This quote from Thomas Aquinas is essentially about the nature of risk and action. If a ship’s captain focused solely on preserving the physical integrity of his ship above all else, he would never take it out to sea; it would remain docked in the harbor where it’s safe and secure. But of course, that defeats the purpose of a ship, which is meant to sail, explore, trade, fish, etc.
Similarly, in life, if our highest aim is to avoid all risks, hardship, and potential harm, we might choose to avoid new experiences, challenges, and adventures. But by doing so, we miss out on growth, learning, and the very essence of life itself. This is not to say that we should be reckless, but rather that a certain level of risk is inherent in any worthwhile endeavor. It’s a reminder that sometimes we need to leave the ‘safe harbor’ to truly live and achieve our potential.