Neil deGrasse Tyson Sciences The Meaning Of Life: VIDEO

Neil deGrasse Tyson

Astrophysicist extraordinaire Neil deGrasse Tyson hosted a lecture on the 15th at the Wilbur Theatre in Boston, and as  part of his presentation took some questions from the audience. One of those who spoke up was six-year-old "Young Jack" – which sounds like the name of a Scott Pilgrim character – who wants to be Neil deGrasse Tyson when he grows up, who enquired, "What's the meaning of life?"

Tyson, only mildly caught off guard by the question, went into a long and insightful response, saying in part,

To learn is to become closer to nature, and to learn how things work gives you power to influence events, gives you power to help people who may need it, the power to help yourselves, to shape a trajectory. So, when I think of 'What is the meaning of life?' to me that's not an eternal, unanswerable question. To me, that is in arm's reach of me every day. And so for you, at age six-and-three-quarters, may I suggest that for you, you should 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.

The video is terrible – and vertical! – but the audio on the recording is just fine, so you can watch Tyson's full response AFTER THE JUMP…


  1. simon says

    Well. Not every question has an answer. If science doesn’t has an answer, there is no logical path to the claim that religion has one. As a matter of fact, science shows us we and our planet are just an insignificant part of this vast universe. As Mark Train has noted :
    Man has been here 32,000 years. That it took a hundred million years to prepare the world for him is proof that that is what it was done for. I suppose it is. I dunno. If the Eiffel tower were now representing the world’s age, the skin of paint on the pinnacle-knob at its summit would represent man’s share of that age; & anybody would perceive that that skin was what the tower was built for. I reckon they would. I dunno.
    – “Was the World Made for Man?”

  2. Marlon Manroe says

    What is the meaning of life? You tell me. You decide what the meaning of life is for you. It will be different than mine. Therein lies our power.

    It’s not like it’s some simple answer or dictionary definition.

  3. anon says

    Next up: he answers Zen Koans like “What’s the sound of one hand clapping?”. The meaning of life and “why are we here?”, are conceptually misguided questions.