Why Star Trek Was Beyond Its Time…And Ours

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Star Trek

Firstly, I must admit: I had never watched a single thing about Star Trek. It has nothing to do with the fact that I have the Sith code tattooed on my back, I promise. I was just never exposed to it while I was growing up.

But thanks to the pandemic, I found that I had a lot of time on my hands and caved to my boyfriend’s constant begging that I watch it. During the first lockdown, we sat in front of the TV, turned on Netflix, and put on the first episode of The Next Generation.

I was hooked from the moment I stepped foot into the Enterprise-D.

Before I get into the nitty-gritty, I need to mention that I will only be referring to The Original SeriesThe Next GenerationDeep Space Nine and Voyager. Like probably many other Star Trek fans, I believe that the well-beloved show has been taken and morphed into something completely different — something entirely out of what I want to talk about here.

With that… I believe that the beloved creation of Gene Roddenberry was way beyond its time — both during the time that the above series were released and now. But why, though?

1. Diversity

“What’s wrong, Dukat? Haven’t you ever seen a Klingon before?”
— Benjamin Sisko, Deep Space Nine

What I mean here is actual diversity. Not diversity for its sake, or the “woke points”. The first few series of Star Trek didn’t only have humans of different ethnicities but also plenty of species from other planets and systems. People of different historical backgrounds and cultures, working together on an exploratory mission in the depths of space.

There’s a sense of forced diversity on the screens today, both big and small. Something to do to fulfil an imaginary quota rather than be diverse. I understand that there’s a great big divide between certain peoples, but no one’s ever done any good by being forced to do something.

2. Tolerance

“Then you haven’t lost your Humanity. You have reaffirmed it.”
— Tuvok, Voyager.

If you’re unfamiliar with Star Trek, many The Original Series centred around the rivalry between the Federation and the Klingon Empire. In The Next Generation, the war is over, and there is a shaky peace between the two. But within the crew of the Enterprise-D is Worf, an orphaned Klingon raised by humans. The Original Series and Voyager feature Vulcans on the bridge.

Yes, there will be the occasional butting of heads. But ultimately, everyone respects one another and the cultures they come from. You won’t see anyone forcing their beliefs onto anyone else (other than the Borg, of course). There are lots of finger-pointing, victimising and ethnic-shaming happening today. They teach us to conform—to force conformity—rather than tolerate and grow together.

Really, we should be ashamed of ourselves.

3. Exploration

“Its continuing mission: To explore strange new worlds. To seek out new life and new civilisations. To boldly go where no one has gone before!”
— Capt. Jean-Luc Picard, The Next Generation

When Star Trek originally came out in 1966, we were all about exploration. The first person went into space in 1961. In 1969, Humanity landed on the Moon – but we’ve never gone back. Anyone who talks about “leaving Earth” gets hit back with lots of flak. 

“What’s wrong with Earth?”
“Why do you want to abandon it?”
“How about we fix our problems here first?”

There’s an element of exploration that is lacking in us nowadays. I don’t mean only space-wise either. Sure, some people have grand plans to colonise the Moon by 2030. Mars by 2050. But, the rest of the population have become somewhat comfortable in the modern age, and many people aren’t willing to leave that life. Heck, so many people find it hard to leave their hometown. How would we expect to explore space?

Personal log; star date –301025.5

I’ve always believed that there are lessons from published media, especially entertainment. But, nowadays, the belief is hard to keep up. Many things are forced fed rather than taught, especially regarding social issues. Originality, morality — these things are lost in modern entertainment.

TV shows and movies are going about things the wrong way, and I honestly wish they could go back to the way things were. There are many lessons that people still need to learn, so let’s use the tools we have to teach them.

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