A discussion between Joe Rogan and Neil deGrasse Tyson filmed in 2013:
Really appreciated that conversation. Wonderful to see Dr. Tyson able to speak casually at length about everything from popular conspiracy theories to environmental change and the possibility of lifeforms out in the universe.
About 1:40:00 into the podcast, I especially liked how Dr. Tyson hit on the probability of life on Earth originally being seeded by matter introduced from without, namely from Mars which appears to have once been Earth-like. Always wondered about that too, if Mars could’ve seeded our planet.
And I found it very fascinating when they were discussing how the universe seems to make nothing solitary, how everything comes in pairs or more, so when we back up further and further, from multiple universes to multiple multiverses and so on, how that basically trails off into infinity. That’s something else I’ve been pondering a while now, and I tie it in with my understanding of string theory and quantum physics and how perspective seems to be key in how we relate to anything and everything. Like when Dr. Tyson was talking about the clouds and how we commonly observe them versus how much is actually going on within them that we couldn’t historically detect. Obviously I’m a total layperson who’s learned more about “hard” and physical sciences outside of college (aside from a course on zoology and half a semester of physics), but this stuff’s always captivated me on some level so I read and comprehend what I can on these and related subjects. Then I mesh it together with what I’ve learned about biological sciences and then social sciences, the latter being my own emphasis. And I just keep seeing all these patterns, from micro to macro and on back to micro depending on perspective taken, and how these “layers” (for lack of a better term) can appear calm from a distance but appear chaotic up-close and personal. And I swear it divides out in SO many ways, from physicalism (to borrow a term from the book War of the Worldviews: Science vs. Spirituality) on down to human social relations and the intricacies of our psychological and social functioning from within an individual and among them, spanning out to mass group dynamics of most-modern times. So many things that are difficult to measure once you get to the social and psychological end of the spectrum of human life, but also in analyzing animal life and its myriad of social formations and trans-species interworkings. Then on down to pondering the energy vibrations that make up matter.
It’s all rather cool to me. Can’t probably speak intelligibly in depth on these sorts of things, but I dig them and look into them and like to let my imagination roll over the possibilities.
And this is partly why I’ve found space exploration somewhat humorous. I’m with Dr. Tyson on considering it folly to strive to terraform Mars since the amount of energy and technology needed for that could very likely be better used in serving our interests here on Earth. Though I’m not one to concern myself greatly with the continuation of our species. Just sayin’. But for as illuminating as I’ve found space exploration to be, I’ve always wondered if eventually—combined with our research into everything on Earth, including exploring lifeforms in the ocean depths and in Earth’s crust—it will all lead us to realize the “sanctity” of the lives we’ve been “blessed” with. Putting those words in quotations since I know people are sensitive to them, but they come to life when we also take into consideration the role of consciousness and our higher development in that arena. Makes me wonder if this will all someday drive us back to appreciating the basics, recognizing we have this life to live and no guarantees beyond that, but that there is a balance to be reached in some sort of way in order to find some amount of peace, recognizing that though we each are so small and seemingly inconsequential, we really are amazing creatures with so much potential who make living interesting. If nothing else, that’s what we are. Gives me a bit of comfort when I arrive back around to that conclusion periodically. Can’t explain why exactly — just does.
Maybe more of us will learn to love one another in better ways and to appreciate one another’s humanity and significance. Maybe not, but for those who do, I consider them blessed. We have been bestowed a gift and a curse as human beings, but life is what it is and we don’t get to choose the nature of “objective” reality — we can merely work within it with one another.
Dr. Tyson’s talks always refill me with appreciation for humanity. Not sure exactly why. (Not that I don’t expect us to drive our species over a cliff in due time, but still.) Maybe it’s his infectious way of spreading curiosity and encouraging us to explore for ourselves and to not be limited in doing so. All I know is I genuinely appreciate the man and his insights and the information and ideas he shares.
Also becoming a bit of a fan of Joe Rogan, slowly but steadily. Never much was into the Fear Factor show, but then again, I don’t subscribe to cable and so didn’t see it often. Liked most of what I’ve watched from him online thus far.