During high school graduation, I gave a speech. I remember having a fun time writing it. I wanted it to be my own special moment of profoundness. Whether or not I accomplished that is not for me to decide.
Let’s take a short walk almost four years back in my life:
I pulled quotes from a couple of sources which had been influential in my life, namely Shakespeare and Star Trek.
Quoting Shakespeare is nothing new for anyone. In fact, Star Trek takes from Shakespeare on a fairly regular basis and there’s some considerable similarities between Klingons and Roman Shakespeare1.
However, I did not use Shakespeare solely because of its Star Trek connection.
I had a hard time with Shakespeare in high school, and for me, quoting it was sort of a way for me to say: “I hate how complex you [the works of Shakespeare] are, but I still respect and admire you.”
I suppose that I could have also quoted Wordsworth, Blake, or Coleridge. But I didn’t.
I watched the pilot episode of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine on Sunday and was reminded of one of the Star Trek quotes I included in the speech:
It is the unknown that defines our existence. We are constantly searching, not just for answers to our questions, but for new questions. We are explorers. We explore our lives, day by day. And we explore the galaxy, trying to expand the boundaries of our knowledge. And that is why I am here. Not to conquer you with weapons or ideas, but to co-exist and learn.
I never actually attributed this quote to Star Trek in my speech, which is probably one of my biggest regrets of the entire thing. I think my reasoning at the time was to try and reduce any negative impact that mentioning Star Trek would have on my speech.
For example, let’s say that I quoted this:
As a Christian I have no duty to allow myself to be cheated, but I have the duty to be a fighter for truth and justice.
By itself, these come off as great words. Now let’s say that I told you C.S. Lewis wrote them. Now they’re even better words! Profound statement and respectable author makes a great quote.
Now let me postulate that Adolf Hitler was whom I quoted2. My guess is that would not go over so well.
Not that I would/should ever equate Star Trek and Hitler, but I think my point is made.
Back to the Star Trek quote though. I really like it, especially the first sentence: “It is the unknown that defines our existence.”
I like it because it is a statement of purpose and one that I can agree with. I exist because there are unknowns.
The statement of purpose then leads to a statement of mission: “We are explorers. We explore our lives, day by day. And we explore the galaxy, trying to expand the boundaries of our knowledge.”
We are explorers. We explore. We explore the human element and we explore physical element. And as we explore, we find answers to the aforementioned unknowns. But we also find more knowns.
To me, that’s exciting.
There really is no other point to this except to share that thought and rectify my failed attribution.
By the way, that quote was from Adolf Hitler.
You Haven’t Read Klingon Until You’ve Read It In It’s Native Klingon by Andrew Ferguson, 10/11/2003 ↩