Art & The Scientific Method
Art & The Scientific Method
Lately I have been on an artist journey of some sorts. These past few weeks have given me the opportunity to recharge my batteries and probably think a little too much. My last post focused on embracing imperfection and the idea that, in one way or another, we are all artists. Though we may not all do “artistic” things, I believe that we must go about our lives with a creative and purposeful mindset. That in a way, our entire lives are fantastic, artistic performances communicating messages we find true and important. However, after dwelling on it further, I had to ask, as an artist, where was science in my life? What about the “harder” end of the intellectual spectrum? If I were to live an artistic life, full of emotion, irrationality, and mistakes where did logic and calculation fit into life’s equation?
The more I thought about it, the more I realized that in some ways all I did was science. In a surprising revelation, I realized I was actually a scientist claiming to be an artist. Recalling the many science lessons throughout my years, the only concept that really took hold was the inevitable, first-day-of-class lesson on the scientific method. Remembering the process, I began to realize that my life was indirectly dedicated to it. My days are spent trying to make sense of the world around me. Observing trends and testing my findings as I best could, I was a scientist of some sorts. So how could this leap in perspective and identity happen? I had come to the conclusion I was neither a true artist or hard scientist. Actually, I was someone who had convinced himself that he was an artist only to realize he actually embodied the scientific method more than anything else. Identity crisis? Not quite, but it did raise a few interesting questions.
Life: The Greatest Performance Of All
The more I thought about it the more it confused me (queue welcomed disorientation). As I began to pick up the pieces of my previous mental model, things began to click. (Now understand, this is just the current theory and model, if things go right, it will probably change; I would be worried if it didn’t.) What I began to realize was that I was a scientist deconstructing the world around me, reverse engineering the norms I saw while taking notes on my observations. In some ways, this entire blog is a scientific/artistic journal. I began to break down everything I could. Once all unquestioned and easily accepted notions were wiped clean, I saw a blank canvas. Then it hit me, here was my chance to be artistic. I could create new mental models, new truths, and new ideals as I saw fit. Here was where the artistic spirit took control. I was an artist, looking to say something and in my own way change the world around me. I had a message to get out and I had unlimited mediums to communicate it. My own life had become the ultimate medium for artistic expression. Life, in itself, had become the greatest performance piece of all. What was I going to do, say, and challenge with this stage? Art was supposed to be purposeful after all right?
The duality of the scientific and artistic process was incredible. In an oddly religious way, I was “in this world, but not of it.” On the outside looking in, I analyzed, hypothesized norms and cultural values by putting the scientific method to work. I was a social scientist looking to make sense of the space around me. Once I had a clearer picture of it, I realized it was my duty, as an artist, to destroy it, burn it down, and start fresh. It was then that I had become the artist I previously thought I was; the one I yearned to be. I had seen what was taken for granted and where logic or emotion had taken us in this infinitely complex world. After surveying the land, I could see the “weak” points in the system, the areas that needed to be challenged the most. Only then was I ready to do my artistic duty and deliver disorientation. If I were to do society a favor, I would have to challenge a norm, imperfect it, embrace it, then set it free. Though art and science may not often work well together, I found this process to be totally encompassing, clear, and beautiful simultaneously. Beginning with the scientific observation then finishing with the artistic disorientation, I have to ask, are we scientists, artists, or both? What observations can we make and in an artistic, purposeful way, change the status quo? Can we really blend art and the scientific method for the better of humanity while we dance on this grand stage of life?
Thanks for indulging me. Indulge me further with your comments.