when i was your age, pluto was a planet.
nerdery, music, prettiness, lol. the little things in lowercase.
The not knowing is the actual attraction of it. So many people only want answers. To be a scientist you have to learn to love the questions. You’ll learn that some of the greatest mysteries of the universe remain unanswered, and that’s the fun part. That’s the part that gets you awake in the morning and running to the office, because there’s a problem awaiting your attention that you might just solve that day. You have to embrace the unknown and embrace your own ignorance.
So I don’t get overwhelmed, because I don’t think about what I don’t know as oppressive to me. If you think of it as oppressive, or if you have a measure of your ego that’s larger than nature provides for you, then it’s possible that you could end up quite depressed, seeing how small we are on Earth, [orbiting] around an ordinary star in an undistinguished corner of our galaxy between a hundred billion other galaxies. That’s upsetting to some people, because it destabilizes their sense of self-worth. I would assert that it’s not inherently destabilizing to learn this—it’s only destabilizing if you walked into the room with an unjustifiably high ego to begin with. If you come in with a humble enough ego, all of this is kind of enlightening instead of depressing.
I think whenever people finish their formal education, they say, “I’m done learning!” And then they want to make money off of what they have learned. Many people willingly stop the growth of their own minds! Nobody else forced that; they said they were done learning and they didn’t buy any more books or make discoveries or turn over the rock or see what’s beyond the valley. But fortunately there are enough people in society who continue to do those things—and those are the folks that shake the world.
Neil deGrasse Tyson on whether or not he’s overwhelmed by the universe and how he copes with not knowing everything about it (from Embrace Your Ignorance: An Interview with Neil deGrasse Tyson on Rookie)
“I think whenever people finish their formal education, they say, “I’m done learning!” And then they want to make money off of what they have learned. Many people willingly stop the growth of their own minds”