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LEEWAY IN ART & SCIENCE

February 14th, 2022

Baking is a science. Without a good deal of experience, it’s simply unwise to try and ‘wing it’ in the department of baked goods. A stir fry, on the other hand, like a lot of cooking, has a great deal of leeway. Building a rocket is more like baking than it is a stir fry - it’s very easy to build a rocket that doesn’t work because the window for understanding and constructing a working one is slim. In the same way it’s very easy to bake a horrible cake.

 

The overlap between science and art certainly exists. The investigation required to solve novel problems in science requires creativity, and there even seems to be an art to problem solving itself, despite how rigid and scientific the solutions appear once solved. There’s infinite ways to arrive at an unknown solution, but the number of legitimate solutions has far less leeway. Hence the partial overlap between art and science.

 

But in the realm of art, anyone can quite literally do anything and call it art. The same cannot be said for science, and though there can be an infinite number of ways to arrive at a useful conclusion, the idea of arriving at that useful conclusion in a timely manner generally filters for a gargantuan universe of nonsense - A universe of nonsense that is often ignominiously mined by the art world.

 

Most abstract art and certainly all post modern art takes advantage of this ridiculous leeway, creating an environment for shysters and frauds who work a magic of persuasion without substance. Snake Oil salesmen could get away with their pitch because back in the day’s of the frontier, science was in its infancy compared to now.

 

This doesn’t mean that science is devoid nor immune to the unscrupulous ways of the fraudster - not at all. The fraudster can exist in such domains because art is required, which means there’s likely enough leeway for some unscrupulous characters to slide in - for a time. In the art world, a fraud can live very well for their entire life - as long as enough other people believe their story. But a rocket scientist who doesn’t understand the science won’t last long.

 

In order to create, be it art or a novel solution, we require space. To wander and wonder. Like an open niche in an environment, it also provides an opportunity for parasites, but this is the tradeoff, and honestly - part of the fun and challenge. There’s an art and a science to sniffing out a bullshit artist, no matter where they lurk, be it as a quack scientist or a pontificating post modernist.


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Podcast Ep. 1181: Leeway in Art & Science

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