I occasionally look up at one of the countless new skyscrapers rising up on cranes to prop up a grey London winter sky and wonder what it must be like to know how to build such a thing.
Or how quantum mechanics work. Or predict the weather. Or divide a cell.
We all think we know about these things. And we do. A bit.
But most of know precious little in any detail about how the world truly works; we lull ourselves into a false sense of expertise based on what others have actually mastered.
The good news: we're able to collaborate in ways that exponentially exceed our individual capabilities to create, discover and understand.
The bad news: we're blind to our own ignorance.
The secret to our success is our ability to jointly pursue complex goals by dividing cognitive labor. Hunting, trade, agriculture, manufacturing — all of our world-altering innovations — were made possible by this ability.