Sunday, August 29, 2010

arts and science 2?

I have written on this subject before, and this post is inspired by listening to a program on NPR, in which they were discussing the varying intersections between what they perceived as separate disciplines, the arts and science. These guys were serious, but missing the whole point.

I have been reading Ivan Illich's book Tools for Conviviality and he recognizes one of the necessary shifts toward the restoration of Conviviality and restoration of celebratory spirit in human culture involves the Demythologization of Science. The idea is not to knock science from its lofty position but to make it more accessible to all men. If you've been reading here for a long time, you may remember my discussion of Admiral Beaufort If not, click on the preceding link.

This causes me to reflect, not only on tools for conviviality, but also upon instruments of scientific conviviality. How do we design instruments that bring the common man into the fields and folds of scientific exploration?

It seems the answer to that has always been in our hands. While on NPR, and in the eyes of most observers, the arts and science are two estranged disciplines, for the craftsman in his or her exploration of material properties and the capacities of tools and applied attention to change them, there is very little perceptible difference from what one might do in a laboratory, except that the artist or craftsman has a tangible product to put on the table as evidence of learning. It could be stated that science and the arts arose simultaneously from the creative life of man, and while we can build artificial intellectual constructs separating the two, diminishing the perceived value of one to enhance the other, both suffer from the separation. We all suffer from the perceived estrangement of science from the arts.

The illustration above is the hand of God touching that of man. Which would you say represents the arts and which science? Which is god? Do you sense in the painting that man is lazy and his finger is less than eager to touch his own creative power? Can that be the reticence of science to acknowledge its origins in the arts? The real power to bring change lies in the arts for it was from the arts that science arose in the first place and it is through individual craftsmanship that science arises as curiosity in each child.

Is this such a hard thing for anyone to understand?

In the meantime, a lawsuit maintaining that a South Korean video game software maker is responsible for a 51 year old American's debilitating video game addiction is being allowed to go forward in American courts.
Craig Smallwood says "Lineage II" left him unable to function independently in daily activities, such as getting dressed, bathing or communicating with family and friends.

Smallwood says he's spent more than 20,000 hours playing the multiplayer online role-playing game since 2004. He says NCSoft Corp. never warned him about the danger of game addiction.
Do you think he will be able to get dressed and show up for court? It is a sad case. Maybe his mother will help. According to the ten thousand hour rule, (mentioned by both Malcolm Gladwell and Richard Sennett) it can take 10,000 hours to master a craft, and this poor man could have chosen to do something much more meaningful with his life (and with his hands).

On a more important subject, a friend, Elliot Washor has published an article on Huffington Post, High School Education: Multiple Pathways and Student Choice The article addresses the two tier pathway which isolates those going to college from those involved in career and technical education. Elliot states, "The caste system is defunct. Let's get over it." Check out the article. It is a good read.

1 comment:

Wyman Stewart said...

I sometimes feel we are all at war with each other.

At least my computer allowed me to read this post. For a few hours my computer has been user friendly again. Can't say the same for mankind.