392 – William Shatner – Live Long And … Lessons from an Intergalactic Legend

William Shatner told me to get a life.

And everyone laughed at me.

He was at my comedy club on stage with a surprise guest (I’ll get back to that).

A minute goes by…

And he finally says, “I mean that lovingly.”

Now I could laugh. But I knew he did this in a SNL skit a long time ago. And it immediately brought me back to the joke. It just shows how vast his career has been.

Captain Kirk on Star Trek.

Then it got cancelled. “They cancelled us every year,” he said.

“What was the point?”

“A $15 check I couldn’t cash,” he said. “I had been the star in Star Trek and I was living in the back of the truck.”

I wanted to know what kept him going. Not just then. But now, too. Because he’s 87.

87!

And he refuses to die. Which is evident in his book title, “Live Long And . . . What I Learned Along the Way.”

The dot dot dot is his life.

“The ellipsis is the balancing point, yes, you can do that. But what are you going to do with those three dots? How are you going to make your decisions based on those three dots? Cause those three dots are important. Live long and… what are you going to do? Are you going to say, ‘yes’ to life?”

I felt like I was at a seminar.

I kept asking questions about his sense of awe. The awe is his ignition key to life. It’s the reason he’s not dead. “All the 87-year-olds I know are dead,” he said.

“I say ‘yes’ to life.”

So what does that mean? For Bill, it’s a Blues album. And a world tour. He’s going to Australia because he did a one-man show in NY a few years ago. He’s also touring in New Zealand in October.

He got electric bikes with his family. “That has brought the family together because I can keep up with the hotdog 13-year-old.”

So when he told me to get a life, I laughed. He knew I kept trying hack his mindset.

And he’d been saying the answer all along.

Be curious. Do things.

And then Dr. Michio Kaku (one of the most brilliant physicists alive today) came on stage.

And he talked about gravity, the speed of light. William Shatner was screaming about curiosity! There’s so much to wander about.

“But how do we know?” he said. “How do we know anything?”

“That’s what keeps up going,” Michio said. “The sense of the mysterious. That’s what Einstein said: ‘The most precious emotion we can experience is the feeling of the mysterious.’”

And then William added, “That which evolves, lives. It’s one in one.”

I probably only spoke for 10% of this interview.

I had an intergalactic legend and a superstar physicist on my stage.

I wanted to absorb…

Here are three of the hundreds of ideas we explored:

1. Is teleportation actually possible?

OK. I should preface with this: Michio said “almost nothing is impossible.” And this is based on science.

When Michio was getting his doctorate, he and the other students would watch Star Trek. And they’d break down what the writers got right and what they got wrong.

They found that many of the concepts were right. But maybe the methods were wrong.

Either way, he said, yes, it’s possible. BUT not in the way any of us would imagine.

So if you teleport Captain Kirk, then “the original Captain Kirk has to die to resurrect himself someplace else.”

And then William Shatner said, “Because quantum is so weird, anything we can imagine isn’t anywhere near as weird as what really is out there.”

“We’ve already teleported individual atoms, photons, next we’re gonna teleport to outer space,” Michio said. “As soon as we get a moon base, we’re going to teleport to the moon.”

So I got even more curious.

 

2. “Does the science fiction always make the science or does the science ever lead the science fiction?”

Easy. Michio said, “There’s a synergy there.” 

William: “I agree.”

Michio: “One leads to the other and back and forth,” Michio said. “They cross-fertilize each other. Some of the greatest scientists of all time were fans of science fiction.”

William: “And some of the greatest science fiction writers were scientists,” William said.

Michio: “That’s right. Edwin Hubble, of the Hubble Space Telescope. He read Jules Verne, quit being a lawyer, got his PhD in astronomy and went on to discover the big bang.”

 

3. Do we know anything?

William says no.

“We don’t know anything.” He questioned Michio’s measurements, the tests, he questioned the thoughts that built the question.

He emphasized certain aspects of thought: “theory” versus “reality.” One voice versus two voices.

And I think this is the essence of his long life.

“Everything is changeable.”

So he doesn’t accept theory as proven fact. He doesn’t accept limitations or “life expectancy” as law.

He chooses. He decides. He lives.

“That which evolves, lives,” he said. “It’s one in one.”

I need to read that line every day. I need to frame it.

“That which evolves, lives” – William Shatner / a.k.a. the legendary Captain Kirk

Links & Resources:

WilliamShatner.com

Live Long And . . .: What I Learned Along the Way by William Shatner

“Why Not Me?” (William Shatner’s Country Album with Jeff Cook of the group “Alabama”)

Shatner-Clause (William Shatner’s Christmas Album)

The Wrath of Khan

William’s One Man Show

 

Also Mentioned:

Aretha Franklin

The Brill Building

Captain Kirk

Mitzi Shore

Rampage

Star Trek (tv series)

There’s A Girl In My Soup

Star Wars

Star Trek: The Motion Picture

Robert Wise

Michio Kaku

Stephen Hawking author of “A Brief History in Time”

Edward Hubble

The Hubble Space Telescope

Jules Verne

The Big Bang

“Physics of The Impossible” by Michio Kaku

Waze

Presbyterian

Buddhism

The Ultimate Guide to Self Publishing,” which you can get for free right now by visiting jamesaltucher.com/publish. William Shatner just came out with his book at 87 years old. That’s proof that you can write at any age. And I want to show you how. Because I strongly believe everyone has a book inside them. Trust me, writing it can lead to so many new opportunities (financially and creatively). I put all the details in this guide. Check it out by going to jamesaltucher.com/publish where you can sign up to get your free copy.

 

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  • Jen X

    Just discovered you, James. Really enjoying your take on things, variety of guests, etc. Wish I’d listened a few days ago and gotten the free Stand-Up tickets. You should endorse better products, tho–Everlane is a nice idea but poor quality, bad cuts.

  • Jen X

    My second comment, after listening to the whole podcast–this was very entertaining! I was a student of Michio Kaku’s at CCNY–Astronomy 101. He makes big concepts understandable, but was Shatner using logical or ignorance (or both) to trump Kaku during the discussion?

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