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Rusty Schweickart's Apollo 9 Flight Quotations Credo

There is only one way to know what one knows and that is to risk one's convictions in an act, to commit them in a responsibility.

Thornton Wilder


I suppose that this statement of Julius Caesar's caught my eye because it says something about the way I'd like to view myself. I suppose that that's why all of us adhere to whatever religious or philosophic credo we espouse. Somehow, by recognizing and acknowledging the "glimpse" of truth within the idea we absorb into our beings another brick to become a part of the highly individual structure of our ideals. At least I do; or try to. If I really look hard at the things I believe to be good, the ideals I strive for, the truths I hold (dare I say) sacred; I find that they are composed of bits and pieces of wisdom from innumerable and quite disparate, even contradictory sources. Some come from books, from the written record of the reflective thinking of the past. What a tremendous, vast, beautiful source of knowledge! Some come from the thoughts and actions of responsible (and not so responsible) leaders who share with us the present challenge. But most, I suspect, of what I am comes from the people I know or have known personally; those with whom I have broken through the tough shell of protective inconsequentiality to touch and be touched by. These are all part of me, the part that matters. The part that I try to live up to. It's almost as though those responsible for exposing me to the ideal were looking on, weighing the effectiveness of their influence.

Of the truths which I have been impressed by the ones I like best are those stated concisely and with a certain amount of dramatic impact. To be sure there are some complex experiences, some subtle lessons which are best expressed slowly, woven into a fabric against which they contrast and come into focus. But nevertheless I prefer the direct approach. Direct but beautiful. One such statement, which I try to reread at least once a year is in fact partially responsible for this fantastic life I have chosen for myself.

(Written in 1969 shortly after accepting the position of Honorary Chairman of the Harris County (TX) Committee on Drug Abuse)

Rusty Schweickart WSS