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Writer's Debate

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 5/30/2013 Category: Arts
Updated: 5 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,670 times Debate No: 34307
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (4)
Votes (2)




This is a writer's debate. Four rounds of a maximum of 8k characters with 72hrs to post your next round. Arguments for who best contributes to the story, who develops the characters and plot line, etc. A dropped round is an automatic loss. Opponent is expected to post his/her contribution in the first round.

Please post in the comments if you would like to accept.


To the edge, my love. To the edge. I read an inscription at the base of a marble statue in front of the national museum of science. It was a symbolic representation of man"s reaching toward the limit of his capacity for knowledge, for the love of doing so. It confused my classmate as we discussed it before our trip, but upon seeing the amorphous shape halfway tilted over a steep precipice concluded that the artist intended to convey a finite limit of human understanding. It is my theory that all truly modern art is grotesquely confusing, and that if whatever masterpiece one may gaze upon is not confusing, the observer is na"ve or the piece is nonsense. I make no room for abstraction.

It was the sciences I prized, and for which I felt shame that such a preposterous display of artistic ostentation should occupy the nine square meters it greedily held before the great doors of the beloved museum. I had won a scholarship to university, which upon attending I anticipated majoring in physics and chemical engineering. Perhaps in my future laid a career in academia, or perhaps for a metal company. Either would be satisfactory. With contempt I walked past the statue.

"Christian, it is hardly necessary to scoff with such vitriol at the mere art. Better you reprieve your scathing condemnation for the pre-Darwinians or flat-earthing neanderthals who challenge the validity of carbon dating." Kenneth joked.

"There is quite enough scathing and condemnation to go around, and I should hardly be disinclined to pass over the opportunity to scoff at nonsense." I replied.

"Careful, lest you begin to assume the presence of Bertrand Russell." Kenneth continued in jest.

"I may be deranged, but at least I"m brilliant." I tried not to smile.

The museum was arranged in a predictable way, placing discoveries in order of chronological advancement beginning with the wheel and ending with a display on string theory. It was quite pleasurable, although I noticed that I seemed to be the only one interested.

"I remember when I was at the Louvre last summer with my family after we returned from our vacation in southern France." Deirdre Hammond boasted. "It was far over and above more interesting then this... tragedy of human innovation." I walked over to where she was standing.

"Tragedy?" I was even more frustrated by her dismissiveness then of her ignorance. "By what method do you conclude the scientific development of mankind throughout his fruited history to be a tragedy?"

"Oh, Christian! Don"t be such a blowhard. Science and technology are marvelous, but they are mere products to be sold. There is no art to whatever this is." She pointed at the string theory exhibit. "This hardly compares to being face to face with the Mona Lisa."

"Indeed." I saw no point in arguing further. Kenneth and I walked out into the gift shop where he bought a toy chemistry set for his younger brother and a book on the science of bar tending for his mother. He turned to face me as he held the items high.

"They"ll like these." He smiled, and proceeded to check out. My only gift was to myself was that I briefly enjoyed a taste of what it meant to finally break free of that most oppressive intellectual penitentiary that was the under equipped lab I was hence-fourth taught in. But today was something greater than the present. Today, I was beckoned to take my place among the giants whose discoveries were exhibited at the museum.


And all it took was an experiment. A single experiment for a single grant. A single grant for freedom--for release from that same penitentiary, and for the opportunity to join those giants, to work within that field that I was, in theory, a student of. Today was at last the day in which we were finally allowed to begin our work. In fact, it was the day in which the "theme" for the contest was to be released. I personally found the entire enterprise to lack any real scientific merit. The use of a "theme" seemed as abstract and unscientific as the work of art outside the museum that declared that we sought to go "to the edge." A childish concept, really, for a grant contest designed for undergraduate university students. Students, not of the humanities, or art, but of concrete science.

Nevertheless, a grant is a grant, and freedom is freedom, so who was I to complain? And so it was, with Kenneth, that I applied to enter the contest for the grant. And it was at the museum, with Kenneth and Deirdre, that I was to learn the theme of the experiment. It was indeed a curiosity--I had maintained the hope that it would be related to physics, or chemistry. As a chemical engineering major himself, Kenneth would make an excellent partner in any such work. However, I could not deny the possibility that we may be taken to the edge of our expertise. I did not know what it would be--however, I knew that this was my only chance, for several more years, to break out of the woefully stifling environment that was my university.

And so, after our early arrival to explore the museum, Kenneth, Deirdre, some others from the same physics course we all were enrolled in, and myself, moved outside to the front of the museum as others from the university began to trickle to the museum, all awaiting the grand unveiling from the institute granting the prize to the winning experimenter in the contest.

We all sat in the shadow of the monstrosity of a statue, that grand waste of space--sitting in folding chairs facing the museum, facing a lectern that stood just before the steps, with a row of chairs for the institute's dignitaries behind it. The day was perfect for an outdoor ceremony. However, all the same, I could not enjoy myself. I needed to be ready to work right away for my intellectual liberation. Why weren't they starting? The head of the institute, Dr. Argyle Vincent, it seemed couldn't be bothered to finally announce to us what we needed to do to free ourselves from our scientific shackles, Why didn't he care that every moment of having to wait, looking at the abstract figure that hung over us pained me more and more by the second?

But then, at last, the good doctor stood, and moved to the lectern. And, at last, he spoke.

"Good day, ladies and gentlemen. My name is Dr. Argyle Vincent, and I am the Chairman of the Faxumen Institute for the Physical and Natural Sciences. Now, although it is a pleasant day outside, I won't drag this short ceremony out any longer than it has to. As you all know, you are all here because you all are applicants for the Franksfeld Grant, specifically designed for undergraduate students in science such as yourself to produce high-level, professional research into actual problems in the academic field of your study with those who work in that field every day. And, today, we are proud to announce the theme from which you shall develop, research, experiment, and produce a final scientific article on outlining your conclusions over the course of three months. Of course, all the rules you"re probably already familiar with, having applied for this grant. So, without further adieu, I shall present the theme.

"We on the Board of Directors have decided to present you all with a...more unique theme this year. We wanted to present you all with a challenge in terms of science. We wanted to present you all with something more...abstract."

My technical, scientific heart sank.

"This year's theme is: "The art of science." For this year, we want you to reflect the artistic side to the natural, physical world. To explore the abstractions of the universe. To expose the beauty of science. And now, to reflect more on this theme, the other members of the Board would like to give brief statements, beginning with..."

The doctor's words seemed to fade away within my head as my heart hit rock bottom. Art. Abstraction. Beauty. What did I know of these? I glanced at Deirdre. She shot me a sideways grin. Of course. She was eating this whole competition up. And what about me? Me, who had been a devotee of the sciences for as long as I could remember? My chance for greatness, to be among the giants, gets thrown out the window. And for what? "Uniqueness?" Abstraction? Disgusting.

I quietly excused myself to Deirdre and Kenneth to briefly be sick in the men's bathroom. For one who despises metaphors and abstractions, I must say there was something poetically sad about being sick in the bathroom positioned just behind a statue of Sir Isaac Newton.

After 15 or so minutes, I returned and slipped back into my seat undetected. And, as I got lost in the frightening presence of the statue declaring that I shall go to the edge, all I heard were the parting words of Dr. Vincent:

"Good luck."
Debate Round No. 1


The next speaker whose task it was to elucidate all the finer, more nuanced parts of the competition that surely none of the other competitors but I had already read began to speak. What a waste of time, when people could just read. I got up and walked back outside.

Pacing outside I thought to myself what could possibly be the meaning of this ostentatious theme. The 'art' of science. What hogwash. Discovery in and of itself is beautiful, perhaps, but the sublime is a thing for people who feel rather than think. I was a thinker. I was not one of those emotionally malleable trollops who allowed their sentiments to be pimped by feeling -and yet I knew that discovery was beautiful.

If beauty was something that I ever knew, that I could ever appreciate it would be the kind of beauty that meant a revolution not only in the academic world, but in the real world. Discovering a new use for a compound, perhaps might be one way but something more, I knew, would be the only means to distinction -and I needed Kenneth.

I needed Kenneth not to solicit ideas from or even to talk 'to' but rather to talk 'at' -as I knew that my own ability was far superior to his. He was there to listen, to make facial expressions, to pretend to understand what I was saying. Cigarette. Yes. Now would be an excellent time for a cigarette.

I began to pace back and fourth as the meeting let out. I inhaled, and exhaled as I looked back up at that damn statue with a condescending scowl.

"Of what real value do you offer?" I asked it. "What purpose do you serve other than wasting space that could be otherwise occupied with a public water fountain?"

An older gentleman sitting on a bench looked up from his newspaper at me. I turned away and took another drag from my cigarette.

"What nonsense." I muttered, as I stared at the concrete sidewalk.

"I've said it before and I'll say it again... Bertrand Russell would always dismiss something he didn't like as 'nonsense' whenever someone spoke in such a way that didn't please him." Kenneth said as he walked over. "The meeting is over, by the way."

"Brilliant, now we can finally get to work. I have a few ideas." I replied, expeditiously.

"Ok, Bertrand." Kenneth put his hand on my shoulder. "Let's get to work, then."

"Damnit, Kenny!" I grumbled. "Why on earth do you call me Bertrand with such regularity?"

"Because you and he are one in the same." Kenneth began to laugh.

"Oh? I have published a litany of books on logic that no one other than Wittgenstein ever cared to read?" I pushed his hand off.

"No, but like him your head is so firmly planted up your own posterior that your brain is starved for some fresh air." Kenneth replied, in jest.

"So it is." I flicked my cigarette but at the statue. "So it is."


"All the same," interjected Kenneth. "I'd suggest going somewhere to begin your work for this grant, Mr. Russell."

"God damn this grant."

"Oh, Christian. That seems hardly a...Christian...thing to say, now does it?"

I whirled around to face him, a flash of rage sparking for just a moment. "Kenneth, are you going to continue sitting there, dazzling me with your linguistic mastery, or what?"

"Well, technically, I'm standing."

"Fine then. If you are to be that way, then I'll be going, then," I stated, angrily walking away.

Behind me, I heard Kenneth call out, "And just WHERE will you be going?"

"Perhaps the library," I grunted loudly.

Now, I am a student of the sciences, a devotee. I plan my moves very carefully. However, on that day, I must be frank: I hadn"t a fvcking clue where I was going. The library seemed too quiet, too comfortable if I ever was to determine what I was going to do for this grant. In fact, I had hardly even determined whether I should--or could--proceed with work on the grant experiment. Indeed, as I had so spectacularly concluded just moments before pacing in front of that grotesque statue, I did not have a single artistic bone in my body, to use the idiom. Attempting this experiment ultimately would involve me making a fool out of myself, trying to don a beret when I should rightly be wearing goggles. And reputation, as much as I am loathe to admit it, is key within the scientific community, even as a mere undergraduate student doing everything in his power to attain freedom. Then again, the very reason I was applying to compete for this grant was for my own scientific career as well--not participating at this stage would only condemn me to God knows how many more years working as a practical lab monkey in the university without a single break. And winning this grant would be that break.

I eventually found my way into some diner on some corner with some generic name: "Sam's," or "Billy's," or something along those thematic lines. I had wondered whether my adverse reaction to the grant"s theme had something to do with the distinct fact that I had not eaten that day. Testing this hypothesis in a truly scientific faction, I ordered a ham sandwich and lit up a cigarette (thank God this diner had a smoking section). After a few drags on the cigarette, I was able to make the first important decision about the contest that there was to make: I decided that, indeed, I had to compete, in some capacity. Freedom could not be achieved any other way. As that Argentine revolutionary Che Guevara (though he was mixed up in all that humanities hogwash, the man DID have a knack for medicine and mathematics, and must have some wisdom) once said: "Liberators do not exist. The people liberate themselves." And so I had to liberate myself. Competition was liberation.

Although relieved at finally establishing that I was competing, then came the real dilemma: determining further what I was to do for the competition. It was around this point in my own pondering that my sandwich arrived. I grinned to myself. Time to begin THIS experiment, at least. I ate with the clean precision one would expect of a true scientist. Taking my mind off the whole subject, I wondered how artists ate ham sandwiches. I assumed that they inevitably made a mess; either that, or simply stared at the sandwich, pondering the mysteries of the universe, instead of actually seeking an answer for them. It was at this time that I made the discovery.

I realized that in the end, this is what separated the artist from the scientist. The real academic versus the phony, armchair intellectual. While the artist, like that poor fellow who sculpted that disgusting statue at the museum, will only sit, wonder, and reflect on the things he does not understand, the scientist will seek out an answer. He will hypothesize and test and conclude and hypothesize again, to no end. Yes, that was it: the artist wanted to go to the edge--that was evident from the very proclamation on the statue. But I, I wanted to go beyond. There was no edge. There was only discovery. The artist was the sedentary, inactive thinker. I was the revolutionary, just like Che Guevara. That was the key: to act. To dive into the scientific foray. To go, not to the edge, but beyond. Freedom. It all meant more than just a goal. It was the means by which I was to win. Indeed, I didn't know what my experiment was to be, but I knew I was not to find it here, waiting for a liberator.

And so, I hurriedly paid for my sandwich and rushed out of the diner, off to go liberate myself.
Debate Round No. 2


Wow... this one snuck up on me.

I need to postpone this for a few days. If my opponent wants to call it a win for him here and now, I understand. Too much other stuff going on to put up something worth reading though. I'll wait for my opponent to reply and let me know.

Peace out, and sorry for any disappointment.


Although YYW FF'd the previous round, I've offered for us to just continue with the debate, with the last two contributions ending the debate (quoting the PM):

"I'll give you a pass if you want to postpone, and won't declare victory...if you're up for it to continue, we may..."

My understanding is that YYW HAS accepted the offer, so his FF does NOT mean he's lost the debate.
Debate Round No. 3


Ninja an I agreed to postpone this for another day, and that this debate is to remain a tie... it's probably for the best though. We both also agree -coincidentally enough- that this wasn't going anywhere fast. LOL

Peace and Love,



What my brothah YYW said.

Harmony and Balance,

Debate Round No. 4
4 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Posted by iwannaknow 5 years ago
Oh my I had not realized I put the wrong accept
Posted by YYW 5 years ago
Do you want to accept the debate?
Posted by CierraNicole 5 years ago
What is the criteria for this debate???
Posted by iwannaknow 5 years ago
I would like to except your challenge but I do not match your criteria. Please change it .
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by bladerunner060 5 years ago
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Total points awarded:70 
Reasons for voting decision: CVB
Vote Placed by jarret 5 years ago
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Total points awarded:07 
Reasons for voting decision: con!!!!