The Star Trek vision of a multi-racial utopia Vs the Evolution Pyramid
June 24, 2018
This is a tricky subject for me and one that you may not all agree with and some might ask what it has to do with a search for freedom, peace and happiness. The fact is the UK Brexit vote was, without doubt, the worst day of my life. I am writing this on the morning after over 100,000 people marched through the streets of London protesting against Brexit.
Before I go on, there is a comments link at the bottom of this post; please comment, let’s start a debate.
I know there are those in the world with hate in their hearts and they will always stand as a hurdle to a better collective ideal of togetherness, but equally, I have always believed that we human beings should all come together as ‘one’. That no one should have the right to tell you where you should live on our beautiful planet and that if we only tried to understand each other a little better we might just make this world a better place. So, where has it all gone wrong?
As a science fiction fan, I often think about the Star Trek vision of the future, where all nations, cultures and species of the world live together in harmony in a collective utopia.
Dave Schilling wrote about this vision in a piece for the Observer newspaper called:
Star Trek’s 50-year mission: to shine a light on the best of humankind
“The visionary sci-fi series first aired in September 1966 – and its utopian, confident blueprint for society still resonates in the age of Trump”
All quotes from this article from:
Leonard Nimoy as Spock and William Shatner as Kirk in the original series of Star Trek. https://www.pinterest.co.uk/pin/468515167478806658/
“There is no grand political statement in the first episode of Star Trek, 50 years ago. The Man Trap is a languid little thriller about a monster that eats salt and has a curious habit of shape-shifting into the image of your ex-girlfriend.
If you happened to tune in on 8 September 1966, you would have had no concept of the utopian idealism favoured by Star Trek’s creator, Gene Roddenberry, no inkling of the socialist concepts of the sharing of resources that would pop up in later incarnations of the franchise. It was high adventure set in space, nothing more.
But there’s no question that what defines Star Trek today is an egalitarian, pluralistic, moral future society that has rejected greed and hate for the far more noble purpose of learning all that is learnable and spreading freedom throughout the galaxy.”
Star Trek hoped for a future of tolerance and understanding but in reality, the evolution of humankind has instead taken a different path; a kind of evolution pyramid that was initially rising beautifully in the direction of the Star Trek dream that creator Gene Roddenberry believed possible. A dream where countries would come together as one and work as a collective for the better.
Before the year 2000, we were happily part of Europe, we were Europeans, not just British but part of something bigger. America was already voting in hardline politicians like George W Bush but Obama was waiting in the wings with a more positive outlook in mind. In Germany Angela Merkel was working to create a multicultural society. The world was really moving in a direction I liked and I felt happy about life.
But when we reached the year 2000, we seemed to have come to a peak and had reached the top of that evolution pyramid; the only way to go from there was down.
Many through history have said the year 2000 was going to mark the end of the world, perhaps they were half right:
- “Hal Lindsey, whose 1988 prediction failed, suggests the end in his recently published book, entitled Planet Earth – 2000 A.D. However, he leaves himself a face-saving outlet: “Could I be wrong? Of course. The Rapture may not occur between now and the year 2000.” (Lindsey p. 306)
- The beginning of Christ’s Millennium according to some Mormon literature, such as the publication Watch and Be Ready: Preparing for the Second Coming of the Lord. The New Jerusalem will descend from the heavens in 2000, landing in Independence, Missouri. (McIver #3377, Skinner p. 100)
- 19th-century mystic Madame Helena Petrova Blavatsky, the founder of Theosophy, foresaw the end of the world in 2000. (Shaw p. 83)
- Even Sir Isaac Newton was bitten by the millennium bug. He predicted that Christ’s Millennium would begin in the year 2000 in his book Observations upon the Prophecies of Daniel, and the Apocalypse of St. John. (Schwartz p. 96)
- Ruth Montgomery predicts Earth’s axis will shift and the Antichrist will reveal himself in 2000. (Kyle p. 156, 195)
- The establishment of the Kingdom of Heaven, according to Rev. Sun Myung Moon. (Kyle p. 148)
- The Second Coming, followed by a New Age, according to famed psychic Edgar Cayce. (Hanna p. 219)
- The Second Coming, as forecasted in Ed Dobson’s book The End: Why Jesus Could Return by A.D. 2000.
- The end of the world according to Lester Sumrall in his book I Predict 2000. (Abanes p. 99, 341)
- The tribulation is to occur before the year 2000, said Gordon Lindsay, founder of the Christ for the Nations Ministry. (Abanes p. 280)
- According to a series of lectures given by Shoko Asahara in 1992, 90% of the world’s population would be annihilated by nuclear, biological and chemical weapons by the year 2000. (Thompson p. 262)”
Quotes courtesy of: www.abhota.info
Others spoke of the millennium bug that they thought might stop computers from working, causing chaos around the world. Planes might fall from the sky when their systems failed. Of course, as we now know the computers carried on working and life seemed to go on as usual. But there was a change going on in secret, dark forces were plotting in Afganistan and Pakistan. The year 2000 saw the beginning of a massive change in our thinking because in 2001 planes really did fall from the sky!
The 9/11 terrorist attack on New York
Many say that the reason for Brexit was because we didn’t like being talked down to by Brussels; maybe that’s true. Some say being part of the European Union was costing us too much; maybe that was true as well. But the hatred and racism shown towards immigrants living in the UK since that vote tells another story.
As a way of explaining their prejudice towards foreigners, some people like to say things like: “they are taking our jobs” or “our country is full already” but I believe Islamic terrorism is the fundamental cause of the mindset many now hold around the world. Suddenly foreigners are bad, foreigners are dangerous, foreigners are unwelcome. When your very culture is threatened, when your children are at risk of being blown up at a concert, when your after-work drink on a Friday night suddenly turns in to a bloodbath; people start to get scared and that is why I believe after 9/11 things began to change. Suddenly there were ‘others!’ and others were not welcome, others were bad.
The Star Trek vision of a multi-racial utopia:
“…Star Trek today is an egalitarian, pluralistic, moral future society that has rejected greed and hate for the far more noble purpose of learning all that is learnable and spreading freedom throughout the galaxy.
That doesn’t exactly chime with the world we live in: one that is increasingly polarised, violent, and arguably teeming with existential despair. Star Trek was born out of the era of John F Kennedy, the space race, a well-educated middle class and a sense in America that anything was possible.
Of course, underneath that attitude was the threat of the atomic bomb, the simmering tensions of the civil rights conflict, gender inequality and growing anger at the Vietnam war. Star Trek’s creative brains trust – Roddenberry, Gene Coon, DC Fontana, John DF Black and a who’s who of science fiction luminaries – was marvellously adept at grappling with these issues and, through the course of 44 minutes plus commercials, convincing the audience that intelligent, progressive minds could work together to solve any problem.”
So, on 26th of June 2016, I sat and wept as it was announced we were leaving Europe. We were leaving togetherness, solidarity, multiculturalism and being part of a collective society.
Then Teresa May came into power and we began the slide into isolationism, nationalism, intolerance, racism and hate. I cry for my country because I believe we have lost our way; we as humans are better off together. But this way of looking at the world is not just about us Brits, it’s been happening all over the world. As wars began to break out due to the rise of the Islamic State, refugees began flooding into Europe. First of all, countries like Germany tried to hold onto their principles of multiculturalism and welcomed them with open arms but soon even Merkel had to give way and racial intolerance now rules the day.
Then, of course, there is Trump!
If there is one figure that perfectly sums up the current world mindset of intolerance, then it is Donald Trump. The fact that a nation like the USA could get to the point where they are prepared to elect someone like that bigot as president, says it all.
The Star Trek vision of a multi-racial utopia:
“Captain Kirk, Mr Spock and Dr McCoy often thought their way out of a situation, rather than simply blasting everything in sight. That’s an inherently liberal position to take: but there are still conservatives among us who project their own ideas on to the series.
Barack Obama is a well-known Star Trek fan, but so is Texas senator and former presidential candidate Ted Cruz, who told the New York Times Magazine last year: “It is quite likely Kirk is a Republican.” He also compared William Shatner’s portrayal of Kirk to that of Star Trek: The Next Generation’s Captain Jean-Luc Picard, as played by Sir Patrick Stewart. “Kirk is working class; Picard is an aristocrat. Kirk is a passionate fighter for justice; Picard is a cerebral philosopher.” One could be forgiven for thinking he had substituted Kirk for himself and Picard for Obama. Such is the stereotype of Republicans (rugged adventurers) and Democrats (stuffy twits) in the US.
In that same interview, Cruz said: “The original Star Trek pressed for racial equality, which was one of its best characteristics, but it did so without sermonising.” That’s a peculiar way to look at the show, considering Star Trek featured the first interracial kiss on American TV and numerous episodes were allegories about the evils of racism – specifically the episode Let That Be Your Last Battlefield, an unsubtle instalment from the third and final season in which aliens with half-white and half-black faces squabble over their skin-colour differences.”
But there is hope; as the 100,000+ march in London, yesterday showed. There are people who still hold onto that Star Trek ideal. There are some places that have kept their faith in mankind. The reason I love India so much is for that very reason. Despite a violent birth to their independent nation, the Indians live side by side now with all religions, cultures and outlooks. They believe very much in a collective community, all as one family. In his book Kaleidoscope City, Piers Moore Ede writes about the Indian city of Varanasi:
“Perhaps for all of us there is a country, and within that a single place, in which some essential element of the world is illuminated for the first time. Sitting down on a park bench in a beam of sunlight, or lost in the cacophony of a spice market, it comes to us that we have never been this vibrantly, persuasively alive….” “…the simplicity of life in the old medieval alleys, the poetry of the city’s rituals and beliefs, seemed to me to represent the best of India, the best, perhaps, of the human condition.”
The world is a constantly changing place and I too believe in mankind and I hope, no I believe, that in the end common sense will prevail and we will grow tired of hate, intolerance and that inward-looking mentality that has engulfed much of the world today. We are all human beings, let’s embrace that and boldly go forward towards a better more collaborative community/one family outlook and a positive way of being. Let’s help that Star Trek vision of a multi-racial utopia come true:
“Mark A Altman, a screenwriter, producer and lifelong Star Trek fan who recently wrote The Fifty-Year Mission: The Complete Uncensored & Unauthorized Oral History of Star Trek, notes the strong connection between Star Trek’s vision and the liberal ideals of JFK. “Star Trek was born in the crucible of the 60s, when society was questioning many of the tried-and-true conservative 50s values they once took for granted,” he says.
The show was born in the era of the space race and John F Kennedy’s ‘New Frontier’.
“It’s not an accident that James T Kirk was an analogue of John Fitzgerald Kennedy, nor that the final frontier was indeed a thinly veiled extension of Kennedy’s New Frontier,” he says, referring to the slogan popularised by JFK during the 1960 presidential campaign.”
“During a time in which mankind was questioning the very fact as to whether there would be a future in the wake of the hydrogen bomb and nuclear proliferation, and the assassinations of JFK, Martin Luther King and Robert Kennedy, Star Trek definitively said not only would there be a future, but mankind would endure and flourish.”
Hope, belief, freedom, peace and happiness for EVERYONE…
Jo Fay Hi Stephen I really an enjoying the current re-runs of Star Trek. And I’ve been thinking the same thing recently how fascinating the show is and what it says about human and individual diversity.