Maybe We’re Not So Different

The scientific enterprise imagined by men such as Francis Bacon, Thomas Sprat, and Isaac Newton embody ideals that as scholars we see today. This depreciation for expressive language is still reflected in STEM fields today. Where people in STEM fields feel as if they are enemies of subjective language, and rather believe objective language to be superior. As if to say there was a possibility of anything in the world, even scientific experiments, not holding a bias or subjective characteristics. There is a stigma that language and science are polar opposites, and can not possibly help one another when both are explored!

As an English major, I have been continually questioned on why I chose my field. Because according to people language and literature don’t help people!

Except, they do.

Literature empowers people and teaches them about the world around them. Isn’t that perhaps observation? Literature teaches people about what bad can happen when we let our wicked traits prevail. It is also an essential part of any culture, and it is colonialist to think that we should get rid of it because that would mean erasing folklore. Like science is a tool for survival, so are stories. Folklore has literally been life saving for mischievous children who didn’t wander off into the night because they feared la llorona or el cucuy. Folklore teaches people lessons of the importance of community and honor. It teaches people to not be selfish. Isn’t science about discovering ways to make the world better?

Along with this it’s also incredibly patriarchal to think that literature is invalid because it possess traits of subjectivity and emotion (which are typically associated with women) . As if emotion is the enemy of logic. I hardly think that is the case, emotion is revealing of who we are as human beings. Why are people against the muslim ban (besides it being unconstitutional)? Because along with it being illogical to categorize all people from one country as threats, it just doesn’t FEEL right to allow people to be victims of their inevitable death in war-torn countries. I can be told dictatorship is easy to fall into a million times, but every time I read Orwell’s Animal Farm, I understand.

Science is a beautiful part of humanity and I believe full heartedly that it should be protected, and I think language should also be protected. I believe that we should seek to help science through teaching people it’s importance, as several dystopian novels show us already. Science should also seek to protect language through recognizing that it helps motivate people and make them interested in science. The Literature of Power moves people, I had never wanted to be good at math as much as I wanted to when I watched the portrayal of Katherine G. Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan and Mary Jackson in Hidden Figures. No one in my life ever SHOWED me through story how magnificent that could be. However, I can guarantee anyone that every single little girl in that movie theater thought ‘I want to work for NASA’.

-Beyanira Bautista

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