The world has always had a frontier, an edge beyond which nothing was known.

Most famous of these frontiers was the dark and endless waters beyond the Azores during the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. Most people believed that the world was flat and that the water went on forever, until the sailing ship would suddenly fall off the face of the earth. A series of explorers that included Christopher Columbus, Magellan, and Vespucci conquered that fear (1) and found the frontier: the new world. And then that world became known and it became the land beyond the Appalachian Mountains, the land of the endless forests and native tribes. Davy Crockett was a hero of that frontier, a man who boldly explored it, and in some eyes conquered it. The frontier kept moving west until all the land was explored. Eyes turned north and south, to the poles and then to the deep depths of the ocean.

In the last century the eye turned to space and what lay beyond the dark nothingness, to the stars that twinkled so many miles away that the source of that light might already have disappeared. Then we explored the unseen frontier, the aspects of our makeup and the smallest building blocks of creation, and later we vaulted into a fantastic frontier of electronic technology, building vast webs of ideas and images, sights and sounds that lie in some computer and millions of cables, but exist in the pantheon of our minds. (2) We have always had a frontier and we always will.

Where is the key question and its answer is simple: the unknown.

Man has always been captivated by the unknown. Something within us drives to know what is out there, what is inside us, what lies beyond our understanding. This desire can be likened to a baby that crawls on its hands and knees all around the room, to the edge of the stairs and then up them, to the doors and to every corner of the room. It can be likened to a baby that puts everything in its mouth. Only by doing so, can the baby grow and learn and understand its existence and how to survive. And the baby does so naturally, and sometimes against the wishes of the parents, who know that a shoe shouldn’t be put in the mouth, or a fly swatter, or the moldy carrot under the stove.

It’s man’s natural instinct to explore, to be an adventurer. It was coded into us when we were created, by the hand of providence himself. We were meant to be explorers. And if we were meant to be explorers then we need a frontier.

The frontier is where noble aspirations and dreams begin, where man challenges himself and the human race to expand knowledge. It is where man satisfies his hunger for adventure and finds what he is made of. (3)

Three things to understand.

(1) In order to explore a frontier a man must conquer his fear. Christopher Columbus heard everyone telling him that he would fall off the face of the world, and yet he sailed on, even past the point when his own crew began to doubt him. Muhammed Ali was knocked down over a thousand times, yet he kept getting back up and that is how he became the greatest boxer of all time, when he pushed past his fear and doubt and pain, and stood up once more.

(2) There is always a frontier to be found, as history displays, even after all of them seem to have been found. How many times did man think they had found the last frontier, only to look in a new direction. Finding and identifying the next may take time, but it is there. And every man may have a different frontier, a personal struggle and search for knowledge and truth.

(3) In any frontier there is the potential for growth. Davy Crockett was a boy before he became one of the most widely known trackers, hunters, and explorers of the American Frontier. He grew up, he grew stronger, he grew wiser by joining the adventure.

A wise man once said, “To conquer such heights, I must first be able to see them. And then I must be awed and want to conquer them.”

© Seth Crossman