Inspirations from Star Trek
Some Practical Reasons I Love Star Trek, The TV Series
To Boldly go where no man has gone before”. A mission statement of Exploration and Discovery from the classic Star Trek franchise that we are all so familiar with. My fascination with it goes beyond fan enthusiasm. Through its highly diversified timelines & alternate realities (#MemoryAlpha), it is a rich source of creative imagination, technological advancement, philosophy, social and cultural evolution that highlighted a near Utopian civilization. It could be anyone’s source of inspiration beyond recreational entertainment, for creator Gene Roddenberry had intended to use futuristic situations as analogies for current problems on Earth and their rectification through humanism and optimism. There may be many aspects to investigate in the universe of Star Trek, here I’ve written a few that are particularly outstanding and encouraging to me.
Future Tech. When comes to cool gadgets and fancy tools, there is no shortage of them in Star Trek. From the wearable communicator insignia that every star fleet personnel wore to the various forms of teleportation devices employed by humans and other aliens, all riding on the glory of space-warping intergalactic spacecraft that enabled the voyages to distant galaxies. They were all born from the creative minds of those who dare to imagine and foresee the adventure of the human race. The very same type of minds that ignited and drove the current evolution of technological advancement we have today, from cell phones that connected us to fax machines (a form of digital matter teleportation) to the space shuttles that unleash us from the gravitational pull of this planet. So much more is in the works, and it is exhilarating to think about how new technology such as the transporter or the medical tricorder will one day shape our society. Because imagining the future inevitably demands the conception of solutions that albeit imaginative but satisfy human needs and deficiencies (e.g. faster-than-light travel). Such thought exercise is a strong reflection of our curiosity and capability, potent in encouraging the current generation and the next to pursue these hypotheticals (e.g. #Ion Engines). As a great source of technological inspiration, many concepts introduced in Star Trek Original and later series (#The First of Its Kind) would be realized by those who dare to make it true (#Influence). Envisioning the future helps us create that very future we would like to see (#The Idea Factory).
A Space Faring Race. From history, humans have demonstrated the propensity to search for new frontiers as if propelled by an unspoken will to explore the unknown, and I argue beyond the basic instinct of survival. From mountains to landmasses, from continents to oceans, we are still constantly exploring and discovering, all while confined by the spatial limits of our planet earth. Space is the final frontier (as we know of), its vastness of mystery and richness is what will take us as a race to the ultimate journey in search of new possibilities, answers to profound questions, and continuing enlightenment. Star Trek paints a futuristic sandbox for when the mastery of long-distance travel has become a reality; the invention of the fictional warp engine (an idea conceived by Albert Einstein) allows the traversal of vast distance in space at a reasonable time frame, allowing the discovery of strange new things and even alien life. It is a great source of motivation for us (#NASA & Star Trek) to never stop seeking and advancing, it reminds us that there is still so much out there, things that we yet start to dream of. And we must be aware that the resources on our planet earth are limited and our number is exponentially increasing, so until we figure out a way to rid our dependency and have 100% sustainable power, we need to colonize beyond the planet, to other worlds just as our forefather did in establishing homes in new continents on earth. Thanks to both governmental agencies like NASA and private enterprises like SpaceX & Blue Origin in their unflinching pursuit of outer space exploration. I am hopeful and confident that this shall soon become a reality, much as it did for the reality seen in Star Trek Enterprise.
Human Value & Unity. An outstanding aspect of the fictional universe of Star Trek is the universal peace and unity among all races on earth. No longer hampered by physical, material, ideological, and spiritual differences, humans finally see past the meager pursuit of monetary values, material comforts, and military superiority. Instead of the impending doom (#Doomsday Clock), what these fictional humans have surpassed are the elements that were once the worst traits of humanity: arrogance, violence, greed, lust, self-righteousness, etc. A revelation that illustrates that human quality isn’t a product of genetic inheritance, but rather the result of proper upbringing, a well-guided process by which we are taught and disciplined to live for a higher purpose other than the instinctual needs to survive. And we ought to climb above the ladders of basal needs to strive for the betterment of ourselves and others. This is a level of transcendence at the top of the Human Value Table below, and we humans must be able to obtain such value, to become an intellectually enlightened race. Imagine a world without any boundaries or inequalities, where we all strive together in peace as one race to pursue grand mutual goals such as the advancement of science and technology, augmentation of physical and mental capacity, preservation of the planet, and the discovery and exploration beyond our home and ourselves. Or I’d like to think, one day when we become the subject under some highly advanced alien’s microscope, what would they see us as? A race of split and chaotic species fighting for the last of the remaining non-renewable resources or as a promising candidate on its way to becoming an advanced civilization or joining the fictional United Federation of Planets? I hope it is the latter :)
Logical Intelligence. Those who have heard of Star Trek are probably aware of the fictional race known as Vulcan who dedicated their entire lives in the pursuit of logic and reason with as little interference from emotion as possible. It is not a real practice of course in our reality, but I couldn’t help but point out notable values and inspirations from such belief. By drawing some parallels, we see that Vulcan were once a less enlightened species, prone to warfare and violence, plagued by negative emotions and rage. And only by adapting a strict practice of complete emotional rejection, can they achieve order among chaos. Unlike the Vulcan, I believe there is value and advantage to both logic and emotion, and together in synchronization, they provide more constructive outcomes than each on its own. Because as humans, we possess the dual ability to think critically with reason and deduction, and also to act upon emotion siphoning from instinct and experience. Oftentimes, these two elements do not necessarily work synchronously to provide the best decisional or analytical outcome. Though both can be tamed through proper training and discipline, I am inclined to place a stronger emphasis on mastering the art of reason and critical thinking, then supplemented by behavioral and emotional discipline to support a well-rounded developmental approach. I think of emotion as a quick-tempered volcano, which erupts at the first sign of challenge if not properly controlled. With this unpredictable instability, logic and reason becomes blurred and incapacitated to guide actions to the most ideal outcome, instead of following the instinctual tendency to rage and violence. In one aspect, I profoundly value Vulcan’s early childhood education system which is a rigorous form of information feed and deductive training (#Vulcan Learning Domes), they are well disciplined to follow a regimen of learning without distractions, facts before speculations, and strategize before action. It is not to say they are being deprived of free-thinking and creativity, but I argue that without solid roots in fundamental scientific principles of core subjects such as mathematics, chemistry, linguistics and etc., the product of such thoughts and creativity is moot, unfounded, and unrealistic. Relational development as seem in parental care-giving, domestic social interactions and etc. ideally should support the discipline of logic training, provided the giver of such training do so with love, tenderness, acceptance, appreciation, encouragement, and guidance, instilling values that make us human, of peace and compassion.