My Stephen Hawking Obituary - His Passing Leaves A Vacuum Of Inspiration & Knowledge In The Universe
At the age of 76, Stephen Hawking - cosmology’s brightest start and one of the most important physicists in human history - has died at his home in Cambridge.
My heart and sincerest condolences go out to friends and family of Stephen. This was not the news many of us wanted to wake up to this morning.
Through my repeated attempts at writing this (you are currently reading the fifth and final draft), I found quite the pertinent quote from one Samuel Johnson in 1777, when he said the shadow of death “concentrates the mind wonderfully.” It is true that all inhibitions, all hesitations and self-doubt falls away in the face of your own mortality, and the incredible work completed by Hawking proves this - despite living with motor neurone disease for over half a century.
I’m not going to pretend that I know him anymore than the brilliant mind I saw on TV and read about in the occasional press releases received in my inbox, but his effect has been one of unsounded importance to me.
Many people - including scientists and loved ones - will remember him for his incredible intuition and wicked sense of humour. However, I remember him for his pertinent perspective on not just science, but life in general.
Without a less dramatic way of putting this, it was his teachings and thoughts that inspired me in the creation of New Rising Media, and moulded me into the man I am today. Probably best if I align some of the big moments with some of his key quotes.
“Life would be tragic if it weren’t funny.”
For the first couple years of New Rising Media’s life, my intent was clear - create a technology news site with editorial independence and a serious sense applied to stories.
But something happened. I became miserable. With no real sense of humour, It felt as if I was not allowed to enjoy my time on this blog.
And as changes were made to add a little of the dry wit, sarcasm and odd topical references I’m known for amongst friends & family, not only did my working mood improve, but website traffic and social fanbase grew massively. It was baffling, but he’d hit the metaphorical nail on the head.
“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 on the run up to and during my time at University was self-destructive for me. With no real interest in some of the basic cues of human kindness and an overactive pathological narcissism, I was far too focussed on myself to truly care for others or be inspired to create.
In the summer of 2011, everything caught up with me - every misdeed, every act of selfishness. All of it was reflected back upon me in a way that I truly deserved. Not a day goes by that I do not feel remorse for my actions at this time.
But then, I heard this as part of Stephen’s 70th Birthday speech and a lot changed in my mind. Curiosity struck and I gave myself permission to relentlessly push for success - realising that a lot of what you enjoy in aiming for triumph in something is the pursuit of it.
And from that point, I never looked back with New Rising Media - never giving up as I went through three surgeries, depression & anxiety created by the toxic working environments of a couple of my day jobs and many more obstacles.
This blog is my lens to focus & make sense of what I see around me. And whether I succeed or not, it gives me an unbridled sense of joy to work on something that I will never give up on.
“It would not be much of a universe if it wasn’t home to the people you love.”
These words have been more important in these later years of my life. No matter how content and happy you can potentially be in your working life, there will always be that metaphorical gap if you do not have people you love in your life.
Whether that’s friends, family, a partner, etc. You cannot ignore this fundamental part of human living. I attempted to once, blocking out the love of others and focussing solely on my work and while I may have achieved more in this short period of time than I could possibly dream of doing now, none of the accolades really meant anything.
My life was isolated and never really shared with anyone… Until recently, of course. With the love of my life by my side, a family I have worked relentlessly hard to open myself up to and a group of friends who are a constant source of support & humour, I am happier than I ever thought was possible.
And, contrary to my prior belief, my work thrived as my personal life took flight. Hawking was right - love is important.
"I'm not afraid of death, but I'm in no hurry to die. I have so much I want to do first.”
Finally, the one quote you will probably see shared a lot over the next few days, because of it’s relevance and awe-inspiring perspective. Looking back at another one of my heroes, Steve Jobs, they both had a similar view on this subject.
Death is not something to be feared. It is, instead, life’s great change agent - clearing out the old to make way for the new. But you shouldn’t take your time on this crazy blue marble we call Earth lightly, as we all should take the time to leave this place in a better condition for future generations - in our own little ways.
Whether it be through enigmatically revealing significant cosmological discoveries and becoming a symbol for triumph of mind over matter like Stephen Hawking, or making what will probably be a next-to-pointless catalogue of thoughts & opinions on tech in the form of this blog.
May we all strive to live as fully as he did.