The Liberal Arts
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The Liberal Arts
Alicia Ostriker
 
 
In mathematics they say the most beautiful solution is the correct one 
 In physics they say everything that can happen must happen 
 In history they say the more it changes the more it is the same 
 
In astrophysics you take the long view 
 In chemistry you explode and blend, it is a bit like freestyle cooking, the
    Yiddish term would be: you potschke 
 In biology you smell the flowers, the enticing flowers, and you play with mice, 
    and you write grant proposals 
 
In jurisprudence they say there is no justice 
 In philosophy they say there is no truth 
 In literary studies they say everybody come along be ironic now 
 
Business school we systematize the competitive strategies we learned in the 
    sandbox 
 Engineering moves us firmly into manhood, we grip the material world in our 
    fists 
 Computer science assists us toward the goal of replacing our species with a 
 new, improved, more efficient form of life, based in electronics instead of carbon --
 many of us 
         are rushing to transform ourselves as quickly as possible 
 
Religion is still hot 
 People keep plunging passionately into and out of it at the usual brisk rate 
 Geography suggests the future dominance of North America by Spanish-
    speaking people 
         but it does not say when; geology looks stony, takes the long view 
 
Music bridges mathematics, the soul of the universe, and my personal soul 
 Visual art is the bridge between my bag of body and bones and stuff in the 
    painterly universe 
 Drama crosses this bridge on foot 
 
In the novel they say omit nothing, harvest the entire goddamn world 
 In memoir they say the self is silently weeping, give it a tissue 
 In poetry they say the arrow may be blown off course by storm and returned 
    by miracle

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