Neil DeGrasse Tyson Reveals The Meaning Of Life — For Him [Video]

Justin Streight - Author
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Jan. 16 2015, Updated 4:04 p.m. ET

Neil deGrasse Tyson has answered some difficult questions in the past. One person asked him what would happen if two black holes hit each other, which took the cosmologist a bit by surprise. And who asked that genius-level question? A second-grade boy. Tyson was recently hit with another challenge while speaking at the Wilbur Theatre in Boston, on January 15, 2015.

This time it came from a six-and-three-quarter-year-old: What is the meaning of life?

According to Raw Story, Neil deGrasse Tyson had a fairly well-thought-out answer.

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“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] doesn’t consider the possibility that ‘meaning’ is something you create. You manufacture it for yourself and for others.”

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Making the meaning of life entirely subjective certainly takes the heat off of the prominent astrophysicist. So if the meaning of life is whatever we create, what is it for Tyson?

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“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.”

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Spoken like a true science communicator.

Neil DeGrasse Tyson didn’t end his lecture on the meaning of life there. He gave some friendly advice about how his questioner can develop his own meaning.

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“May I suggest that for you, you should explore nature as much as you can.”

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That may sound good, but the young man’s parents may not have been happy with Tyson. He suggested that exploring nature might not always be easy, because it may involve getting your clothes dirty from splashing in mud puddles. It might also make a bit of a mess, because it might mean banging on pots and pans with a wooden spoon.

Neil gave his listener permission to do all of that. Unfortunately, he explained, he won’t be around to talk to the boy’s parents.

As previously reported by the Inquisitr, Neil DeGrasse Tyson will be hosting a new TV show, Star Talk, premiering in April on the National Geographic Channel.

[Image Credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls]

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