Are you ready to share some moments of expanded consciousness? Unlike many of the guests on AMC’s Talking with Chris Hardwick, Neil degrasse Tyson is not here to plug his new movie or TV series. Although he does have a new book, Astrophysics for People in a Hurry, which came out earlier this year. Neil has spoken to our founder, Chris Hardwick, several times before. This time, they didn’t get around to his book because there were so many more important things to talk about.
This is the special extended edition of Chris’ chat with Neil, and it was never about the answers. It’s always about the questions and the ideas, which Neil shares in such a wonderfully eloquent way. Neil says that he isn’t trying to be a “great communicator,” but he did share the reason why he learned to speak in soundbites after his first experience on television after he became the director of the Hayden Planetarium.
Because of Neil’s role as an advocate for science and knowledge, as well as his hosting gig of Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey, it’s been widely assumed that the late great Carl Sagan was Neil’s mentor. Once again, Neil corrected the record, but he spoke about two of their encounters that played a major role in shaping him into the man that he wanted to become.
It’s very difficult to condense what Neil said down to a few sentences, because he covered so much ground with Chris that you can really only appreciate it by listening to it. Once you do that, you’ll understand what Neil means when he says that “the universe lives within us,” or why he wants to celebrate ignorance not as a way of embracing mediocrity, but as a triumphant step on the never-ending quest for more knowledge. After all, we can only search for answers once we start asking questions.
There are also some surprises along the way as Neil shares his thoughts on The Martian, Star Wars, Arrival, and his favorite time-travel movie, in addition to his take on extending the life of the sun, and whether reality is an elaborate simulation. According to Neil, we all create our own meaning in life, and he’s not shy about sharing his. Neil also told Chris about his last wishes and the quote that he wants to have on his tombstone.