week1 \ twocultures \ Andrew Curnow

Throughout my life I have always fallen into the stereotypical mindset that Science and the Arts were separate. However, I thought that perhaps at a higher level of education such as UCLA, the two would intertwine and form its own study. Immediately following my arrival I noted the almost harsh split between the ‘North’ and ‘South’ campuses, the sciences and arts being very, if not completely, segregated. I once more fell back into my immature mindset that the two must remain away from each other, not thinking twice. The North-South rivalry grew ever more as time passed, and I noticed the even the lifestyles of the people studying either art or science were vastly different. I figured I would never, even out of school, interact with those of the ever intelligent ‘South Campus’.

This was my mentality preceding the first few classes I’ve attended in the first week. That the artistic persona would be enacted by a loose, carefree individual who would rather ask “why” then how, and the scientific fellow in a white lab coat hovering over a vial, laughing with a maniacal tone. It’s a hard thing to explain when a simple class alters ones mindset so extremely, although I’ve only heard a few hours of lecture. Almost spontaneously I realized, both through readings, words and images, that the sciences and the arts are so similar that it is a downright shame they are not related more often. Of course, like nearly anything realistic there are exceptions that many people take for granted everyday in our lives. Predominant architectures, and by that I mean the elaborate masterpieces, demonstrate the amazing mix of an open ‘artistic mind’ being mixed with the primed ‘intelligence’ of the architects and ‘thinkers’ that planned the buildings construction. In the past, this could be evident in such marvels as the Roman Colosseum in which mastermind scientists’ thoughts mixed with religious and aesthetic wants of an artistic mind created a work of such grandeur that no matter what ones profession was, all stood in awe as one. In the present day, or rather more recent at least, such works as Christ the Redeemer in Rio de Janeiro (completed in 1931) show that with the thoughts of making something beautiful nearly the impossible can be engineered. Even in our own lives, some urban buildings show the mixture. However this brings forth another problem, at least in my own mind: if in everyday life, the one that the average person can relate the most with through buildings, why is there such a resentment of mixing the arts with the sciences in other facets of society?



It’s a hard question to answer, or even think about. Maybe the processes are different? The arts being a more hands on, ‘anything goes’ mindset, whereas the sciences mostly follow set laws and principles. Or perhaps it is the fact that the common perception is that the sciences take a higher level of intelligence, thus creating a feeling of superiority and segregation? It’s something I truly can’t explain, however I know that with a little acceptance, and an open mind the connection can easily be made. The so called ‘Third Culture’ must be present, as in the past, human culture has proved that the mix was readily accepted. As a result of it all, I believe as it happened in the past, a shift in opinions and beliefs will inevitably occur in the future. The generation of keeping science and arts separate is slowly coming to an end, and I believe that in the future of both UCLA and society, soon both will be integrated as if the difference was unapparent.

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