Unit 6 Post 2; Snow – Basil Wiering

! I found Snow’s point on pages 3/4 that our intellectual and practical lives cannot be distinguished interesting. I would absolutely agree; it stood out to me because of a discussion we had recently in section where people were concerned with gratuitous  use of over-reading when consuming and interpreting art/media/communications etc. Snow seems to believe that a lot of our practical life is enveloped in our intellectual life; our intellectual life may define the avenues and arenas of our personal pursuits. E.g. the poet whose colleagues are equally considered friends, who particularly concerns him/herself with broad philosophical musings, who uses their conclusions of said musings to structure their worldview and perspective in life. I don’t think there should be a distinction between the two.

? On page 14, Snow states, “[Literary intellectuals] still like to pretend that the traditional culture is the whole of ‘culture’, as though the natural order didn’t exist. As though the exploration of the natural order was of no interest either in its own value or its consequences.”

I have never regarded the scientific sphere as critical drivers or components of ‘culture’; I suppose that plants me firmly in the pole of literary intellectuals. I wonder if there is a significant subculture, within the scientific pole or otherwise, that would naturally group the natural order and scientific achievement under the conceptual umbrella of culture? To me, these do feel like distinct worlds. However, I somewhat sympathized with this perspective after reading further into Snow’s argument: “As though the scientific edifice of the physical world was not, in its intellectual depth, complexity and articulation, the most beautiful and wonderful collective work of the mind of man.” I found this compelling; I then googled the definition of culture. As defined by Oxford, culture is “the arts and other manifestations of human intellectual achievement regarded collectively.” To answer my own question, it would seem based on this definition that scientific achievement is absolutely culture. That is, to the extent that it is regarded collectively… Our collective lack of knowledge around the 10 most consequential theories and experiments seem to suggest otherwise.

I recognized 4 experiments and 5 theories.

Leave a Reply