Wednesday, November 30, 2005

But the future depends on other qualities besides gullibility, short attention spans, jaded brains and senses, and psychological enslavement to what’s popular at the current moment---all of which are essential to the triumph of the will of advertising.

The future will only exist for individuals and for society if people are curious and adventurous in their minds and hearts, and if they esteem learning, knowledge, openness to the best new and old ideas and expressions, and above all to making up their own minds based on quality and quantity of information.

People who deride Star Trek fans as losers (because they are different) and conformists (because they are all the same) and especially as shallow people who pour way too much interest and faith in a relatively silly television show, just don’t get it. Star Trek fans often exercise more intellectual curiosity and openness, as well as sincere need to understand the larger contexts of their lives, and a heartfelt desire to live a good life, than many of their jaded critics do.

As someone from the lower middle class who was lucky to be born in a time and place where I could go to a college and study literature and philosophy and theatre, while being part of a new culture of movies and popular music and writing, I don’t dismiss any avenue of exploration that leads to great insights, expanded consciousness and the oceanic and subtle complexities of feeling inspired by great art, high and low.

What does it matter really if a Harvard professor or Star Trek II leads you to Moby Dick, as long as you get there? And why would anyone object to the shared memory of Moby Dick informing a psychological insight particularly instructive to us in our time, in the guise of Jean Luc Picard in the 24th century, being consumed by vengeance against the Borg?

It’s win-win, as far as I can see.

We need people with depth and character, if we’re to have any sort of future. And if we don’t get there, then we need a present where we reach with our hands and hearts and minds to the extent of our potential, so we at least live full lives. We must try our best not only to create a better world, but to be the kind of people who make it better right now, so we at least deserve a future.

Anyway, according to the big thinkers at MIT, Star Trek fans are way ahead.

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