Tuesday, October 24, 2006

The great divide

I teach science. When I fill out paperwork that asks for my occupation, I write down science teacher, and if you were to ask the IRS how I make my living, they would tell you that every month Campbell county infuses my checking account with the money that provides me with the mundane necessities of life. Teaching is not only a job but a vocation, but it is not my passion – my passion is creation of that which we in our limited language call Art.

Questions somehow always arise when those aware of my employment status find out that I direct plays. There is a distinction in many minds between science and art, as if the two were islands separated by a great ocean and the citizens of the two must never speak, or even be aware of each other’s existence.

To me, the oddity of my arrangement is not that a science teacher would do theatre, but that more people in my academic discipline don’t. In my mind, Science and Art are inextricable from one another, and those scientists who lack an appreciation of art as a discipline miss a fundamental part of the universe they strive so mightily to understand. One need only to look at the stars to appreciate the artistry present in the universe. Teaching is nothing if not performance, and often the best teaching experiences are not those that are carefully planned and scripted, but those which are improvised.

I have come to believe that those scientists who would overlook the arts as unimportant, or reject them altogether, are in their deepest hearts threatened by the art they seek to dismiss. Of the two, science is the humbler; science can, at its best, provide nothing more than fact, while art provides nothing less than truth.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

I very much agree with you. Also, the dabbling in both universes allows a person to have their eyes opened to new views which, I believe, is a great asset for both the scientist and the artist.

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Kelly said...

I am too tired and too pregnant to understand all your words. But I know you are making a good point in there. I am just glad you are enjoying both your spheres of influence and enjoying the differences too.