Not since Carl Sagan has someone so clearly and cleverly brought a deep reverence of the universe to the masses. Not only does he know what he's talking about when he waxes poetic on subjects like stars, planets, and the fact that Pluto isn't one, but he also has a lot to tell us about how to live a happy, fulfilled life. His dedication to the endless pursuit of knowledge, his awareness of just how small we are, and his sense of wonder have all ignited in fans a sense that existence is something so magical only a child could appreciate it.
Here's to you, Neil deGrasse Tyson! You've not only made us feel good about being nerds, you've made us feel good about being alive.
1. “No one is dumb who is curious. The people who don't ask questions remain clueless throughout their lives.”
2. “Kids should be allowed to break stuff more often. That's a consequence of exploration. Exploration is what you do when you don't know what you're doing.”
3. “I think the greatest of people that have ever been in society, they were never versions of someone else. They were themselves.”
4. “It's okay not to know all the answers. It's better to admit our ignorance than to believe answers that might be wrong. Pretending to know everything closes the door to finding out what's really there.”
5. “What you need, above all else, is a love for your subject, whatever it is. You've got to be so deeply in love with your subject that when curve balls are thrown, when hurdles are put in place, you've got the energy to overcome them.”
6. “Everyone should have their mind blown once a day.”
7. “I have a personal philosophy in life: if somebody else can do something that I'm doing, they should do it. And what I want to do is find things that would represent a unique contribution to the world -- the contribution that only I, and my portfolio of talents, can make happen. Those are my priorities in life.”
8. “The most creative people are motivated by the grandest of problems that are presented before them.”
9. “Passion is what gets you through the hardest times that might otherwise make strong men weak, or make you give up.”
10. “There are no limits when you are surrounded by people who believe in you, or by people whose expectations are not set by the short-sighted attitudes of society, or by people who help to open doors of opportunity, not close them.”
11. “Being at the top of your game intellectually, philosophically, politically, is not a forever thing.”
12. “We spend the first year of a child's life teaching it to walk and talk and the rest of its life to shut up and sit down. There's something wrong there.”
13. “I want people to see that the cosmic perspective is simultaneously honest about the universe we live in and uplifting, when we realize how far we have come and how wonderful is this world of ours.”
14. “I know of no time in human history where ignorance was better than knowledge.”
15. “The problem, often not discovered until late in life, is that when you look for things in life like love, meaning, motivation, it implies they are sitting behind a tree or under a rock. The most successful people in life recognize, that in life they create their own love, they manufacture their own meaning, they generate their own motivation. For me, I am driven by two main philosophies, know more today about the world than I knew yesterday. And lessen the suffering of others. You'd be surprised how far that gets you.”
Joe Oliveto is a staff writer for Supercompressor who is going to look at the sky tonight. Follow him on Twitter.