"I want somebody to put electrodes on my head and when I reflect on our kinship with the cosmos. When I do the calculation that shows that a 15-ton meteorite that we have in the center of the Rose Center for Earth and Space - it's an iron meteorite - when I do the calculation that shows that if you take all of the iron from the hemoglobin of the people in the tri-state area of New York City, you can recover that much iron out of their blood. And realize, that the iron from that meteorite and the iron from your blood have common origin in the core of a star.
"Tell me what part of my brain is lighting up because that excites me! That makes me wanna grab people in the street and say, 'Have you heard this?!'
"It is quite literally true that we are stardust, in the highest exalted way one can use that phrase.
"And so I feel and I use words! I bask in the majesty of the cosmos! I use words, compose sentences that sound like the sentences I hear outta people who had revelations of Jesus. Who go on their pilgrimages to Mecca.
"There's some commonality of feeling. I know it - well I don't know it, I want someone to do that experiment. Because the day you do, if the same centers in my brain are excited by these cosmic thoughts as are what are going on in the minds of a religious person, that's something to know. That's gonna be really interesting finding. Because what that tells me as an educator is, 'Let me offer the universe to people.' And they'll start taking it in and they'll start achieving those feelings that they had before.
"And I don't so much care whether they abandon previous feelings. I've got an offering that keeps growing, that keeps becoming more majestic!
"When it was announced that we were gonna cancel the Hubble telescope, the greatest outcry to not do that wasn't the astrophysicists, it wasn't from within NASA, it was the public! It was all over the op-ed pages and the talk shows. The public took ownership of the Hubble space telescope because the universe is coming into their bedroom, into the living room, onto their computer. They were participant on the frontier of discovery.
"And as far as I can tell, if you let them know that it's not just that we're in the universe, but in fact, given the chemistry of it all, and the nuclear physics of it all - not only are we in the universe, the universe is in us. And I don't know any deeper spiritual feeling than what that brings upon me."
Friday, May 2, 2008
The Universe Is In Us
After moving on from Jesus Camp, I share with Neil deGrasse Tyson common "spiritual" views.