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Sunday, 28 December 2014

Curtiosity about arts, culture and science

Yet another set of unused epigraphs!

Piero della Francesca painted
himself in his Resurrection, in
which he is the guard with a goitre

The division of our culture is making us more obtuse than we need be: we can repair communications to some extent: but, as I have said before, we are not going to turn out men and women who understand as much of their world as Piero della Francesca did of his, or Pascal, or Goethe. With good fortune, however, we can educate a large proportion of our better minds so that they are not ignorant of the imaginative experience, both in the arts and in science, nor ignorant either of the endowments of applied science, of the remediable suffering of most of their fellow humans, and of the responsibilities which, once seen, cannot be denied.
— C. P. Snow (1905 - 1980), The Two Cultures: a Second Look, 1963.

What happens when a new work of art is created is something that happens simultaneously to all works of art which preceded it.
— T. S. Eliot (1888 - 1965

There is a likeness between the creative acts of the mind in art and in science. Yet, when a man uses the word science in such a sentence, it may be suspected that he does not mean what the headlines mean by science.
— Jacob Bronowski (1908 -  ), Science and Human Values, Julian Messner, 1956.

What is the insight with which the scientist tries to see into nature? Can it indeed be called either imaginative or creative? To the literary man the question may seem merely silly. He has been taught that science is a large collection of facts; and if this is true, then the only seeing which scientists need to do is, he supposes, seeing the facts.
— Jacob Bronowski (1908 -  ), Science and Human Values, Julian Messner, 1956.

. . if science were a copy of fact, then every theory would be either right or wrong, and would be so forever. There would be nothing left for us to say but that this is so or not so. No one who has read a page by a good critic or a speculative scientist can ever again think that this barren choice of yes or no is all that the mind offers.
— Jacob Bronowski (1908 -  ), Science and Human Values, Julian Messner, 1956.

There should be no honours for the artist; he has already, in the practice of his art, more than his share of the rewards of life; the honours are pre-empted for other trades, less agreeable and perhaps more useful.
— Robert Louis Stevenson (1850 - 1894), Letter to a Young Gentleman.

When I find myself in the company of scientists, I feel like a shabby curate who has strayed by mistake into a drawing room full of dukes.
— W. H. Auden (1907 - ), 'The Poet and the City', in The Dyer's Hand, Faber, 1963, p. 81.

Couldn't spot Piero above? Here
he is, and the goitre is the lump
in his throat.
At one time, the state of culture in Czechoslovakia was described, rather poignantly, as a 'Biafra of the spirit'. . . I simply do not believe that we have all lain down and died. I see far more than graves and tombstones around me. I see evidence of this in . . . expensive books on astronomy printed in a hundred thousand copies (they would hardly find that many readers in the USA) . . .
— Vaclav Havel, Czech playwright (and later president), 'Six asides about culture' in Living in Truth, Faber 1989, pp. 124-5.
Science is part of culture. Culture isn't only art and music and literature, it's also understanding what the world is made of and how it functions. People should know something about stars, matter and chemistry. People often say that they don't like chemistry but we deal with chemistry all the time. People don't know what heat is, they hardly know what water is./I'm always surprised how little people know about anything. I'm puzzled by it.
— Max Perutz, quoted in New Scientist 26 June 1993, 31.

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