Friday, April 07, 2006

Cooke - Einstein's Mysterious

Comment on this quote: "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. –Albert Einstein, Living Philosophies, 1931 (4400 characters or 850 words)

The great unknown, into the dark, the search for enlightenment, are but other ways to describe Einstein’s quote that mystery is the fundamental emotion…of true art and true science. Astronomers and scientists building on the knowledge of NASA developed the Hubble telescope to explore the great unknowns of space and time. They are able to see millions perhaps billions of years into the past and search for answers to questions of how creation, as we know it, began. Even a layperson can enjoy the results of these endeavors. There is true beauty to be found in the photographs returned from Hubble, and who on seeing them has not remarked on their splendor and pondered the philosophical questions of creation.
The micro explorers of medical science seeking answers to diseases that plague humanity such as cancer and HIV are another aspect of the beauty of science as it searches for answers of the mystery of life. Who among us cannot help but wonder at reports of the myriad cures being found in nature such as controlling diabetes with Gila Monster saliva or developing pain medications from the secretions of frogs. Or perhaps the development of nano-technology and the possibilities to intervene and strengthen the bodies defenses on the molecular and even the atomic level. What mysteries will science uncover, and what will their impact be on humanity? With every answer still another question is postulated.
All the hard sciences are constantly seeking answers to questions of who we are, where we came from, what advances are being made towards securing our future, and how we are impacting our environment. Everyday, in all aspects of life, mystery and beauty are interwoven into our existence. The unknown is mysterious. It drives us to discover. Why else would we want to discover what can be found in the rain forest whether a new plant, animal or the cure for a well known disease. Mystery allows us to question the origin of life and fuels our quest to travel to the moon and beyond.

The emotional experience garnered from art can only be labeled as mysterious. Where does the writer staring at a blank page get the inspiration? What art is involved in putting words together to form a world only envisioned in the mind or experience the full spectrum of human emotion? What mystery lies behind the beauty created by an artist? We see his work, but do we feel the same emotional hook the muse used to set the artist on the path to creating his masterpiece. What of the photographer or cinematographer who with new film sets out and creates photos and movies leading us to flights of fancy and wonder at their ability to tweak our emotions and provoke discourse into the meaning of their work. If there is one underlying principle of Einstein’s philosophy it has to be creation. The emotions of mystery and beauty lie in the plane of creation. It is here that concepts spring from the mind and grow towards reality. Where every advancement can be recorded much like Neil Armstrong’s remark as "One small step for man and one giant leap for mankind."


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