Wednesday, February 11, 2009

The Most Beautiful Thing

The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and all science. He to whom this emotion is a stranger, who can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead: his eyes are closed. - Albert Einstein

I have a problem with know-it-alls. (Yeah, I know. "Look who's talking" right? I have a point, so bear with me.) The source of this is, of course, my having gone to a few fundamentalist churches as a child. This authority who stands at the altar is supposed to give us all a defined direction, tell us what to think, what to believe, how to behave at all times, what's right, what's wrong. And then, this shiny, clean person inevitably falls from his towering position when it becomes ever so evident that he (or she) not only does not have all the answers, but is just as prone to what they consider to be mistakes. It's a front.

My problem with this is that I don't see the point in knowing "everything", having all the answers. It leaves little to strive for, and less to learn. Why do they need to have all the answers? Why do these people try so hard to be something that they clearly are not capable of being? Sadly, nearly everyone I know that succumbs to the idea of a single truth of the thousand (even million) of others fails to see a bigger picture.

My grandmother (God bless her; she can't work a computer) used to tell me these incredible descriptions of the way Heaven will be when we get there, all solid gold sidewalks, and riches beyond imagination. Will she be disappointed if she gets there and stands (or floats or exists) before God and finds that nothing is as she expects?

I recently discovered that I feel that the mystery is just as (perhaps is even more) important than the "known". There's a whole universe out there of mystery. Looking at the pictures of space, I can't help seeing the infinite beauty of it. I don't need to know why stars are born, where the light goes when it's gone, how the universe came to be to see all of the beauty.

Yes, I would admit that I love a good investigation. There are things that I do want to know for sure. The mystery keeps me looking for them. It keeps us all on our toes.

*Picture is of the Orion Deep Field by Rob Gendler


The Prodigal Tourist said...

I agree--a bit of mystery is a good thing.