The Backyard Philosopher - Zia Hassan

December 13, 2013

Zia Hassan's video of the 9-year old boy he calls "The Philosopher" was a YouTube sensation.  2.4 million people have watched this 4th grade Socrates as he considers dark matter, the origins of the universe, the meaning of life and more.  We hear the story behind the video.



Thank you so much for sharing this.

name: Craig
subject: The Backyard Philosopher

I listened to this podcast with tears in my eyes. This boy's wisdom touched me deeply, and I feel a kinship with him.

When I was a kid, and for my entire life, I've had a certainty about a couple things that seemed to have arisen inside me long before I was able to talk about them. They weren't things I was taught or heard from someone else, they just always seemed to be there.

At a very young age I had (and still have) the conviction that people -- me, my family, friends, everyone around us -- were fully capable of being much more honorable, caring and aware beings. Long before I could have known what the term "ideal human" means, I knew such transformation is possible and real.

I also had a deeply-held certainty that I'd lived in some kind of poverty before. I knew that my middle class family in this life and I, and others around us, would someday live that way again in the future. I understood that living that way would make us all less focused on our possessions and much more aware of one another.

I remember having these vivid feelings all through my childhood and far beyond. I thought everybody knew these things, and I couldn't understand why my family and others lived as if we were stuck in our tiny minds. I got mad at people for the way they behaved!  I thought, Why are we pretending these cars and TV's and so forth are worth so much turmoil between us? It took me decades (I'm 55 now) to understand that some people just don't feel the way I do. I still have trouble with that, sometimes.

So, when I see Zia's young friend speak about the universe and compare humans and ants and so forth, something about his confidence, his willingness to acknowledge that he could be wrong, and the way he explores himself before he speaks so eloquently makes me think that he understands things that go much deeper into human experience than most people do before they're ten, somehow the way I understood things. I don't see him as simply a science prodigy. He may be that, too, but I think his understanding likely arises from a very different place from that of your "average" calculation wizard. (I think this was the case with Albert Einstein too.)

I feel a kinship with him that touches me deeply. This is a wise child. I feel that I've lived before this life, and this gives me a deep faith in multiple rebirths and the learning opportunities that come with them. And I think this young fellow maybe brought his wisdom with him across lifetimes. I hope his parents and teachers encourage him to always keep his mind and heart open and to allow his wisdom to help guide him through!

Thanks so much for this program, TTBOOK! Please keep the thought-provoking programs coming!

Craig from Columbus