Star Trek Should Be Mandatory For Children (Part 2)
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Bugi had told me about the utopian future reality that Star Trek was famous for but I never really thought that it would be such a strong theme of the series. For those of you still living in ignorance (probably two of you so I will spend 2 sentences on this) the Star Trek series takes place sometime far into the future where the human race has evolved so much not only in technological terms but also in terms of morality. All the things that we care about today are casually referred to as "outdated rituals when humans cared too much about this or that". The New Enterprise series follows the crew of the enterprise headed by Jean Luc Picard in their explorations of space.
So, without further ado 5 reasons why I wish I watched Star Trek as a child, why this series will be mandatory viewing for our kids and why Star Trek Should be mandatory for all children:
1. Curiosity is important:
The Enterprise is the best ship in the fleet of the federation and it is dedicated to exploration. May I just point out how weird this set up actually is? Basically these guys built an enormous beautiful ship, filled it with the best of the best in terms of technology and they just use it for exploration! Sure, the Enterprise has great weapons and shields but these are only used for defensive purposes. Never to invade, never to interfere. This lust for conquering other nations/planets is referred to as a long gone silly passion that humans used to have but thankfully it has disappeared. People are better in the future. They don't need more of everything. And that is why the best ship does not fight wars but instead goes from one corner of the universe to the other out of curiosity. The aim is to discover new things, to understand better, to learn. Curiosity and a passion for exploration are the highest virtues in the future.
2. Diversity is no big deal:
The crew of the Enterprise is mostly human but it still has a few members that are aliens. They are different and accepted. Everyone is aware of their different heritage and respects their traditions. The crew also meets different aliens along their travels and though each new people is observed with curiosity, there is also respect for the different. Still, when they meet a society that is say blatantly sexist (with either the men or the women in a weaker position) the crew recognizes that this particular tradition is similar to the ancient human sexist thinking which has long been abandoned. They do not interfere, they do not preach. They try to learn as much as possible about the society/planet and then let it be. The theme of how different each one of us is irrespective of whether we are alien or human is reenforced in each episode. It is cool to be different, to see things differently, to take insults at things that might seem silly to me and to worship a God that I do not believe exists. This diversity is the very fabric of the universe and is therefore to be awarded the utmost respect.
3. Say NO to Drama:
The humans aboard the Enterprise do not exhibit a lot of strong emotions. There is no drama, no sex, no huge love stories, no greed or jealousy. And so sometimes these characters might appear a bit boring, stagnant, too controlled. After all to feel is to be human, isn't it? And to make mistakes driven by our human passions is the prerogative of humans, isn't it? Well, in Star Trek this is not what makes humans humans. The big question of humanity is explored at length through Data's struggle to understand and be more human (himself being an android). Instead of constantly being preached about love and pitied for the fact that he will never be able to experience this most human of human emotions, in the future humanity is more about having a sense of humour, truly understanding what funny is. I love this subtle way of making a huge point. No, being so passionate about something that you become irrational is not a defining human characteristic anymore. Instead, it is considered a flaw, one that humanity outgrew a long, long time ago.
4. Being Competitive With Others Is Not A Virtue
There is no competitiveness - you do not have to beat others to win. Everyone on the Enterprise is satisfied with exactly what their job is and they don't all want to be the captain. There is one captain and he does his job well. If for some reason he cannot perform anymore he can be replaced but there is no constant plotting against him. Nobody is lusting after his job and the respect that he gets for his position. Can you imagine this ever happening in today's world? We are all so competitive with each other all the time. It is so tiring and so pointless and yet I am guilty of this perhaps more often than the average person. The truth is of course that we are all in competition with ourselves - to be better, to learn more, to do more with each day that passes. To be the very best people we can be. There are no comparisons to the others. It is just me and whether the others are more powerful, more respected, more this and more that is simply irrelevant.
5. Learn About Art and Philosophy
Jean Luc Picard (aka my new found hero) is an idealistic character - he is smart, wise, patient, always knows what to do, responsible, compassionate, and the list goes on and on. He is pretty much a celebrity in this future world because he is the captain of the star ship in the fleet. Despite the fact that he appears to be French (otherwise the name would be a bit misleading) he seems to be what I would call the perfect kind of snobbish European (and very British as well which I can't quite reconcile yet but I guess the writers couldn't really distinguish between British and French posh habits:) For example - he drinks Earl Grey tea with sandwiches. Money is somehow extinct in the future but Earl Grey and the tea ritual has clearly transcended time! He rides horses and enjoys fencing. And best of all he considers the study of art and philosophy one of the most important educations a man can have. I really really love that about Mr Picard. In a future where TV does not exist (apparently it was a hobby that lost its appeal to the masses in 2040) the man spends all of his free time reading about the softer arts. Well, I would like my children to grow up admiring someone like that (their mother included obviously....so I will have to kick that People magazine habit when we decide to have children:)
To be continued....