A bright light has been extinguished, yet continues to illuminate those who see it

The man who created this equation is dead. We groundlings are inestimably poorer by this long-expected failure of his body, and that it can no longer maintain the magnificent output of his extraordinary intellect.

Have you read ‘A Brief History of Time’? Neither have I. There is a copy on my bookshelf and I prize it for its impenetrable thought and the clarity of his text. I hold the mistaken belief that somehow, just somehow, possibly by osmosis, I may understand some of the wonders between its covers. We are, most of us, undersupplied with the equipment required to grasp just what this man achieved in his life and its meaning for us and our descendants.

Prof Hawking’s quotes are important to me because we live, I believe, in a time when thinking, empathy, understanding and communication have been overwhelmed by personal entitlement, anger, arrogance, greed and hate. These thrive because way too many entitled, angry, arrogant, greedy and hating humans find it too easy to exploit a too easily exploited humanity.

Stephen Hawking was significantly more clever than us. When the clever people are gone and the stupid remain and rule, the human race will be, effectively, over. The winner will be a machine.

Some of the things he has said resonate with me and, with your permission, I share them below. You will find them all over the press and media today which has to be a good thing.

“For millions of years, mankind lived just like the animals. Then something happened which unleashed the power of our imagination. We learned to talk and we learned to listen. Speech has allowed the communication of ideas, enabling human beings to work together to build the impossible. Mankind’s greatest achievements have come about by talking, and its greatest failures by not talking. It doesn’t have to be like this. Our greatest hopes could become reality in the future. With the technology at our disposal, the possibilities are unbounded. All we need to do is make sure we keep talking.’

“I regard the brain as a computer which will stop working when its components fail. There is no heaven or afterlife for broken-down computers; that is a fairy story for people afraid of the dark.”

“I believe the simplest explanation is, there is no God. No one created the universe and no one directs our fate. This leads me to a profound realisation that there probably is no heaven and no afterlife either. We have this one life to appreciate the grand design of the universe and for that, I am extremely grateful.”

“Remember to look up at the stars and not down at your feet. Try to make sense of what you see and wonder about what makes the universe exist. Be curious. And however difficult life may seem, there is always something you can do and succeed at. It matters that you don’t just give up.”

“Life would be tragic if it weren’t funny”.

“People who boast about their IQ are losers.”

“We are just an advanced breed of monkeys on a minor planet of a very average star. But we can understand the Universe. That makes us something very special.”