The Sciences should never subvert the Arts

Mr X, a prominent resident volunteer within the community of Y, has been donating up to a total of two thousand dollars to various charitable causes every year, since eight years ago.

‘”Donations to me is a form of altruistic intent and I intend to continue doing so,” Mr X said. “Not only that. I would also like to encourage others to do the same.”

Mr X is among the few locals who have been donating generously for the past years and there has been an increasing rise in the number of such good Samaritans in recent years, thanks to a joint promotional campaign by various charitable organisations that includes Organisation A and Organisation B. “

One can often see  examples of such case studies in the papers and magazines.  In fact, this is a common writing device that journalists and writers employ to start their articles. As the world tightens its grips and fascination with storytelling, the art of storytelling has regrettably, been turned into a science.

While there’s nothing wrong with scientific pursuits, scientific endeavours tend to be formulaic. However, its easy usage in real life applications (think decimals, fractions. percentages, angles etc) due to its structured and rigid formula secures its place and position in society as the primary tool to drive the world’s progress. Nevertheless, there are some domains which science should never intrude and seek to subvert, one of which lies in the arenas of the Arts.

Look at storytelling.

The essence of storytelling lies in one’s ability to imagine, to fantasise, to engage in a dance of emotions. When such arts are relegated to factual reporting or used as case studies for various societal trends or phenomenons, storytelling loses its shine as a tool to inspire and engage. This is not to put down storytelling devices in editorial and journalistic works but rather, a call for writers and journalists to improvise on their writings, to not use storytelling as simply a hook for readers but more as an emotional tool to engage them on a deeper intellectual level that transcends mere academic intelligence.

Look at photography.

If one were to enroll in a photography class, we usually see most of the students lamenting at the tons of technicalities (such as the delicate balance between shutter speed, aperture and ISO)  that one has to plough through, save for the few who are technically-inclined.  And notice how lessons on compositions brighten these students up. All these observation only serve to reinforce the fact that photography is ultimately an artistic dance between the observed and the observe, the noticed and the noticing, the light and the shadows. Science should not intrude into such domains with artificially constructed tools such as the Golden Ration and the Rules of Third. The fact that photos are still able to stand out despite the flouting of these rules bears testament that photography can still stand on the main pillars of  Arts, even if the buttresses of the Sciences are removed. The latter are merely scaffolding that can be discarded.

An interesting highlight will be photos of Henri Cartier-Bresson, whose trademark images seem to be captured at the precise moment. And while these photos adhere to technical specifications at times, the way that the photos are taken seems to imply that intuitive guidance plays a stronger hand.

Nevertheless, I have to admit that in recent years, photo-imaging programmes (such as have – more often than not – provided the finishing touches on an otherwise near-perfect photo.

Not everything in life can be made possible with science. There are areas where the reign of the Arts – or even a subtle infusion of them-  will enable the images to stand out. A delicate balance should be maintained between the Sciences and the Arts, a balance which should never have been tipped.

A primary reason why sciences are highly emphasised in society – besides the credibility it establishes and the consistency of results that it offers –  is because they often generate products and services that can be sold for profit. And what makes Sciences so alluring is the fact that it is an actor who plays many parts. Besides contributing to the main profit mechanism of an organisation (such as the machines that print books in publishing firms and the various transports that enable one to move from one part of town to another for a fee, of course), the sciences also provide support on the periphery of businesses(such as computers to surf the Internet and emails to communicate), thereby enhancing human communications (but not human relations, regrettably) and facilitating business transactions. Thus, the sciences are often especially embraced with lovely, tight hugs in capitalist societies.

All these are well and good. The sciences have their angelic sides. Medical advances have extended human lifespan and prevent/cure many ails of humans. They have enabled one to travel around the world (well, if one is rich enough, that is). It boosts businesses and gets the economy moving (which means generating jobs, a current and recurring issue in modern times). And not forgetting the fact that it has hastened the process of food preparation, thereby enabling food preparation time to be shortened and the quantity produced to increase.

Nevertheless, in the midst of scientific advancement and progress, let us not lose sight of what the Arts had to offer. Because life is not merely made up of formulas and numbers, algorithms and hypotheses. Life is also about poetry and dances, songs and creative choreography, literature and plays (elements that are intricately linked to spirituality – a eroding values in modern times).

This is the reason why Science should never have infringed on the Arts, since the former leverages on logic and reason while the latter derives its inspirations from the more imaginary, flowery, emotional and intuitive world.

The sciences have the ability to structure and expand, while the arts have the power to uplift the human soul and propel us into a higher level of consciousness.

It’s the delicate balance of the two that creates the equilibrium which in turn completes the world.


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