Two Cultures – Jennie Wong

I enjoyed Professor Vesna’s lecture on two cultures because I had never examined the topic so closely nor thought of the history or stigma surrounding it. It is true that intellectual thought has largely been split into two separate fields, art and science, and unnecessarily so. The division of these two subject areas results in a lack of collaboration between the experts of both fields, and ultimately this may hinder social progress and scientific development. However, this raises some questions for how this can be applied to real life. To play devil’s advocate: In theory, it sounds good to try to mesh the two cultures, or even leave space to give rise to a new, third culture based on technology to bridge the two. But is this realistic in practice? Is it really possible for scientists, artists, experts, and philosophers of so many different academic worlds to join their studies and all work together? Would the breadth of all the different disciplines and combining them all into one “lump” culture seek to undermine our system of each individual specializes in a certain field within a certain subject area and even more so inhibit progress? For example, UCLA students are categorized into North or South Campus majors because this system allows students to become experts in their chosen fields of study. Is the split between art and science, then, only natural and logical? And thus, inevitable? I did some research on the combination of artistic and scientific fields. Here is a link to the projects of Art and Science Collaborations, Inc.: http://www.asci.org/artikel62.html.

On another note, I am sort of confused because I felt like the lecture on Wednesday and the article “Toward a Third Culture: Being in Between” conveyed different messages. The lecture taught us that the two cultures that are present are art and science, and that technology seeks to bridge the gap. The article seems to say that the two cultures are “literary intellectuals” and “natural scientists”, and that art seems to excluded from either culture altogether. Can someone clarify?

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