It’s been said that teachers teach because they cannot do. Though I could argue that oversimplified point endlessly, the thought that lies under this sentiment, does have some merit. Some of us tend to conceptualize and others tend be the boots on the ground to test the plan. If the plan is sound, and fortune is on their side, the battle is won. If the plan was ill conceived soldiers pay with their lives and generals get replaced. In the basic sciences, as in physics, there exist Theorists, who develop hypotheses, and the Empiricists, who prove or disprove them. Some of us tend towards thinking and others towards doing. In the end this arrangement is a good one as it affords the spectrum of human tendency and expression to be actualized and in the end we all benefit.
The corollary here, in more general terms, can be observed in many different ways. Introvert/Extrovert, Internal/External, Idealist/Realist, Spiritualist/Materialist, Right Brain/Left Brain, Analytical/Emotional, Science/Religion, etc. All of these contrasting ideas really just highlight the extremes of the range of human thought and consequent behavior. Though the tendency of man, since time immemorial, has been to clutch to one side of the spectrum or the other for security and identity, the ideal is to assimilate the full spectrum of thought, to be balanced.
Polarized metals tend to behave quite predictably, as all of the atoms line up in the same direction. This is also true with conditioned mice, as shown over and again, in any number of behavioralist psychology experiments. BF Skinner, the preeminent Harvard Behavioralist, professed and demonstrated that he could, given certain known conditions, predict human behavior with an uncanny accuracy. The thing is though, we are human! We do not have to behave as we are conditioned, we are endowed with a conscious awareness. We can think about our own thinking. This gift provides us hope and inspiration, without it we toil, we cope, we make do, we exist.
There exists a generalized malaise out there. We have replaced our deepest needs, of meaning and the belief that there is something beyond our mundane existence, with distractions and a pleasure seeking. We have become far too externally focused, and in the process, we have lost our selves and our direction as a species. Working for the weekend, endless conversations about the next latest and greatest, and complaining about this or that, that is outside the scope of our control, has captured and trapped our collective spirit and soul!
It sounds so banal but it really is all about balance. If we choose to follow the masses, we not only acquiesce our minds, hearts and selfs, we will necessarily choose imbalance. The highest path is not to be the best Theorist, or the best Empiricist, but to be the best you can be, by conceptualizing your best self and strapping up your boots to test it out.