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The Scientific Mind vs. The Artistic Mind

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For my purpose here I'm going to contrast the scientific mind with the artistic mind at both extremes as if they are a continuum. I lean towards the scientific mind which is why I tend to analyze things as much as I do. And thus, I've analyzed this subject.

 

This blog was inspired by a video interview I watched where Richard Feynman states he doesn't understand how analyzing something detracts from it's beauty.

 

Art has been defined in many different way. I see art as a way of expressing what is important to the artist and the audience. Art stirs the emotions. It's not all about aesthetics. There' s not much aesthetic about the image of a werewolf. The werewolf is a representation of what stirs fear in people. The purely artistic mind is not concerned with the why and how of things. The artist simply enjoys the wonder of the thing, the effect it has on us, and yearns to recreate it.

 

The scientific mind is curious. The scientist responds to wonder by learning all he can about the object or phenomina. To the scientist, the werewolf envokes fear because we have evolved to respond to snears and snarls and large fangs with the fight or flight response.

 

There are a few other important implications in this analysis. For one, the scientist learns from others because it's not practical to learn everything there is to know alone. Such a task would be monumental. In the absence of such stimulation by others, a purely scientific person would be very bored except for trying to solve problems on his own, a difficult task without some information to begin with. The artist, by contrast, would find entertainment by recreating what has stimulated him in the past.

 

Also, there is an averaging effect of learning from others that scientists enjoy. Mistakes can be avoided by learning from others and energy can be saved. The scientist can also enjoy the benefit of making good decisions based on evidence. The artist can be closed off from real data. He may assume his circumstances and assumptions are common for everybody. He would also tend to invent wonderful explanations for the things that effect him that may not be the truth because, to the artist, something wonderful must have a wonderful explanation and evidence is boring.

 

Another useful way of looking at the contrast is that the scientist does what has been proven to work (if this, do that). There is only one "best answer." The artist sees solving a problems as an experssion of creativity. To the artist, there are many possible answers.

 

Most people fall somewhere along the continuum. It would be very rare to find someone who was the theoretically pure scientist or pure artist. I've found myself segmenting different interests I've had as either scientific (learning everything I can about the subject) or artistic (enjoying the creative process). There are still other things that, no matter how much the person learns about why it works, the joy and beauty of the creative process still remains. Music and acting are both good examples.

 

 

 



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