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the Hard Way
Eventually, real life knocks hard enough that you let it in.
Science is scalpel, Art is a Swiss army knife 
24th-Aug-2008 08:21 pm
Science compared to art. The two spheres are complementary but often seem to have conflicting goals.

Science pursues decomposition, to establish separate categories for each phenomenon encountered. It seeks to categorize and organize to enhance understanding. An example of this is the periodic table. Each element has a specific name, weight, main effect, etc.

More abstractly, science attempts to establish that each phenomenon has exactly one cause. It seeks to then name this cause. Again, we see the proof of this tendency in the exhaustive language of science, where each abstract element of the system has it's own name, be it a Latin name of a zoological creature or a chemical compound (sooo many names).

Art, on the other hand, is less concerned with boiling down results to one cause and identifying it. Indeed, it celebrates multi-faceted abstract concepts that defy simple categorization. It is often seen to be an example of the artist's skill when they combine many different interpretations into one work of art; just one meaning would be seen as an inferior work of art. They rather view it as a geometric progression; the more different meanings one can stuff into a work of art, the more critically successful the work is. An example of this is writing; words are abstractions that contain many different connotations and thus layers of meaning. Artist love to throw together different abstract concepts and seek meaning and beauty in the overlap. This is partly why myths carry such power; they deal with multiple meanings and lessons, not just the immediate one. If the author was interested in just one meaning, they would write a technical manual.

Indeed, this is why human languages are decried as not being specific enough for science and math. They are too ambiguous, cry the scientists, have too many meanings to effectively hold a technical discussion without confusion.

So, science seeks to simplify, art to complicate. Science is order, art is chaos. Science is man, art is nature. Science is Republican, art is Democrat. Science is a specialized surgical tool, art is a Swiss army knife.

Of course, both science and art don't fit into these simplistic definitions even close to all the time. Don't feel like throwing out examples right now though. Ouch, standing!

Goddamn it. I have the concepts, I just don't have the artistic skill to arrange them into a meaningful, cohesive or attractive arrangement. Bah. More work to do.


In other news, I'm busy lolling around and not doing a damn thing. Seriously. I need to schedule a dental cleaning, but I can't do it at PSU because I won't be taking enough credits next term to qualify. So I need to find a reliable local dentist in PDX. I'm sure there are tons. Tomorrow.

I've ordered these (http://www.zetronix.com/product_info.php?products_id=62) so I can lay down and still Internet (and game). That way I don't have to stand up and hurt my ankle or sit down and hurt my back. One more month to get healed up completely!
30th-Aug-2008 12:29 am (UTC)
Of course language is so unsuited for science - it is born of art: the art of the politician, the historian, the shaman, the storyteller.

I think I can see what you're seeing. You have explained this better than you realized.
30th-Aug-2008 11:07 pm (UTC)
Thanks dude. :) It does seem a little clearer when I read it now.
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