2013-03-25

The Disguise of Science


"In hasty ill humor, I have ripped the fig leaves from some naked thoughts" (Heinrich Heine, Germany, a Winter's Tale, 1844)

Western science inherited from the myth of the Fall the importance of the visual representation as form of knowledge. Since then, "nakedness" was no longer possible and became "nudity" (John Berger, Ways of Seeing, 1972), the disguise of a role according to public morality. Thus, the knowledge of nature implied this emphasis on the representation as a way to control instincts. Science adopted the appearance of good and refused evil behaviors as integral part of reality.

Image after Lucas Cranach the Elder's Adam and Eve (1526) [pd] and Andreas Vesalius’ De Humani Corporis Fabrica (On the Fabric of the Human Body, 1543) [pd].