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With The Theory of Everything nominated for five Oscars, Eddie Redmayne will become the pop culture image of Stephen Hawking. It will be easy to forget that Hawking is a real person with a real history and a real life. His legacy will be remembered. Hawking’s books and research will be legendary, but history has a funny was of making us forget the real people behind their legacy. So, in honor of the real life factual Stephen Hawking, here are eight quotes that remind us of the man with one of the greatest minds in human history.
7) Life would be tragic if it weren’t funny.
One of the surprising aspects of Hawking’s personality is his sense humor. For a man whose disability traps him inside his own body, Hawking is able to provide the right amount of levity to his situation. He is also correct. Life has an expiration date, and without joy and happiness it would be quite tragic.
6) The past, like the future, is indefinite and exists only as a spectrum of possibilities.
The past, though existing a series of dates and events, is just as fluid as the future. How we see our past can change drastically, but that is what makes the future so exciting. It not only provides possibility but can also change the way we see our past.
5) 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.
Understanding life on Earth is only possible by considering what exists off of Earth. Without the curiosity that comes with science, we are sadly stationary.
4) Intelligence is the ability to adapt to change.
Hawking despises IQ tests. Putting a number on peoples’ knowledge limits them and the others around them. True intelligence is having a fluidity to life that allows you to evolve with your situation, surroundings, and knowledge.
3) I am just a child who has never grown up. I still keep asking these ‘how’ and ‘why’ questions. Occasionally, I find an answer.
Part of Hawking’s identity is his sense of wonder. No one would write the books The Theory of Everything, A Brief History of Time, and The Universe in a Nutshell without feelings like the world is full of magic and wonder and trying to explain it.
2) I believe things cannot make themselves impossible.
Impossible is impossible. Everything is possible until we deem it impossible, and Hawking has proven enough impossibilities possible that he is the authority on impossibility.
1) The universe is not indifferent to our existence – it depends on it.
The universe, as a physical construct, would exist fine without us. But the universe as a philosophical idea is only possible if we continue to exist. We are part of the universe, and we need it as much as it needs us.