Why I just love Star Trek
Confusion is like a pot of disorganized, incoherent thoughts and ideas. It is like a pile of “memes” which have not been connected into a coherent understandable whole. It relates to chaos more than any kind of order and it isn’t pleasant to be in that state for too long.
Luckily there are things that inspire. Inspiration is really the key to a lot of things in life. It has the power to motivate, to spark enthusiasm and consequently create mental energy needed to “unfuzz” the fuzzy to organize the disorganized, to connect the dots – to explore, learn and practice wisdom. Exploring is an act of seeking out the unknown in order to observe it and its surroundings. The next step is its consequence – the learning – an act of acquiring facts (or perceived facts) – an act of making the unknown known. What is left is to “practice wisdom”, the ability to connect the learned facts into a whole which provides deeper understanding of the object in question (physical or non-physical) and the context within which it exists.
On my old blog I sometimes talked about the thing that I believe was one of the greatest sources of inspiration and enthusiasm for me. In fact I count it among things that influenced my life and myself as a person. Because of it, among other things, I am who I am today.
This “thing” is a story and a fictional universe. It is an idea and an ideology. It is a vision and it is a culture. It is a phenomenon called Star Trek.
Trek has made me look beyond. Period. Beyond “what” exactly doesn’t matter as much as the fact that it is “beyond”. The object being super-seeded will always change, but what shouldn’t change is being open towards the beyond.
Some of these “beyonds” include thinking beyond the context of:
- racial, national, cultural, sexual and other differences between sentient beings.
- our Earth and an immediate space we know.
- the universe as we know it, including the laws that we know about it.
- reality as we perceive it.
- our nature as we currently understand it.
- anything that we believe in, anything that we sense, anything that we know and anything that we think we know.
Thinking beyond is a fundamental idea which we also often call “being open minded”. It entails the ability to accept change, most importantly the change in our understanding of the reality around us.
Without being exposed to Star Trek as much as I have I doubt that I would hold on to this value as much as I am today. And I think this had a profound effect on my life.
Trek has emphasized my optimism. I think everybody has a dose of optimism in themselves and so did I. I am not sure if I am genetically or in some other way predisposed to be more optimist or pesimist and I am not entirely sure that I was prior to having significant contact with Trek largely an optimist or a pesimist. But it doesn’t matter. What matters is that, just as it made it easier and desirable for me to look beyond everything it has emphasized the value of optimism.
It has basically encouraged me to embrace a vision of a better future and a better world rather than a vision of a cool, but cold and dark “cyberpunk” world where the fittest survive in a constant violent war, as some other modern action packed scifi stories present it. While I enjoy even such dramas and find certain values in them as well, I prefer an optimistic vision of the future any day. We have enough of the dark drama in the real world as it is.
Trek has encouraged my idealism. Gene Roddenberry deliberately envisioned a show which will promote certain moral standards and ideals. This is why he set off to do what no TV show did before, like feature an african-american woman on the show in a time when both racism and sexism were still raging. This is why most stories depicted in Star Trek deal with moral issues and dilemmas and why starship captain’s usually are idealists. In fact, the very future depicted is idealist, with many wrongs we know in the world today having been set right.
This significantly encouraged me to appreciate certain ideals as something worth standing for and pursuing. It has, indeed, a lot to do with my involvement with Free Software and Free Culture.
Trek has fueled my interest and passion for technology. It is almost a perpetual past time of mine to look at the world I am surrounded with and compare it to the world presented in Star Trek making me fascinated when I see things in the present day world be like in Star Trek. Just the same I am looking forward to the future in which all of the things presented in Star Trek will be real and this anticipation fuels my interest in technological advancements. And that’s where most of my fascination with technology really comes from.
Coupled with the open mindedness (tendency to think beyond), optimism (envisioning a positive future) and idealism (standing up for something) technology largely becomes the means used to manifest the above values – used in a positive way for positive purposes. The reason why some may perceive Star Trek promoting technology as inherently good may be because in the above described bigger context of values promoted by Star Trek, it really is, in its world, used largely for positive things.
However even in Star Trek, later series, it has been portrayed what could we face if we do not use technology in a positive way promoted by Star Trek. The Borg may be the best example. They are an example of technology abuse.
So it is not that Star Trek promotes technology as inherently good. It does not. Technology is just a neutral tool. It promotes the idea that technology can be used to create a better world IF we learn to be more open minded (think beyond), be more positive thinking (envision the better future) and care for certain moral and ethical standards. Otherwise, we are in a world of trouble.
And that’s really what sums it up for me. Those are the ingredients that have “infected” my personality. I love technology assuming that it can be used for good and I love the fact that someone in the 60s had the guts to tell the world a message that even today the world deserves to hear: better world is possible, we just have to care and then evolve upon, which includes building the means to build that better world, advancing technology.
And why have I, after that last post portraying a bad and confusing state I am sometimes in, writing this blog entry? Well, I just felt the need to express this. When feeling disoriented and disordered it is good to look for something to grasp on to, and something that inspires me so significantly seems like a good choice.
Writing to this blog is my way of getting something off my chest. All of the entries so far were exactly the result of that, including this post. I am occasionally watching the episodes of Star Trek lately seeking for nothing but inspiration and a source of enthusiasm that I’ve felt evading me with regards to the work I do on the web (Libervis Network). And as I watch it I just feel this urge to, yet again, express why exactly do I love and appreciate it so much.
Mind you, I don’t really know nor care if I should be called a trekkie or a trekker because of that. I don’t particularly care for branding myself as anything. I am just a guy whose life has been affected and whose personality has been inspired by a Star Trek vision and the universe which it created.
Thank you for bearing with me.
Mr. Libervisco Out.