I do realize that any University or College professor, indeed any teacher of English or social science might consider my remarks here inflammatory bordering on the blasphemous, but stop to truly consider what I am saying. The problem with the "Educational" institutions at present is that they consider knowledge and excellence to have become static. Life goes forward and if we believe in linear progress, we should be studying the latest writings alongside the older ones (at the very least).
Shakespeare wrote about the human condition; So did Gene Roddenberry. Shakespeare re-told existing age-old yet timeless stories of human suffering and joy. He told us of the human flaws and the lusts which corrupt. In all of this there was genius. Yet few of Shakespeare’s plays, even the comedies are truly optimistic. There is no real hope for the betterment of humanity. Even in “to be or not to be”, you are going to lose somehow.
Gene Roddenberry on the other hand used the existing human con-dition but aspired to a higher state, not just spatially but qualitatively. As his character Captain Kirk so eloquently stated, “Yes, we are killers. But we can choose not to kill today. That’s all it takes.” Star
Trek episodes are morality plays - there is courage in the face of
danger, there is love in the face of hate, and there is always hope
for a brighter tomorrow. Paramount is the learning. With knowledge comes power to overcome circumstances. With collaborative effort, problems can be overcome. With everyone being the best they can be in their own uniqueness, the community is strengthened. The
very idea of the “no-win” scenario is so repugnant to the main chara-cter, Kirk, that after re-taking the test many times, he reprograms the computer to win. “I don’t believe in the ‘no-win’ scenario!” he states. I concur.
With an enormous list of firsts, Star Trek, (The Original Series) was before its time and had to wait for a new generation of children to
grow up on reruns, demanding more before the movies of the origin-al Star Trek would allow for Star Trek, The New Generation to be
aired. But both the original series and the ones which followed were about working together as individuals committed to learning and ex-ploring, “where no man has gone before”. They were fully conver-
sant with their technology, comfortable meeting other creatures and cultures without feeling threatened, and took hardship in stride, we
could learn from that. There was humour, fun and good camraderie - every episode. And of course there were aliens - of all shapes and sizes.
I love Shakespeare’s work but it tells us about who we were or who we are right now, not who we can become. For me the latter is
more important and more interesting.