Once Upon A Wolvog

Stories from the front lines

Science or Art? Which is More Important?

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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?

downloadImage – http://www.universitytimes.ie/2013/10/science-vs-arts-is-there-any-contest/

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

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3 thoughts on “Science or Art? Which is More Important?

  1. Great post! The fact that people now can’t practice what they like scares me a little bit and makes me sad at the same time. I think everyone should be accepted in our society whether this person is an artist or a doctor. Each one is useful in its unique way. It’s sad that nowadays we need to think twice about what are we going to study and think about the job perspectives. I feel like its really unfair for the humanities students to not find a job, because of their education choice. I mean, not everybody wants to be a lawyer, a doctor or an engineer. Also, sometimes you are judged about your education. For example, there are people out there that think that a med student is smarter than a humanities student which is totally not true!! Everybody is smart in its own way and being judged on your education is something that needs to be stopped.

    – Dana Rammal

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  2. Great post! I too find myself frustrated with the prioritization of science over art, and also with the dichotomy itself. I myself can’t truly say I’m a student of either of them- my program is social service and the field I want to work in is social work. The video you posted was a good reminder that my interests in poetry, philosophy and literature are never a waste of time that could be put towards making the world a better place, but are helping me pursue that goal by allowing me to understand humans and emotions more complexly, which will influence my current fieldwork as well as my future in social work and all of what I do on a day to day basis as a human in this world! I hope that we can work towards understanding the place of art graduates in our world as helpers, creators, activists and more. 🙂

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  3. I thought it was a very good idea to explore the idea of science vs art! Just like Megan, I am in the social service program and am planning on going in the field of social work. I have already witnessed several instances where this field was devalued and looked down on because it is not scientific and impressive. It is true that it is not part of the field of science and that art is even commonly used in social service as a method to address problems. Your post got me thinking that maybe science is perceived as more important than art, but in the end, both are essential! The advancement of science is necessary as it permits us to discover and understand a greater number of things in our world. It can also provide us with explanations to issues for which it will then be possible to develop solutions. Nonetheless, art plays an important role in our lives. What do most of us do when we have spare time? We like to watch movies, TV shows, read books, draw, listen to music… These are all works of art and without them a part of our world would be missing! In my opinion, we need people who create art just as much as those who contribute to science!

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