Science, Arts and Literature for Human Culture

Science which is supposed to be ruling the world is sub serving politics. Science which has conquered the places of both religion and philosophy is just waiting to conquer the places of politics which may happen in the future. Religion is about spirit, philosophy is about mind and science is all about matter. Science has almost conquered the world and is already in the direction of conquering the Universe. With the aid of science man is capable of doing anything except bringing back life to the dead body. Otherwise, many mummies sleeping in the pyramids of Egypt would have regained life and would have been functioning alive with the vanished classical splendor of the past!

Service of Science Necessary

Scientific thinking is based upon facts and hence there is sureness in man's action and his works proceed in time and complete within the programmed schedules. Scientific approach has helped immensely to find suitable solutions to many problems which were previously believed to be insoluble. Science is doing great service to mankind in the field of industries, agriculture, medicine, psychology and physiology. Science has indeed unraveled many mysteries of Nature and the power of nature is harnessed in all the fields for the benefit of mankind.

Constructive Use of Science Necessary

While doing so many new problems are coming up as big threats to human life and achievement in the world. They are the problems of Nuclear Weapons in war, air and water pollutions spoiling the environment and new diseases affecting the physical condition and the psychology of men. How are these problems to be tacked? These problems have to be viewed in the global perspective and the things that lead to such threats have to be eliminated as a whole. Actually the main threats to mankind in general are poverty, disease and ignorance. Science and technology should be used to eliminate these threats first so that real peace, development and prosperity can be achieved in the world. The use of science should be in that direction and that is the way by which human culture can be maintained. 

Wise Use of Science to uphold Human Culture necessary

Science is only a means to achieve certain desirable ends in order to enhance the dignity of human life and is not there to replace man by its inventions in the form of Robots, Computers, etc. to monitor man's activities and become master of man. Computer brain cannot understand human feelings and replace human brain whose myriad functions are simply superb, unique and wonderful and are beyond the scope of any mechanical devices of man's own inventions. Therefore it should be noted that this is the scope and the limitation of man which everyone should remember and use wisely the scientific knowledge in order to uphold human culture so that everyone can think, live, love, enjoy and die honorably as a human being and not as anything else.


There is no beginning and end for art. Art is a permanent thing. The aim of art is perfection. It is an eternal and infinite thing. That is why art is divine. Nature was there, is there and will be there. Nature is the creation of God. Art is the achievement of man. Art will be there as long as man is there on the Earth. 

Beauty is Truth 

'Beauty is truth, Truth beauty,' says John Keats in his poem, Ode on a Grecian Urn and 'A thing of beauty is a joy forever' in another poem, Endymion. Universal truth is beautifully expressed in the artistic creations like sculpture, painting, music, etc. using the usual and ordinary experiences of human life as matter or substance and such beauty of art remains to be a joyful thing to man for a long-time. This phenomenon can be found in Classical Arts. There is beauty and truth in classical arts which give joy to whoever who approaches them. For example, in the classical sculptures of the Indian Temples one can find that there is beauty in them, it has a meaning and there is a message which is good and great for everyone to cherish in memory and follow in life to get real peace, happiness and satisfaction. Such divine arts make human mind clean and clear, give satisfaction to human heart and energize human spirit with inspiration, vigor and strength. Indeed there is spirit and power in Classical Arts.

Classical and Modern Arts

Classical Arts have lost their popularity as they have become very difficult for everyone to understand and enjoy without the basic knowledge of arts. Classical Arts, which are now called as Cultural Arts are practiced by the few people who still follow the norms or the traditional culture of India especially in music and dance, are considered to be orthodoxical people. After the western type of civilization has permeated to all corners of the world, the trend now is for the offbeat in arts which are called as Modern Arts especially in music, dance and painting. Modern arts do not have depth, variety, ingenuity and complexity as Classical arts. Modern arts thrill, fascinate and put people in a state of trance or a frenzy mood instantly and leave them where they are the moment the spell is over. They do not have a resonance or lingering effect any longer as the predecessor arts have. But modern arts have a popular appeal among younger generations of the modern world now. This is the actual position and place of arts today. 

Survival of Art with commercial value through Modern Media 

The products of modern civilization very popular among the people of the world today are the greatest scientific inventions like Cinema and Television. Cinema is a mass media and whose competitor is the TV, the latest thing of today. Art is surviving through the mass media like Radio, TV and Cinema. Artistic productions of this kind are termed as commercial arts. Art survives only if it is has good commercial value today. The quality of commercial arts is low as art is used not to enhance human nature in the direction of divine nature but to satisfy the baser nature of human beings as profit motive of commerce is top most in the minds of the producers. If good, artistic creations are produced with the commercial value also into consideration surely there will be good quality in the commercial art and also the higher needs of human nature can be satisfied at the same time. If this path is followed by modern art producers, human culture can be maintained for the greatness of man in the modern world. 

Entertainment and Instruction of Literature

Among the arts, writing is the most difficult and exact one. Literature is the exact form of art for many years. The out put of books in literature is surpassing the production of books in other branches of knowledge. This is perhaps due to the fact expressed by John Milton in his Aropagitica that 'a good book is the precious life blood of a master spirit embalmed and treasured up on purpose for a life beyond life.' The main purpose of good and great literature is to entertain and instruct the people and make the world a better place to live than before. Example for this kind of literature, Homer's Iliad and Odyssey, Valamiki's Ramayana, Vysa's Mahabharata, Dante's Divine Comedy, Milton's Paradise Lost and Goethe's Faust can be quoted. These were long, descriptive, dramatic, philosophic, poetic, Classic literatures of the world. After these the style of writing literature had changed everywhere. Then Romantic literature had prevailed for sometime in the form of poetry and novels. Now the forms of literature remaining in practice are novels, prose and criticisms including journalism are called as modern literature.

Classic, Romantic and Modern Literatures

The writers of the Classical literatures were following certain conventions of their time. Classic literatures were formal, social and intellectual in nature. They dealt with various types of characters in general, moral principles and universal truths. They reflected the civilization, culture, life and activities of the people of that time. They touched the heart and made the mind to think.

But the writers of the Romantic literatures were informal, individual, and emotional in their works. They questioned the very basis of conventional or moral ideas and strived for ultimate truths. They dealt with the internal problems of the heart of the individuals in particular. Their intention was rather to amuse or please in poetry than to advise or instruct or guide the readers. The stream of consciousness of Virginia Wolf, blood consciousness of D.H. Lawrence and dream fantasies of poets and novelists have enlarged the scope of original writings in literature preferring emotional utterances as expressions of art to artistic expressions of emotions paving the way for the expressions of personalities rather than artistic skills in literature.

Then Modern literature has emerged. Modern literatures are full of ideas, incidences, episodes and actions dealing with the superficial and social aspects of human life having no concern for lifelike characters, human touch, human values and human culture. Modern writers investigate and report. Their duty is to thrill and fascinate the people in exposition.

So, the present day works of writings simply strip off everything naked and expose them without a spot for concealment in the name of journalism. Hence, pornographic writings are popularly large in numbers and all the forms of literature are out of the focus of the people as literature is felt to be a useless stuff before the electronic computer introduced by scientists which can produce poems, essays, novels, dramas, etc. in innumerable quantities in no time now! 

Science in Literature

Indeed scientific methods, approach, attitude and temper have helped literature much to unravel the mysteries of human behaviors or activities due to mental illnesses or psychological problems which were not noticed earlier before the authentic treatises on psychological discoveries about human beings by Sigmund Freud, Jung and others were made known to the world. The famous characters from Shakespeare's plays, Fyodor Dostoevsky's novels, Eugene O'Neill's dramas, etc. are some of the instances of psychological cases which cannot be neglected as useless stuffs of literature by the modern people.

In science ideas can be experimented analytically and the results inferred, but the experience of ideas or the process cannot be felt and understood. Science may be useful to understand the part of the whole truth in a magnified manner but not the whole truth completely. But scientific methods can be used in literature to interpret the psychological problems of human beings and solve them. Scientific inventions like the Television and Cinema can very well be used in popularizing the great classical, romantic and modern literary works of art for the benefit of mankind. 

Literary Criticism for Humanity

Literary works are appearing in a number of weekly and monthly magazines, weekend newspaper editions and in book forms to satisfy the curiosity and the needs of the people who have not got full satisfaction from the TV serials and Cinema versions of the old and the new literary masterpieces. Literature is not there just to amuse and entertain only but it is there to protest against the wrongs of the government and point out the ills of human society and change them for the better. Indeed literature is a wholesome treatise meant for the true service of humanity in general. It is the only subject that enlightens the mind, enlarges the horizon for human thinking, fulfils the wishes of the heart, satisfies human soul or spirit, makes human beings better human beings and leads everyone towards perfection in life. 

Constructive Social Criticism Necessary

Like literary criticism social criticism is very essential for the maintenance of human values and human excellence in all walks of life in the world. Social criticism is practiced by the critics both negatively and positively. Negative criticism is nothing but fault finding and making unnecessary comments over the social ways and means of the people and so it is harmful, detrimental and destructive to human society and its values. But positive criticism is concerned with the benefit, development and upliftment of the society and its values people cherish most in the world. Therefore social critics of the second type are very important and have got a great job to do to maintain human culture in the world. So, the critiques from this type of critics have to be welcomed.

Social standard dependent on Quality of Intellectuals

Social critics, who are responsible for upholding human culture in order to make peace, prosperity and happiness prevail in the world forever, are the intellectuals belonging to various fields of human endeavor in the society. The intellectuals of the nations are the politicians, film makers, journalists, writers, reformers and the workers of humanity who have direct influence over the minds of the people. It is the opinions of these intellectuals that make the world better or bad. 

As this is so, it has to be said that the tension, turmoil, chaos, wars and other ideological crises are due to the manipulations of these intellectuals rather than due to the backwardness or ignorance of the common men in the world. The quality of administration, justice, education, news reports, film productions and the standards of social, economic and cultural activities of the people have gone down in the present day world mainly due to the poor standards these intellectuals follow in their services for getting cheap popularity in order to capture power in high position. So, the intellectuals have to cherish high ideals and adopt principles and standards to do their respective jobs in the world and administer what is good and great to the human society. 

Solutions by Critics

The job of the critics is not just to point out the mistakes but to suggest means to correct them. Their duty is to interpret the best human values like love, truth, justice and liberty wherever they find, to make judgment over human issues whenever they come across basing those values and to submit their valued and critical comments in times of crises to the world both for the understanding of and the guidance to the people. To do so they should not be just intellectuals but also human beings with human sympathy. In brief, they should be emotionally balanced, intellectually mature, logically skilful and morally straight forward, if they pride themselves to be intellectuals or social critics forever.     


More by :  T. A. Ramesh

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