‘The Meaning of Life,’ As Explained by Neil deGrasse Tyson to a Six-Year-Old

Jan 20, 2015 at 4:47 pm |
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Kids say the darndest things, but they also ask some pretty tough questions…

In a recent talk Neil deGrasse Tyson hosted in Boston, the celebrity astrophysicist and last year’s host of television’s hit show Cosmos, was asked the penultimate question by a precocious six-year-old boy (pardon, six and three quarters): What is the meaning of life?

Instead of faltering, and brushing off the child’s question as nursery school naivety, Tyson took it on full-force. His resulting argument translates life’s “meaning” into the ability to bring yourself to a larger understanding of the world around you. Tyson says, “When I think of meaning in life, I ask: Have I learned something today that I didn’t know yesterday, bringing me a little closer to knowing all that can be known in the universe?”

Not hugely surprising from the host who manages to explain the complexities of physics, evolution and the formation of the universe itself. However, the answer is really that simple, he assures. “To me, that’s not an eternal unanswerable question. To me, that is in an arm’s reach of me, every day.”

Neil then sits down Indian-style and explains the importance of learning through exploration (aka banging pots and pans and catching snowflakes in your mouth.)

The entire response is both complex and childlike in its content, and poetic and hilarious in its delivery.

By his own definition, deGrasse Tyson has attained a lot of meaning in his own life, and whatever the child takes from his response, he certainly won’t forget the experience.

How does a genius explain the meaning of life to a 6-year-old? Listen here…