Which is more important, science or art? A question that humanity has been asking itself for years. Without science, there would be no progress and no learning of new knowledge. Without art or humanities, there would be no learning of our history and how to avoid past mistakes. Some say both are equally important while others say only one of them is needed. What do you think?
Margret Atwood illustrates this very question in her novel Oryx and Crake. The protagonist, Jimmy, demonstrates multiple times how there is a very distinct division between the “numbers people” and the “word people.” This idea first appears in the beginning of the book in OrganInc Farms when Jimmy’s father points out how many of the people working there are good with numbers rather than formulating sentences simply because they do not want to put “neuron power into long sentences” (Oryx and Crake 25).
We definitely see a strong preference towards the scientifically and mathematically inclined in the world of Oryx and Crake. First, we see how the students at Watson-Crick (Crake’s school) are treated significantly better than those at Martha Graham (Jimmy’s school). Crake being a numbers person has a wide variety of services available to him to help him achieve the most he can. In the meantime, Jimmy is stuck in his dirty tiny room with no help whatsoever. Then once the students graduate, those who studied genetic modification and future technologies have no problem finding jobs at one of the many major compounds dealing with this kind of stuff. Meanwhile, people like Jimmy as a word person with “his dingy little degree in Problematics” would spend weeks looking for jobs only to receive quick denials or no reply at all (Oryx and Crake 241). Remind you of something similar in our world today?
This video from The School of Life explains pretty accurately how students in humanities and arts are under-employed and are deemed less important by society. However, they also point out many important uses for these subjects. Take a look and let me know what you think about what they say?
Our world today is not that far off from the one Atwood creates in Oryx and Crake. Do you guys really think that this conundrum is that much of an issue?Should we only focus on one of these subjects? Or both? Let me know down below and thanks for reading!
– Jason Mercuri