Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Common ground

"Both, science and art are not separated from each other. There is even a similarity between them as they help us observe nature”. Cheng-Dau Lee, Nobel laureate in physics

William Morris in his book ‘Signs of Change’, written in 1888, considered the aim of art is the generation of happiness. He was writing as a notable artist, and simplified his day to day mode of activity as a cycle between ‘idleness’ and ‘energy’. He says… “ these two moods are now one, now the other, always crying out in me to be satisfied”. When in the mood of energy we must be be doing something or we become unhappy; when the mood of idleness we become restless and our mind picks up memories of “… the various pictures, pleasant or terrible”, which our experience “have fashioned in it” ' Restlessness makes hapless men and bad citizens. He further supposes that the objective of a work of art is always to please the person who becomes conscious of it when in a mood to idleness. The person thereby becomes happy. ' Regarding the artist the aim of making art is to gives pleasurable satisfaction to our impulse towards energy, and “giving to that energy hope of producing something worth its exercise in the production of happiness in the viewer”.

Science arose to understand and manage the human environment in order to meet our needs and wants. Therefore, regarding the aim of science it is also the generation of happiness but now in our technological society this is taken up from the viewpoint of satisfying wants. On the one hand, there is the utility-maximizer, who has wants and tries to maximise their satisfaction through maximally efficient techniques. On the other, there is the Stoic, who manipulates his wants to achieve maximal satisfaction given the situation. The common ground of the scientist is to isolate an event as a member of a category of events by formulating general laws and pointing to uniformities. The objective is to deduce a theory to picture the processes actually at work in nature.

In their pursuit of happiness, artists and scientists share the following features:
· a capacity for innovation;
· careful observation;
· precision in presenting the outcome of thought;
· a reliance on intuition and inspiration.

The common ground between artists and scientists is the process of creativity.

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