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Chet Raymo, a retired Professor of Physics at Stonehill College, is a mystic, journalist and writer, notably of the wonderfully titled When God is Gone, Everything Is Holy: The Making of a Religious Naturalist. Some lucid quotes:


The dark night was the first book of poetry and the constellations were the poems.

Beauty soaks reality as water fills a rag.

I weigh out nebulas. I dam up the Milky Way and use it to grind my grain. I put up summer stars like vegetables in jars for my delectation in winter. I have winter stars folded in boxes in the attic for cloudy summer nights.

Who am I? I am who I am. Why am I here? The devil only knows. I will leave the questions for the theologians and live without the consolations of philosophy. I will sit on this starlit bank and shiver in my ignorance, red blood pouring through my veins, a wind of atoms blowing in and out through my nostrils the pores of my skin, pummeled with particles from the cores of stars, Vega-drenched, sandstone-lifted, terrified, unconsoled, undefined, ecstatic.

Science cannot be a repository of ultimate faith: It is a fulcrum upon which we can hope to balance the treasure of our knowledge against the claims of ignorance.

Delight in the unexpected is part of the lifeblood of science. Almost alone among belief systems, science welcomes the disturbingly new.

Science is not a collection of facts, nor is science something that happens in the laboratory. Science is something that happens in the head; it is a flight of imagination beyond the constraints of ordinary imagination.

Science is a spider’s web. Confidence in any one strand of the web is maintained by the tension and resiliency of the entire web.

Scientific truths are tentative and partial, and subject to continual revision and refinement, but as we tinker with truth in science — amending here, augmenting there — we always keep our ear attuned to the timbre of the web.

Science, like the play of children, satisfies a deep-seated need for escape from the boredom of fixity and the trauma of chaos.