Saturday, April 04, 2015

The Star Trek Message

With the recent passing of Leonard Nimoy (aka Spock from Star Trek), we were witness to the outpouring of love and many tributes that recognized his contribution to the science fiction genre.  In his article entitled, “What Star Trek taught me,” Eric Liu speaks to what he describes as “the vision of society that ‘Star Trek’ [and Mr. Spock] embodied.”

When Star Trek hit the TV screen, our society was, as Eric points out, “fractious, polarized, [and] flying apart.” He underlines how in the series, “Scots and Russians, people of Irish and Japanese and African descent, humans and Vulcans, all [thrived] together as a crew without having to downplay their differences—[and] indeed, [activated] those differences.”  He points out how such a vision “must have seemed truly like science fiction to adults” in those times and “it [even] seems similarly fantastic in our own times.”

Eric speaks to how the Star Trek series demonstrated “a way of being…that was about inclusion without assimilation…participation without self-obliteration.”  He adds, “Its diversity was not mere tokenism; its diversity was in fact the raw material of excellence.  And all that diversity was subsumed to a larger cause (that of the Federation) and a more urgent mission (that of the Enterprise).”

Synonyms of the term “Federation” include: alliance, coalition, partnership, amalgamation, combination, and union.  In the TV series, the very existence of the “Federation” required that countries and planets come together to move toward a common goal predicated on inclusion.  Eric refers to it as “this greater good.”  This is in fact what the characters of Star Trek embraced!

Now let’s compare Star Trek’s vision to our current world.  I dare say that there is no comparison!  As Eric suggests, in American life today, people “are divided along so many chasms of race, class, faith, and ideology.”  He adds that “it’s becoming more challenging than ever to sustain a cohesive sense of shared identity.”  It’s clear to see that the blame for this falls on the conglomerates.  They use countless schemes to make us believe that they are “unifying” us, the consumers, and making us better as a people when in fact their rhetoric and brainwashing techniques are merely ploys to get us to buy the poisons and junk that they are pawning off.

Contrary to the first lesson Eric mentions in the article, instead of appropriately working with the existing diversity, our society allows supposed “inclusive institutions,” like schools and government, to leverage their power over us.  Are they by chance trying to turn us into “clones?”  Yes, they’re trying to assimilate us, turn us into lemmings that will follow each other’s tail over a cliff and thus self-obliterate!  Likewise, rather than working toward a greater, unified mission as Eric mentions as the second lesson, we’re being manipulated by our society and the conglomerates to do the opposite: purchase and ingest their garbage in order to express one’s individuality!

In hope of bringing us closer together, Eric offers us a slightly different take on Spock’s famous catch-phrase, "Live long and prosper."  He suggests that the Spock character actually summons a different maxim: "E Pluribus Unum," or “from many, one.”  Now wouldn’t that be something if we could come together in this world instead of ripping our world apart!  Yah, right!

I rest my case.  The Star Trek message is lost!  All there is left to do is…blame it on fast foods!

- B. J. T. Pepin