“We are just an advanced breed of monkeys on a minor planet of a very average star. But we can understand the universe. That makes us something very special.” – Stephen Hawking
The great Stephen Hawking died today at the age of 76 years old. I would guess 50 years or so later than many had expected given that he was afflicted with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis many decades ago.
Hawking’s was a theoretical physicist which he described as someone whose mission in life was the “complete understanding of the universe, why it is as it is and why it exists at all.” You know, simple stuff. Everyday conversations we have over a beer or a Bojangles’ sausage biscuit.
I fancy myself a deep thinker. I like to ponder, God, space, rocks, bugs, what’s out there, shit like that. But my deep thinking would fit in the eye of a needle compared to what Hawking’s contemplated. Most of us mere mortals can’t see beyond the moon and for the more pious, only heaven exist in the far reaches beyond. Hawking’s knew better. For him “No one created the universe and no one directs our fate.” God is fairy-tale and he had the science to back it up like a well-worn Bible.
Hawking’s viewed his disability as an asset, noting that it “helped me in a way by shielding me from lecturing and administrative work that I would otherwise have been involved in.” He had time to think, he had time to ponder and be curious. And though his body was frozen, his mind was free to wander and explore a universe only a few of us can even imagine exist.
The average Joe, myself included, has no concept of the contributions Stephen Hawking’s made to this planet, contributions of thoughts, ideas and theory’s. But fortunately there are men and women on this earth that do get it, that do understand and they will pass that knowledge on to future generations, seeds from a great mind that will sprout and grow in other great minds.
“Remember to look up at the stars and not down at your feet. Try to make sense of what you see and wonder about what makes the universe exist. Be curious. And however difficult life may seem, there is always something you can do and succeed at. It matters that you don’t just give up.” – Stephen Hawking