Star Trek

USS Enterprise TOS

Star Trek

By far and away, my single most favorite television show ever is Star Trek. This summer, it seems everyone is celebrating its 50th anniversary. It seems to me that I am not alone in my infatuation with the show. I’m not going to elaborate on the history of the show, its ups and downs, and all that. Instead, I want to write about how the show affected me over the years.

USS Enterprise TOSBoth good and bad, the Star Trek has given me great joy and painful memories. I’ve loved the show since it first aired in July 1966. At the time, I was 10 years old and in my television market, the first two seasons aired in the early evenings well before my bedtime. I remember being anxious about the rumors that it was canceled only to be revived for another season due to letter writing campaigns. In its third and final season, the death knell sounded once and for all when it’s time slot shifted to Friday’s at 10 pm. By then, I was 12 going on 13 and my parents let me stay up to watch it since there was no school the next day. But I knew….

It didn’t die, despite what the network executives predicted. To this day, I believe the networks have their heads up their asses. To support my opinion, I use the tragedy of Star Trek as my focal point and argue on.

I will admit, that I can be obsessed with the show. When TNG resumed the adventures of the Starship Enterprise, VCR’s were affordable, and I taped every show. Of course, this elicited many an argument with my wife at the time. She never understood my passion for the show. No matter, she’s history and Star Trek lives on.

Today, with my recovery from my concussion, I am forced to limit my screen time, and when I do indulge, it’s with shows and movies that I already know intimately. It allows me to watch without concentrating and focusing on the screen. So, I’m gorging on watching TOS in order from the first episode to the end. At the moment, I am at the halfway point of season two.

I’ve learned a few things along the way. Scotty can be an ass at times, blatantly disobeying orders from his captain, which he gets away with every time without consequence. What’s up with that? His disobedience even got him killed only to resurrect by the end of the show. Chekov didn’t make his appearance until the second season. Nor did anything related to Spock’s parents. Kirk is Kirk, solves the problem of the day and gets the girl. Uhura, I always liked her but never realized just how beautiful she was. If I had been sitting on the bridge, I would certainly have been distracted by her charm. Spock evolves in each episode, becoming more lovable while remaining distant. ‘Fascinating’ he would say. In short, I am learning a lot about how the show evolved over the seasons.

USS Enterprise NCC-1701 refitYet, for me, it’s less about the characters and more about the ships. When I was a kid, I built and displayed the models. I played with them, staged mock battles and destroyed several of my models, only to rebuild them as quickly as I could. Now that Hallmark produces a new ship ornament, I have collected the entire set and set up a dedicated tree during the holidays so that I can display them. I’ve spent a fortune on them. My girlfriend prefers the characters while I prefer the ships. I get it, but I know she doesn’t. She just accepts it, which I appreciate to no end.

I know the show has shaped me, guided me and helped me. The morals I live by today are rooted in the concepts of the show. Gene Roddenberry wanted to influence people to be better, more understanding and compassionate. He wanted to show that humans have tremendous potential, that we could be better than we were.

I don’t know about the rest of you, but with me Gene, you were successful. You influenced my life many positive ways. Thank you.

Creativity and Life

creative in printed dictionary
The Return of the Archons
Star Trek (c) Paramount Studios
"Without Freedom of Choice, there is no Creativity. Without Creativity, there is No Life." 
Captain James T. Kirk in 'The Return of the Archons'.

I recently saw this quote and it got me thinking. Yes, thinking can hurt and it’s a favorite tease in my house. As I reflect on the quote, I can’t help wonder about the accuracy of the words.

I’ve known my entire self-aware life that humans only grow and thrive because of the challenges we face and overcome. What I had never considered before was just how we figure out what we need to do to overcome and grow.

Just how did we advance our species from a caveman to the technological society we enjoy today? Assuming we don’t destroy ourselves, I presume our species will grow exponentially. Who knows where we’ll be a thousand years from now. Just look how far we’ve come in the last thousand years.

creative in printed dictionaryAs I considered the question, it suddenly occurred to me that perhaps the answer to the question was our capacity to be creative. Not just in the arts but also in the sciences. As a whole, our species have a tremendous talent to think outside the box. We can consider a question and instead of looking for the immediate answer, we also look at both relevant and unrelated concepts to determine whether there is something there that can advance the answer.

If this quote is true and I have no reason to believe otherwise, it’s our creativity that allows us to grow and thrive. It’s our creativity that advances us one after the other.

Consider if you will what would we, as a species, be like if we did not have any sort of creativity. Take any example in the history of the human race. Keeping it simple, let’s postulate this scenario. You live on an island and you eat the fruit of the tree to live on. There’s plenty of fruit and you eat readily. It’s all you’ve ever eaten, It’s all you have ever needed to eat. Year after year, you eat the fruit and nothing else. After all, there’s plenty to go around and you’ve never wanted for anything else.

Then one day, a storm comes through and wipes out every single fruit tree and the crop you’ve come to depend on is suddenly gone. A few days later, you’re hungry. You’ve never been so hungry in you entire life. You’re starving and on the verge of dying. Yet, living right along with you are chickens, ducks, and other small animals.

If you had never eaten a chicken before, without creativity to solve the problem, would you? Would you eat a chicken? Would you even think to try it? Without the concept of creative thinking, to think beyond your experiences and teachings, I contend that you would not. You would starve to death. If you represent the entire human species, then our species would be extinct.

The Return of the Archons
Star Trek (c) Paramount Studios

I contend and believe that our capacity for creative thought is what allows us to grow, thrive, and advance.

What do you think? Could we do so? Can the human race grow and continue to advance without our capacity for creative thinking?

I look forward to reading your comments. Please, feel free to add to the discussion in the field below.

This is Richard Verry, pondering yet another aspect of life on this planet we all share. Until next time, have a great day!