5 Simple Rules

Last night I finally got to watch the last episode of Cosmos with Neil deGrasse Tyson. He gives the following speech near the end of the episode:

Only a few centuries ago, a mere second of the cosmic time, we knew nothing of where and when we were. Oblivious to the rest of the cosmos, we inhabited a kind of prison, a tiny universe bounded by a nutshell.
How did we escape from the prison? It was the work of generations of searchers, who took five simple rules to heart.

  • Question authority. No idea is true just because someone says so, including me. Think for yourself.
  • Question yourself. Don’t believe anything just because you want to. Believing something doesn’t make it so.
  • Test ideas, by the evidence gained from observation and experiment. If a favorite idea fails a well designed test, it’s wrong. Get over it.
  • Follow the evidence, were ever it leads. If you have no evidence, reserve judgement.
  • And perhaps even the most important rule of all, remember you could be wrong. 

Even the best scientists have been wrong about some things. Newton, Einstein, and ever other great scientist in history. They all made mistakes. Of course they did, their were human. Science is a way keep from fooling ourselves and each other.

The worlds of art and science can learn much from each other. We in the fine arts can be better scientists and the scientists of the world can make more art.

Today I’ll be meditating about these five simple rules. How do they apply to my music? How do they apply to my teaching? How can I help to instill these simple tenets in the minds of my students?

How will your world change if you apply Neil’s ideals to your work?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *