Art or Science? Art or Science?

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  1. #1
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    Default Art or Science?

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    Hi,

    It's been pointed out that one way to distinguish the arts from the sciences is that if it weren't for the artist, their art would never have existed. ie. No Vincent van Gogh means no The Starry Night, ever. Whereas in science, you can be sure that eventually, calculus and general relativity would have been discovered by someone, if not Newton and Einstein.

    Have you ever considered your approach to physical training in this context? Do you think someone would have eventually come to their senses and converged on the same methodology you’ve created and developed? Or is there too much creativity and “art” involved it cutting through the Silly BS that there was never a guarantee that anyone would have gotten as far as you have?

    Thanks.

  2. #2
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    This is merely applied science. I am amazed that I was the first to codify this rather obvious application of biology. Nonetheless, I was. It would eventually have been done, but I don't know by whom.

  3. #3
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    Engineering, science, and art do not sit on a continuum, so to say it's either "science" or "art" is a false dichotomy.

    Science is a framework for understanding and learning.

    Art is the outcome of the application of a skill (ex. painting) using a specific tool (ex paint and paintbrush) onto a specific medium (ex canvas) using a specific style (ex. impressionism, abstraction, realism) to display or communicate a specific idea (ex beauty, hate, critique, information, function). In this way, art and engineering converge, with science being a tool by which the skill, tools, mediums, styles, and ideas are tested and developed.

  4. #4
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    Reminds me of a lecture Richard Hamming (he of the Hamming code, window, etc) gave at my alma mater where he said that there are *still* things to be discovered. This, to science and engineering students overwhelmed with all of the modern advancements in their fields of study.

    It was an inspiring observation.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by AndrewLewis View Post
    Engineering, science, and art do not sit on a continuum, so to say it's either "science" or "art" is a false dichotomy.

    Science is a framework for understanding and learning.

    Art is the outcome of the application of a skill (ex. painting) using a specific tool (ex paint and paintbrush) onto a specific medium (ex canvas) using a specific style (ex. impressionism, abstraction, realism) to display or communicate a specific idea (ex beauty, hate, critique, information, function). In this way, art and engineering converge, with science being a tool by which the skill, tools, mediums, styles, and ideas are tested and developed.
    What's great about art (discussions) is that it's a direct gateway into human minds, very abstract and amorphous spaces that everyone wants to organise. Art is really the first in this human habit of preferring order over chaos, as evident in a great number of ways. Some important highlights would be the human need to recognise patterns, even where there are none. Cave paintings are a great example: there's nothing inherent about the shapes we see on the cave walls that would tell us what they are, but we identify them as representations of animals and sometimes humans. While the paintings can be true to life and unmistakeably representations of animals (which they are), they do remain symbolic: they are lines in "paint" on a cave wall ("canvas"). It's only after we identify them, in language, that they become art.

    As such, I find you paint a very specific picture of art that seems very reasonable but is very wrong. Very few artists in history, or even today, would stop to consider the "specific style" or even "specific idea" they'd want to use, and a lot of those were only defined after the fact. It's very clear to us now that impressionist art came before "impressionism," a term with an arbitrary definition and arbitrary begin and end dates; arbitrary in the fact that paintings are included and excluded every so often, since there's no hard definition and new art is discovered every so often. Therein lies another misapprehension: the word "art" is by all means a loaded term, so what the last few words of the previous sentence really mean are "new paintings are determined to be art every so often".

    While science is definitely a framework for understanding and learning, there's nothing about art to suggest that it would be the contrary. You'll find this is true for science, as well: science is also the outcome of the application of a skill, using a specific tool onto a specific medium using a specific style (e.g. physics, biology, ...) to display or communicate a specific idea. This dichotomy seems to me to be false in that you approached science hollistically, but art specifically. There's an obvious difference in methodology, of course, since science depends upon experimentation and testing with empirical reality. But even so, you'll find the vast majority of artists in history would not have considered their art trickery. If you were to revive one artist from every century and put them in a roundtable discussion, they would all say they painted it as it appeared to them, and at the same time concede that they were painting a picture. It's only us as onlookers or historians or theoreticians who would suggest a hierarchy of true to life artistry where impressionism would rank below realism or what have you. We identify (major) differences as they occur throughout thousands of years of art history, which of course are very much there, but invariably not quite as present as we would like to believe.

    I'm glad to see Rip raise the relevant counterpoint. OP would have us believe that art relies on the artist, which certainly the Romantics would appreciate, but it seems more reasonable than true. As Rip indicates, it's not at all clear that "someone would've figured it out eventually," just like it's not clear to me that someone would have eventually figured out evolution or relativism. Maybe others would have found similar ideas and concepts to be true, but it would doubtfully have been as clear or as well conceived as Darwin's and Einstein's work. I think their past existence precludes such a view, and certainly such a reality. We like to see singular individuals behind singular ideas, though, and that's a view art has left behind long ago. To explain something like the conception of evolution, we have to account for every single detail in Darwin's life as that would have influenced his whole being and conclude that evolution had no one author. A singular one, to be sure, but not one that comprised of one man in a vacuum figuring it out. Or rather, a man in a cave looking at shapes on the wall.

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    Those Greeks knew a thing or two about training for strength. They also produced beautiful art in the form of sculptures representing the ideal man. Strength, beauty, pride and intellect were clearly part of their culture thousands of years ago. I bet they were utilising progressive overload before Rip brought it to our attention.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Rippetoe View Post
    This is merely applied science. I am amazed that I was the first to codify this rather obvious application of biology. Nonetheless, I was. It would eventually have been done, but I don't know by whom.
    Not too sure Rip. At least not anytime soon anyway. Here’s why: I think an undergrad degree in engineering would be required as a baseline. Then that same person would need untold hours-years-decades training. And years of coaching others preferably in his own gym where he/she can control most of the variables. Said person would also benefit from the relationships with the older generation of lifters (Starr, et al) to hear their experience. Then said person would need the technical writing skills required to put together a book like SS. And said person would need to be one stubborn son of a bitch to take on the fitness industry and then build a business around the training model so that a wider audience could benefit. And then build a network of like minded people to spread and teach the SS program beyond just the book.

    Yeh, maybe someone else, but not to the extent that it is today. It could have been a published paper in an obscure journal but with a very very limited audience. But then again I am frequently wrong.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scaldrew View Post
    As such, I find you paint a very specific picture of art that seems very reasonable but is very wrong. Very few artists in history, or even today, would stop to consider the "specific style" or even "specific idea" they'd want to use, and a lot of those were only defined after the fact. It's very clear to us now that impressionist art came before "impressionism," a term with an arbitrary definition and arbitrary begin and end dates; arbitrary in the fact that paintings are included and excluded every so often, since there's no hard definition and new art is discovered every so often. Therein lies another misapprehension: the word "art" is by all means a loaded term, so what the last few words of the previous sentence really mean are "new paintings are determined to be art every so often".
    Intention of method/style/tool isn't required for characterization.

  9. #9
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    Since you said “caveman” and “art”:

    Chesterton on cave paintings | The Blog that was Thursday

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by AndrewLewis View Post
    Engineering, science, and art do not sit on a continuum, so to say it's either "science" or "art" is a false dichotomy.

    Science is a framework for understanding and learning.

    Art is the outcome of the application of a skill (ex. painting) using a specific tool (ex paint and paintbrush) onto a specific medium (ex canvas) using a specific style (ex. impressionism, abstraction, realism) to display or communicate a specific idea (ex beauty, hate, critique, information, function). In this way, art and engineering converge, with science being a tool by which the skill, tools, mediums, styles, and ideas are tested and developed.
    As an engineer who has been involved in the arts my entire life, this completely and perfectly describes what I do from 8-5 and then on the weekend. Thank you.

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