How Star Trek Has Inspired Us, and How Much More We Have to Learn
I admit it, I am a Trekkie...
I saw my first Star Trek episode in the late 1960's, after it had gone off the air and into syndication. I have now been a Trekkie for over 50 years, half a century. I am proud of it, and will flash you Spock's hand gesture (with either hand I might add!) anytime I think it is appropriate.
Today, I feel it is especially appropriate. "Live long and prosper".
How simple, and how profound. Saying to another to enjoy long life and good luck; enjoy family and prosperity; good fortune to you.
Now, how many of us wish that for ourselves? And, alternately, how many of us wish that for others? ALL others?
I do. Do you?
So, what Star Trek film am I viewing this evening?
Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home. I love the interplay between the cast members in this one, a bit more humor than a normal Star Trek episode or film, a bit more humanity. I'll go into what I see when I watch this one later, but first I want to specifically speak on what the series has given humanity, and then what we still have to learn from it.
So, what have we learned from it? In particular, in this film, we learn that to destroy another species (whales) leads us to open the door for catastrophe. Regarding this, Spock says, most eloquently I might add, that "To hunt a species to extinction is not logical". It might be that the extinction of the whales is a catastrophe here, most certainly to some extent when speaking of the health of the world, of our home planet. When we cause the extinction of a species such as the whales, we are killing our world. Kind of like the saying "cut your nose off to spite your face" is saying to us. Causing harm for harm's sake is both destructive to the host and stupid.
But we have another catastrophe looming, one sitting on our porch steps for decades, even centuries. One we have the power to eradicate yet, for our own stupid reasons, we ignore it, allow it to not only live but in some cases actually prosper. Can you guess what I am speaking of? Keep reading, you will.
Beyond this film, what have we learned from Star Trek, or in other words, what has it given us? Cell phones, tablets, talking computers, and even artificial intelligence. But it also gave us universal translators, holograms and virtual reality. And the really far out inventions like food replicators, communicator badges, medical hydrosprays, and believe to or not, a phaser. Known as a dazzler, it is a weapon which sends a beam of radiation and can stop someone in their tracks.
Seriously. So Star Trek has inspired us on a myriad of scientific ways, ways which are making our lives easier, better, safer. But it also gave us inspiration for other avenues of our lives.
What else did Star Trek give to us?
In the opening scenes of Star Trek IV, you see a catastrophe about to happen. On the bridge of a star ship stands a captain: a black woman. A person of color, a female person, in the position of command of a star ship. And back on Earth, in the control room of Starfleet is a black man as an Admiral.
Blacks, African Americans, in positions of power, of influence, of command, of importance. No racial bias, no hatred, fear, negative expectations. Simply another human being doing the job they are most suited to without any objections from anybody.
Look at the crew of Star Trek: The Original Series (T.O.S.). Spock (Leonard Nimoy), a Vulcan, or alien who happens to be of mixed race: half Vulcan, half Human; Uhura (Nichelle Nichols), a black woman; Sulu (George Takai) an Asian; Chekov (Walter Koenig), a Russian. Each from a completely different background as a character yet integral to the team, accepted completely between others regardless of their ethnicity. Equals.
Toss in Scotty (James Doohan) and Bones (DeForest Kelley) combined under the command of Kirk (William Shatner) and you have a team of such diversity that is accepted by people around the world, beloved, emulated, imitated to the extreme.
Spock was the resulting child of an interracial marriage between a Vulcan and a Human. He saw some of the ugliness that others can show to a mixed race child as described in the reboot of the Star Trek films, Star Trek. Star Trek also gave us the very first interracial kiss, one between Kirk and Uhura. This had to be shocking in the extreme in the mid 1960's, to see a black woman and a white man kissing on television. Think about those two examples for a moment, will you? More than half a century ago, we saw this take place on television; yet today, there are people who would tell others not to do this, that this is an outrage. Fifty years, and we still cannot accept this as normal, even desirable? Why not? We can have a tablet, a talking computer, but we cannot allow two people who love one another be of different races? How shallow are we?
They gave us a goal...
A goal, a direction, something we should strive to achieve as soon as possible. We do not need to wait until the 23rd century to be what they are, we need to do it now, in the 21st century. We should have done it more than 20 years ago, in the 20th century but we still hadn't lost our blindness of one another; blindness of the capabilities, of the equality each of us have. No one is superior to anyone else, everyone is equal and able to contribute to society.
Everyone is born with the same opportunity to excel in some manner if they are allowed to do so. To look down on someone, to hold back, to insult or hate someone because of the color of their skin? As Spock would say...
As I watched this film again, with new eyes, I saw countless opportunities for mankind to improve, to offer hope to those who need it desperately. To be what we should be without restrictions, without bias, without hate. To improve ourselves as a species to the point where we leave hunger, illness, hatred behind and share our world as we should: equally.
Is it really that difficult to remove the cancer that is racial hatred? Haven't we progressed far enough to understand that the color of someone's skin isn't who they are, what they can do? That they are no different than we are?
God, I hope so. I pray so. Join me in praying, in doing whatever we can do to eliminate this illogical bias towards someone because they are different from us.
The sooner the better.
Live long and prosper, my friends.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2020 Mr Archer