Neil deGrasse Tyson on whether to be amazed or terrified by the universe

By Eric W. Dolan
Saturday, May 25, 2013 11:47 EDT
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Those frightened and distressed about the massive scale of the universe need to rethink the size of their egos, according to astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson.

“There is something about the cosmic perspective which for some people is enlightening and for other people terrifying,” he explained in a video published by Big Think on Saturday.

As Carl Sagan once remarked, Earth is little but “a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark.” The fact that human beings merely inhabit one insignificant planet among trillions in a universe that is sublimely gigantic is a discomforting revelation to many.

“In every window that modern astrophysics has opened to our mind, the person who wants to feel like they’re the center of everything ends up shrinking,” Tyson explained. “I assert that if you are depressed upon learning and being exposed to the cosmic perspective, you started your day with an unjustifiable large ego. You thought more highly of yourself than in fact the circumstances deserved.”

Instead, Tyson said humanity should abandon their over-inflated sense of self and revel in the awesome complexity and interconnectedness of the universe.

“By the way, the atoms in our bodies are traceable to what the stars do,” he remarked. “All you can do is sit back and bask in your relevance to the cosmos.”

Watch video, uploaded to YouTube by Big Think, below:

Eric W. Dolan
Eric W. Dolan
Eric W. Dolan has served as an editor for Raw Story since August 2010, and is based out of Sacramento, California. He grew up in the suburbs of Chicago and received a Bachelor of Science from Bradley University. Eric is also the publisher and editor of PsyPost. You can follow him on Twitter @ewdolan.
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