This past Wednesday, the world was informed of the passing of Stephen Hawking, arguably the most brilliant individual who has lived in my lifetime. He was 76 years old. His novel, ‘A Brief History of Time’ opened the door to the cosmos which had been cracked a bit by Carl Sagan. Written for basic human consumption, the book stayed on the New York Times best seller list for five years and is their number one all time best selling novel.
Hawking spent his life looking for answers to the most difficult questions of our world. He was a man with no life expectancy to speak of, being diagnosed at 21 with a type of Lou Gehrig’s disease. He lived 45 more years, robbing Father Time, taking his place alongside Madam Curie, Albert Einstein, Issac Newton, and perhaps a few others on the all time list of great scientific minds.
If I was a person looking to validate my belief system there would be no doubt in my mind that this man knew more about the universe we live in than anyone in recent memory.. We will probably not see his equal in our lifetimes although it is my hope that a successor will emerge.
Hawking had definite opinions about two of the subjects I write about, namely climate change and religion. Here are some of his thoughts.
“I believe the simplest explanation is, there is no god. No one created the universe and no one directs our fate.” Sort of shoots a hole in the it’s Gods will idea doesn’t it. So The Gods have willed us to destroy ourselves, their creation. Science and Hawking say no. For everyone who disagrees I would just remind you that your quarrel is with one of the most intelligent minds mankind has ever produced. Just a thought for those still thinking, he said, ” The greatest enemy of knowledge is not ignorance, it is the illusion of knowledge.”
Another gem is ,”We are in danger of destroying ourselves by our greed and our stupidity. We cannot remain looking inwards at ourselves on a small and increasingly polluted, overcrowded planet.” Does anyone think it possible that a man like this, should one ever decide to sacrifice himself for humankind and run for the highest public office somewhere, would save us from ourselves? Do you think he would need a PAC, lobbyists, millions? No. He could form his own party of one and the people would do the rest. I am hopeful that one day in some of our lifetimes, our children’s lifetimes, they/we will have the opportunity to overcome years of lies and deceit from our religious and political tribes. It has been the most massive deception ever hoisted upon the backs of the human race. Oblivion has reached this far into time.
What a beautiful mind and one that will be sorely missed.