It has been said that the Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy outsold the venerable Encyclopedia Galactica because of two important things: First, it was slightly cheaper, but second, it had the words “Don’t Panic” inscribed in big, friendly letters on the cover.  Wise words indeed, and a mantra that makes perfect sense for explorers, scientists and indeed, anyone likely to deal with the unknown on a regular basis.  It is actually one of three important mantras I have adopted from pop culture (the others being Peter Tork’s immortal utterance, “Nobody ever lends money to a man with a sense of humor”, and Gokaiger’s “Hade ni ikuze!”), leading us to today’s philosophical query…

The MS-QOTD (pronounced, as always, “misquoted”) thinks that “Be excellent to each other” has to rank high on the list, asking: What wise words of fiction are the deepest thoughts of all?


About Author

Once upon a time, there was a young nerd from the Midwest, who loved Matter-Eater Lad and the McKenzie Brothers... If pop culture were a maze, Matthew would be the Minotaur at its center. Were it a mall, he'd be the Food Court. Were it a parking lot, he’d be the distant Cart Corral where the weird kids gather to smoke, but that’s not important right now... Matthew enjoys body surfing (so long as the bodies are fresh), writing in the third person, and dark-eyed women. Amongst his weaponry are such diverse elements as: Fear! Surprise! Ruthless efficiency! An almost fanatical devotion to pop culture! And a nice red uniform.


  1. I’m going to dip into the Babylon 5 well again here. There are lots of profound and wise lines of dialogue from all throughout pop culture, but there’s only one lesson I ever got from fiction that actually changed the way I look at almost every situation and informs the way I play devil’s advocate.

    There is a quote from Captain Sheridan in the series (though he is actually quoting a Vorlon proverb, so it’s hard to attribute the quote to him). “Understanding is a three-edged sword. Your side, their side, and the truth.”

    What I took from that, and what is always in the back of my mind when talking about any contentious subject, is that the truth is always somewhere in the middle. It’s not about one side or the other being “right”, which is something we humans get caught up in all to often. It’s about getting to the heart of the matter, looking through the bias on both sides – including your own.

    You cannot truly understand an argument from only the two sides. You have to find the middle ground to truly grasp the situation.

  2. Darth Bashir on

    There was a line at the end of one of Angel’s seasons where he comes to the conclusion that “If nothing we do matters, the only thing that matters is what we do.” That one always stuck with me

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