This statement has appeared here before, but it is one that is worth revisiting on a regular basis. Our "modern" world is entirely at odds with the sentiment expressed therein. Our "modern" preoccupation is explanation. If only we can explain something, all will be well. And who are the explainers? The usual utopian suspects: scientists, politicians, bureaucrats, and those who think of themselves (with a great deal of self-regard and without irony) as "progressives."
"It is all one to me whether or not the typical western scientist understands or appreciates my work, since he will not in any case understand the spirit in which I write. Our civilization is characterized by the word 'progress.' Progress is its form rather than making progress being one of its features. Typically it constructs. It is occupied with building an ever more complicated structure. And even clarity is sought only as a means to this end, not as an end in itself. For me on the contrary clarity, perspicuity are valuable in and of themselves."
George Price Boyce
"Newcastle from the Rabbit Banks, Gateshead-on-Tyne" (1864)
Put another way:
"I was walking about in Cambridge and passed a bookshop, and in the window were portraits of [Bertrand] Russell, Freud and Einstein. A little further on, in a music shop, I saw portraits of Beethoven, Schubert and Chopin. Comparing these portraits I felt intensely the terrible degeneration that had come over the human spirit in the course of only a hundred years."
So, what is one to do? For a start: ignore anyone who purports to provide you with an explanation of anything. (Particularly if they believe that their explanation will make the world a "better" place to live.) All that we need to "know" is right there in front of us: out there in the World, where no explanations are necessary.
George Price Boyce, "Thorpe, Derbyshire" (1879)
Sunlit, the lashes fringe the half-closed eyes
With hues no bow excels that spans the skies;
As magical the meteor's flight o'erhead,
And daybreak shimmering on a spider's thread . . .
Thou starry Universe -- whose breadth, depth, height
Contracts to such strait entry as mere sight!
Walter de la Mare, Memory and Other Poems (1938).
George Price Boyce, "Tithe Barn" (c. 1878)
The View from the Window
Like a painting it is set before one,
But less brittle, ageless; these colours
Are renewed daily with variations
Of light and distance that no painter
Achieves or suggests. Then there is movement,
Change, as slowly the cloud bruises
Are healed by sunlight, or snow caps
A black mood; but gold at evening
To cheer the heart. All through history
The great brush has not rested,
Nor the paint dried; yet what eye,
Looking coolly, or, as we now,
Through the tears' lenses, ever saw
This work and it was not finished?
R. S. Thomas, Song at the Year's Turning (1955).
A note: the quotations at the beginning of this post are all from Ludwig Wittgenstein, in this order: Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus, Proposition 6.44 (translation by C. K. Ogden) (an alternative translation, by David Pears and Brian McGuinness, is: "It is not how things are in the world that is mystical, but that it exists"); draft of foreword to Philosophical Remarks, in Ludwig Wittgenstein, Culture and Value (1980) (translated by Peter Winch), page 7e ; Maurice Drury, "Conversations with Wittgenstein," The Danger of Words and Writings on Wittgenstein (Thoemmes Press 1996), page 112.
George Price Boyce, "Landscape at Wotton, Surrey: Autumn" (1864)