A Mail Online story on Stephen Hawking has given an insight into the elan vital of the greatest ever --one who is physically too challenged to be a specially built wheelchair-bound --scientist since Einstein. What keeps the exceptionally gifted brain of a man suffering from nurodegenerative disability, who cannot even speak like a normal person, is his will power. A machine scribbles what he has to say.
In his Reith lecture for the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) at the Royal Institution in London he disclosed to his 400-strong audience how he disproved his doctors who gave him only two years to live. Then he was only 21 years old. Now on the eve of his 74th birthday, the scientist reveals that his motor neurone disease was no handicap to his study of theoretical physics. Although he considers himself unlucky to have the disease, he has no doubt that he was lucky in all other respects.
Through his personal life and works, the most illustrious scientist of today has actually given a message of inspiration for all who suffer from depression for various reasons. Professor Hawking made it amply clear that 'he had learnt to appreciate what he had'. In this cryptic answer lies the mystery of believing in one's own self and even turning disadvantages into opportunities. He has not explicitly told that he learnt the art of doing so but in an oblique reference such strong confidence oozes out.
If it were not so, he could not assert, 'it was possible to escape from a black hole of depression'. The metaphoric use of depression as a black hole says it all. "Things can get out of a black hole both on the outside and possibly to another universe", he explained. Thus he urged, "So if you feel you are in a black hole, don't give up --there's a way out". The inspirational message coming from a person like Stephen Hawking will imbue many with the spirit within that really is at the root of human success stories.
The issue of handicap or no handicap is immaterial when the driving force from within leads one to a chosen path. It is because of this, men and women have chased their dreams. Many have perished untimely in pursuing their dreams and yet others have followed in their footsteps to make the dream come true. Or, else civilisation would not have come to where it is now. Human life is extraordinary because its possessors add meaning to it in so innumerable ways through making it easier and comfortable for others on this planet or simply through achieving a feat that may not have any practical value.
It is simply because of this reason, sports and games have been invented where the bar is raised in order to transcend the physical limitations. It is because of this, athletes become icons and a Usain Bolt is compared to the bolt produced as a result of the collision between clouds in the sky. It is because of this, Edmond Hillary and Tenzing Norgay are revered for their feat of taming the world's highest summit. It is because of this, Nishat Majumder and Wasfia Nazrin scale that summit so many years later but when not many but two of their contemporary male compatriots dared achieve the feat.
Animals are not known to hold their life at a stake for accomplishing such feats. There indeed lies the difference between man and animals. Clearly life is a precious gift and such a gift must not be wasted on cheap endeavours. Professor Hawking's daughter Lucy illustrates the point how his father gratefully accepted the gift and jealously guarded it in order to make the most of every bit of it. It is his stubbornness and laughter --apparently two opposite attributes--that have kept him alive, she remarks. His will power is enviable and he has 'the ability to summon all his reserves, all his energy, all his mental focus and press them all into that goal of keeping going".
Nothing could make the mystery clearer but here is a catch. The scientist does not live for himself alone. In fact, no genius, apart from a handful evil ones, lived for himself or herself alone. They made conscious decisions to do good to or alleviate sufferings of multitudes of human lives around the planet. Stephen Hawking also transcends his survival factor to touch lives of millions by producing extraordinary works such as books, lectures and inspiration for others suffering from neurodegenarative and other disabilities. His physical disability could not stand in the way of his life-long mission.
Thus Professor Hawking shows he is not only a nonpareil scientist but also lives for fellow human beings. Through the message in his lecture at the Royal Institute, which will be broadcast on January 26 and February 2, he has flung open a door to a new universe to travel for all who think life has betrayed them. They can leave behind the painful past in order to build their future on the present. The more people get inspired by his words the better for mankind.