Creating a “Fourth Culture” of Knowledge: Jonah Lehrer on Why Science and Art Need Each Other | Brain Pickings

Posted: March 11, 2012 in Ideas

Creating a “Fourth Culture” of Knowledge: Jonah Lehrer on Why Science and Art Need Each Other | Brain Pickings.

Lehrer’s new book, Imagine: How Creativity Works, comes out later this month.

Humanity needs both art and science; individuals also need both. Science tells us that some of our stories are testable – we can determine how well our explanations predict what is seen. It takes creativity to imagine the possibilities that are investigated with science. Searching for explanations invariably leads to more questions, so there’s no lack of mystery and wonder, even as we delight in new discoveries. The highest “truth” in science is that there is no “truth” – our explanations are always tentative stories created for a specific set of findings; these await the continual challenges, revisions and rejections followed by more and better explana-stories. These stories are as human as any other art form. It is awe-inspiring that we can  (or at least some among us can!) comprehend some level of the complexities of our world, and even more inspiring is the vast universe that we do not know.

This same creativity also informs us of our uniquely human experience via music, literature, poetry, theater, art. Each alone has limits: science is limited to what we can measure and test as well as by the limits of our imagination in designing questions; art is limited by our ability to communicate and share our inner world with other beings.  Each way of knowing puts us in touch with our connectedness as well as our individuality.

– lw

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