Science and religion have often railed against each other. At least, those who most might consider radical who would claim one is more important than the other. The same could be said of science and art. Now, bear in mind, I’m not a scientist, but I have an extreme appreciation for the complexities of the world around me to the point where it’s all staggeringly awe inspiring. So, it’s rather interesting that I found this quote over on Tumblr.
I have a friend who’s an artist and has sometimes taken a view which I don’t agree with very well. He’ll hold up a flower and say “look how beautiful it is,” and I’ll agree. Then he says “I as an artist can see how beautiful this is but you as a scientist take this all apart and it becomes a dull thing,” and I think that he’s kind of nutty. First of all, the beauty that he sees is available to other people and to me too, I believe…I can appreciate the beauty of a flower. At the same time, I see much more about the flower than he sees. I could imagine the cells in there, the complicated actions inside, which also have a beauty. I mean it’s not just beauty at this dimension, at one centimeter; there’s also beauty at smaller dimensions, the inner structure, also the processes. The fact that the colors in the flower evolved in order to attract insects to pollinate it is interesting; it means that insects can see the color. It adds a question: does this aesthetic sense also exist in the lower forms? Why is it aesthetic? All kinds of interesting questions which the science knowledge only adds to the excitement, the mystery and the awe of a flower. It only adds. I don’t understand how it subtracts. Richard Feynman on the interplay of art and science – a magnificent intersection.
There is a lot of truth to this, because every aspect that goes into that flower, from how it grows and gains nutrients to how it has to rely on insects such as bees to pollinate and continue the cycle of life for the flower, even down to how it protects itself.
I’ve read the article that is linked as part of the quote. I encourage any to read it as well.
- Richard Feynman: The Pleasure of Fnding Things Out (ritholtz.com)
- The Richard Feynman Trilogy: The Physicist Captured in Three Films – – – Open Culture (richarddawkins.net)
- Physicists and Artists (callumjameshackett.wordpress.com)
- No Ordinary Genius: BBC Captures Richard Feynman’s Legacy (brainpickings.org)