A Sweet Briar College Learning Resource
ABOUT THE SEMINAR
Water is so familiar in our everyday lives that little attention is paid to its nature and its properties and the role it plays in the life of the planet. This seminar examines this role from a multitude of perspectives ranging from the scientific to the poetic.
The aim is to explore and identify water as a substance fundamental not only to life and but also to culture and the arts. The seminar will also bring attention to current environmental issues concerning water and water control and conservation.
Water is a richly complex substance without which there would be no life as we know it.
It is like no other substance of earth, which makes it unique, and mysterious
Scientists can help us understand why water is so essential to life, but they do not fully comprehend its chemical and physical properties, nor do they know where it came from, why it exists, or what it means; it is mysterious
Artists recognize the mysterious effects of water has on human perception, psyche, and the spirit, but do not comprehend its role in physical life
Long before scientists began to examine its properties, water was firmly established as the mysterious sacred source of life and its substance and symbology was deeply woven into the fabric of the world's religions
The first great civilizations emerged alongside water; the great riverine cultures of the Nile, the Tigris and Euphrates, the Indus, the Yangtze
Water is vital to our physical life, but it also sustains our mental and spiritual lives. Uniquely, we respond to water as itself and as a metaphor of itself, and we find pleasure, contentment, and meaning in both simultaneously
This seminar asks if water is simply a naturally occurring planetary phenomenon, like rocks and air, or is it something "special" to human existence
By bringing together the various human responses to water (religious, artistic, scientific), this seminar seeks to understand better the nature of its mystery and it meaning in our lives and in the life of this planet
H20 - The Mystery, Art, and Science of Water
Chris Witcombe and Sang Hwang
Sweet Briar College