The Artistic Science

Breaking the Bars of Science and Art

Living Skilfully – The Artistic Science

As a physicist I have two options in life: to pursue fact – seeing the universe in black and white where everything comes with a yes or no answer; or to pursue truth – acknowledging the realms indescribable by science and to view our cosmos in a haze of colour. Both methods have positives and negatives; they may even initially seem similar but are fundamentally different.

The former allows us to fully grasp our area of research, to essentially box up each segment of reality into an understandable and potentially controllable sub-section. However the ‘black & white’ scientist will never truly appreciate what he is viewing. He will obtain results which will vastly further the cause of science and can be used to benefit humanity, but he will never see the beauty of it – as beauty is meaningless to him. Furthermore, though he avoids the distraction of the arts, he will never be able to put the puzzle of our world together because he’s missing half of the pieces.

The latter enables more creativity; to explore more controversial and original ideas. Yet this creativity also disrupts our clarity, causing confusion and sometimes a lack of direction. Freed from the single dimension of the physical we can explore the realms of the emotional, the relational, the concepts of beauty and philosophy – our universe has exponentially increased and with it, our potential. This allows us to truly embrace the meaning of science and moreover how it fits into life as a whole. Through such artistic science, instead of disregarding the arts we see where these dimensions overlap and how they can complement one another. Understanding the nature of humanity and the world we live in yields profound insight into how we do science today and moreover how we live our lives.

I would like to find out what it really means to explore our world, to approach learning, describing and creating in their purest forms – outside of the lines we’ve drawn around them. Questions race through my mind: How do we live skilfully? How do we take every opportunity, every experience, every thought captive and turn them to living life to its fullest? No longer should we remain bound by the chains that keep us in our one-dimensional thought. Like a painter using only one colour, we are lost without contrast, without the weaving of hue and shade. Science, literature, music, philosophy, all these things are beautiful but alone they are simply a single stroke of the brush, a lonely fleck of paint, on what could be a masterpiece.

No matter who or what you are the challenge is this: Will you seek to make your passion, your life, all that it can be?  Or will you continue painting in a single shade?

This blog is my journey on what it is to be an artistic scientist – to live life skilfully. I don’t claim to have any great knowledge or wisdom as yet, but I hope you’ll come with me in seeking it out. Please feel free to comment your thoughts and views on this as we go along.

Reality is far greater than we think.

(Image courtesy of NASA)

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6 thoughts on “Living Skilfully – The Artistic Science

  1. DavesFirstCommenter on said:

    You suggest at the start that you must chose one of the options but not both. That to pursue fact implicitly implies the lack of admiration of that fact. Do you not think it is possible to pursue fact, aquiring yes or no, black or white answers while still appreiciating the beauty involved? Take stars, for example. Star are beautiful. And the idea that all that light, all that beauty from around the night sky comes from pairs of little tiny atoms fusing together is a beautiful one, but it is also fact, and that fact is black and white (mainly white, in this case).

    • Thanks for the feedback, very happy to answer questions! In order to answer this we’ll have to look a bit deeper into ‘fact’ and ‘truth’.

      The latter option, the pursuit of truth does not exclude fact but is fact+. Let me explain: Fact alone would be able to describe a star, its luminescence, its temperature, its distance etc. but it would never be able to see a star as ‘beautiful’ as this is unquantifiable. It’s unlikely you’ll meet many pure ‘black & white’ scientists as to be so unfeeling is contrary to human nature, but there are many who fail to see how the observation of beauty can be beneficial to science. To dismiss such observations is to pursue fact alone, which does allow a less cluttered and straightforward form of research, but also cuts out possible benefit from any of the other ‘dimensions’ of thought.

      However if one chooses to embrace this beauty – not simply to acknowledge it as one’s own subjective view, but to allow it to inspire one’s research and utilise relevant disciplines and techniques – then they are pursuing truth. This is messy, time consuming and can be confusing, but ultimately will yield far greater results which are more applicable to life as a whole and come closer to a ‘theory of everything’.

      In short I refer to the pursuit of fact as only recognising the quantifiable and provable whereas the pursuit of truth utilises other schools of thought. I’m aware the semantics might be a little opaque – you could write a whole other article on how we define truth (which I probably will at some point) – but I hope that helps for now.

  2. Marissa Pendlebury on said:

    These words are beautiful Dave, but not only in their clarity, but also their meaningful vitality for inspiring the openness of the closed minds of so many. If we could only come to see how segregating the arts of human knowledge not only limits its expansion, but also shadows its beauty, who knows how many colours we could mix and contrast by awakening this new world. As you have spoken, lets dare to paint outside the lines, in different inks, whilst double dipping the paintbrush every now and then. But, perhaps more importantly, lets use different paintbrushes and the hands of many painters

    Look forward to seeing the development of your journey

    Good Luck


  3. Hi! I think that your marriage of science and art and your concepts of them are brilliant! Keep up the good work! (Of cource I am a bit biased as I love science too!)

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