Neil DeGrasse Tyson Knows The Meaning Of Life
Adam Rifkin stashed this in Meaning of Life
Tyson explains like we're 6...
There aren't many people I would trust to have a valid answer to the question "What is the meaning of life?" but astrophysicst Neil deGrasse Tyson would have to be on top of the list. Which is why it should surprise no one that, when asked this question by an inquisitive six-year-old, he had the perfect answer.
So — what is the meaning of life? I think people ask that question on the assumption that 'meaning' is something you can look for and go, 'Here it is, I found it. Here's the meaning. I've been looking for.' That scenario, however, doesn't consider the possibility that 'meaning' is something you create. You manufacture it for yourself and for others.
So when I think of 'meaning' in life, I ask, 'Did I learn something today that I didn't know yesterday, bringing me a little closer to knowing all that can be known in the universe?' If I live a day and I don't know a little more than I did the day before, I think I wasted that day. So the people who, at the end of the school year, say 'The summer! I don't have to think anymore!' — I just don't know. To think brings you closer to nature. To learn how things work gives you power to influence events. Gives you power to help people who may need it — to help yourself and your trajectory.
So when I think of the meaning of life, that's not an eternal and unanswerable question — to me, that's in arm's reach of me everyday. So to you, at age six-and-three-quarters, may I suggest that you explore nature as much as you possibly can. And occasionally that means getting your clothes dirty because you might want to jump into puddles and your parents don't want you to do that. You tell them that I gave you permission.
...yep, works for me. So, mystery of existence solved! Now he should work on what happens to all those socks that somehow disappear when you do the laundry.
[Via The Mary Sue]