Novelist and Chemist C.P Snow, in his 1959 lecture The Two Cultures, laments the divide between scientists and literary intellectuals. He notes that this breach acts as an obstacle in the way of solving global issues, in part due to the fact that scientists and literary intellectuals alike feel a level of contention towards the other:


“Once or twice I have been provoked and have asked the company how many of them could describe the Second Law of Thermodynamics. The response was cold: it was also negative. Yet I was asking something which is about the scientific equivalent of: Have you read a work of Shakespeare’s?”

Snow states in his lecture that “The division of our culture is making us more obtuse that we need be.” I agree with him in that divisiveness proves to be unproductive from a societal standpoint. From my personal experience, I firmly believe that we can belong to and thrive in different cultures and profit greatly from it.


I enjoy and reap the benefits of being raised in a multi-cultural household. Half of my family lives in Japan from my mother’s side, while the other half on my father’s side lives right here in the United States. I grew up celebrating and practicing Jewish holidays and traditions, along with Japanese ones. I embrace this cultural homogeneity proudly and believe that my background opens up unique opportunities with the knowledge of both cultures and languages.


As the matter pertains to Colby, there was an article published in The Echo last year titled, “Stranger Things: The Juxtaposition of the Two Colbys.” The piece commented on the different interpretations of the term the “Two Colbys,” and ultimately concluded that it speaks to the duplicity that campus culture at Colby can represent at times. This duplicity can manifest itself in the divide between academic culture and social culture on the Hill, where one person stated that, “We have these students that are in our classes that we think are wonderful, smart, and work very hard, and then they go off at night and do crazy and irresponsible things.”


For me, when I thought of the term “Two Colbys,” I thought of the supposed divide between athletes and non-athletes that many students condemn. During the freshman class president campaign, many candidates offered to “bridge the divide between student athletes and non-athletes.” I can offer my opinion as a student athlete myself, that I do acknowledge that there is at times a disparity when it comes to the Colby social scene, especially during the weekends. At the same time however, my closest friends are non-athletes and I face little trouble finding the time to spend with them. Being an athlete does not prevent you from participating in other activities at Colby either. Some of the most involved students at Colby are athletes as well, and these other clubs and organizations prove to be a great way to meet new people.


Through my personal experience, it is absolutely possible to immerse yourself in more than one culture in life. In fact, I have found that this diversity promotes a broader scope of thinking and living and introduces you to more opportunities and people. There are virtues and merits in each individual culture and acknowledging Snow’s “two cultures” and his idea of bridging the two allows one to inform and strengthen the other. An interdisciplinary way of thinking allows us to approach societal, cultural, and moral issues from a more rational, productive perspective.