Neil deGrasse Tyson is one of the smartest human beings on the planet. He is an astrophysicist, cosmologist and award-winning author. He studied at Harvard University and earned his doctorate from Columbia University. He was the director of the Hayden Planetarium and was an advisor to President George W. Bush. So if you had a perplexing question, you would be wise to consult Mr. Tyson. And that’s exactly what this curious 6-year-old did.
The world-renowned scientist was speaking on Thursday night at the Wilbur Theatre in Boston. An inquisitive “six-and-three-quarter”-year-old boy named Jackson had a doozy of a question for the Cosmos host, “What’s the meaning of life?” Jeez kid could you ease into the discussion a bit? Maybe start by asking, “Why is the sky is blue? or “Why is shit brown?”
Tyson responds by dropping this pearl of wisdom:
“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. An occasionally that means getting your clothes dirty because you might want to jump into puddles and you’re parents don’t want you to do that. You tell them that I gave you permission.”
This kid definitely has a privileged life if he’s attending Neil deGrasse Tyson speaking engagements before he’s passed the first grade. There’s no reason to question the meaning of life when your mom and dad serve you organic chicken nuggets with roasted balsamic non-GMO beets while you play Minecraft on your Xbox One for five straight hours. He hasn’t faced any real disappointments like getting your first hemorrhoid or having a girl laugh when you whip your dick out. Enjoy your simple life kid while you can and stop thinking so much.