Quotations about   mystery

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The Creator had a lot of remarkably good ideas when he put the world together, but making it understandable hadn’t been one of them.

Terry Pratchett (1948-2015) English author
Mort (1987)
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Added on 6-Apr-18 | Last updated 6-Apr-18
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Any sufficiently advanced magic is indistinguishable from technology.

Charles "Charlie" Stross (b. 1964) British writer
The Nightmare Stacks, ch. 18 (2016)
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A variant of Clarke's Third Law.
Added on 3-Oct-17 | Last updated 3-Oct-17
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Sickness and sorrows come and go, but a superstitious soul hath no rest.

Robert Burton (1577-1640) English scholar
The Anatomy of Melancholy, 3.4.1.3 (1621-51)
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Added on 21-Apr-17 | Last updated 2-May-17
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God only knows, God makes his plan,
The information’s unavailable to the mortal man.
We’re working our jobs, collect our pay,
Believe we’re gliding down the highway
When in fact we’re slip slidin’ away.

Paul Simon (b. 1941) American musician, singer-songwriter.
“Slip Slidin’ Away” (1977)
Added on 13-Feb-17 | Last updated 13-Feb-17
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The test of a religion or philosophy is the number of things it can explain: so true it is. But the religion of our churches explains neither art not society nor history, but itself needs explanation.

Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882) American essayist, lecturer, poet
Journal (1838)
Added on 24-Oct-16 | Last updated 24-Oct-16
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What I try to do is write a story about a detective rather than a detective story. Keeping the reader fooled until the last, possible moment is a good trick and I usually try to play it, but I can’t attach more than secondary importance to it. The puzzle isn’t so interesting to me as the behavior of the detective attacking it.

Dashiell Hammett (1894-1961) American author, screenwriter, political activist
Interview with Helen Herbert Foster, “House Burglary Poor Trade,” Brooklyn Eagle Magazine (Oct 1929)
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Added on 19-Sep-16 | Last updated 19-Sep-16
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The chances of finding out what’s really going on in the universe are so remote, the only thing to do is hang the sense of it and keep yourself occupied.

Adams - keep yourself occupied- wist_info quote

Douglas Adams (1952-2001) English writer
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, ch. 30 (1979)
Added on 29-Aug-16 | Last updated 29-Aug-16
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It sometimes seems to me that we are all afflicted with an urge and possessed by a longing for the impossible. The reality around us, the three-dimensional world surrounding us, is too common, too dull, too ordinary for us. We hanker after the unnatural or supernatural, that which does not exist, a miracle. As if that everyday reality isn’t enigmatic enough!

M. C. Escher (1898-1972) Dutch artist [Maurits Cornelius Escher]
“The Impossible”
Added on 4-Mar-16 | Last updated 4-Mar-16
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It is not written in the stars that I will always understand what is going on — a truism that I often find damnably annoying.

Robert A. Heinlein (1907-1988) American writer
Friday [Friday Jones] (1982)
Added on 13-Oct-15 | Last updated 13-Oct-15
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The unrecorded past is none other than our old friend, the tree in the primeval forest which fell without being heard.

Barbara W. Tuchman (1912-1989) American historian and author
“Can History Be Served Up Hot?” New York Times (8 Mar 1964)
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Added on 21-Apr-15 | Last updated 21-Apr-15
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To ask the right question is already half the solution of a problem.

Carl Jung (1875-1961) Swiss psychologist
Archetypes of the Collective Unconscious (1934) [tr. Hull (1959)]
Added on 23-Mar-15 | Last updated 23-Mar-15
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He that will believe only what he can fully comprehend, must have a very long head, or a very short creed.

Charles Caleb "C. C." Colton (1780-1832) English cleric, writer
Lacon: or, Many Things in Few Words, #470 (1820 ed.)
Added on 27-Feb-15 | Last updated 27-Feb-15
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If the world were clear, art would not exist.

Albert Camus (1913-1960) Algerian-French novelist, essayist, playwright
“Absurd Creation,” The Myth of Sisyphus (1942)
Added on 3-Nov-14 | Last updated 3-Nov-14
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It is the duty of the human understanding to understand that there are things which it cannot understand.

Søren Kierkegaard (1813-1855) Danish philosopher, theologian
Journals (1847)
Added on 27-Oct-14 | Last updated 27-Oct-14
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Maybe in order to understand mankind, we have to look at the word itself. Basically, it’s made up of two separate words — “mank” and “ind.” What do these words mean? It’s a mystery, and that’s why so is mankind.

Jack Handey (b. 1949) American humorist
Deeper Thoughts: All New, All Crispy (1993)
Added on 18-Sep-14 | Last updated 18-Sep-14
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Life would be unbearably dull if we had answers to all our questions.

Jim Butcher (b. 1971) American author
Death Masks (2003)
Added on 18-Feb-14 | Last updated 18-Feb-14
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I think the detective story is by far the best upholder of the democratic doctrine in literature. I mean, there couldn’t have been detective stories until there were democracies, because the very foundation of the detective story is the thesis that if you’re guilty you’ll get it in the neck and if you’re innocent you can’t possibly be harmed. No matter who you are. There was no such conception of justice until after 1830. There was no such thing as a policeman or a detective in the world before 1830, because the modern conception of the policeman and detective, namely, a man whose only function is to find out who did it and then get the evidence that will punish him, did not exist. … In Paris before the year 1800 — read the Dumas stories — there were gangs of people whose business was to go out and punish wrongdoers. But why? Because they had hurt De Marillac or Richelieu or the Duke or some Huguenot noble, not just because they had harmed society. It is only the modern policeman that is out to protect society.

Rex Stout (1886-1975) American writer
On “The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes,” Invitation to Learning Radio Show, hosted by Mark Van Doren (Jan 1942)

Transcribed in Mark Van Doren, The New Invitation to Learning: The Essence of the Great Books of All Times (1942).
Added on 2-Jan-14 | Last updated 2-Jan-14
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Our particular principles of religion are a subject of accountability to our god alone. I enquire after no man’s and trouble none with mine; nor is it given to us in this life to know whether yours or mine, our friend’s or our foe’s, are exactly the right.

Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826) American political philosopher, polymath, statesman, US President (1801-09)
Letter to Miles King (26 Sep 1814)
Added on 26-Sep-13 | Last updated 13-Apr-15
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God made life to be lived and not to be known.

Joseph Joubert (1754-1824) French moralist
Pensées (1838) [ed. Auster (1983)]
Added on 3-Jun-13 | Last updated 13-May-16
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The whole of life is just like watching a film. Only it’s as though you always get in ten minutes after the big picture has started, and no-one will tell you the plot, so you have to work it out all yourself from the clues.

Terry Pratchett (1948-2015) English author
Moving Pictures (1990)
Added on 19-Mar-08 | Last updated 4-Sep-16
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The most beautiful and deepest experience a man can have is the sense of the mysterious. It is the underlying principle of religion as well as all serious endeavor in art and science. He who never had this experience seems to me, if not dead, then at least blind. To sense that behind anything that can be experienced there is a something that our mind cannot grasp and whose beauty and sublimity reaches us only indirectly and as a feeble reflection, this is religiousness.

In this sense I am religious. To me it suffices to wonder at these secrets and to attempt humbly to grasp with my mind a mere image of the lofty structure of all that there is.

Einstein - sense of the mysterious - wist_info quote

Albert Einstein (1879-1955) German-American physicist
“My Credo,” speech, German League of Human Rights, Berlin (Autumn 1932)
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Added on 22-Aug-07 | Last updated 1-Feb-16
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Drink! for you know not whence you came nor why:
Drink! for you know not why you go, nor where.

Omar Khayyám (1048-1123) Persian poet, mathematician, philosopher, astronomer
Rubáiyát, 74 [tr. FitzGerald, 4th ed. (1879)]
Added on 19-Aug-07 | Last updated 31-Jul-17
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When one remembers that we are all mad, the mysteries disappear and life stands explained.

Mark Twain (1835-1910) American writer [pseud. of Samuel Clemens]
Mark Twain’s Notebook [ed. Paine (1935)]
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See also this.
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 26-Jan-19
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