23 thoughts on “Captain Kirk on Risk”

  1. Its nice for games and contests in general, but if you base your important societal mores on “winning”, you have a recipe for disaster.

    In progress most everywhere. ;)

  2. Risk taking comes from confidence – easier perhaps for youths who think they are immortal. But the confidence to do big things comes from more maturity and more risks – and learning that much comes from “losing”. If you don’t risk your relationships become hollow – you never built the strength to face problems – it isn’t just the big things like rocket launches.
    Would I could nail it with the precision and concision Jonathan demonstrates.

  3. The first Apollo mission did not make it to the Moon, an a horrific manner.
    But I know what he meant. Badgers come from Wisconsin, Jim Kirk will come from Iowa, and if you can’t trust an Upper Midwesterner, even one from Baja Minnesota, well,who can you trust?

  4. SCOTTthe

    Fun fact. The nickname Badgers comes from the early lead mining days in the south west corner of the state. There were two groups of miners. Some modified their diggings into primitive shelters and stayed over the winter. The burrowing behaviour caused them to be dubbed “badgers”. Some just went up and down the river seasonally like bottom feeding fish. These folks were called “suckers”. They were from Illinois. The tradition of carpet bagging and bottom feeding has persisted in the major institutions of our neighboring state…..

  5. }}} From the title of the post I expected him to invade Kamchatka.

    Everyone knows you just take over Australia and build while all the others duke it out and tear each other apart. :-D

  6. }}} The first Apollo mission did not make it to the Moon, an a horrific manner. But I know what he meant.

    The disastrous Apollo 1 event occurred a 13 months before this was aired, and probably was widely known by the general time this was being scripted and certainly by the time the script was being turned in as “done”… in actual fact, this speech may have been inspired by the tragedy, who knows?

  7. there is a regretable I’ve noticed 1967, apollo one, 1986, challenger, 2003 columbia, so about every 17 years, there is a major spaceborne disaster, of course there’s a tradition in science fiction, blowups happen, by heinlein, I forget who wrote cold equations,

    victory favors the bold, one can go back to alexander the great on that score,

  8. now the goal has to be reasonably achievable, with reasonable means, the croatan expedition failed, but jamestown and the mayflower succeeded,

  9. it is said roddenberry pitched star trek as wagon train in space, but it was clearly more like cs forester or patrick o’brien, moving to the current day,

    Elon musk is the closest thing to dd harriman, worts and all,

  10. what I was getting at


    the American counterpart to hornblower was Stephen Decatur, hero of the incursion against French and Barbary forces, later the British, weighing the odds one might not have challenged either of the major naval powers of the era, or the coastal redoubt of North Africa,

  11. There are dimensions to risk.

    Along one axis is what’s at risk. Life, limb, reputation, money, mild inconvenience? All it takes is a look at traffic accidents to find cases where the avoidance of mild inconvenience leads to loss of life.

    Another axis is how much. Your life, others? Others that have accepted the risk or random strangers in the wrong place at the wrong time? The life of those that mean more than your own?

    A lot of the reason that people like me, that found the foofarah around Princess Di insufferably nauseating, held Queen Elizabeth in some regard comes down to a picture of Princess Elizabeth in her brown Army uniform changing a truck tire in the middle of London. Many people are supposed to have tried to persuade the King to vacate London for somewhere out of range of German bombers or at least send his family. He famously refused.

    Another axis is the extent to which the person assuming the risk also shares it and how that affects his decisions. In the military, personal risk gives way to reputational risk as rank increases.

    At what point does the willingness to assume risk become arrogance? How does an outside observer/potential victim tell the difference. To what extent is the decision to assume risk grounded on fact versus emotion? How reliable are those facts?

    We are, I hope, exiting a period where the unquantifiable risk of infection was allowed to dominate and overshadow what should have been large and quantifiable risks from “lock down”. As time progresses, evidence that any of these other risks was seriously considered seems to be absent.

  12. Megan McArdle, who completely lost her mind due to Trump and then covid, wrote in her very good book something like society needs to build a system that encourages risk-taking by making it so that failure doesn’t basically get you killed, i.e., like the bankruptcy system, etc. As pointed out above, the big question is, who is making the choices to assume the risk, and for whom? Every member of a ship’s crew signed up for the job, and part of it is to do what the captain says. Part of the problem of recent times is the overwhelming bureaucratization of everything, so that the “elite” think they’re the captain, and we’re the crew, even as they’ve driven us all onto the reef…

    (As an aside, this clip shows very clearly Shatner’s stage background. He gets mocked now, but was by a highly thought of prospect as a stage actor. On stage you have to exaggerate facial expressions for the audience, for the camera you don’t have to do that, and by now we’re used to the latter, so that someone making the stage to screen transition in “the old days” can seem fairly archaic, even comical to us today.)

  13. I looked up the source clip from ‘return to tomorrow’ done in 1968, closer to the time window of apollo 8, roddenberry or the author though this would be a temporary hold up, we became more risk averse, after challenger and almost insanely so after colombia, ironically it doesn’t stop us from paying the Russian danegeld at Baikonur, we won’t do it on our own dime,

    when aliens offer to take over kirk and guest star diana muldaur, for a far away trip, and this experiment is what kirk likens to the moon and mars missions,

  14. Women tend to be much more risk-averse than men. One might expect the overall level of risk-taking to diminish as women increasingly take decision-making roles that were once monopolized by men.

  15. Even assuming we can quantify that, the major problem is that making society “more risk averse” on a short timescale is of course a massive massive risk…

  16. Huh.

    Anyone watched 1883? All of it? Including the commentary?

    You want risk-taking and hopefulness of reward, that’s risk-taking.

Comments are closed.