As well as framing NASA as the muse for our dreams and ambitions, Tyson talks about being in school and having teachers steer him away from physics toward athletics. I’m glad he persisted with physics despite his social network’s “implicit resistance” to his interests and drive. How can we encourage others to persist, and also change our culture so that we’re no longer hindering young innovators whatever disciplines they’re drawn to?
One of my favorite parts of the interview from about halfway through (14:45), on the Rubik’s Cube as a metaphor for life learning:
You could buy a book and solve [the Rubik’s Cube] rather quickly. But then you didn’t figure it out, see? So you can boast that you can solve the Rubik’s Cube for having read the book, but you won’t get to boast that you figured out how to solve it…
No matter how insurmountable a task is—if you solve it—you are in a new place intellectually and emotionally in your life. And you solve it on your own capacity to deduce steps that would lead to an answer. So much of life is shortcutted [sic] because people simply want the answer rather than embrace the solution paths that would get them there. And the richness of life, the joy of life, comes from knowing and having figured out how to do things and how to know things. That’s where you rise up over the rest of the world that simply memorizes facts. —Neil deGrasse Tyson
So awesome. Check out the rest of the interview.