-( With free Showtime, I get to see some things I might not have. This post describes one of them.)-
Does Gene Roddenberry’s Star Trek series qualify him as a Founding Father of The Future?
After seeing a documentary (Trekkies 2 on Showtime) of Star Trek fans around the world, a powerful narrative seemed to be present that may alter the trajectory for humankind’s destiny. Gene Roddenberry may well have left a mark so bright and relevant to all, as to endure into humanities future. Our survival, and possible more long term existence as a space faring civilization, may come to pass in some part thanks to this science fiction creators vision of humankind’s future. I was already aware of many scientist in Astronomy and Astrophysics, who credit Star Trek with inspiring their own imaginations to put their lives where their vision was, but Star Trek apparently cast its futurist promise over many in other ways.
|The 2006 Star Trek 40th Anniversary franchise logo, featuring Captain Kirk (William Shatner) (left) and Mr. Spock (Leonard Nimoy)|
|Original work||Star Trek (1966)|
When the first Star Trek came out, I was a kid thinking it was just too much to bother with. My life at that time did not allow uninterrupted nor peaceful TV viewing. I caught up with it with its reruns in the 70’s. By the 80’s, when watching Star Trek with friends, they would look at me astonished as I would recite the next character lines ahead of time. It seemed that for some reason, after seeing them twice, I knew the words years down the road. Now that was some writing and character performing to make that stick.
I always looked forward to new Star Trek series developments, but never considered myself the kind of “Trekkie” to go to one of those conventions. The TV news would show the seemingly sad characters who tried to liven up their earthly lives by pretending to be an alien. Seemed odd to me, but honestly, most of us have some curiously odd interest if we’d admit it. We just might not have such a public platform to act out the acting out in.
TREKKIES 2 – Star Trek Fan Documentary, the feature-length documentary about Star Trek fans. The filmmakers (Director/Editor Roger Nygard, …
This documentary; Trekkies 2, did not quickly dispel my bias as to the fans state’s of mind, still a lot of pretending to be someone else, a kind of hobby. This someone else, however, appears to embody qualities that that Trekkies value as human virtue, so how bad is that? I then learned of the volunteer work many Trekkies do to actually improve the lives of their fellow aliens, earthlings, and that is not bad at all.
It was the comments of one guy from the recent war torn Balkans, that presented the transcendent or universal narrative that Roddenberry put into this Star Trek phenomenon: It does not matter who or what you are or where you are from; the future has a place for you at the table. Actions in deep space portrayed ethnic and racial, even alien life, as life that sits with us at the table when this transcended “knowing” of self legitimacy is acknowledged and extended toward others as in The Golden Rule. In time, the series franchises included women as society in general recognized female abilities beyond what was once thought appropriate.
In the Balkans; where religion and politics played to tribalism reaction and alienation, some could see the hopelessness of retreating only to “your group”. What happened to the pluralistic life? the diversity? the cosmopolitan excitement and cross fertilization? It was shuttered up and spray-painted over by fear. But then there was this vision on video tapes passed around, where everybody was shown to have a place in the future. Now that was something to get excited about, for then, no-one is the loser. No one is erased and discarded by appearance or other status background bias.
Gene Roddenberry’s future is a meritocracy of sorts, but not one judged by appearance with its storehouse of ignorance and insecurity. The future was to be open to you, is open in Star Trek, be who you can be, we are all on your side. A kind of egalitarianism of the Golden Rule and of Democracy stands behind its imagery, even though most Star Trek series are based on hierarchical military platforms. When it comes down to the characters off duty lives, their operational psychology, they are encouraged to question authority and speak their minds without top down evaluation of relevance or “your place”. It is worthwhile to note that many of the worlds most beloved leaders, including military, were known to view themselves as servants of those following.
Roddenberry’s vision was not one of homogenization; where we all think and act alike, as is seemingly implied to some by concepts of egalitarianism, or intrinsic fairness of right to human consciousness. The imagery and iconography portrayed this value of self history and background; where respect is granted even when ways are not understood. People still had their old customs, still honored their hereditary story and faith, finding them as anchors of self realization in a speeding future.
The USA’s Founding Fathers had elements of this independence of spirit. Roddenberry, however, takes this up to another level. There may have always been Founding Mothers who put Truth and love of Life above their own self interest. Or did they know that was their self interest as well? Mr Roddenberry took the time to create a vision of a whole universe for the future, where that mission is a revelation to those able to see beyond the wounds of the present moment. A new now beckoning toward a Higher Light.
The future is founded now.
Perhaps it is that Spirit, that is the Final Frontier.
More on Roddenberry——-
Eugene Wesley “Gene” Roddenberry (August 19, 1921 – October 24, 1991) was an American screenwriter and producer. He is best known as the creator of Star …