“With great power comes great responsibility.”
“Wax on…wax off.”
“Fear leads to anger; anger leads to hate; hate leads to suffering.”
“The cake is a lie.”
“Now we know. And knowing is half the battle.”
“There is no spoon.”
“I have been, and always shall be, your friend.”
Geeks do not need me to tell them where these quotes come from. In fact, for many, these phrases have probably become a part of their own vernacular. They’ve been used for years as quick responses to others who are “in the know.” And this short list only begins to scratch the surface of those often quoted lines.
In Geek Wisdom: The Sacred Teachings of Nerd Culture Stephen H. Segal edited a collection of some 200 of these oft-cited lines from movies, television, books, science games and comic books and then elucidated the teachings of each one! Segal says that this book was inspired by a conversation when he told someone that his religion when he was growing up was science fiction. He meant it as a joke, but after reflecting upon what a “religion” could be defined as, he thought he was right, after all. In the Introduction to Geek Wisdom he wrote that religion is,”a framework of ideas — a body of thought shared by a community, written and handed down through literature — that’s intended to guide us toward maturity by helping us ask and answer the big, cosmic questions about existence.” And since his geek culture seem to present many of these similar characteristics, he created “the first compendium of sacred teachings from the wide-ranging ‘holy scriptures’ of geekdom.” In this book of over 200 pages there are teachings on self, relationships, humankind, conflict, the universe and the future all through the interpretation of the words we’ve grown up on. From the Quirk Books website, we are told
These beloved pearls of modern-day culture have been painstakingly interpreted by a diverse team of hardcore nerds with their imaginations turned up to 11. Yes, this collection of mini-essays is by, for, and about geeks — but it’s just so surprisingly profound, the rest of us would have to be dorks not to read it. So say we all.
I couldn’t agree more. I have had this book for some time, and I have been reading the essays bit by bit. I’ve been waiting to write the review until I am finished with the entire book, however, this is not a book to be rushed. This book is perfect for a coffee table, night stand or whatever place in your home you will see it, share it and constantly refer to it. It is fun and it is profound. For me, it exemplifies all that I love about our nerd culture – its depth. There’s so much more than spinning around space, funky looking alien and magic spells; there are life lessons and big questions.
Some complaints I have seen about this book have been about some of the “not-geek-enough” selections for some of the quotes, which I do believe there is a valid argument for, but they are so few and far between, that I believe the collection is worth it in the end. If you don’t have this book already, I highly recommend that you add it to your nerd collection. Also, as a hardcover, it does make a nice gift for the geek in your life!