Tag: two cultures

Shduff

Playing around with this rss-thingy was nice. I had to look through the bookmarks – they are a bit like hair. It tends to grow (what is elating when there are (first) not so dense spots), gets a bit out of form and needs a trim now and then. I have neglected trimming the bookmarks for some time & so found some outdated, or others I am not interested in any longer. Some sites do not support rss anymore and recommend for staying up-to-date using the usual “social”-media like twitter and fatzebook. I saw an article predicting the end of rss all together, but most of the magazines I am interested in still use it, and the others will be visited when I feel like it. No way that I join twitter or farcebook because of this.
While at it, I looked at my devoted followers on WordPress & noticed that the number had increased since I had a glance. I found two that I’d like to get rid of, but there is seemingly no way to cut these unwanted ties. One leads to a kind of magazine that seemingly ceased to exist in 2012 – nice that they used my humble blog as inspiration for filling their space, but obviously I couldn’t help, sorry.
The other is a bit embarrassing, because it uses the avatar of a fake persona (a young Indian lady interested in anything) & leads towards some murky website that seemingly wants to sell portables or such, and url after url will be addressed in the new browser window – I killed the whole process after the fourth or so. It is obviously no nice young Indian lady interested in anything, but nothing but a cavalcade of links generating clicks and whatnot.
I looked at the WordPress forum & in the help-section, all is about getting followers & shooting trouble when “following” is not working, there is nothing about getting rid of obviously fake followers.
À propos “dead” blogs – I have a list of blogs from people to whom I felt connected once – sounds stupid perhaps, but we had conversations in (emotionally) tense times, and it feels wrong to me to simply delete these links. The blogs are still there, so the partners in conversation still keep them, or better: did not delete them, for what reasons ever.
I wonder what is the policy of blogger or other services in this respect ? Will server space simply be made available after perhaps ten years of in-activity ? Is someone taking care of this ? And why should one, or not ? Does this long-lost conversations “belong” to someone ? Is emotional value worth to be stored ?
I would very much like to find out about some of them. It is research, and I am a researcher (of some kind), data should be available in the giant stores of google … it would put this gargantuan data-collection to at least a small good – and heck – allow me to search these people and use it for PR if you like, it would at least satisfy my curiosity, ha ! If google can buy SanFrancisco for its engineers, why not hand me a dime and try to give the monster a nice & friendly face ? THIS would be archiving.
Anyway, I am tired now, maybe this last point needs a bit of further investigation and heavy thinking. But not now. Actually I do not want to think about finiteness or mortality, I have enough of this through the day, and sometimes through the night.
So here is a bit of music, excellent guitar work by Messrs BARNES & KRESS. Just so.

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Charles P. Snow

I do not expect that the name above jumps into your consciousness creating lots of “aaaahhh”s and “oooohhh”s. In the academic circle I am still allowed to attend to, his name made no bells ring – but everybody knew the word from “The two cultures”. Lord Snow coined it.

Charles Percy Snow (1905-1980) became a scientist and abandoned his possible career in the thirties of the 20th century to start writing novels. During the war he worked for the government, afterwards he picked up his writing activities again and held some positions in the industry. 1959 he gave a Rede-lecture in Cambridge that was published: “The two cultures and the scientific revolution”. The small publication saw some reprints and 1968 an enlarged second edition followed. This lecture started a heated discussion.
Snow saied in a nutshell, that the natural scientists on one side and the humanists on the other side are unable to communicate in a proper way and stay incomprehensible, unconnected aside. He talks about a “cultural divide”. Later he uses the term “Third culture” and it’s iminent that he has the idea of a kind of unifiying, new “culture” to come.

The reviews were mixed from reserved to harsh and the most vivid attack was brought by F.R. Leavis, an artcritic. His critic was straight to the man and terribly overdrawn. The central part of the review is justified and important: Snow’s idea of “culture” is pretty simple and not too reflected. To put it simple and exaggerated: He sees “culture” as electricity, enough to eat and knowing what to do.
The goal of all science is – according to Snow – to solve the world’s problems (hunger, energy, education) by progress. This progress is achieved by the work of the applied sciences, the natural sciences. The “humanists” play no role in this understanding. Even by the standards of the 1990ties (a very “un-cultural” time in my opinion) and of course his own lifetime, as the critic showed, this is a pretty simple idea of the sciences and of the “old culture”, as he likes to call it. Well, Leavis thundered and some others did as well.

So this lecture from nearly 50 years ago could be simply forgotten. It could, if not from time to time this word (“Two cultures”) would be thrown into the discussion and everybody would nod the head in knowing consent. Back to the sources – ad fontes! The two cultures came back from the grave in the 80ties and 90ties in connection with the so-called new sciences and the “Third culture“. Snow had no idea what “culture” would be and he did not try to think over this, but he coined a phrase that stuck and that gained a life of its own.

For further reading on Snow’s two cultures, look here – but not all links are still working.
Recommended reading is this article in the New Criterion.

In the next seminar-session we will have a referate about the Sokal-Hoax.