Mmm, mysteries.

I’m a little embarrassed to be quoting Einstein here, but I really liked this bit from The World As I See It (via Communication Nation):

“The most beautiful experience we can have is the mysterious. It is the fundamental emotion that stands at the cradle of true art and true science…

“I am satisfied with the mystery of life’s eternity and with a knowledge, a sense, of the marvelous structure of existence — as well as the humble attempt to understand even a tiny portion of the Reason that manifests itself in nature.”

Einstein relates the experience of mystery to religiosity, but for me it’s the cornerstone of atheism. Mysteries remain mysteries, and are satisfying without reaching for explanations.

(I realize Einstein is not an embarrassing figure; it’s just that he gets quoted in such flaky ways. The idea of anti-science new agers using Einstein to back up their desire to make science bow down to rainbow vibes is a bit of a cliche for me. There is a chiropractor at the corner where I cross to check my postbox who has several “Imagination is more important than knowledge” posters propped up in the window, and it makes me cringe. I don’t mind rainbow vibes, but I do mind bad science and dumb posters.)