Communicating through the balance of Art and Science

Suggestion or no suggestion this ‘Mills & Boon’-esque novel segment provokes your mental and emotional understanding of the balance of art and science. It also, without a doubt, deflowers my blog with a bang and includes the all vital ‘captivating erotisism’ aspect the western world is all too familiar with!

…With her foot propped on the baths edge she ran her soft oil smothered hands down her thigh allowing her newly cleansed skin to be enveloped in sensation…she knew he was watching…her every move tantalizing…but the suspense drove her equally as wild.

Science derives from the Latin scientia meaning knowledge, which enables you to understand the previously described physiological response to touch. Art, from the Latin artem meaning skill, shows how previous tactile experience enables you to mentally and emotionally relate to all heightened experiences. Without, prior knowledge new experiences gained have little meaning which is where the art of any craft is validated. Your response to the above comes through an equal balance of skills and knowledge, emotion and logic, art and science. However, this is not a discussion on arousal…

On a professional basis, the union of art and science is accounted for on these same response levels. Physically, visually and emotionally skills and knowledge are partnered and this is a concept many primary health care providers, and even some health care models, fail to acknowledge.

Linear taught knowledge can only account for half the real world application, the other half must come through physical experience. From my own discovery I have spent countless hours learning more yet knowing less and without hands on experience my taught knowledge has little real world applicatory benefit. My understanding did not truly take on meaning until I palpated my first abdomen. This first, like many other firsts, added little extra to my knowledge bank but through continued determination I no longer required visual stimulus to evaluate fetal positioning. My hands became my eyes, much like feelers on an insect, and I determined shapes within through skill and knowledge. Being able to communicate with ink is a skill in itself, but verbal communication combines perceived information with concrete understanding and in the real world is how practitioners convey thoughts.

Art and science are also linked through visual observation, in the literal sense. Professionals/people in general forget largely about the skill of observation and how subtle body cues and interactions are equally as important as those diagnosed though a test. This is one of the greatest skills a practitioner can have up their sleeve but at the same time it is one not easily taught. It requires perception and perception cannot be obtained without knowledge, but knowledge cannot be understood without perception. In other words the art of a craft cannot be fully understood without the science and vice versa, the key being vice versa.  By observing subtle cues one can determine pain or joy. For example, we know when a person limps it suggests they are in pain (learnt knowledge) and through continued experience we can determine by the way they are limping exactly what is sore (perceptive understanding). In clinical I have come to understand that I do not require a piece of technology to tell me how far along the birth process a woman is, her body language and subtle cues relate directly to her progress.

Like physically or visually combining skills and knowledge people also have an innate emotional response to a situation. Empathy, the feeling or capacity for awareness and ability to emotionally relate to another is a bridge between skill and knowledge. Using empathy to communicate, means using art to convey science and through our own personal world view understanding, we are able to define professionalism. I revert back to my first clinical experience, having never physically or visually experienced birth I used my emotional understanding of pain to relate to the woman. This empathy enabled connection and through a balance of art and science kept professionalism. Had I not emotionally found a connection no matter how much skill or knowledge I previously obtained I would not have gained trust…one of the fundamental principles of professionalism (which in itself is a balance of relating, art, and understanding, science).

When this balance is disrupted and tipped to either extreme many professions lose focus on the holistic goal intended. The medical model is one of the health sector’s greatest examples of the art and science homeostatic imbalance. It prides itself on definitive diagnosis via technology; all science, no art. It discredits anyone who is has a connection to their body, who is so in tune they can TELL you what is wrong regardless of any test. The medical model also prides itself on being at the forefront of healthcare. Yet how can something with such an imbalance be considered the epitome of wellness! It promotes the destruction of art through scientific over powerment and a lack of partnership based communication. But, this isn’t an argument on the medical model either…

Back in the 1640’s, Descartes spoke of Cartesian dualism, or the mind body split, showing how the body was conceptualized as a machine.  On the other hand, the mind was seen as something uncontrollable and if something could not be proven with technology it was deemed to be untrustworthy. Descartes was onto something here and the mind body split can be related to the art (mind) science (body) split and also to the medical model of practice. Thankfully today we have come to understand that the mind and body are an interlinked unit through which the nervous system, on both conscious and subconscious level, is the communicator. Technology and therefore science alone cannot fully explain this connection and it has been shown time and time again that a mentally/emotionally imbalanced mind directly relates to the physical body ailments and vice versa.

Balance is the key to existence and what is art without science. Physically, visually, and emotionally professions/professionals/ p-e-o-p-l-e need to find a way of communicating through connection. It doesn’t matter whether this is by using a slightly tantalizing segment, tactile perception, visual observation, empathy or just plain common sense; what matters is understanding skill has equal relevance to knowledge. When the partnership of art and science is acknowledged and accepted inter and intra professional communication will flourish.

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7 Responses to Communicating through the balance of Art and Science

  1. cartesian dualism indeed. How on earth can you ake that man seriously? He was French for a start…

    • The Descartes statement wasn’t so much a to-be-taken-seriously as it was a to-begin-to-understand where the medical model societal influence originated from. And all Frenchisms aside his mind-body split thought influences the way society views health care today.

  2. Lee Turner says:

    Midiwfery, and I quote you Lexie…(which in itself is a balance of relating, art, and understanding, science). What a relief to find a space to explore the links between art and science, between medicine and the ancient art of midwifery. The Art that has become intertwined with science, as it must. With history, with politics, with ethics, with morals, with the heart of feminism….and there the debate lies as feminists disagree over the ‘shape’ of feminism most suited.
    I propose for midwifery, for the safety and autonomy of women and babies, that the feminism of choice leads the way, that each woman is a product of her environment, her beliefs, backgrounds, spirit. That Midwifery gives way to that spirituality.
    In the reality of our lives and the lives of women of Aotearoa who struggle to put bread on the table and have lost their passion, I suggest that Midwifery gives enough. Enough strength and promise, enough power and passion, some time, some small offer of something better, no matter now small.
    If this idealism lends itself to nothing more than hope, then that’s enough. I thank you for offering us the opportunity to ignite something brighter. We’re the next generation of midwives. We may as well be the best we can be.

  3. Melanie says:

    It is an honour to be in the same class as you both, Lexi and Lee. What amazing, empowering, intelligent, passionate women I am surrounded by. You both inspire me.

  4. Pingback: Distanca, balans i strategija | zubarica

  5. ajaykumar says:

    This my aid brijbala wife and fewred wap i love you brijbala

  6. Dr Dave Pao says:

    I would like to reference the image of the man used here in a presentation – can anyone help?

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