POETRY AND SCIENCE

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POETRY AND SCIENCE

Postby RonPrice on January 26th, 2011, 8:38 am 

The language of both science and poetry is a language under stress. Words are being made by their respective authors to describe things that often seem indescribable in words: equations, chemical and physical structures in the case of science, and an inner life of thoughts and emotions, among other things in the case of poetry. Words don’t and cannot mean all that they stand for. Yet words are arguably the best means people have to describe experience. By being a natural language under tension, the language of science is inherently poetic. There is metaphor aplenty in science. Emotions emerge shaped as states of matter and, more interestingly, matter acts out what goes on in the soul. This is why one can say that science is poetic.

One thing is certainly not true: that scientists have some greater insight into the workings of nature than poets, or vice versa. Some people feel that, deep down, scientists have some inner knowledge that is barred to others. The expertise of a scientist is an expertise acquired by learning and, unless others acquire the required learning, that particular piece of the universe of knowledge is, indeed, barred to those others. Poetry soars in the world of science.1 It soars all around the tangible, in deep dark, through a world the scientist reveals and makes his own. Poetry in the hands of a lover of life and words, a person with great knowledge and wisdom, can soar in the worlds of intellect and understanding the two most luminous lights in the world of creation.(2) -Ron Price with thanks to (1)Roald Hoffman, “Science, Language and Poetry,” The Pantaneto Forum, Issue 6, April 2002; and(2)Abdul-Baha, The Secret of Divine Civilization, Wilmette, 1970, p.1.

What can I say of today?
Slept late and also had a
sleep after lunch: hardly
productive one could say.
But how can one measure
the success of a single day?
Got a handle on Homer more
than I’ve ever had: The Iliad
and The Odyssey as well as
Simone Weil.1 She was a delight,
especially her essay on The Iliad
and its closing words about the idea
of rediscovering: “the epic genius…
no refuge from fate…learning not to
hate the enemy….…how soon will this
happen?” she asks.2 It has happened; it
has already happened, Simone: it was born
in the Siyah-Chal in Tehran and its light is
spreading around the world to every corner.

1 Simone Weil(1909-1943) French philosopher, Christian mystic, and social activist.
2 Simone Weil, “The Iliad or the Poem of Force,” Chicago Review, 18.2, 1965.

Ron Price
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Re: POETRY AND SCIENCE

Postby Iolo on February 2nd, 2011, 4:35 pm 

I think you overdo this similarity: yes, science has a problem sometimes with language, which is why it developed Royal Society English in the Seventeenth Century, and you could certainly compare it with attempts to describe 'the Oceanic Feeling' and experiences of that type. I believe, though, that you are accepting a romantic view of poetry which is - when you come down to it - simply memorable speech, and uses various kinds of repetition to stick ideas in heads. The subjects of such speech can be of all kinds though, depending on the particular civilization and what it wants stuck in heads. The key difference between poetry and advertising is that the latter has what seems to us ignoble aims - but, then, what about Vergil writing an epic whose essential aim was to praise the Stalinesque boss-politician Augustus?
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Re: POETRY AND SCIENCE

Postby RonPrice on February 3rd, 2011, 3:25 am 

Thanks, Iolo, for your considered and thoughtful response to my prose-poem. The modern sense of a romantic character and romantic poetry may be expressed in Byronic ideals of a gifted, perhaps misunderstood loner, creatively following the dictates of his inspiration rather than the mores of contemporary society. Although the movement was rooted in the German Sturm und Drang movement, which prized intuition and emotion over Enlightenment rationalism, the ideologies and events of the French Revolution laid the background from which both Romanticism and the Counter-Enlightenment emerged. Romanticism in poetry, to say nothing of music and literature, politics and the arts, is a subject far too extensive to deal with here. But I do concede you your point; namely, that "I am accepting a romantic view of poetry which is - when you come down to it - simply memorable speech." thanks again for your response.-Ron
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Re: POETRY AND SCIENCE

Postby crisalex on April 18th, 2012, 5:26 am 

hey guys m looking for some sad poetry plz help!!!
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Re: POETRY AND SCIENCE

Postby RonPrice on April 18th, 2012, 5:51 am 

I'll see what I can do.-Ron in Tasmania
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Re: POETRY AND SCIENCE

Postby Percarus on June 23rd, 2012, 6:59 pm 

There is a very good book by the name of 'Genius - Harold Bloom' which highlights the greatest poetic minds in history. It is a lengthy read but if you want a rehash on all main poets I would recommend you read it.

One poem/citing comes to mind by 'Moliere (Jean-Baptiste Poquelin)' which is representative of the daemonic energy in his writing by moralizing critics as hysteria. -->

"And not this man alone, but all humanity
Do what they do from interest and vanity;
They prate of honor, truth, and righteousness,
Come then: man's villainy is too much to bear;
Let's leave this jungle and this jackal's lair.
Yes! treacherous and savage race of men,
You shall not look upon my face again."

In this piece the character Alceste is merely a monster of vanity, like Don Juan or even in diabolic notion. For Moliere the fate of satire became his long martyrdom. Moliere's work tend to imprison the character of Alceste, he epitomised heroic tragedians and was a comic dramatist. Alceste's character has a drive towards authenticity and that is what I admire about his work.
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Re: POETRY AND SCIENCE

Postby RonPrice on June 23rd, 2012, 7:57 pm 

Thanks, Percarus, for those suggestions. Harold Bloom has been in and out of my life for years. I'll check out that book 'Genius - Harold Bloom' which highlights the greatest poetic minds in history. I send you my appreciation from Australia in this first week of winter.-Ron Price, Tasmania
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Re: POETRY AND SCIENCE

Postby Cartesian Fantasy on July 25th, 2012, 4:15 am 

Ronprince:
"There is metaphor aplenty in science" This is a difficult path my friend as most of philosophy now is dominated by natural/analytic theory. you would find many who will ever take you seriously. eh, but perhaps im simply venting my own frustrations. I don't know how far i'd like to go with this. but science is undeniably a form of language and language is always metaphorical. but if it is metaphorical and we have only a partial understanding of any given reality, how do we admit what of that reality is lacking without our very language which lacks? i think this problem arises only when we introduce the philosophical position of an ontologically independent reality.
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Re: POETRY AND SCIENCE

Postby RonPrice on July 25th, 2012, 4:49 am 

I am beginning to get a handle on science and poetry: science in the biological sciences at: http://www.ronpriceepoch.com/BIOLOGICAL.html ....as well as the physical and applied sciences.-Ron
PS thanks Cartesian Fantasy for your thoughtful response today.
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Re: POETRY AND SCIENCE

Postby Cartesian Fantasy on August 17th, 2012, 2:51 pm 

the prestige of objectivity that mathematics is seen to occupy by philosophical realists... By the prestige of objectivity, I mean to say that mathematics is mistakenly seen to represent a reality that is external from its corresponding symbolic language; that there exists a complete distinction between the phenomena it represents and the theoretical language it uses to do so. Only when observation exists independent from theory can we say that the theory used to represent that observation is an accurate and precise translation worthy of distinguished elevation. Because of this supposed separation, mathematics occupies a position of an imperative role over and above the arts.
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