Heinz Pagels Quotes
26 Sourced Quotes
It is unlikely that we will ever see a star being born. Stars are like animals in the wild. We may see the very young, but never their actual birth, which is a veiled and secret event. Stars are born inside thick clouds of dust and gas in the spiral arms of the galaxy, so thick that visible light cannot penetrate them.
Perhaps our thinking exemplifies a selective system. First lots of random scattered ideas compete for survival. Then comes the selection for what works best —one idea dominates, and this is followed by its amplification. Perhaps the moral [...] is that you never learn anything unless you are willing to take a risk and tolerate a little randomness in your life.
A good simulation, be it a religious myth or scientific theory, gives us a sense of mastery over experience. To represent something symbolically, as we do when we speak or write, is somehow to capture it, thus making it one's own. But with this appropriation comes the realization that we have denied the immediacy of reality and that in creating a substitute we have but spun another thread in the web of our grand illusion.
The capacity to tolerate complexity and welcome contradiction, not the need for simplicity and certainty, is the attribute of an explorer. Centuries ago, when some people suspended their search for absolute truth and began instead to ask how things worked, modern science was born. Curiously, it was by abandoning the search for absolute truth that science began to make progress, opening the material universe to human exploration.
My own view is that although we do not yet know the fundamental physical laws, when and if we find them the possibility of life in a universe governed by those laws will be written into them. The existence of life in the universe is not a selective principle acting upon the laws of nature; rather it is a consequence of them.