Tuesday, February 15, 2011

The fish who fell in love with the bird

"A fish and a bird can fall in love, but where will they build their nest?"

One of my favourite threadless shirts is this one , which I believe is referencing the above quotation. I think I first heard that quotation in a movie, in reference to a Jewish person falling in love with a non-Jew. I think it resonated with me for a completely different reason, however.

When I enrolled at the University of Western Australia, I couldn't choose between my two loves: Literature, and Maths. Now whilst the maths thing didn't work out, I had a fling with Chemistry, which introduced me to Biology, and I finally found the very satisfying Biochemistry held my attention. I also picked up Philosophy along the way. This (happily!) resulted in my majoring in Philosophy, English, Cell Physiology and Biochemistry. As I continued on in my degree, I found that it wasn't because I couldn't decide between Arts and Science - it's that I saw an intricate interaction between the two disciplines.

Throughout my studies, the science students leered at my arts majors. My arts peers thought studying science must be dry, boring and soulless. I was batting for opposing teams, simultaneously.** I was always amused that what I learnt in science seemed to be mirrored in arts, and what I learnt in arts allowed me to appreciate the beauty of science. I don't think I got the best of both worlds. I think I had the opportunity to see things in each world which few people had noticed.

Having completed my science/arts degree, and chosen to continue on in Biochemistry (yes, I'm starting my PhD this year. eep.) has led me to realise that my view of science has been irrevocably changed by my devotion to Cultural Studies, and my knowledge of Philosophy. I am often struck with a sense of unease: my love of the postmodern novel has made me question the Grand Narrative of scientific literature all too often. Whilst I do still love science (even though he is a hard master), I'm not afraid to question him*.

I intend to use this, my "grown-up" blog, as a place to document my thoughts of a more Cultural Studies/Literary/Philosophical nature.

I am the bird which will flap in the waves and stir up the fish. I am the fish who will learn to fly. Imma gonna build a fucking boat nest, and no one is going to stop me.

*(as an aside, were I to have continued on in Cultural Studies, I'm sure I would have brandished my science wand against its theories too).
** Yeah I know this is loaded imagery. But the prejudice I experienced, whilst not as offensive, was not dissimilar. People thought I just "couldn't decide".