Skip to main content

Science and the Humanities: A unity?

Last Saturday, several Pinoy writers and scientists met at a Figaro cafe to discuss how science and humanities can be bridged. People have this stereotypical view that these disciplines cannot be bridged.

Perhaps the unity of the sciences and the arts was best put into words by John Steinbeck in "Sea of Cortez"

"The impulse that sends a man to the tidepools and reports what he finds there is the same that drives a man to poetry"

"Sea of Cortez" is a unique work, with a typically scientific phyletic catalogue and a travelogue "Log". Steinbeck co-authored it with Edward Ricketts (who was the marine biologist). The phyletic catalogue remains as a major work in marine biology and a definitive guide to the marine life of the Sea of Cortez. But many have read the oft reprinted "Log" that is usually sold as a separate volume. Did Ricketts the scientist only write the catalogue? and Steinbeck only the "Log"?

The answer is we really don't know. What we are sure is that the scientist and writer collaborated in the book. As a marine scientist myself, I have read the phyletic catalogue and "Log" as one book. I can sense Steinbeck writing in the catalogue and I can sense Ricketts writing in the "Log".

The phyletic catalogue is as objective as any work in science. The "Log" is a masterpiece in travel literature. But if one reads the "Log" only, one can't get the whole picture. If one only reads the scientific catalogue, one loses a sense of place and of being human.

That's why despite the perception that the humanities and science as separate, they are really in unity. The importance of science and humanities lies in the fact that they both celebrate our being human.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

President Manuel Luis Quezon's Code of Ethics

Being a denizen of Kyusi, in honour of the man who gave my city its name and for being the most colourful prez the Philippines ever had, I have the pleasure to post Manuel L Quezon's Code of Ethics on his birthday. Let us profit from the wisdom of the Kastila.

1. Have Faith in the Divine Providence that guides the destinies of men and nations.

2. Love your country for it is the home of your people, the seat of your affection and the source of your happiness and well-being. It's defense is your primary duty. Be ready to sacrifice and die for it if necessary.

3. Respect the Constitution which is the expression of your sovereign will. The government is your government. It has been established for your safety and welfare. Obey the laws and see that they are observed by all and that public officials comply with their duties.

4. Pay your taxes willingly and promptly. Citizenship implies not only rights but obligations.

5. Safeguard the purity of suffrage and abide by the decisions of the…

Simoun's lamp has been lit, finally.. not by one but by the many!

"So often have we been haunted by the spectre of subversion which, with some fostering, has come to be a positive and real being, whose very name steals our serenity and makes us commit the greatest blunders... If before the reality, instead of changing the fear of one is increased, and the confusion of the other is exacerbated, then they must be left in the hands of time..."
Dr Jose Rizal "To the Filipino People and their Government"
Jose Rizal dominates the Luneta, which is sacred to the Philippine nation as a place of martyrdom. And many perhaps all of those executed in the Luneta, with the exception of the three Filipino secular priests martyred in 1872, have read Rizal's El Filibusterismo. Dr Rizal's second novel is a darker and more sinister one that its prequel but has much significance across the century and more after it was published for it preaches the need for revolution with caveats,  which are when the time is right and who will instigate it.

Flame trees in bloom

The hottest summer courtesy of El Nino in at least 10 years gave runners and walkers in the University of the Philippines Diliman campus a visual treat. This year the flame trees Delonix regia are in full bloom!
In past summers it wasn't as hot and dry so the trees did not shed their leaves and few blooms were produced.
It is the tropical version of the Japanese Hanami or the Cherry blossom viewing season. While Hanami tells us the fragile impermanence of beauty, the flame tree hanami tells us that summer burns but soon it will all be over.