How Star Trek Shaped Me As A Man & Can Shape Us As A People


Over the many years I’ve been on Facebook, I’ve gushed so much about how much I love Star Trek, and I know you’re probably sick of it by now. But today is the 50th Anniversary of the first episode, and I just wanted to share a few personal thoughts on why the show means so much to me.

I can’t tell you how much Star Trek has meant to me as a person. I first fell in love with the show watching The Original Series in reruns after school. By the late 1980s, I was addicted to its sequel, The Next Generation. And of course, I breathlessly watched all of the movies as they came out in the theatres. It played such an instrumental part in the formation of my values and morality as a young man watching that show. It meant so much to that young boy, and to the man I’ve become. It speaks to every fibre of my being.

Star Trek captures everything about the human condition, and about all that humanity IS capable of. As dark as it sometimes can get, Star Trek is a show driven by optimism, and the hopes and dreams of one tiny planet, amongst a sea of neighbors we may not even know yet. Admittedly, we’ve got a long ways to go on our own small planet, before we can truly hope to populate space with that kind of hope and goodwill, but it all starts with a dream.

You may say you hate Science-Fiction, but despite all the tecnobabble you may hear, Star Trek was never about gadgets and science. It is about people. People from all genders, races, religions, creeds, orientations, and yes…species…all trying to get along in the Universe, and trying to find peace and common ground. It is an allegory. In the mid-1960s, television shows simply could not talk about racism, classism, sexism, etc. Science Fiction was the perfect cover, and was used as a way to address social issues in a vaguely familiar way, but set in a distant future and in a far off place. It allowed the creator, Gene Roddenberry, to tackle the injustices he saw in the turbulent world around him. And spoiler alert: the same issues which are plaguing our world today. Star Trek has used analogous alien species and fictional conflicts to address real world problems, such as sexism, racism, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the Cold War, bioethics, Artificial Intelligence and sentience, capital punishment, religious intolerance, bigotry, class warfare, and even drug abuse, to name a few. Star Trek is not some action-packed adventure story with ray-guns and bad prosthetics (I mean, yeah, that’s all there)! Star Trek was the most cutting edge and provocative show of its generation, and STILL CAN BE! The job is not done. Star Trek still has a vital role to play in our society.

You see, Star Trek is not about space, but about the space in between. The space between you and me, and how we can close that gap, bridge that gulf that lies between us. It’s about an idea. An idea that humankind has a future in space, and can be ambassadors of peace and tolerance. But first, we must start with ourselves. That’s not Science-Fiction. But it could be Science-FACT. It’s already within us, we just need to have the courage to be able to find it before it’s too late.

My friend Bill Doughty expressed a few thoughts on Star Trek that I’ve shared below. He meaningfully articulates some points that I may have missed. His words, like mine, are love letters. Love letters to a show that has given generations of hopeful dreamers a place to hang their hats, and hold out hope for tomorrow. A chance to boldly go where no one has gone before…

Happy 50th Anniversary to Star Trek!!!  Live Long and Prosper.

From a post by Bill Doughty from Facebook (September 8, 2016):

“I’ve enjoyed reading people’s thoughts on Star Trek today. I’ve always loved Trek for the simple reason that no matter the series or format, it has always been about one thing: look at everything we could accomplish if we could only *get over ourselves.* But at the same time, it expresses that idea a million different ways across any sort of plot, genre, or storytelling medium you can imagine. Honestly, there’s at least one Star Trek story out there to speak to every man, woman, and child on earth, and if you say you’re the exception you’re wrong amd probably just trying to impress someone.

But whether it’s a TV show, movie, book, gamw, comic, or cartoon, and whether it’s tense, moody, silly, creepy, exciting, dark, thoughtful, or, yes, occasionally stupid, that same optimism is always there, hardwired into the DNA. Accept, tolerate, embrace, and explore, and there’s little we won’t be able to accomplish.

And we’ll also get teleporters and food replicators. You know you’d be down with that.”

My Brother’s Keeper: Being The Change You Wish To See in the World


I’ve come to begrudgingly accept that there may fundamentally be two types of people in the world — those who venture boldly into society driven by a curious and open mind, a compassionate heart, a commitment to lifelong learning, a desire to see the world, an urge to meet new and unique people, be exposed to new cultures, and learn from everyone they meet. These are the goodwill ambassadors of peace, justice, and service to those in most need of our care.

Then there are the rest. 

These are the souls who were raised in a way that places little value in education and seeking out facts and verifiable truths in the world. They view society with suspicion, see terror around every corner, and demonize those who are different or challenge their rigid and narrow-minded view of the world. These types are often guided by an inflexible and intolerant belief system and strict ideology. They operate from a place of fear, distrust, willful ignorance, selfishness, racism, bigotry, xenophobia, provincialism, anti-intellectualism, fervent nationalism, aggressive patriotism, an ‘I got mine — don’t expect a thing from me’ attitude, irrational and misguided fears of foreign cultures, a lack of empathy, outright hostility towards science and academia, and a hypocritical condemnation of the values and dissolute lives of those they disapprove of.

Naturally, the world is wide and diverse, and people fall at all different points on this spectrum. And yet, I am convinced humans are raised and/or genetically predisposed to generally fall into one category or another.

John Lennon once sang:

‘You may say I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope someday you’ll join us
And the world will live as one.’

I’d rather be naive and idealistic, with the possibility of forging friendships and building lasting peace, then approach the world with fear, aggression, and rabid mistrust. What those in the second category don’t realize is that the very fear and malicious attitude they direct at Muslims and those who are different is the very behavior which breeds enmity and gives rise to radical Islamic terrorism in the first place. People aren’t born terrorists. They learn it. They are driven towards it. And more often than not, we taught it to them. The quickest way to make a terrorist is attack his nation unprovoked, seize his oil and government, and occupy his land for years — taking away his autonomy and ability to self-govern. ISIS didn’t exist until we invaded Iraq. The only weapons of mass destruction there was us. If you want to see more radicalized Muslim attacks in this country, then by all means, threaten the welfare and livelihood of Muslims, and make them feel unwelcome in their own country. It’s remarkable what a little dignity and respect will earn you. And frightening what a little oppression can provoke.

“And in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make.”