If Hawking’s life can teach scientists, public intellectuals and social media users anything, it’s that humility and a willingness to change one’s mind isn’t a sign of weakness, but rather of an adventurous and intellectually engaged mind and polity. That’s a legacy as worthy as Hawking’s monumental scientific achievements.
Here is the irony. The problem is deeper still. You see, neoliberalism is a strangely mechanical thing. It cannot see emotional, social, human, environmental, or cultural costs — like some kind of killer robot, it cannot see human suffering. So it simply pretends such costs do not exist. Yet all those costs are exactly what people must pay — the costs of broken societies, relationships, careers, possibilities, stress, anger, rage, depression, and so on. But because it cannot even see human suffering, neoliberals still proclaim, dumbfounded: “What is the problem? The world is getting better!!”, even as freedom goes into turbocharged reverse.