An interesting read for memorial day. http://www.newcriterion.com/articles.cfm/Future-tense--IX--Out-of-the-wilderness-7357
It's rather lengthy, stick it out to the end or read it in chunks.
The first disadvantage is in the motivation to take on the intense and unremitting effort that is typically required to do great things. This is one of the most overlooked aspects of great accomplishment. Fame can come easily and overnight, but excellence is almost always accompanied by a crushing workload. Psychologists have put specific dimensions to this aspect of accomplishment. One thread of this literature, inaugurated in the early 1970s by Herbert Simon, argues that expertise in a subject requires a person to assimilate about 50,000 “chunks” of information about the subject over about ten years of experience—simple expertise, not the mastery that is associated with great accomplishment. Once expertise is achieved, it is followed by thousands of hours of practice, study, and labor.
The final profound paragraph:
Humans are ineluctably drawn to fundamental questions of existence. “Why is there something rather than nothing?” is one such question. “What does it mean to live a good life?” is another. The elites who shape the milieu for America’s high culture have managed to avoid thinking about those fundamental questions for a century now. Sooner or later, they’ll find it too hard.