Avast! Thar be spoilers ahead!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011


In the episode Pen Pals in Star Trek TNG, Wesley is having a difficult time leading a small geological survey team and asks for help from Commander Riker. It is his first experience being in charge of a team and all of those under his authority are older and more experienced than him. He cannot determine if and when he should yield to the wisdom of others or trust in his own wisdom. In particular, Wesley believes a certain scan should be conducted but the person he asks says that it would be a waste of time. Wesley is concerned not only that he cannot lead but that he may make a mistake and eventually one of his mistakes will cost a life.* This survey is something of a test and a practice lesson for Wesley to prepare him both for the academy and for his much-anticipated role as the smartest, bestest, most specialist leader of all leaders in the universe.**

Riker's advice:
"In your position it's important to ask yourself one question: what would Picard do?"

This is much more useful advice, I think, than trying to figure out what Jesus would do since Jesus never had to deal with things like farm subsidies, animal abuse, challenging ammoral laws institutionalized by a democratic vote, paying off student loans. In fact, I can't think of very much a 1st century Jewish Palestinian peasant and a 21st century atheist American scholar have in common. But me and a 24th century scholar with an interest in archaeology, semantics, horse riding and fencing, committed to truth and exploration . . . I can think of a lot we have in common. And while we may not share a cup of Earl Grey, his tact and decision making skills are something everyone can aspire to.

*Wesley does have the scan completed and the information gained from it is vital in saving the inhabitants of a nearby planet.
** Yeah, sometimes the magic of the Mary Sue gets on my nerves.

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