Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Just some thoughts on the poet and the scientist

Left: the poet's interpretation of nature :)
Right: the scientist's interpretation of nature :o
Today we were discussing the differences between the poet and the scientist and as the day went on I thought more about it. I believe the relationship between poetry and science, though they seem fairly different, is complicated and can only be looked at as opposite ends of the same spectrum. Poets are more in tuned with the beauty of the natural world, while scientists are more comfortable with explaining what happens in the natural world. It is a complicated relationship to establish, but the connection that brings them together on the same tangent is the need to understand the natural world. It seems as if Emerson describes the poet as being able to understand the language of the world and therefore being able to understand the world but only the beauty of natural creation, while the scientist attempts to understand the behavior of the natural world instead of what it is communicating to him/her.

1 comment:

  1. I don't have any great insights on this matter right now. However, I will submit for consideration Japan. One of the tenets of Romanticism is the enormity and expansiveness of nature, and all that is natural. For many Romantics, nature defies explanation--in very good and in very bad ways (clearly this earthquake is a very bad thing).

    My point is that despite whatever science can tell us about the functioning of the universe, there's still a whole lot of it that we just can't know. Sure, it's helpful to know about plate tectonics, but does that knowledge actually "explain" anything when earthquakes, for example, can still happen quite suddenly and to catastrohpic effect?

    Therefore, again, the science/poetry split--I'm using the latter term quite loosely--might not be as clean as we think.