Monday, 28 June 2010

Poetry and Science

Miroslav Holub’s essay ‘Poetry and Science’ (in 1991’s The Dimension of the Present Moment) challenges artists who ‘content themselves on the one hand with a subnormal understanding of the present sciences in particular and with a pretended general understanding of “Science” on the other, albeit they mix up science, technology and the application of both—which is rather the consequence of the given social structure than the responsibility of scientists.’ Holub wants to assert the community of poets and scientists on the grounds on ‘a common silence’ and a shared ‘realization of inner freedom, of the freedom of choice, of one of the very few moments of existential freedom.’ This is puzzling, as if Holub’s main point of contradistinction between the two fields: ‘the scientific theme implies as much light as possible, the poetic one as many shadows as possible.’ I’d say the opposite is true: that the 21st century is revealing the great object of scientific enquiry to be, precisely, dark matter; where poetry puts the hairs up at the back of the neck precisely by articulating, in various ways, the impossibility of existential freedom.

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