A wise man once said that everything we needed to know we learned in kindergarten. The flipside of that assertion is that everything we learned after kindergarten might have had questionable value.
We grew and matured in a world teeming with paradoxes, and each of us were presented with educations that were, in some form or fashion, formulated or crafted to promote the preservation and continuation of doctrinal thinking.
My quest has proven to me that the universe does not create paradoxes; doctrinal thinking does.
Einstein said it best: "Imagination is more important than knowledge." He understood what I only recently learned for myself.
Q. In your new book you also note that observation and perception in science depend upon the language used to describe phenomena. Thus, our Western, American, conclusions about the physical world may not be accurate. Can you explain this?
A. Many of the scientific concepts we accept as truth today can be traced to those who wrote and thought in a language different from English. Anyone who has taken a foreign language can understand the complexities that can arise in interpreting a work that was written in another language.
Q. In the book you state that humans have only started to tap the vast energy resources of the universe. What about that?
A. We can safely and constructively tap into the vast potential energy resources of the universe. These same resources are available to other living and perhaps intelligent entities that now appear to me, more likely than ever, to coexist within the confines of our observable universe, what I call the observerse, itself a world limited in both duration and breadth. If such a cosmic community exists, the understanding that might emerge may very well provide the basis by which humanity becomes a card-carrying member. Whether our presence in the club is desirable or undesirable depends upon the choices humanity makes, both individually and as a species.
For a more in depth discussion of Tyson's thinking about human consciousness and the origin of the universe, read "The Observable Universe" by Scott M. Tyson, published by Galaxia Way, New Mexico USA, 2011.
Lou Varricchio, M.Sc., is a former senior science writer at the NASA Ames Research Center in California. He is a current member of the NASA-JPL Solar System Ambassador program in Vermont. You can contact him at: firstname.lastname@example.org.