expert and avoided falling into the trap of the ‘Noau God.’

Rudolf Steiner, through anthroposophy, laid the foundations for a renewal of learning. But why could excessive specialization be detrimental? What are the limits of learning and specialization? Know-how, encompassing the skills and competencies necessary for a profession, extends to a person’s education and curriculum.

Know-how plays a significant role, especially in business contexts like business plans and investments. However, over time, what could have been an individual’s knowledge base transformed into the Noau God. Sacrifices are made in its name by entire generations, sparing no facet of their lives. From early education to postgraduate specialization courses, and within every field of work, the concept permeates every aspect where skills are discussed.

In the name of this deity, many facets of the individual are sacrificed, making concepts like happiness, satisfaction, balance, and a sense of completeness taboo. Space for play and enjoyment is increasingly reduced in favor of acquiring specific skills in one’s sector, and for children, hypertrophic education in certain fields.

Building a tailored learning method for individuals is an idea put forth by Rudolf Steiner. His pedagogy has been brought into the 21st century by Van Houten, translating the anthroposophist’s thoughts for businesses and current and future generations of managers. In the book ‘The Formation of Adults through Awakening of the Will,’ Van Houten suggests that to avoid the hardening caused by specialization, it is vital to embed the study of a discipline within a process, following the laws of vital processes.

This articulated didactics allows individuals and groups to know and transform themselves, fostering the development of new skills, the opposite of specialization. In the former, the individual and the subject become one; in the latter, the subject becomes a rigid shell that separates the person from the world, from themselves, hindering future evolution.

Through art, such as painting and sculpting, we might find a key to uncover the New. Art possesses its language, an art language, precisely..


Hi, I’m Manuela, urban potter and Italian artist who’s passionate about exploring the expressive potential of clay. With a love for Wabi Sabi aesthetics and the beauty of imperfection, I create bespoke ceramics, paintings, and fine art photography. My studio, nestled in the charming city of Milan, is a magical box where creativity runs wild and beauty is abundant. Whether you’re looking to bring a touch of magic into your everyday life, or simply to explore your creative side through art therapy I’m here to inspire and encourage you on your journey. I bring art into the world and celebrate the beauty in every moment. This blog is my Artistic Salad, filled with creativity, beauty, joie de vivre, passion and tools for creative minds.

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