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David Diana
Nov 30, 2010

The Art of Science

"I don’t give a damn for a man who can only spell a word one way.” – Mark Twain

It’s easy to lionize art. The mere mention of it conjures up images of freedom and creativity. Science…not so much. And yet, both science and art are essential. Both give life to the other.

Many moons ago, medieval mapmakers depicted dragons on the far edges of their maps. Hic sunt dracones (“Here be dragons!”), they warned. Now that’s one hell of a warning to stay within the lines!

In spite of our best efforts to walk the line, we discover there are true gifts beyond the borders. And no matter how hard we try to adhere to the rules, we will eventually come face to face with the mystery. Therein lies the comedy of it all.

So what about science and form? Well…they’re an absolute must. We need a solid foundation based on research, technique, and proper theory. You and I know this. But there comes a time when we need to move beyond the structure set before us and find new possibility. Only then will our work reach new heights.

As Natalie Goldberg states, “…we should learn from form, but we should also remember to fill form with life.”

Intellectually, I know how to write a haiku and how to paint with watercolors, but I don’t understand the interplay between creativity and form that gives these art forms true life. When we practice giving ourselves this kind of space we touch our imaginations.

Keep this in mind when you approach a new project or challenge. Stay grounded within your principles then give yourself space to wander and see things with newfound openness.

When you come back to speak, you’ll find yourself giving life to dragons.

David P. Diana is a counselor, author, and a director for a behavioral healthcare organization. He writes a weekly blog on sales and marketing for counselors (

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