Lawrence Krauss: I have a friend of mine who's a very famous writer, and I'll leave him nameless for the moment, but he writes very dark novels. And when I first met him I was surprised he was so cheerful and I said, "How can you be so cheerful?" And he looked at me and he said, "I'm a pessimist, but that's no reason to be gloomy." And that's become my own mantra in some sense, and it seems appropriate when you think about the universe.
Because the universe first of all isn't here to make us happy, it isn't here to please us and it doesn't give a damn what happens to us. In the far future of the universe is likely to be miserable as I talked about in my last book, and I point in my new book it could even be more miserable.
So in a purposeless universe that may have a miserable future you may wonder, "Well how can I go about each day?" And the answer is we make our own purpose. We make our own joy. We are here by a cosmic accident as I've tried to show, but it's a remarkable accident that's allowed you and I to be here to talk, us to think and appreciate the beauty and splendor of the universe.
So the fact that the universe itself may have no purpose doesn't affect our purpose, in fact it's the incredible height of solipsism to assume that without us the universe doesn't matter, and that if the universe is purposeless we don't matter. We make our own purpose, and it seems to me life is more precious because it's temporary and accidental, and we should take advantage of that. And we have evolved brains and that allows us to ask questions not just about how the universe works but how we should behave.
Now it's a long philosophical debate about whether you can get ought from is, and maybe you can never get ought from is, and maybe reason is the slave of passion. One thing seems clear to me: that without knowing what is you could never get to ought. Or: To do the ought that you get to is silly. If you don't know the consequences of your actions, which is really what science tells us, then you can't assess how to behave. And so understanding empirical phenomena plays a central role in leading a better life, it seems to me. And it should play a central role in public policy so that we as a society can make sound decisions about how to act in the common good.