GETTING MORE TALE #846: The United Federation of Planets
I used to be an optimist. In my younger, more impressionable 20s, I felt like humankind had the universe by the balls. The things we could achieve when united were remarkable but only the tip of what we could do collectively. Where did I think we’d be by 2020?
Not here, that’s for damn sure! I didn’t think we’d have the flying car, or free energy. I thought we’d be on a better road than this.
At that younger age, I immersed myself seriously in science fiction. Clarke in particular, but Roddenberry was also crucial to my mindset. The optimistic future of Star Trek was the one I chose to believe in. Gene Roddenberry was not wrong about what humanity could do when united. I believed unity was our ultimate destiny, as we left behind our tribal pasts and prejudices. I thought it was inevitable that eventually we would have something like the United Federation of Planets. Prosperity through technology and collective wisdom.
It makes me sad and broken to see that we have not made many strides towards Roddenberry’s future, but have taken many steps backwards. What would Gene think? While I think he would be delighted to see that technology has leaped faster in some regards than he predicted, he would also be crushed by our continued divisions.
It’s in the news every day. People are angry. Some have forgotten the basic manners that their mothers taught them while others are behaving like, frankly, assholes. Covid has us all stressed, and it has brought some of us together more closely while dividing others even more sharply. I try to consume as little news as possible but it’s all but unavoidable to see this bullshit. Even if one only reads music news, it is everywhere. Ratt and Bobby Blotzer’s son feuding with Sebastian Bach and Dee Snider over the wearing of masks during this pandemic. This cultural tension has pervaded every aspect of society. At least you can buy some sweet Kiss-branded masks now. Yet the amount of hate in the air over this issue is actually quite scary.
Incidentally as a side note, as our economy continues to be devastated by this disease, every brand in the world should start making masks. Metallica, Maple Leafs, Kiss, Kellogg’s Froot Loops. People are going to buy them and it’s time to strike while the iron is hot. Only by adapting to this pandemic are we going to save businesses. But back to where we were.
I used to believe good would always triumph over evil. That is what all my favourite stories taught me. Good is stronger. Show humanity some adversity and we will unite and overcome.
Roddenberry did predict we’d need a Third World War before we get there. I hope he was wrong about that too.
Star Trek was popular because people wanted to live in that world. Star Trek fans exist in every part of the political spectrum. Millions dreamed of being the helmsman on a starship, and to live in that world. A world where the Earth knows no war, no poverty and no starvation. Some of Arthur C. Clarke’s fiction was equally optimistic. I figured guys as smart as Clarke, who conceived the communication satellite, were smart enough that they were probably right about the future. Yet here we are, stuck in the mire like it’s still the 1950s.
Of course it’s not too late. We can still turn around and say “I don’t care if you are this or that, and believe in A, B or C.” We’re going to have to. Why can’t everybody see this? Humanity has no hope of survival if we can’t rise above our tribal differences.