Minding the Gap-Artists as Scientists, Scientists as Artists: Some Solutions to Snow's Dilemma

By Jaccard, Jerry-Louis | Forum on Public Policy: A Journal of the Oxford Round Table, Winter 2007 | Go to article overview

Minding the Gap-Artists as Scientists, Scientists as Artists: Some Solutions to Snow's Dilemma


Jaccard, Jerry-Louis, Forum on Public Policy: A Journal of the Oxford Round Table


Abstract

It seems to be the curse of our times to think in terms of either-or. C.P. Snow directly addressed this in The Two Cultures (1964, 63-64): "I want to repeat what was intended to be my main message .that neither the scientific system of mental development, nor the traditional, is adequate for our potentialities, for the work we have in front of us, for the world in which we ought to begin to live".

Snow decries the profound practical, intellectual and creative loss resulting from the polarization of the traditional and scientific cultures. He refers to the gap between these polarities as "a gulf of mutual incomprehension. (1964, 4) needing immediate attention because "[w]hen these two senses have grown apart, then no society is going to be able to think with wisdom. (50-51). Nobel laureate Vaclav Havel explained how such a gap could have occurred (1990, 10-11):

   [S]omewhere here there is a basic tension out of which the present
   global crisis has grown ... I'm persuaded that this conflict ... is
   directly related to the spiritual condition of modern civilization.
   This condition is characterized by loss: the loss of metaphysical
   certainties, of an experience of the transcendental, of any
   superpersonal moral authority, and of any kind of higher horizon
   ...

This paper intends to focus on the potential and the possible existing in the middle ground between the polarized extremes. It is a plea for balance born of reason and for the sake of us all.

Introduction

C.P. Snow's The Two Cultures was read, applauded and commented on by scholars in a surprising array of disciplines. One of them was Zoltan Kodaly (1882-1967), celebrated Hungarian composer-linguist-educator who remarked:

   Remember the great discussion about Snow's book, The Two Cultures?
   It made waves in Europe and America. Over-mechanization can only
   have dire consequences, and concerning this subject we ought to
   listen to this physicist and writer who is also an observer of
   everyday life all in one person. After all, he sees both sides
   clearly (1966, 109)

Kodaly and his close friend, Bela Bartok, also a composer of international stature, were actually also scientists. Together, they built a discipline around the deep analysis and classification of folksong down to the intervallic level including investigating several sticky problems about the relationships among spoken language, rhythm and melody. The resulting discipline, comparative folksong musicology, has stood the test of time, being now a century old and still going strong not only in Hungary but also on an international scale. Both Kodaly and Bartok the composers were strongly informed by Kodaly and Bartok the scientists as they created their distinctively modern tonal system (1) out of the raw materials of the ancient Hungarian melodic-rhythmic language. Their scientific work was so highly regarded that a new department for it was created in 1934 within the Hungarian Academy of Sciences (Kodaly 1966, 120). Today, this department, known as the Institute for Musicology, is so large that it occupies an entire building of its own, employs a large staff of scholars, has a vigorous publishing program, and is itself comprised of several sub-departments. The widely admired Hungarian music education system and national musical life are largely centered on this venerable institution.

In 1946, Zoltan Kodaly was elected president of the entire Hungarian Academy of Sciences, a position he filled until 1950 (Kodaly 1966, 121). Think of it--an internationally celebrated (2) artist heading a complex scientific organization! His election resulted in his providing a key solution to Snow's Dilemma. In an address to the assembled members of the Academy, Kodaly declared:

   Not only is there a close relation between the various sciences ...
   it is also true that science and art cannot do without one another. … 

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Minding the Gap-Artists as Scientists, Scientists as Artists: Some Solutions to Snow's Dilemma
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.