“I guess when I was around 12 or 15…I had an existential crisis, and I was reading various books on trying to figure out the meaning of life and what does it all mean?
It all seemed quite meaningless and then we happened to have some books by Nietzsche and Schopenhauer in the house, which you should not read at age 14 (laughter). It is bad, it’s really negative.
So then I read Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy which is quite positive I think and it highlighted an important point which is that a lot of times the question is harder than the answer. And if you can properly phrase the question, then the answer is the easy part.
So, to the degree that we can better understand the universe, then we can better know what questions to ask. Then whatever the question is that most approximates: what’s the meaning of life? That’s the question we can ultimately get closer to understanding.
And so I thought to the degree that we can expand the scope and scale of consciousness and knowledge, then that would be a good thing.”
Elon Musk Interview: Iron Man, Growing up in South Africa
2015 Excellence Reporter