Wednesday, October 10, 2007

The Star Thrower. Loren Eiseley. Significant Sentences 16.

Significant sentences from Loren Eiseley's The Star Thrower, a collection of Eiseley's essays on nature and humanity's relationship to it.

Title of Essay: "The Illusion of the Two Cultures." [RayS note: The two cultures are scientific and artistic.]

Sir Eric Ashby: "To train young people in the dialectic between orthodoxy and dissent is the unique contribution which universities make to society." p. 267.

"Our lives are the creation of memory and the accompanying power to extend ourselves outward into ideas and relive them." p. 267.

"...failure to distinguish the purposes of science from those of literature." p. 268.

"Man, the tool user, grows convinced that he is himself only useful as a tool." p. 269 .

On being discovered reading Tolkein's The Fellowship of the Ring by a young scientist: " 'I wouldn't waste my time with a man who writes fairy stories.' He might as well have added, 'or with a man who reads them.' " p. 269.

"...there can be found in all ages and in all institutions--even the institution of professional learning--the humorless man with the sneer, or if the sneer does not suffice, then the torch...." p. 269.

"In its day and time this hand ax was as grand an intellectual achievement as a rocket." p. 270.

"...the kind of mind which, once having shaped an object of any sort, leaves an individual trace behind it which speaks to others across the barriers of time and language." p. 271.

"Today's secular disruption between the creative aspect of art and that of science is a barbarism that would have brought lifted eyebrows in a Cro-Magnon cave." p. 271.

"The convenient label 'mystic' is, in our day, readily applied to men who pause for simple wonder." p. 272.

"To many it must appear that the more we can dissect life into its elements, the closer we are getting to its ultimate resolution." p. 273.

"From a single point his [the scientist's] discovery is verifiable by other men who may then, on the basis of corresponding data, accept the innovation and elaborate upon it in the cumulative fashion which is one of the great triumphs of science." p. 273.

"Artistic creation, on the other hand, is unique...not cumulative." p. 273.

"As the French novelist Francois Mauriac has remarked, each great novel is a separate and distinct world operating under its own laws with a flora and fauna totally its own." p. 273.

"There is communication in a work of art, or the work is a failure, but the communication releases our own visions, touches some highly personal chord in our own experience." p. 273.

"The artist...touches the hidden strings of pity...searches our hearts...makes us sensitive to beauty...asks questions about fate and destiny." p. 274.

"...great literature, whose meanings...can never be totally grasped because of their endless power to ramify in the individual mind." p. 274.

" emotional hunger which is the prerogative of the artist." p. 276.

"In fact it is one of the disadvantages of big science, just as it is of big government, that the availability of huge sums attracts a swarm of elbowing and contentious men to whom great dreams are less than protected hunting preserves." p. 277.

" the aid of the artistic imagination, those humane insights and understandings which alone can...enable us to shape ourselves, rather than the stone, into the forms which great art has anticipated." p. 279.

Reflections: Science analyzes people; art shapes them. Science and art both create. Science and art should both communicate. Let's explore how science and art could both work together as they did in the days of the Cro-Magnon man. We need to bring the two cultures back together again.

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