5 life lessons left by Stephen Hawking before his death

The scientist left a great legacy in the world, which includes the reflections he made before his death.

A convinced atheist and tireless propagator of science. In all probability, Stephen Hawking was the most brilliant man alive during a good part of the 20th and 21st centuries. The author of A Brief History of Time (1988) not only taught us what was inside a black hole or the possible ways to travel in time; he also left us life lessons that go far beyond his unattainable intellectual work. Here are the 5 most valuable lessons left to us by the British physicist, who passed away on March 14, 2018, at the age of 76:

1. Never give up

Hawking was diagnosed during his youth with a serious degenerative disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, and from that moment on, he changed his outlook on life and his aspirations forever; however, that was never an obstacle for him or his mind.


Since then, the physicist understood that he had to face life with a different attitude, and although the disease gradually took away his ability to walk, move and even speak, thanks to it he had the opportunity to devote his time completely to research on what he was really passionate about, far from cubicles, lectures with new groups or boring and tiring talks with members of the lobby specialized in the area.

2. That not everything is learned in school

Hawking said that trying to do your best in every subject, trying to get the best grades, and reading every text in front of you is a real waste of time. The best thing is to dedicate yourself to your passions, concentrate on the field of study, and try to put each teaching into practice in real life, not only reflected in readings and thousands of pages.


3. To be realistic, no matter how hard it may be

As a man of science, Hawking conducted himself with the harshest skepticism throughout his life. He knew that the day of his death would come, yet, he had no evidence to believe that at the end of his life, an omnipotent being or anything similar would await him. Instead, he was a man deeply grateful for this life and the opportunity to learn a little more about the Universe from science:

“Everyone is free to believe what they want and, according to my point of view, the simplest explanation is that there is no God. No one created the Universe and no one directs our destiny. This brings me to a profound realization: there is probably no heaven and no afterlife. We have only one life to appreciate the grand design of the Universe, and I am very grateful for that,” he said.


4. Threats to our planet and how to take care of it.

The scientist was a consistent man who maintained a critical voice at all times. During the last years of his life, the Cambridge physicist did not hesitate to state time and again in each of his public presentations, which were the risks that could endanger civilization. According to the scientist, humanity would be close to a possible apocalyptic scenario that could occur with 4 different events, all caused by our own species: global warming, a war with nuclear or biological weapons, and the lack of regulation and control in the creation of Artificial Intelligence.

5. The most beautiful place is the Planet Earth

The place where the first organic molecule, cell, living being, and the development of something as complex as human consciousness appeared along with all its doubts and inventions was without a doubt, Hawking’s favorite place in the whole Universe. Earth will always be the starting point for a species that grew by leaps and bounds and understood some of the phenomena that surround it, while its innate curiosity leads it to think about what lies beyond the stars.


Story originally published in Spanish in Cultura Colectiva

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