It's actually something I've found myself thinking before, although not necessarily about academics since I don't have the opportunity to mix with them. Quite frequently, I see people have a strong approach to thinking critically and analytically about one very small area they're passionate about, but then fail to apply the knowledge they have there to any other domain. In fact, they will fanatically resist applying their strongly held ideas from their preferred field to other parts of life.What I find depressing about a lot of academia is you have people who think very scientifically about their research, but then their life is just something totally different. Or they talk about politics, and they’ll be just like anyone else, not very analytical or very scientific. So the idea that, if you believe something, at least try to see it through: What else does it imply? What else does it imply for all other things I believe in life? And then allow that to have feedback into your research.
I think most of us here (given the subject matter of this forum) see this quite clearly with the kind of people who will bargain and optimize expenditure on one particular area of their life - I don't know, getting the best deal on a used car for example, or shopping around for insurance. But then they will massively resist the idea that one could optimize expenditure in other areas, such as grocery shopping or mobile phone purchases.
Perhaps this is sitting at the top of my mind because I was recently reading something of Robert Twigger's on Polymathics and how knowledge from one domain should be allowed to benefit your learning and way of thinking about apparently unrelated domains.
Would any of you like to discuss 1) in a self-critical way, do you see yourself doing this in any area? Are you passionate about thinking clearly and analytically about one thing but then think impulsively, or incoherently, or generically, in another area which could benefit from the same kind of analysis? And 2) outside of the realm of consumer culture/expenditure optimization, which is de rigueur for these forums, can you think of other common examples of this kind of failing you see in others?