I find modern society a rough, raw, brutal, scary, exciting, overwhelming, boring, unfair, unjust mess of competing interests, rival egos.
I’m a fan of the science fiction Universe created by Gene Roddenberry. Not particularly because of its numerous Sci-Fi tropes like transporters, faster-than-light travel or holograms, but because of its positively Utopian and gentle society.
There are a number of elements of Star Trek (and I’m drawing almost all my lore from “The Next Generation”) that appeal to me personally as ideals of society.
- In the film “Star Trek: First Contact”, there is a scene where a woman from the 21st century encounters the people from the far-future of the Star Trek Next Gen era. Pondering the vast and almost unimaginable resources that must have been required to build one of their vessels, she asks Captain Picard “How much does this thing cost?“, to which Picard, played by the always-reliable Patrick Stewart, responds “Economics of the future is somewhat different. You see, money doesn’t exist in the 24th Century….The acquisition of wealth is no longer the driving force in our lives. We work to better ourselves.” The fact that this sounds almost ridiculously Utopian or unrealistic shows to me just how wedded we are to the concept of reward for service being in the form of tokens, the quantity of which varies wildly between individuals. I find it an utterly refreshing notion, a world without money.
- The mission of the Star Trek Enterprise vessel isn’t one of war or conquest (or colonialism!). It is exploration — the deep-seated and shared passion of humanity to explore and fulfill the desires of the curious to see what lies beyond the next mystery.
I’d love to live long enough to see whether humanity is capable of ‘starting again’ in terms of the way our society is structured.
If there is any chance that we can somehow overcome some of the deep impulses of humanity and gear our capabilities towards more peaceful ends, I think our species has an incredibly good chance of seeding at least the local Cosmos with our progeny. If however we cannot, then we will not.