In my last Wisdom of Science Fiction post, I wrote about what it feels like to look up at the stars.  It is, for me at least, a humbling experience, a reminder of how small and insignificant I am in this big, wide universe.  I really liked how that post turned out, but I also felt like that post had missed something.  It felt incomplete.

So today I’d like to share a quote from one of my favorite episodes of the original Star Trek, an episode called “Balance of Terror.” The crew of the Enterprise find themselves in a long, drawn-out conflict with a Romulan bird of prey.  While waiting for the Romulans to make their next move, Captain Kirk briefly returns to his quarters and ends up dwelling a little too long on his own fears, self doubts, and insecurities.

Dr. McCoy comes to visit, and he has this to say to the apprehensive captain:

In this galaxy, there’s a mathematical probability of three million Earth-type planets.  And in all the universe, three million million galaxies like this.  And in all of that, and perhaps more, only one of each of us. Don’t destroy the one named Kirk.

This little speech may have been addressed to Captain Kirk, but please go ahead and replace your name for his.

I started writing this post before the traumatic events of a few weeks ago, events that left me dwelling a little too long on my own fears, doubts, and insecurities.  I saw one life lost, and another person will likely spend the rest of his life in prison as a result, all because of a stupid and petty disagreement, as I’ve come to understand it—a lot of posturing and imagined self-importance, to borrow some words from Carl Sagan.

So it seems fitting to me to return to regular blogging by finishing this post.  Looking up at the stars can be a humbling experience, but at the same time, paradoxically, it serves as a reminder of how special we all are. In all the universe, there’s only one of you, only one of me… only one of each of us.  We are unique in the truest sense of that word. Value your life.  Value the lives of others.  Don’t let such a unique gift as human life go to waste.

14 responses »

  1. I think I needed to hear this today, too.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Spacer Guy says:

    We all have our insecurities, life is not fair and we will fail often. We should complete one simple task each day – so I do, that way when I have a horrible day I can return to my bed, which I made, all by myself and stare up at the stars using my telescope.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. CareSA says:

    Words of wisdom indeed. Lovely post.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Steve Morris says:

    Wise words indeed. Sometimes we need to step outside ourselves to see how truly wonderful each and every one of us is.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. chemistken says:

    I can only imagine how awed early humans must have felt when they looked up at the night sky. They must have felt terribly humbled.

    I’ve kind of been out of the blogging world as of late, so I just now learned about your traumatic experience. I can’t imagine how that must have felt, and I don’t know how long you had to experience it. The mind can be amazingly resilient at times, so I believe that you’ll put this experience behind you and start writing again. Good luck on your journey.

    Liked by 1 person

    • J.S. Pailly says:

      Thank you. I have managed to start writing again, and that seems to be doing me a lot of good. I don’t know if I’ll ever really be able to put what happened behind me, but I can say it was one bad experience among the many other good experiences in my life. Overall, the good will always outweigh the bad.


  6. canagauthier says:

    So many profound pieces of wisdom in TOS of Star Trek! Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

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