In the tradition of Romanticism generally (a pivotal
early document being Wordsworth's
to Lyrical Ballads"), Barfield was much interested in the relationship
between the seemingly strange bedfellows of poetry and science.
As early as Poetic Diction, he had concluded
Romanticism Comes of Age, he would insist
with conviction that "Science must itself become an art, and art a science,
either they must mingle, or Western civilization, as we know it, must perish,
to make room for one that may have spirit enough to learn how to know God's
earth as He actually made it" (RCA 65).
Really there is no distinction between
Poetry and Science, as kinds of knowing, at all. There is only the distinction
between bad poetry and bad science. That the two or three experimental
sciences, and the two or three hundred specialized lines of inquiry which
ape their methods, should have developed the rational out of all proportion
to the poetic is indeed an historical fact--and a fact of great importance
to a consideration of the last four hundred years of European history.
But to imagine that this tells us anything about the nature of knowledge
instead of a way of testing, this is--instead of looking dispassionately
at the historical facts--to wear it like a pair of blinkers. (PD
|See in particular