Extract from Michael Mitchell's translation

Stefan Klein's On the Edge of Infinity / How to love the universe

The Poetry of Reality

A rose makes us aware

that no thing, no person stands alone.

The more we know about relations in the universe

the more mysterious the world seems to us.

The more we know about reality, the more mysterious it seems to us. Astonishingly enough, it is sensitive people in particular who dispute that. During a panel discussion a well-known German poet once remonstrated with me, saying that he detested our ever more precise knowledge of genes because decoded man was a bore. And Edgar Allan Poe, the master of the mystery story, called science a predator on poetry:

Why preyest thou thus on the poetic heart,

Vulture, whose wings are dull realities?

How wrong one can be! Poets are rightly afraid of a world that has lost its magic, but anyone who harbours that fear is confusing research into our world with a search for Easter eggs, in the course of which all the hiding places are eventually cleared of their contents. Genuine discoveries on the other hand regularly throw up more questions than they can answer.