Saturday, January 22, 2005

The Artist and the Scientist

The Artist and the Scientist

Poetry is a condensation of thought. You write in a few lines a very complicated thought. And when you do this, it becomes very beautiful poetry. It becomes powerful poetry. The equations [of physics that] we seek are the poetry of nature.

Chen Ning Yang, 1957 Nobel Prize Winner for Physics

I've always loved science because, like art, it is a quest for beauty. The artist attempts to capture the beauty of nature through various physical media--colours, shapes, sounds, movement, or a combination of these; the scientist seeks to unveil the beauty of nature little by little, through the rigorous discipline of observation, experimentation and analysis.

What the artist captures is an interpretation or a derivation of nature; what the scientist unravels are ever more perfect glimpses of the Grand Masterpiece--our universe. Both attempt to grasp the mind of God but fall short in the process; but yet the rapturous beauty that is glimpsed draws them on, luring them to penetrate deeper into the heart of nature's secrets.

The true artist and scientist are no different from the yogi who sits in meditation to reach God consciousness, or the priest who devotes his life to the service and contemplation of God. The driving impulse is the same--it is a longing to return to the Source.

Deep down inside, we all are driven by this longing. Some realize it more than others. And those who realize--the artist, scientist or monk--can unfortunately be derailed from this quest by the promptings of his ego. He starts to think that the insights, intelligence and talent that he possesses are his, and are due to his personal ability; or that he is somehow "chosen" to rise above the ignorant masses, to dictate how the world should be run, and how others should behave.

Such men and women fall by the wayside, they are perpetually caught in the petty tussles of the ego and forget the original quest of their souls. So much time is wasted mired in little trifles and petty pursuits, so much pain has to be suffered for the puerile pleasures that the ego yearns for, so many unnecessary quarrels have to be endured.

And drowned in the din of these human dramas, is Nature's poetry--that divine Voice of God--which premeates our soul in soft undertones, of whose beauty waits to be revealed by the artist and unravelled by the scientist.

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