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Make It So: The 10 Greatest Quotes From Star Trek's Captain Picard


Make It So: The 10 Greatest Quotes From Star Trek's Captain Picard

In all of science fiction, there are few characters as complex as Star Trek: The Next Generation's Captain Jean-Luc Picard. From the start, Picard was older than the usual TV hero, and he had far less hair too. He was stern, confident, and more than willing to yell at his crew on the Enterprise, which was something Captain Kirk was far less likely to do.

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But under all his stoicism, Picard has an artificial heart that beat with a love for the arts and all living things. Picard is a man who sees greatness in everyone and pushes himself and his peers to be better. He never has contempt for others, but he's also not very good at expressing his true feelings. But when the words do come to Picard, they are like poetry. These are but a handful of things Picard has said that capture his true essence...

10 “Seize The Time! Live Now! Make Now Always The Most Precious Time. Now Will Never Come Again.”

While it took Jean-Luc Picard seven years to finally sit down with his crew and play poker, it would be a grave mistake to say he led a less than full life. A bar fight ended with him stabbed through the heart, necessitating a replacement. But what makes that story special is that as Picard looked down to see his would-be mortal wound, he laughed.

He laughed because even at that young age, he believed one thing above all else: life is meant to be lived. Of course, one can live a full life and not get stabbed in the heart, but Picard had his own path to take.

9 “It Is Possible To Commit No Mistakes And Still Lose. That Is Not Weakness, That Is Life.”

As any Trekkie can tell you, to be a commander in Starfleet, a cadet must first go through the Kobayashi Maru scenario. This test places the cadet in the captain's chair and puts them in a no-win scenario. Captain Kirk famously beat the Kobayashi Maru scenario by cheating because he never believed in the idea of a no-win scenario.

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Captain Picard, meanwhile, learned the true meaning of the Kobayashi Maru scenario: sometimes you can not win, but how you handle yourself in defeat is just as important. Picard, if nothing else, always met every scenario with grace and courage.

8 "There Can Be No Justice So Long As Laws Are Absolute."

Every society needs laws. Laws lay out the blueprints for a just society and without them, there is nothing that will hold a society together. But laws cannot be considered absolute, because morality exists in a grey area. A law that does account for the circumstances that led to the breaking of the law is not upholding justice, but creating injustice.

This is an issue humanity has long worked to understand and by the time Captain Picard is flying into the final frontiers, we have learned how to balance laws and justice. As part of his mission for Starfleet, Picard looks to share that knowledge with other civilizations.

7 "There Are Four Lights"

The idea is simple: show a person four lights, and tell them that if they say there are five they will no longer be tortured. The goal is to break that person's will, to make them bend to the torturer's whim, thus giving the torturer full control. When Jean-Luc Picard was taken captive and tortured by the Cardassians, they used this method against him. Picard would not break.

No matter how much they hurt him, the Captain would always defiantly respond with "There are four lights." This is the power that the mind of a strong-willed person has. No matter what is done to them, they will not give in.

6 "Things Are Only Impossible Until They're Not."

History is made by the impossible being conquered. From the first person creating fire to mankind breaking free from the chains of gravity and launching into the skies and placing a foot on the moon, things that once seemed like a fool's dreams have time and again become milestones that have been met and surpassed.

For Captain Picard, traveling at speeds faster than light and using teleportation devices to hang out on previously undiscovered countries makes all of the impossible things seem far more possible. As with all of Star Trek, the joy is in believing that the impossible will, one day, be very possible.

5 "There Was A Time You Looked At The Stars And Dreamed Of What Might Be."

Jean-Luc Picard, like so many heroes before him, understands the importance of dreams. He knows that the person who strives to be more and create more than what exists now is who makes the universe a better place. With each dream realized, new dreams come into being, helping everyone reach greater heights. But as we dream of bigger and better things, we must remember where we started and appreciate how far we have come.

In this instance, Picard was speaking to his evil clone Shinzon who had lived a life of pain, but the idea stands for us all. We all dream of a better world and our place in it.

4 "If We're Going To Be Damned, Let's Be Damned For What We Really Are."

Above all else, Jean-Luc Picard believed it was imperative that a person lives up to their personal beliefs. This doesn't mean a person needs to be perfect, quite the opposite. What it means is that a person needs to stand up for what they believe in and be ready to deal with the consequences.

This quote comes from the very first episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation. As the omnipotent being Q watches the crew of the Enterprise so he can judge all of the human race, Picard makes it clear to his crew what he expects: for them to be true to themselves and the ideology of mankind.

3 "There Are Times, Sir, When Men Of Good Conscience Cannot Blindly Follow Orders."

Sometimes, Star Trek explores the differences between following orders and doing what is right. Rules can be unjust or cruel, and it is up to each person to decide for themselves what they are willing, or unwilling, to do. For Picard, his beliefs are clear.

He will never intentionally harm a living being if it can be avoided, even if that means going against orders from his higher-ups. There is bravery in refusing to carry out unjust orders. It is a bravery that Picard and the crew of the Enterprise exhibited on more than one occasion.

2 "Villains Who Twirl Their Mustache Are Easy To Spot. Those Who Clothe Themselves In Good Deeds Are Well-Camouflaged."

Fiction tends to make the bad guys easy to recognize. They do clearly evil things in clearly evil ways. In reality, a lot of bad people are great at hiding their true colors behind a façade of kindness and charity. Captain Picard knows this, and he makes it clear that this is still a problem in the far off future.

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As the Captain of the Enterprise, there are hundreds of people who depend on Picard to keep them safe. Part of that safety comes from Picard's ability to recognize a wolf in sheep's clothing, and this is something he is well aware of.

1 "Open Your Mind To The Past... To History, Art, Philosophy. And Then... This Will Mean Something."

Star Trek is about just how great humanity could become if we learn to move past our biases and work together to create a better future. The episodes usually focus on smart people facing difficult problems and coming up with smart answers. No franchise has led more people to become scientists, engineers, or doctors more than Star Trek.

But at its heart, Star Trek is about what makes life worth living and what it means to create a legacy. Stories about good people doing good will inspire future generations. Art, music, and literature are as much a part of what makes mankind great as the science we have discovered. To Picard, you can not have one without the other.

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About The Author

Born and raised in New York, Derek Faraci moved to Los Angeles in 2001 where he worked as a freelance writer before taking a position at Activision where he worked on many successful franchises including Spider-Man, Tony Hawk and Guitar Hero. In October 2009, Derek left Activision to join Scientifically Proven Entertainment. Since joining SPE, Derek has worked on Man vs. Wild: The Game and the film Sucker directed by Michael Manasseri. Given the option, Derek would spend all of his time watching movies and reading comics.

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