The British cosmologist Stephen Hawking has had his moments of doubt, about both himself and about the future of the human race.
Hawking was diagnosed with ALS, or Lou Gehrig’s disease, 50 years ago. As a result, he told an audience of doctors at a stem cell laboratory yesterday, Hawking became depressed and “initially didn’t see a point in finishing his doctorate.” But eventually he found the motivation to keep at it:
“If you understand how the universe operates,” he said, “you control it in a way.”
And yet, Hawking continues to be concerned about the long-term future of the human race. He told his audience at the Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles that humans cannot survive another thousand years unless we escape to space.
In a lecture entitled “A Brief History of Mine,” Hawking compared his own longevity to the greater prospects of humanity. We need to keep our curiosity alive. “However difficult life may seem, there is always something you can do and succeed at,” Hawking said, echoing the comments he made to Big Think in this video in 2010.
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