Friday, May 27, 2011

How Star Trek Can Help Us Live Better Lives Now That We Missed the Apocalypse

Considering the world didn’t end this past May 21, it is a good time to reflect on the life we’re forced to continue to live (bummer!). So with this second lease on life I think it’s a good opportunity to rededicate myself to self-improvement and an excellent way to do that is to remember what I learned from Star Trek.

I finished reading this excellent blog post on teen apocalyptic fiction vs. latency narrative and it had this wonderful quote: “Close friends become family and family is the center of the universe.” The quote is from Dave Marinaccio’s All I Really Need to Know I Learned from Watching Star Trek and I was floored. HOW DID I MISS THIS BOOK?!!? It came out in 1995 and I completely missed it. Damn you college!

In all honesty, my moral framework was formed by Star Trek. I was a toddler glued to the screen watching reruns of the original series on WPIX. Yes, that’s completely geeky, but so what? I remember when I found out as an early teen that the US didn’t follow the Prime Directive (i.e., all peoples—alien or otherwise—had a right to self determination) and was devastated by that. There is something inherently noble about the original Star Trek universe. Mr. Marinaccio perfectly captures what I learned from Star Trek and all what I needed to know how to live, what to do, and how to be:

- Each person or each species, no matter how alien, has the right to live their lives as they wish. (AS long as they’re not trying to take over the galaxy or eat you or something.)

- Everyone has a role in life. Sulu is the navigator. Uhura is the communications specialist. Do your own job and the ship will function more smoothly.

- Whatever you are doing, answer a distress call. The most important time to help someone is when they need it.

- If you mess something up, it’s your responsibility to make things right again (Say you disrupt history and cause the Nazis to win World War II. To correct matters, you have to let Joan Collins walk in front of a car even though you’re in love with her.)

- The more complex the mind, the greater the need for the simplicity of play

- If you can keep your head in a crisis you’ve got a fighting chance.

- The unknown is not to be feared. It is to be examined, understood and accepted.

- Close friends become family and family is the true center of the universe.

- End every episode with a smile.

I couldn’t have said it better myself. It was a sort of epiphany seeing this. Yes, this is how we should live. At least until the next apocalypse comes.

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