There are some questions humans will never be able to answer. Where do babies come from? How did According to Jim air for eight seasons? What’s the meaning of life? That last one is particularly impossible, though astromemeicist Neil deGrasse Tyson gave it a shot when a “six-and-three-quarter”-year-old boy named Jackson (who’s gonna have a fun, fulfilling life) asked it last night at an event at Boston’s Wilbur Theatre. Here’s how Tyson responded, in full:
“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.” (Via)
I would have responded with “Marge vs. the Monorail,” but this works, too.