NEIL DEGRASSE TYSON: I get the sense that most people have never met a scientist in their life much less be able to claim one as their friend. So, here I am, visible in many ways—on the internet, social media, documentaries and people see that. And they write me a letter as though I am their friend. And so this brings elements and aspects of their own lives into the foreground that wouldn't otherwise be there if you were a, if they viewed me as a complete stranger to them. And I don't take this responsibility lightly. There are people who have certain angst, certain discomfort because they were raised in one religious tradition and later they learned science that conflicted with it. There are people who have seen lights in the sky and they know they're UFOs because they can't identify them, but they're not ready to take the next leap of argument saying they're aliens. But they want me to shed light on that. And they're coming to me for a scientific perspective. And ultimately a cosmic perspective since I hail from the ranks of astrophysicists.
And in astrophysics the world looks different to us because we see Earth not as this orb with color coded countries. No, we see Earth as an orb in space, as nature intends you to receive it with oceans and land and clouds. And that point of view, that perspective—some have called it the overview effect. I prefer to say it's a cosmic perspective. That can be quite illuminating to be shared with someone who is at an impasse in their lives because it's a point of view that's expressed from a distance. And sometimes you can gain perspective when you can't see the details, but you can see the fundamental drivers of what is behind that dilemma and what can inform the decision you make in response to it. So, it's not a matter of what science I bring to the answer, it's a matter of the brain wiring that exists within scientists that is brought to bear on the answer. And for many people that's a new way of thinking.