Skip to Content

Ian McEwan on ‘art meets science’, are they really so different?

Ian McEwan on ‘art meets science’.

One of the key themes of this discussion is about the language and hence the accessibility of science. Most in society will have, at best, a schizophrenic relationship with science, in having little direct technical knowledge of it and yet appreciative and touched by it every waking second. Agnosticism rather then disbelief. The other is about the human side of pursuing science or art, in terms of what it means to the protagonist. The nature of the rewards and the measures of ‘success’ in each of those worlds are intriguing to consider. One thought that stems from this, for me, is: is it possible for individuals to have new, great thoughts, either aesthetic or scientific, anymore, or must we now build new creative concepts through collaboration to truly achieve something original?  One answer, which perhaps touches on the dramatic increase in the access to creative pursuits (anyone can publish a novel or a song), is that it doesn’t matter, because the individual gains from the experience of trying. Novelty itself is not the reward. The flip side is a comment that Ian McEwan makes here , which is that there is very little reference to primary, source material, anymore; that much of what we are exposed to know is referential, derivative. A little like this post, perhaps. And on that tautological note…