"I'm not what you'd call a deep thinker," Morgan Freeman insists, as he posits a question about the limits of the universe. One glance at his big screen resume, with its slew of major awards for a career filled with jarring and affecting performances, would be enough to render his comment as mere self-deprecation, but a few minutes spent pondering the cosmos with Freeman leaves no question that he is just being humble.
It's not often that you'll find an Oscar winner (and five time nominee) and AFI Life Achievement Award recipient in the back reaches of cable, hosting a show about science, but as his trophy case would indicate, Freeman is a rarity. While many Hollywood players are content to live within their own stars, Freeman spends his time pondering about the ones galaxies away.
As host of "Through The Wormhole," in its second season on Science, a channel from the Discovery Networks, Freeman tackles the lofty questions in life that generally crop up in laboratories and late night chats amongst heady college freshmen. For Freeman, exploring the questions of space and existence has been a longtime love, borne of his interest in science fiction. It was that fiction that opened his eyes to the possibilities of reality -- or, whatever version of it we live in.
"[I started] thinking about possibilities and the fact that it wasn't too long ago that the world was flat, and that was a 'fact,'" Freeman recalls in a conversation with The Huffington Post. "It wasn't too long ago the universe revolved around the earth, the earth was the center of it all: 'fact.' So we're now this far along, we know a lot more about things, but they are still 'facts': nothing can travel as fast as the speed of light: 'fact.' It would take millions of years to travel to a distant star: 'fact.' Are they facts?"
It's a jarring series of questions to hear coming from a man who has played God on multiple occasions; but if Freeman doesn't have all the answers, his voice provides the air of authority that fills each thought with gravity.
In each episode of "Wormhole," Freeman tackles from all angles, with opinions and models from researchers, scientists and philosophers, a question whose answers may yet be unknown, or, perhaps, unprovable. In one episode this season, he looks into the idea of a sixth sense, or, the ability to know something before you know it.
"I think we do," have a sixth sense, he says. "I think it's been proven a number of times that, you know, you're in a crowded room and you look around and you're looking into someone's eye and [you know what they're thinking]. We know that thoughts are energy, they create an energy and they can be directed. You go off into an empty house, you can tell it's empty before you get there."
Taking the question of intangible human energy a few steps further, another episode takes on the after life.
"We ask a question about -- is there such thing as a soul? Is there some part of you, an energy that goes on after the rest of you cease to be? And there are a lot of different beliefs in it," he teases. In the episode, the case is argued by one scientist that, indeed, human energy does leave the body when that vessel expires, though Freeman wouldn't say what he believed to be the truth.
To hear him tell it, everything we think we know is really not known for sure; and as for what we think about the things we don't know, those theories stand on even flimsier ground.
"We've seen different manifestations of others' imaginations of aliens. Aliens could look like anything; it just depends a lot on their environment. [We portray them as having] two arms, two legs, a head, two eyes, a head, a nose, two years, and that's not necessarily [true] at all. They could look more lizardly, they could look like anything," Freeman says. "There's just no way of knowing... If you look at some of the aliens on earth, ants for instance, they communicate chemically, other aliens communicate with different bells, whistles. Crickets, what do they do? They rub their wings and make this noise. So do cicadas and other insects. And they communicate."
Freeman doesn't pretend to know the answers, but finds it massively important to pass on whatever knowledge exists, and continue the push for more.
"Here's a question you can contemplate," he proposes. "Is there a difference between space and the universe?... they say that the universe is expanding, so if it's expanding, what is it expanding in to?"
Tune into "Through The Wormhole" at 10 pm EST/PST on Science to find out.