Both scientists and artists are curious, observant, creative and inventive.
Scientists pursue a truth by asking 'Why?' and 'What?' Why is the sky blue? What is colour?
This scientific truth has a value in its own right. Often there can be positive life changing results drawn from these truths.
Scientific truth is built on the knowledge of previous scientists. This means that it is an incremental knowledge that can make progress over time.
Every now and then there is a paradigm shift and scientific models and solutions have to be re-thought.
Artists are also pursuing a truth, but a different truth. For most of the history of art this truth was beauty. Artists try to discover patterns or find order in sounds, shapes and colours. Artistic truth, particularly in Western Art, is not a matter of progress, but of action and reaction. A universal truth defined in a language for the time it is made.
Life is beautiful; but life can also be ugly. Our inner life is also full of conflicting emotions. There is an inherent contradiction in our lives.
Art can unify that contradiction through creating unity and pattern. Art can make connections that unify these contradictions between the beautiful and the ugly and between high and low emotions, to create a passive pleasure which can be deeply felt.
It can be argued that there is a deeper real truth that is a combination of both the scientific and artistic truths. In my mind this is a journey that no one has successfully explored.
In art each type of production, from drawing to writing, music to film making, uses a different method to achieve the same task.
How can we seek the truth in art? How do we not focus too much on the surface beauty of nature? How can we be both true to ourselves and our time?
Tom McPherson's blog on art and creativity.
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