Two cultures

Someone at some point started sending me Seed magazine. I’m still grateful every time a copy reaches me. Thank you, whoever you are.

The Dec. 2007 edition includes Jonah Lehrer’s “The Future of Science…Is Art?.”

[O]ur sciences must get past their present limitations. How can we make this happen? My answer is simple: Science needs the arts. We need to find a place for the artist within the experimental process . . . . The current constraints of science make it clear that the breach between our two cultures is not merely an academic problem that stifles conversation at cocktail parties. Rather, it is a practical problem, and it holds back science’s theories. If we want answers to our most essential questions, then we will need to bridge our cultural divide.

It’s a beautiful article – I hope you will read it in full.

The divide between the traditional understanding of “communication” (Shannon-esque, managed channels, devoid of context, quantifiable, testable) and the actual human experience of online interaction could be characterized as a “two culture” issue.  How to bridge the gap?:  Through art, music, understandings of emergent phenomena – and understanding how the traditional “communication” metaphor (connoting conduits, transport, objects) masks and misses so much.

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