February 8, 2005
Philisophical Quotes of the Moment
"In physics, we can give a cold scientific definition of reality which is free from all sentimental mystification. But this is not quite fair play, because the word 'reality' is generally used with the intention of invoking sentiment. It is a grand word for a peroration. 'The right honourable speaker went on to declare that the concord and amity for which he had unceasingly striven had now become a reality (loud cheers).' The conception which is so troublesome to apprehend is not 'reality' but 'reality (loud cheers).'"
"What is the ultimate truth about ourselves? Various answers suggest themselves. We are a bit of stellar matter gone wrong. We are physical machinary--puppets that strut and laugh and die as the hand of time pulls the strings beneath. But there is one elementary inescapable answer. We are that which asks the question."
--Sir Arthur Eddington, "Beyond the Veil of Physics". I'm reading this book "Quantum Questions: Mystical Writings of the World's Greatest Physicists" for my UU-church "Science and Spirituality" group, but despite some good stuff from greats like Einstein and Heisenberg, this is the first guy who really grabs me...most of the others get way too hung up on the old bugaboo of free will vs a semi-deterministic universe or physics and epistemology, the limits of what we can know.