Two cultures in UCLA? – Xuan(Ken) Wei

Hi, as a freshman who has had only two weeks of experience on UCLA campus, I am very surprised to know that UCLA is “culturally divided.” I recognize the fact that the north campus focuses on the arts and the south campus focuses on the sciences, but I don’t really see a cultural division between the two.

Arts and sciences are different in a way that people in these two fields ask very different questions. For instance, an art teacher wouldn’t ask students about organic reactions and a science teacher wouldn’t ask students about Shakespearean metaphors (that would be ridiculous if they did). However, the arts and sciences are closely related because both fields teach students the same concept – critical thinking.

Why are students required to be educated in BOTH the arts and sciences? It is not only because we want them to explore different possibilities and interests, we also want them to be able to think critically in both fields. Believe it or not, our current world loves and needs critical thinkers in both the arts and sciences. They are the people who enhances our world.

In a way I think that the arts and sciences work together and complement each other. For example, an artist would enjoy playing iPod just as much as a scientist would enjoy reading Harry Potter. Harry Potter and iPod exist because of the critical thinkers in both arts and science; because Harry Potter and iPod exist, the world is a better place for everyone. ^_^’

So are there two cultures in UCLA? I see two interconnected cultures more so than two different cultures; artists and scientists think alike, they just think about different things. I am very much in agreement with Professor Vesna that the arts and sciences are equally important and they can eventually be combined.

Sometimes I think the arts and sciences are just like the mouse and keyboard. We need them both to be complete and efficient. We can certainly use the arrow keys on the keyboard instead of the mouse, or use the mouse to copy/paste different letters instead of the keyboard to type (that would be disastrous to any Counter-Strike gamers). But when we combine the mouse and the keyboard, we can be so much more efficient.

Hopefully I am making sense…… my English is really terrible 😦


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