I awoke on Wednesday this week to discover that one of my idols was no longer with us. No, not Ken Dodd… I’m talking about Stephen Hawking.
Just as the world starts to go completely mad and a number of episodes of Black Mirror actually start coming true*, one of the last bastions of hope, logic, rationality and reasoning has departed this mortal coil but not before he left his undeniable mark on humanity and certainly not least before his sheer willpower to live saw him defy medical odds for over five decades. Having been diagnosed with motor neurone disease at the age of 21 and given a rather grim life expectancy of just two years, he amazingly and against all the odds battled to live to the age of 76.
The entire world of journalism has been paying tribute to this brilliant man this week, so I’m not going to rehash yet another summarised biography of his life, his trials and tribulations, for we are all more than aware of who he is, what he achieved and what he represented but I just wanted to share my huge respect for him.
His mind was proclaimed as one of the brightest on the planet, but in stark contrast, his body completely failed him. I often used to think about how excruciatingly frustrating it must have been to have such a brilliant mind, capable of boundless intelligence but to exist in a broken body that refused to be able to function at the most rudimentary levels, however, Stephen Hawking never allowed his incurable and degenerative disabilities to hinder his achievements, he rarely allowed himself to feel self-pity and pushed himself to the extremes to be able to share his particular genius with the world. I imagine this enormous uphill personal struggle in life is what made him the amazing, remarkably gifted person that he was, perhaps it was indeed his prison of a body, enslaving him as it did, that compelled him to reach a perspective and an enlightenment on life that very few will ever achieve.
‘”To me, he was an astonishing champion in science and a true Guardian of the Galaxy”.
So as two of my all time ‘Heroes’, as Capricorn brothers and from one genius Starman to another, I pay my respects to:
Stephen William Hawking, 8 January 1942 – 14 March 2018
David Bowie, 8 January 1947 – 10 January 2016
And finally, as I approach what will be the fourth anniversary of my father’s passing, I take a moment to remember and pay tribute to another great hero of mine, my Dad.
In Loving Memory of my Dad, 15 April 1949 – 26 March 2014
I’ll be seeing you in all the old familiar places……
That’s all for this week, folks.
The Virtual Recluse
*Black Mirror reference in paragraph two above:
“Nosedive” (Season 3, Episode 1) – Just when you thought that social media couldn’t become any more invasive in our lives!
This fictional episode becomes even more real when you read up on the Chinese Government’s latest plans to implement a citizen score rating, hoping to fully implement the initiative by 2020, the score can be based on any interaction and weirdly the lowest score will be 350 with the highest attainable being 950. Scores can be improved by, for example, being patriotic on social media, doing charity work or some good for the community and scores can be negatively affected by associating with ‘bad people’ or not turning up for an appointment, not recycling etc.
The rewards of having a high citizen score will be things like discounts on public transport, other social benefits and access to better restaurants.
You’ll never think of security dogs in quite the same way again!