We live not in a primevally pure world, but in a world that is known and has been transformed, a world where everything has, as it were, been given a “human angle”, a world permeated with our attitudes towards it, our needs, ideas, aims, ideals, joys and sufferings, a world that is part of the vortex of our existence. If we were to remove this “human factor” from the world, its sometimes inexpressible, profoundly intimate relationship with man, we should be confronted by a desert of grey infinity, where everything was indifferent to everything else. Nature, considered in isolation from man, is for man simply nothing, an empty abstraction existing in the shadowy world of dehumanised thought. The whole infinite range of our relationships to the world stems from the sum-total of our interactions with it. We are able to consider our environment rationally through the gigantic historical prism of science, philosophy and art, which are capable of expressing life as a tempestuous flood of contradictions that come into being, develop, are resolved and negated in order to generate new contradictions.
No scientifically, let alone artistically, thinking person can remain deaf to the wise voice of true philosophy, can fail to study it as a vitally necessary sphere of culture, as the source of world-view and method. Equally true is the fact that no thinking and emotionally developed person can remain indifferent to literature, poetry, music, painting, sculpture and architecture. Obviously, one may be to some extent indifferent to some highly specialised science, but it is impossible to live an intellectually full life if one rejects philosophy and art. The person who is indifferent to these spheres deliberately condemns himself to a depressing narrowness of outlook.
In a certain generalised sense the true philosopher is like the poet. He, too, must possess the aesthetic gift of free associative thinking in integral images. And in general one cannot achieve true perfection of creative thought in any field without developing the ability to perceive reality from the aesthetic standpoint. Without this precious intellectual prism through which people view the world everything that goes beyond the empirical description of facts, beyond formulae and graphs may look dim and indistinct.
Scientists who lack an aesthetic element in their makeup are dry-as-dust pedants, and artists who have no knowledge of philosophy and science are not very interesting people either, for they have little to offer above elementary common sense. The true artist, on the other hand, constantly refreshes himself with the discoveries of the sciences and philosophy. While philosophy and science tend to draw us into “the forest of abstractions”, art smiles upon everything, endowing it with its integrating, colourful imagery.
Life is so structured that for a man to be fully conscious of it he needs all these forms of intellectual activity, which complement each other and build up an integral perception of the world and versatile orientation in it.
This has been taken from Philosophy and Art by A. Spirkin.