Elon Musk provided insight into his “motivating philosophy” during an interview at the TED conference.
The billionaire said he finds the purpose of questioning reality and the meaning of life.
Musk also commented on how Asperger’s Syndrome has contributed to his success.
The richest man in the world explained what motivates him in his work at Tesla and SpaceX during an interview Thursday.
Elon Musk said he developed his “motivational philosophy” after reading Douglas Adams’ “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” as a teenager.
“Adams points out that it’s actually the question that is harder than the answer,” Musk said during an interview at the 2022 TED conference in Vancouver.
The science fiction novel approaches broad philosophical questions about the meaning of life with humor. Musk said the book helped provide relief from some of the “dark” German philosophers he studied in his teens.
In the end, Musk said he finds his purpose in questioning reality and the meaning of life.
“My driving philosophy is to expand the scope and scope of consciousness so that we can better understand the nature of the universe,” Musk said. “I have a kind of suggestion for a worldview or motivating philosophy, which is to understand what questions to ask about the answer, which is the universe,” he added.
Finding ways to ‘expand the scope and scope of consciousness’
This is not the first time Musk has referred to “The Hitchhikers’ Guide to the Galaxy”. In 2019, the CEO told CBS that Adam’s was his “favorite philosopher.” Musk said at the time that “becoming a multiplanet species and ensuring that we have a sustainable climate on Earth” is the key to answering questions about the meaning of life.
Musk said he wants to “expand the scope and scope of consciousness, biologically and digitally” and learn how to better ask three questions: “Why are we here?” “How did we get here?” and “What the hell is going on there?”
During the interview, Musk said much of his motivation stems from his teenage years, as he has always had a deep curiosity about the universe and what it means to exist in it. In previous interviews, he has even wondered if life is a simulation.
“I think the ‘why’ of things is very important,” Musk said. “Young teens are pretty depressed about the meaning of life, and I kind of tried to understand the meaning of life by reading religious texts and reading books on philosophy.”
How Musk’s childhood shaped his business acumen
Musk also commented on how Asperger’s syndrome – a condition on the autism spectrum that affects an individual’s ability to effectively socialize and communicate with others – has played into his success. The billionaire revealed that he had the condition during his monologue on Saturday Night Live last year.
“Social tracks were not intuitive,” as Musk grew up, he said, a factor that pushed him to focus more on reading and coding.
“I do not think I had a kind of happy childhood. To be honest, it was pretty, pretty harsh, but I read a lot of books,” Musk said. “I think there might also be value from a technological point of view because I thought it was rewarding to spend all night programming computers alone. And I think most people do not enjoy writing strange symbols. into a computer alone all night, “he added.
Musk also wondered if his condition could have played into his innate curiosity and drive to build Tesla and SpaceX.
“I was just completely obsessed with the truth. I studied physics because physics tries to understand the truth of the universe,” Musk said. “No one made me study it,” he added.
The billionaire also said he wants to build things that could improve the state of the world going forward.
“We should fight for the things that make us excited about the future,” Musk said. “The future can not just be about one miserable thing after another, solving one sad problem after another.”
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