The strange case of Science and Poetry

Maybe you know the story of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hide.
The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” is a novel by Robert Louis Stevenson, narrating the tale of Dr. Jekyll, and his menacing alter ego Mr. Hyde.

Why has Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde touched so many readers so powerfully?

One answer lies in the spirit of the time in which it was written. At the end of the 1800s, Britain was experiencing a period of intense social, economic, and spiritual change.
Dr. Jekyll and Mr Hyde was a symbolic representation of these threats to traditional British society.
Many readers saw in this novel echoes of Charles Darwin, who had claimed the theory of evolution and the natural selection, studying variation (you need to remember that variation can be caused by both genes and the environment) in plants and animals during a five-year voyage around the world in the 19th century. Darwin explained his ideas on evolution in a book called ‘On the Origin of Species‘, published in 1859.
Some readers considered Mr. Hyde to be the natural man, free of the civilizing influences of society and religion.
Hyde is the essence of man’s natural vitality and, as an essential natural force. He is a necessary component of human psychology: he is a directly personification of the evil.
I’d like to examine the novel from the point of view of dualism.
Dualists in the philosophy of mind emphasize the radical difference between mind and matter.
Probably the earliest concept of mind and body was introduced by Plato, a Greek philosopher (429-347 BC). Plato, like Descartes, saw the mind as identical with the soul. However, unlike Descartes, Plato argued that the soul both pre-existed and survived the body, going through a continual process of reincarnation or “transmigration”.

I learned to recognise the thorough and primitive duality of man; I saw that, of the two natures that contended in the field of my consciousness, even if I could rightly be said to be either, it was only because I was radically both” (quote by R. Stevenson in “The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde“)

In Science, physicists use two apparently contradictory theories to explain the phenomena of the microcosm: the particle theory and the wave theory.
In fact, matter can be treated exclusively with a particle theory, and light, on the contrary, should only be treated with a wave theory.
In the twentieth century, Niels Bohr introduced his concept of complementarity, developed in the same weeks as Werner Heisenberg was formulating his uncertainty principle. Complementarity in the form of wave-particle duality lies at the core of the Copenhagen interpretation of quantum mechanics. Bohr’s complementarity principle states that a single quantum can exhibit a particle-like or a wave-like behaviour, but never both at the same time. These are mutually exclusive and complementary aspects of the quantum system.

Are literature and science mutually exclusive? Can scientists appreciate beauty?

Richard Feynman’s scientific curiosity knew no bounds:

A poet once said: “The whole universe is in a glass of wine.” We will probably never know in what sense he said that, for poets do not write to be understood. But it is true that if we look in glass of wine closely enough we see the entire universe.”

And yet the contemplation of the “unspeakable” flower:

I have a friend who’s an artist and has sometimes taken a view which I don’t agree with very well. He’ll hold up a flower and say “look how beautiful it is,” and I’ll agree. Then he says “I as an artist can see how beautiful this is but you as a scientist take this all apart and it becomes a dull thing,” and I think that he’s kind of nutty. First of all, the beauty that he sees is available to other people and to me too, I believe…
I can appreciate the beauty of a flower. At the same time, I see much more about the flower than he sees. I could imagine the cells in there, the complicated actions inside, which also have a beauty. I mean it’s not just beauty at this dimension, at one centimeter; there’s also beauty at smaller dimensions, the inner structure, also the processes. The fact that the colors in the flower evolved in order to attract insects to pollinate it is interesting; it means that insects can see the color. It adds a question: does this aesthetic sense also exist in the lower forms? Why is it aesthetic? All kinds of interesting questions which the science knowledge only adds to the excitement, the mystery and the awe of a flower. It only adds. I don’t understand how it subtracts

Scientific experiment leads to empirical evidence (i.e. the word empirical means information gained by experience, observation, or experiment) and measurable results. Scientists consider their findings verified when repetitions of the experiment lead to the same results. It is different from literature, where the meaning of a poem is verified when readers create a personal understanding of the poem, through his cognitive experience.
The mathematician invented mathematics as the poet created poetry.
Mathematics and physics, like poetry, derive from innate functions of mind that are expressed in abstract, symbolic, conventionalized codes: Nature is innately mathematical, and ‘she‘ speaks to us in mathematics.
Some poets find creative inspiration in Nature.

I spent most of a lifetime trying to be a poet, immersed in cosmology and quantum physics. A lifetime spent doing what I loved to do. Now, my feelings are like a sine wave, corresponding to your heart beat.

P.s. Sorry for editing! I hate writing by my smartphone -.-‘


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