Right away I found that all the facts in life and nature are correlated; I saw that this specialty of mine, that you might think didn’t amount to much and that any first-rate gardener could contrive, was sort of a cross-country trip through the whole field of natural science. To arrive anywhere you needed something more than a definite idea of your destination – you needed a diagram of the lay of the land all around. But that is true generally; it is something all of us, no matter what our job in life may be, might be better off considering. Because you can not judge a man, for instance, by studying him alone, or even by studying man alone; you cannot know much about an elephant by studying elephants alone; you have to learn about habitats and tendencies and surroundings and about the things on which the individual is dependent and which go to make him and his actions possible or necessary, as the case may be. You cannot become an authority on grasses – the grasses fit to eat and those not fit to eat (all grasses fit to eat have seeds) – just from studying grasses. No the fact is that you cannot see all of the facts about anything by just looking at that thing itself. To learn part of the essential truth about grasses, for instance, you have to study the cow.
Luther Burbank – excerpt from Harvest of the Years