Throughout recorded history, men have attempted to make sense of their lives, to give it meaning through external means. These may be physical, philosophical or religious in nature. Many are the tales of adventures in search of stones of magical ability, fountains of youth, golden amulets of fantastic power, the grail supposedly possessing spiritual and life-giving properties, and thousands of other objects that have fired man’s imagination and desire. Even in our own time, men continue to search for these same things. These quests are about mankind’s search for itself, the immortality of the flesh and spirit.
There may be no profound and grand relationship relating the grail, gold, quests, and the characters and themes found in our space exploration program today. Yet I think that a connection exists; a common thread running through each. The knights who quested after the grail, the many adventurers who have searched for treasure and magical things, and the explorer Columbus and his crew sailing across the Dark Sea in search of the West Indies and Japan. All these people have essentially been looking for similar things. For some of these men, these things would simply be on the level of material acquisition, such as wealth or power. For a few, these things would transcend material wealth and ascend to a level where the search becomes, as for some of the knights, a “journey of the soul” and for some of the characters “a quest for identity, dignity, and individual freedom.”
There seems to be a parallel in all these quests throughout history. Those who believed in amulets and sun gods, those who searched for the wondrous grail, those who prospected their entire lives looking for gold, and those who plundered across Central America and the Caribbean were all caught up in this desire to find treasure; a treasure that surely transcended mere material wealth and became a passion of dreams. This quest is what elevates the man or destroys him forever.