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Solved Exercise for Precis writing with Title “Relation between Art, Science and Literature” Precis for Class 9, 10, 11, 12 and Higher classes.

Passages with Solved Precis

Two opposite and at first sight conflicting merits belong to science as against literature and art. The one, which is not inherently necessary, but is certainly true at the present day, is hopefulness as to the useful work that may be accomplished by any intelligent student. This merit and the cheerful outlook which it engenders prevent what might otherwise be the depressing effect of another aspect of science, to my mind also a merit, and perhaps its greatest merit—I mean the irrelevance of human passions and of the whole subjective apparatus where scientific truth is concerned. Each of these reasons for preferring the study of science requires more amplification. Let us begin with the first. In the study of literature or art, our attention is perpetually riveted upon the past: the men of Greece or of the Renaissance did better than any men do now; the triumphs in our own age, actually, increase in difficulty of fresh triumphs by rendering originality harder of attainment; not only is artistic achievement not cumulative, but it seems even to depend upon a certain freshness and native of impulse and vision civilization tends to destroy. Hence comes, to those who have been nourished on the literary and artistic productions of former ages, a certain peevishness, and undue fastidiousness towards the present, from which there seems no escape except into the deliberate vandalism which ignores tradition and, in search of originality, achieves only the eccentric, but in such vandalism there is none of the simplicity and spontaneity out of which great art springs: theory is still the canker in its core, and insincerity destroys the advantages of a merely pretended ignorance.

The despair, thus, arising from an education which suggests no preeminent mental activity except that of artistic creation is wholly absent from an education which gives the knowledge of scientific method. The discovery of scientific method except in pare mathematics is a thing of yesterday. Speaking broadly, we may say that it dates from Galileo. Yet already it has transformed the world, and its success proceeds with ever-accelerating velocity. Where one man of supreme genius has invented a method, a thousand lesser men can apply it. No transcendent ability is required in order to make useful discoveries in science; the edifice of science needs its masons, brick-layers and common labourers as well as its foremen, master-builders and architects. In art nothing worth doing can be done without genius; in science even a very moderate capacity can contribute to .supreme achievement.

In science the man of real genius is the man who wants a new method. The notable discoveries are often made by his successors, unimpaired by the previous labour of perfecting it; but the mental calibre of the thought required for their work, however brilliant, is not so great as that required by the first inventor of the method. There are in science immense numbers of different methods appropriate to different classes of problems, but over and above all, there is something not easily definable, which may be called ‘the method of science’. It was formerly customary to identify this with the inductive methods, and to associate it with the name of Bacon. But the true inductive method was not discovered by Bacon, and the true method of science is something which includes deduction as much as induction, logic and mathematics, as much as botany and geology. I shall not attempt the difficult task of stating what the scientific method is, but I will try to indicate the temper of mind out of which the scientific method grows, which the second of the two merits that were mentioned above as belonging to a scientific education. The kernel of the scientific outlook is a thing so simple, so obvious, so seemingly trivial, that the mention of it may almost excite derision. The kernel of scientific outlook is the refusal to regard our own desires, tastes, and interests as affording a key to understanding of the world. Stated thus boldly, this may seem no more than a trite truism. But, to remember it consistently in matters arousing our passionate partisanship is by no means easy, where the available evidence is uncertain and inconclusive. A few illustrations will make this clear.

Aristotle, I understand, considered that the stars must move in a circle because the circle is the most perfect curve. ln the absence of evidence to the contrary, he allowed himself to decide a question of fact by an appeal to aesthetic and moral considerations. In such a case it is at once obvious to us that this appeal was unjustifiable. We know now how to ascertain, as a matter of fact, the way in which the heavenly bodies move, and we know that they do not move in circles, or even in accurate ellipses or in any other kind of easily describable curve. This may be painful a certain hankering after simplicity of pattern in the universe. We know that in astronomy such feelings are irrelevant. Easy as this knowledge seems now, we owe it to the courage and insight of the first inventor of scientific method, and more especially to Galileo.

We may take as another illustration, Malthus’s doctrine of population. This illustration is all the better for the fact that this actual doctrine is now known to be largely erroneous. It is not his conclusions that are valuable, but the temper and method of his inquiry. As everyone knows, it was to him that Darwin owed an essential part of his theory of natural selection and this was only possible because Malthus’s outlook was truly scientific. His great merit lies in considering man not as the object of praise or blame, but as a part of nature; a thing with a certain characteristic behaviour from which certain consequences must follow. If the behaviour is not quite what Malthus’s supposed, if the consequences are not quite what he inferred, that may falsify his conclusions, but does not impair the value of his method.


Relation between Art, Science and Literature

The study of science is to gain a two-fold advantage over literature and art. It gives an insight in the progress of mankind. Secondly, it is free from the inaccuracies which result from human passion. Passion has no place in any scientific truth.

A good deal of literature and art has been devoid of originality due to a bias for the past. The Greeks and those born in renaissance period were free from this effect. Clinging to the past results in peevishness and eccentricity. It works against spontaneity of thought, the fountain of art and simplicity. Science, however, does not provide for development of artistic talent which literature and art does. Science and its discoveries have, however, changed and are changing the world in an amazing manner. The study of science does not require extraordinary genii. It is based on continuous research which those equipped with average intelligence can continue to do.

The role of genius in science is only confined to inventions. Erroneously associated with Bacon for the inductive method, true method of science is something which includes deduction as much as induction, logic, mathematics, botany and zoology. Truth and scientific knowledge is available if not coloured or tempered by one’s own desires and tastes. The analysis in science has no place for personal equation of mind or personal prejudices. Science has also no place for any moral considerations or values. If that had not been so, Malthus would not have been a forerunner for Darwin in evolution theory of natural selection despite the fact that his own doctrine was not free from flaw.

Though different conclusions may be drawn by different studies and any generalisation may not be possible for variety of approaches, the scientific knowledge can always help in formulating laws, having universal applicability.


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