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Art and Science

I like the idea of study and knowledge for its own sake.

So Arts Emergency is a charity which myself and my friend Neil set up, and Neil does all the hard work and I get to sort of walk around like, ‘Heya’.  And Arts Emergency is there to defend studying art as a viable and important thing to do for it’s own sake.  Especially among young people from backgrounds where they will be told that they have to get a job, they don’t have the money, they don’t have the time and you know, largely that art is a luxury thing not for them.  And I would say that where that relates to science is that firstly, yeah, it’s not two rival disciplines, and that’s what I really hate about the Collation Government is that they cut all the funding for art teaching and keep the science funding and then almost pitt those things against each other.  So you have people in science departments sort of being grateful for their little lot and almost, ‘Good, they should get cuts as opposed to us’, where, there shouldn’t be cuts, you should invest in education.  It always repays.

But on top of that I would say that not only is it about, like I say, fostering an internal sense of enthusiasm and lack of cynicism and desire to explore an expand, expand your own ability to think critically, creatively, questioningly, I would also say that – I’ve lost my train of thought.  I’m so clever.  I would also say, well, for fuck’s sake, well, yes!  

I would also say I like the idea of study and knowledge for its own sake, in its own way, um, I do not understand people that don’t.  I feel like they;re missing out on something that is  wonderful, fulfilling, important for society and which, like, a lot of scientific experiments and a lot of artistic experiments are about waste.  About having scope to say, ‘I will try this out and I’ll see whether it will work and it will probably fail and in failing I will learn something.  And in failing I will take a new tack’, and so, you know, you’ve got all these failings that lead to something that is genuinely profitable, if that’s the way you’re inclined, but also useful for humanity, beneficial for humanity.  And I feel like if you can’t see the value of just trying things and of just doing things for the delight in them then you’re crazy.  Like, for me, making money is not an end in itself and so the sort of people that want to make a load of money are mentally deluded and sick because you should be looking for things that are ends in themselves or that are means to a good clear end.

And so like, in that way I would say art and science are the same thing in an academic sense because it is a wonderfully important and fulfilling thing to better your mind and to help further human endeavour.  I would also say art and science are the same thing because it’s about personal empowerment.  If you know how to conduct experiments on your own, if you can think of your own thesis’s and theories and test them and question things, that’s the same as learning to read critically, think critically, appraise.  If you can see what’s wrong with things and see what needs to be challenged, like, you know, the whole idea of peer review and scientific consensus is like, constantly, is this still working, is this right, is this wrong?  That to me is really intensely political and really radical because it’s about making sure that you’re aspiring to do things well and do things properly and to get as close as possible to, you know, a good working model of how to do things.  So I would say those two things are really similar.