Thursday, January 11, 2007

The Nab

So I just discovered the Nabokov. Would you listen to this guy?

From an interview with Playboy in '64:

You have also written that poetry represents "the mysteries of the irrational perceived through rational words." But many feel that the "irrational" has little place in an age when the exact knowledge of science has begun to plumb the most profound mysteries of existence. Do you agree?

This appearance is very deceptive. It is a journalistic illusion. In point of fact, the greater one's science, the deeper the sense of mystery. Moreover, I don't believe that any science today has pierced any mystery. We, as newspaper readers, are inclined to call "science" the cleverness of an electrician or a psychiatrists's mumbo jumbo. This, at best, is applied science, and one of the characteristics of applied science is that yesterday's neutron or today's truth dies tomorrow. But even in a better sense of "science" -- as the study of visible and palpable nature, or the poetry of pure mathematics and pure philosophy -- the situation remains as hopeless as ever. We shall never know the origin of life, or the meaning of life, or the nature of space and time, or the nature of nature, or the nature of thought.

Man's understanding of these mysteries is embodied in his concept of a Divine Being. As a final question, do you believe in God?

To be quite candid -- and what I am going to say now is something I never said before, and I hope it provokes a salutary little chill -- I know more than I can express in words, and the little I can express would not have been expressed, had I not known more.