Alan wonders whether one person can be two things in this post. My take would be a resounding yes, with a few caveats attached. But how the world defines expertise and judges the person is quite another thing. The capitalist viewpoint of the world places emphasis on generating value using the skill of the person. Hence I believe the need to specialize, because more thinly spread one’s attention correspondingly lesser value is delivered or at least that’s how the conventional understanding goes.
This single minded attention goes deep but does not take into account the intangibles that go into producing a beautiful or perfect piece of work. Who would have known that Alexander‘s book on buildings would inspire computer architects to identify, classify and disseminate design patterns? Or that Pythogoras dabbling in music would uncover the laws of harmonics?
Focus demands the exclusion of everything else and therein is the rub, who knows what factors would have contributed to a better outcome.
My experience is this: Every detour I have taken, and continue to take, enriches me in ways that I cannot put a milestone flag on! Nothing seems to go waste in the cosmic economy of things.
Looked at in another way it seems that the more different my interests are the deeper I have to go in to find a corresponding resonance in me and it almost always boils down to universals, like the sense of proportion and perfection. And universals invariably help across domains.