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Life Sciences and Literature

  • K.Tripathi*

Department of English, Ranchi College, Ranchi

On the surface, life sciences and literature seem to be poles apart in their approaches, tempers and methodologies. On the one hand, life sciences concern themselves with positive Knowledge. The more we understand life and nature, the less we trust in super-natural causes. Sowing and reaping, the food we eat, the clothes we wear, our social relations 1k err all once under the control of religion. Even if we have been considerably liberated over the last two centuries from hold a sway over our minds. Scientific outlook gives the objective outlook which totally discards bias and prejudice. On the other hand, literature emanates from the deeper recesses of human consciousness and is inclusive of a wide range of human experiences emotions, passions. sentiments, idiosyncrasies. whims. imagination, ideas, beliefs and thoughts. The language of life sciences is different from the language of literature. The style of a person of literature may be personalized, or impersonalized. The style of a life scientist is, however. unfailingly objective. So there exist sonic fundamental differences between the approaches and methods of creative writers and life scientists on the face of it, no doubt, but at the deeper structural and semantic level, it can be said that they both work with the fundamental desire for good that actuates all our impulses. They both have this innocent instinct. They both seek separate approaches and divergent ways and methods to gratify the instinct for the sense of the conduct and the sense for beauty. The life scientist and the person of literature alike follow the instinct of self preservation in humanity. While defining poetry in the early nineteenth-century social context of the emergence of science as a power,William Wordsworth said, -It (poetry) is the breath and finer spirit all knowledge, the impassioned expression which is in the countenance of all science.” P. B Shelley holds a similar opinion. He said. “A poem it the very  image of life expressed in its eternal truths”.

Charles  Darwin, the great naturalist and scientist, took intense delight in Shakespeare, Milton, Wordsworth and Shelley when he was young. That  enabled him form a fomidable outlook on life and the world. Without literature, our life  sciences will appear incomplete, because time and again one has to turn to literature to interpret life for us, to console us, to sustain us. Modern literature tell, us to trust the Man of Science and to inculcate the scientific temper and attitude, to distrust the mechanical world which is devoid of humanism and human values. The discoveries of science

have presented to us a wonder – world of beauty, vastness,power, manifoldness and mystery. They are there, whether one reads about the strange behaviour of genes, the enzymes that enter the stage from conception in the womb to the grave, the spiral nebulae that are as numerous as the stars in the Milky way,the bend of light by the curvature of Space or the mysterious sense that guides migratory birds  in their flights through thousands of miles in the trackless air back to their nests. Nature is a vast scene – tremendous beyond imagination- of inter- relatedness. There is joy and harmony in Nature. Darwin shows full consciousness of these amazing aspects of life thriving in the total scheme of the Universe when he remarked : Cats have to do with clover-crop and earth – worms with the world’s bread supplies.

Like Darwin, the life scientists will hopefully open a new vista of beauty and mystery in the twenty-first century. Our life scientists will discover more and more that the ruling instinct in them is to explore, investigate, analyze and relate the facts of life in all its aspects. They should be motivated by a significant impulse : How to preserve well the entire living world and what to do about expanding it in a meaningful, homogenous and harmonious way and manner despite the universal divergence. And in this infinite pursuit, the life scientists will be spurred on by a sort of perennial inspiration drawn from Homer, Virgil, Dante, Chaucer, Shakspeare, Milton, Blake, Wordsworth, Coleridge, Shelley, Tennyson. Browning, Arnold, Whitman, Pound, Yeats, Eliot, Sri Aurobindo, Tagore, Nirala, Pablo Neruda and the vast galaxy of literary geniuses.

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