Neil deGrasse Tyson explains the meaning of life to a "six-and-three-quarter"-year-old boy

"Part of being a kid is to explore the world around you"

Published January 16, 2015 8:43PM (EST)

Last night Neil deGrasse Tyson spoke to a crowd at Wilbur Theatre in Boston. There a boy aged "six-and-three-quarters" asked the astrophysicist a deeply profound question: "What is the meaning of life?"

"If you’re asking those questions now, you’re going to be the deepest thinking adult there ever was," Tyson began. He then went onto explain to the best of his ability.

'So, what is the meaning of life? I think people ask that question on the assumption that 'meaning' is something you can look for and go, 'I found it. Here’s the meaning. I’ve been looking for.'"

Tyson made it clear that the meaning of life isn't something you find, but rather what you create.

"You manufacture it for yourself and for others," Tyson continued. "So when I think of 'meaning' in life, I ask, 'Did I learn something today that I didn’t know yesterday, bringing me a little closer to knowing all that can be known in the universe?'"

Tyson then goes on to offer a lovely stream of advice -- which could be followed at any age -- including:

"To think brings you closer to nature. To learn how things work gives you power to influence events. Gives you power to help people who may need it — to help yourself and your trajectory. So when I think of the meaning of life, that’s not an eternal and unanswerable question — to me, that’s in arm’s reach of me everyday."

Watch below:

By Sarah Gray

Sarah Gray is an assistant editor at Salon, focusing on innovation. Follow @sarahhhgray or email

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