A vital reminder from the fifth episode of Neil deGrasse Tyson's Cosmos series.
Perhaps Bertrand Russell put it best in his 10 commandments of learning, where he admonished:
Have no respect for the authority of others, for there are always contrary authorities to be found.
Pair with Carl Sagan’s toolkit for critical thinking.
For good measure, complement with Maurice Sendak’s little-known and lovely posters on the joy of reading.
The human talent for pattern-recognition is a two-edged sword: We’re especially good at finding patterns, even when they aren’t really there — something known as false pattern-recognition.
We hunger for significance — for signs that our personal existence is of special meaning to the universe. To that end, we’re all too eager to deceive ourselves and others.
Imagination alone is not enough, because the reality of nature is far more wondrous than anything we can imagine.
This adventure is made possible by generations of searchers strictly adhering to a simple set of rules: Test ideas by experiment and observation; build on those ideas that pass the test; reject the ones that fail; follow the evidence, wherever it leads; and question everything.
Accept these terms, and the cosmos is yours.