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What Confucius tells us to focus on first is not how to bring stability to the world, but how to be the best possible version of ourselves. To cultivate one’s moral character is the first step towards taking responsibility for the nation, and for society. Confucius and his disciples struggled hard to be the best version of themselves, but their aim in this was to better carry out their responsibilities to the society in which they lived.
It is not easy to be the best. You must have the courage to bear pain, disappointment, and heartbreak. You must learn how to face danger and understand fear, yet not be afraid. You establish your goal, and no matter what deters you along the way, in your every waking moment you must say to yourself, I could do it.
It’s an experience like no other experience I can describe, the best thing that can happen to a scientist, realizing that something that has happened in his or her mind exactly corresponds to something that happens in nature. One is surprised that a construct of one’s own mind can actually be realised in the honest-to-goodness world out there. A great shock, and a great, great joy.
Perhaps the safest thing to do at the outset, if technology permits, is to send music. This language may be the best we have for explaining what we are like to others in space, with least ambiguity. I would vote for Bach, all of Bach, streamed out into space, over and over again. We would be bragging of course, but it is surely excusable to put the best possible face on at the beginning of such an acquaintance. We can tell the harder truths later.
I prefer to win titles with the team ahead of individual awards or scoring more goals than anyone else. I’m more worried about being a good person than being the best football player in the world. When all this is over, what are you left with? When I retire, I hope I am remembered for being a decent guy.
I have no fear of death, so I don’t think about it. I love the adrenalin kick that danger brings. Others get their kicks bungee jumping from tall buildings. I’m very, very competitive. I want to be the best at everything I do. It’s not driving – it’s everything – it might be playing my guitar, I try to be the best at it as I possibly can.