Matter, which is in itself inanimate, is nevertheless the basis for all living things. That is why it is both very close to us and very remote. Close, because we ourselves are composed of matter and are to a large extent subject to the same natural laws as inanimate objects; remote, because we are alive and sentient and endowed with free will and responsibility. But inanimate things are important for another reason: through our intelligence, we human beings can understand the properties of matter and develop science and technology to harness it either for our own benefit or for our own destruction.

Marriage Saving

Today, more than ever before, we need to learn respect and love if our species is to survive. Let us therefore study material things because they have so much to teach us: geology, geography, astronomy can all show us that there may be an infinite wisdom in the world. Husband and wife can share hobbies like walking, or collecting fossils or stones, and help their children to appreciate the beauty and wonder of the natural world.

Many books are now available to help interested non-specialists understand the principal scientific and technological achievements of today. To live in the age of radio and television, space travel and computers, requires some understanding of how and why things work: it is not enough merely to know which switch to press. We need not be carried along by our peers to the point of excess and 'materialism', but computers and TV should have as much place in our time as books.

Science opens up wide perspectives to the human mind, like the view from a mountain top. Far from trivializing the universe, these perspectives increase our sense of wonderment at the prodigious diversity and complexity of creation. The more we know and understand, the more we recognize the limitedness of our knowledge and the imponderability of the mystery of creation. We become conscious of our own insignificance and of the transience and fragility of our achievements.