I don't know much Hawking, but the fact I know anything at all speaks to his place among the physicists and intellectuals of our time. In addition to being one of the smartest human beings on the whole damn planet, he suffers from ALS — more commonly known as Lou Gehrig's disease. He has been wheelchair bound for more than four decades and can no longer speak without the assistance of voicebox technology.
Our culture has cheapened emotion to the point where contrived easily passes for the real thing. I found myself overwhelmed by the power of the real thing as I heard about this incredible story. This is what it feels like to feel inspiration. It's an amazing thing to feel something so deeply and then to experience the feeling of not being able to describe that feeling.
The look on his face is the look of pure joy. Hawking is a prisoner of his own body, but for a few moments his soul and spirit soared higher than most of us will ever reach in the physical and I daresay in the spiritual sense. Once again, Pearl Jam's "Given to Fly" came to mind.
The eruption of music and the emotion in Eddie Vedder's vocal — I'm not saying it captures moments like this, but it comes about as close as word and sound are capable. I've always loved this song, but I wonder if I will ever hear it the same way again. I hope not.
"sometimes is seen a strange spot in the sky
a human being that was given to fly...