Art and Science, Parallel or Intersecting lines?

Life imitates art, and science imitates life. These premises are fundamental to the principle of Biomimicry.

Biomimicry is the imitation of the models, systems, and elements of nature for the purpose of solving complex problems encountered by human civilisation. Every invention in science can be attributed to a corresponding phenomenon already existing in nature.

Aeroplanes would not have existed had the Wright brothers not drawn inspiration from flying birds; neither would we have high speed bullet trains, nor self-driving cars. This only goes on to re-emphasise on the significant chunk of innovation that technology has managed to give us.

Aeroplanes have undeniably influenced us since their invention in 1914. There are not many who have not sat in an aeroplane, or have dreamt of travelling in one and therein lies one example of the intersection of innovation, art and nature and its influence in our lives.

Artist-polymaths have existed for as long as the subject of science itself has; with every eminent scientist, such as Einstein, Maxwell and Galileo being celebrated for revolutionising human life.

Another example of a subject that has emerged from the arts and sciences combined is economics. It translates qualitative data into quantitative data and uses both mathematical and non-arbitrary factors to analyze situations in the real world. In macroeconomics, we look at the quantitative data in an abstract fashion to understand the philosophy of the world at large, which is itself an art.

Life imitates art, and science imitates life.

Art teaches you to appreciate the senses and feelings nature has gifted us with, whereas science, uses these resources for inspiration and utilises them in search of innovation and expanding our creative horizons. The study of neuroaesthetics has proven that people with an aptitude for art perform better in mathematics because of their ability to visualise the thinking process. When we talk about art, we do not only limit ourselves to paintings and sculptures. One may immediately think of them, and they certainly do play a large role in preserving our history and symbolise our evolution in a broader sense. But drama, prose and poetry have an immense impact on our perceptions of how we view the world and one can tell a lot about a person through their music and literary tastes. The intersection of art and science, to me, is the intersection of the heart and the mind. A verse from Iqbal goes,

صبح ازل یہ مجھ سے کہا جبرئیل نے

‎جو عقل کا غلام ہو، وہ دل نہ کر قبول

Gibriel on Creation’s Early Morn, a piece of useful counsel gave:

He bade me not accept a heart enchained by mind of man like a slave.

We do ourselves a great disservice when we limit ourselves to fact and figures and repress the instinct and dampen the natural desire to dream, to believe, and to feel.

Science follows a rhythm, a pattern that gives our thinking process a form and direction, when our curiosity wreaks havoc and searches for answers. And the equilibrium between the both is what we understand as life.

One of mankind’s greatest philosophical questions has been the persistent need to explain our existence. What are we here for? Where do we come from? These are broadly understood as the existential dilemma—a philosophical question that religion answers by lending us purpose, a moral framework, a code of conduct and raising us to be more than just animals to conscientious sentient self-aware people with soul, emotion and rationale. Without the driving forces of emotions and passions, many inventions may never have come into existence.

Social and scientific theories both arise when we think of concepts beyond what is considered as rational. The notion of infinity, now widely accepted and put into practice is itself a testimony of how even science cannot escape the abstract principles of the universe. In philosophy, the idea of infinitude is a metaphysical concept that is linked to transcendence, beyond the limits of all possible experience and knowledge. Infinity stretches the boundaries of all disciplines across all frontiers. ‘Black holes’ are another scientific theory that toys with the limits of rationality and makes us realize that there are some things bigger than anything our limited human comprehension can ever perceive.

Epigenetics tells us that our experiences become a part of our genetic encoding, that an experience can translate itself into the chemical arrangement of our molecular biology. Art influences these experiences. One cannot separate the two disciplines; indeed, the wall between art and science exists only in our mind.

In reality, none could have survived without the other.

Holistically, both disciplines teach us one very crucial thing; everything that exists in this world operates on the idea of codependence — regardless of how minimal — to progress and that isolation and creating divisions between things does not lead to the best possible outcomes. Our power lies in codependence and coexistence and the purpose of knowledge is to open your mind to new thoughts and possibilities through the intersection of ideas.

A person looking at a giant multicoloured cube will always think that it is entirely the same colour he sees from his perspective, until he is informed of the other sides to view the cube from as well.


Noor Ussahar

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