“The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few. Or the one.”

From: Star Trek

Genre: Movies

Who said it?: James Kirk and Spock

The story behind the quote: The quote was actually mentioned twice in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. The first time is relatively early in the film. Spock is actually in command of the Enterprise when it receives a distress call from another starship. Kirk, now an admiral decides to take command due to the emergency. Spock then derides his friend, saying that Kirk shouldn’t have taken the promotion since this has taken him from what he actually loves: being the commander of a starship. However, he will still follow Kirk since he is not only his commanding officer, but, more importantly, his friend.

The 2nd time this is mentioned is the more remembered. Spock had to enter the warp core of the ship to repair the engines so that they could escape destruction. Because of this, he has been exposed to a fatal dose of radiation and is dying. Kirk rushes to his aid but is unable to help his friend. Spock asks his friend not to grieve and starts the phrase only to be completed by Kirk.

It is important to note that this is possibly not the true origin of this quote. Greek philosophers have been noted to mention something along these lines. However, most people, especially movie buffs, remember the quote coming from this film due to the emotional weight it carries.

Geek wisdom: Sometimes, self-sacrifice is important in the scheme of things. A lot of heroes know this and this is why we remember them. Its through their sacrifice that we get to live our lives. Think of the soldiers who fight for our freedoms. They are fighting for you so that you don’t have to.

We can still do little things, such as volunteering for tasks that no one likes to do (taking out the trash, for example). Or, if your friends wants to go rock climbing and you don’t want to, go along with them still. We don’t have to give up our lives to follow Spock’s example.

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