I know, I know, the subject heading sounds strange. Let me explain.

There are mainly two types of people: those who like to lump things into categories--things are either black or white, right or wrong, good or bad. If something is not in one category it has to be in another. Period. Many people who think in this manner are scientists or engineers.

Then there are those who think in terms of shades of grey--the splitters. Many artists are splitters. They may consider one aspect of the issue to be more like X, and another part of it to be more like Y. Things aren't necessarily in one category or another.

I've always wondered if it's possible for a lumper to appreciate art, and more specifically, to appreciate literature. From my own observation, all my acquaintances who struggle in literature (or any literature for that matter) are all lumpers. Yet I've occasionally come across scientists who have acquired an understanding of various art forms. How's that possible? Do they simply think in both ways? Or can we say that while people who don't care for art are usually lumpers, not all lumpers struggle with art?

Any thoughts?
JulieLai... If you'll allow me : then it seems to me kind of ironic here that you make a lumper out of yourself simply by dividing up people into broad categories like that !?! It can't be that the world is so obvious, with people involved in science on one side and people fond of literature on the other...
Also, I personally am an engineer and I agree that when beginning a project then I tend to think in terms of broad strokes and big categories as opposed to thinking in terms of shades of grey. But at that time there is the need to provide some clear-cut simplistic picture of what we're trying to build or achieve, and this obviously involves yes/no decisions, in/out choices, and all kinds of 'lump' reasoning and thinking.
But then later on as things progress thru the implementation phase, we engineers usually take the time to adjust some orientations, and depending on the environment or the customer's wants, we accept to slightly bend the original design, or divert from the initial rules and agreed upon orientations, because we perfectly know real life calls for something different and more complex that what we originally had in mind.
As for engineers being able to understand and appreciate art... we'll as far as I'm concerned I became an engineer because I didn't have any artistic skill or natural talent, but this doesn't mean I don't like art !!!
I hope you're now convinced that engineers are not this whole different animal you had in mind Emotion: big smile !

That's right Waïti....I'm a biologist and also a musician (flutist)...My boyfriend is an engineer and also a painter...We appreciate art and science at the same time, both things are not separated! Emotion: smile
Site Hint: Check out our list of pronunciation videos.
You two have just made my case for me: while some people are capable of both types of thinking, some can only do one. Hence my words: "while people who don't care for art are usually lumpers, not all lumpers struggle with art". To be fair, I'd say the same about splitters who can't think the other way. (I'm kind of in the middle, and yes, Waiti, I knew you'd say that I'm becoming a lumper, though in fact, I'm in the middle)

And perhaps there are different kinds of lumping and splitting. For instance, can one be a moral splitter and a lumper in science? Or vice versa?

Tell us what you think!