Schrödinger Quotes

I am very astonished that the scientific picture of the real world around me is very deficient. It gives us a lot of factual information, puts all of our experience in a magnificently consistent order, but it is ghastly silent about all and sundry that is really near to our heart that really matters to us. It cannot tell us a word about red and blue, bitter and sweet, physical pain and physical delight; it knows nothing of beautiful and ugly, good or bad, God and eternity. Science sometimes pretends to answer questions in these domains but the answers are very often so silly that we are not inclined to take them seriously.

Science cannot tell us a word about why music delights us, of why and how an old song can move us to tears? Science can, in principle, describe in full detail all that happens in our sensorium and motorium from the moment the waves of compression and dilation reach our ear to the moment when certain glands secrete a salty fluid that emerges from our eyes. But the feelings of delight and sorrow that accompany the process science is completely ignorant—and therefore reticent. And science is reticent too when it is a question of the great Unity the most popular name for which is God. [However] we know, when God is experienced, this is an event as real as an immediate sense perception or as one’s own personality.

For the purpose of constructing the picture of the external world, we have used the greatly simplifying device of cutting our own personality out, removing it; hence, it is gone, it has evaporated, it is ostensibly not needed. … In particular, and most importantly, this is the reason that the scientific world-view contains of itself no ethical values, no aesthetical values, not a word about our own ultimate scope or destination, and no God, if you please. [Therefore] we do not belong to this material word that science constructs for us. Consciousness cannot be accounted for in physical terms. For consciousness is absolutely fundamental. It cannot be accounted for in terms of anything else. The observing mind is not a physical system, it cannot interact with any physical system. And it might be better to reserve the term “subject” for the observing mind. … For the subject, if anything, is the thing that senses and thinks. Sensations and thoughts do not belong to the “world of energy”.

Science is, very usually, branded as atheistic. After what we said, this is not astonishing. If its world picture does not even contain blue, yellow, bitter, sweet – beauty, delight and sorrow –, if personality is cut out of it by agreement, how should it contain the most sublime idea that presents itself to the human mind? . . . Whence come I and whither go I? That is the great unfathomable question, the same for every one of us. Science cannot tell us a word about this.