As our ship flies out to its next mission, I find myself staring out the window gazing into infinity. Though time and space may go on forever, as far as I know being over 40 years old means my existence is just about halfway over.
During my existence, one of my top pursuits has been trying discover the Truth of reality. In the folly of my youth, I believed that everything was more or less knowable with enough time and effort. Experience has taught me that the more I’ve learned the more I realize how little is knowable within this life. It could be argued that I wasted my time chasing after something that can’t be caught. Realizing this, I’ve tried to become less serious.
One of the lessons that I’ve learned that I try to convey to my crew is just being grateful, playful and present in the moment. It’s tricky because it’s a lesson that one intuitively knows even at 9 years old. Yet, it’s a truth that one can easily forget. Most non-federation planets push the idea that we need more stuff. Many people then become jaded because they cant reach what is ultimately unattainable; vast wealth, beauty and status. Unfortunately, it sometimes takes a tragedy for some to reflect back on the blessings they already had.
When something really bad happens it’s hard to stay present in the moment. There’s many captains that have a hard time feeling safe when they’re out in interstellar space because they came under attack from another ship. The most traumatizing attacks are those that come from friendly fire; especially during one’s formative years. Not being able to trust other ships that are supposed to be allied with you teaches one to always be on yellow or red alert. Although one should always be ready to defend themselves, constantly having your shields deployed can be taxing on system resources.
I try to teach the crew to not over- learn lessons as well. Being a captain, one uses experience to better interact during diplomatic situations. Still, its easy to learn the wrong lessons by using the past as a way to define yourself and engage others. Though one may know logically that each situation is unique , the human brain is wired to make correlations where some may not exist or using a logic set that made sense at it’s formation but is outdated. There are things that have happened to me as a kid that made me think and feel a certain way but reevaluating them as a dispassionate adult makes me recontexualize what happened and takes away some of the negative emotional impact.
Some of the most useful cognitions I have in place is that I know that as an adult that I have the ability to prevent or mitigate many of the bad things that can happen. I am better able to evaluate people as an adult to lessen the chances that I am hurt by someone else. I believe that the root of many traumatic memories is the sense of powerlessness and betrayal. Being aware of how to deal with certain individuals helps me comfort the child within and the children under my charge. I set out in the universe in search of peaceful coexistence but have my phaser banks charged and a full compliment of photon torpedoes at my disposal in case any friendly or enemy vessels open fire on me.