The fact that I beat a drum has nothing to do with the fact that I do theoretical physics. Theoretical physics is a human endeavor, one of the higher developments of human beings – and this perpetual desire to prove that people who do it are human by showing that they do other things that a few other humans do (like playing bongo drums) is insulting to me.
… I find that teaching and the students keep life going, and I would never accept any position in which somebody has invented a happy situation for me where I don’t have to teach. Never.
But I don’t have to know an answer. I don’t feel frightened by not knowing things, by being lost in the mysterious universe without having any purpose, which is the way it really is, as far as I can tell, possibly. It doesn’t frighten me.
We can imagine that this complicated array of moving things which constitutes “the world” is something like a great chess game being played by the gods, and we are observers of the game. We do not know what the rules of the game are; all we are allowed to do is to watch the playing. Of course, if we watch long enough, we may eventually catch on to a few of the rules. The rules of the game are what we mean by fundamental physics…
The next two quotes were taken from the book Superstrings: A Theory of Everything, edited by P.C.W. Davies and J. Brown.
I often use the analogy of a chess game: one can learn all the rules of chess, but one doesn’t know how to play well. The present situation in physics is as if we know chess, but we don’t know one or two rules. But in this part of the board where things are operation, those one or two rules are not operating much and we can get along pretty well without understanding those rules. That’s the way it is, I would say, regarding the phenomena of life, consciousness and so forth.
God was invented to explain mystery. God is always invented to explain those things that you do not understand. Now, when you finally discover how something works, you get some laws which you’re taking away from God; you don’t need him anymore. But you need him for the other mysteries. So therefore you leave him to create the universe because we haven’t figured that out yet; you need him for understanding those things which you don’t believe the laws will explain, such as consciousness, or why you only live to a certain length of time–life and death — stuff like that. God is always associated with those things that you do not understand. Therefore I don’t think that the laws can be considered to be like God because they have been figured out.
Nature uses only the longest threads to weave her patterns, so each small piece of her fabric reveals the organization of the entire tapestry.
Do not keep saying to yourself, if you can possibly avoid it, ‘But how can it be like that?’ because you will get ‘down the drain’ into a blind alley from which nobody has yet escaped. Nobody knows how it can be like that.
Principles. You can’t say A is made of B or vice versa. All mass is interaction.
The following was found on Feynman’s blackboard at the time of his death: What I cannot create I do not understand.
Feynman’s last words… I’d hate to die twice. It’s so boring.