Saturday, May 9, 2009

Post No. 115: Have We Learned Anything from Star Trek?


The following appears in the section of our blog labeled, “Its Your Turn™,” which is the program we conduct on college campuses:

“One of the goals which the “It’s Your Turn” ™ Team will achieve… will be the de-personalization of… analysis, by avoiding subjective and partisan approaches. [We] believe that… analysis will improve through objectivity (as much as it can be achieved) and creativity, along with “digging deep” to expose the root causes of issues, instead of merely being distracted and sidelined by symptoms. We can thereafter craft better solutions.”

Earlier today, during a retreat on Sirius, we considered whether we had accomplished any of our goals set a year ago.

Being adherents of the Spock Manifesto, we originally thought that we could “objectify” the thought and decision-making process, and encourage our readers to explore as many ways of looking at issues as possible.

What surprised us was the rigidity on the part of most, and the unwillingness to even consider new ideas, or the possibility that there might be flaws in their positions.

Not that we expected everyone to change their views on every subject. However, through the civil exchange of ideas, we really expected some readers to reconsider their views, or at a minimum, acknowledge that some positions of others had merit.

Earlier, we watched a CNN Headline News piece on the new Star Trek movie. It examined why we have this continuing fascination with this science fiction franchise.

During the 60s and 70s, at any engineering school, trying to get a seat in the dining hall during Star Trek was akin to fighting an intergalactic battle.

There are many who proclaim that previously untried approaches, to our societal woes, will not work. They argue a return to the past, or staying the course.

And yet, it is the willingness to accept risk and explore worlds previously unknown, which has distinguished humankind from our less-adventuresome cousins of the fauna family. In theory, we have the ability to adapt.

And we will.

Should we pursue a course of conduct which produces positive results, we have the intelligence and capability to adjust to that situation. Should the results prove problematic, we can also deal with that.

All of us appreciate the Common Sense notion that there is a good and bad side to everything.

That we might make some bad decisions will not lead us to a Big Bang of a different variety.

During the story on Star Trek, popular astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson waxed philosophical about the series : “Practically every episode reached back into some aspect of modern life.”

We thought of some other risks taken by others during history. Copernicus, Columbus, and Henry Ford.

Should we revert to the earlier position that the Earth is the center of the universe? Or the world is what we have seen and what we know? Or fuel our automobiles with kerosene instead of gasoline?

Without a little flexibility in thinking, not one of these advancements would have been made.

Those who argue that certain risks will not be taken, nor investments made, nor innovative advances occur, do not really appreciate the mentality of risk takers. Rarely is their motivation based solely on forces outside of themselves.

Additionally, some of the greatest advances in humankind have evolved from periods of extreme discomfort. Necessity has often been the mother of invention.

Of course, not everything needs to be changed. And change in the abstract is not necessarily a good thing.

And we all realize that certain problems may require a radical and immediate approach; others not.

Either way, it’s not all one way or the other. We ought to be able to figure this stuff out.

Finally, for those in power now, who have the requisite votes to pursue your agenda, please keep the following in mind: This is just one of a series of battles during a long and protracted debate.

If there is one thing that we have learned here on Earth about one force defeating another it is that there are always negative ramifications associated with getting your way as you march through, occupy, and force your will on the conquered forces.

Winning is not always what it’s cranked up to be.

Beam me up Laughingman.

10 comments:

  1. Bravo! I like your fresh approach to your blog. There certainly can be pitfalls in getting our own way. But, someone has to finally emerge to lead the change when our society has devolved to a primeval state! It will never be easy to lead and critism will abound, but if no one sticks his/her neck out, the results over time would produce a culture I would just as soon not join.
    I agree that not everything needs to changed. A leader must be sensitive to some level of consensus where appropriate, and have clear cut boldness when it is necessary to "go where no man has gone before!"
    Warp 8--make it so!

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  2. Regardless of the lessons of astronomy and physics, Earth is (and will likely remain) the center of our universe. Even though we are revolving around a tiny star out on one of the arms of the multi-armed spiral of our galaxy (one of millions), it is the only world we have so far walked on. History teaches, it should not be ignored. Being conservative does not mean eschewing innovation, it means innovate based on sound lessons of the past.

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  3. It has been awhile since I've enjoyed a new blog as much. Douglas is correct... fresh indeed. Will return soon :)

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  4. There are two related programs airing on the History Channel this evening. Ancient Aliens airs at 8pm EDST, and "Star Trek: Beyond the Final Frontier" comes on at 10pm EDST.

    http://www.history.com/schedule.do?action=daily

    ReplyDelete
  5. Stopping by to say thanks for the kind comments you left on my blog. I had a hunch and after a brief investigation I confirmed that you were indeed the blogger formerly known as, "The Logistician." Stop by more often and feel free to leave a comment under any name you choose.

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  6. Just as when the Republican "Revolution" left the GOP in control of both houses and the executive branch, the Democrats will have the opportunity to test their policies and then reap the rewards or the punishment for the outcome. The negative ramifications associated with getting your way, are the disastrous results of a flawed policies and theories. The Bush administration is a good example of just of this situation. The downside is that no one will remember and those most affected will be those with the least amount of resources to resist the policies or it's effects.

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  7. I was among the original Trekkies and honestly believe the show with its morality teachings had a clear effect on that first generation who were testing the waters of integration. Of thinking and behaving other than how their fathers did before them.

    The newer Star Trek off shoots continued this morality theme and they too have lead to a more tolerant society in my opinion.

    I remember one show in particular that so impressed me: the plot had two beings endlessly battling each other. Each of them was one half black and one half white. When Kirk asked them why they were fighting over the color of their skin both men were amazed at his inability to understand. Then one black/white man pointed out, "Can't you see that he is black on the left and white on the right, and I am black on the right and white on the left?"

    I used the re-runs of the original Star Trek as a teaching tool for my third grade class. The show came on every evening at 5:00 pm. (I watched the show with my 3 and 5 year old children cuddled on the couch next to me) Watching it was a class assignment and then the next day we would discuss the show. So much learning could be instilled in the young minds during these discussions! Of course there was always tolerance for differences in the multi-racial cast (not to mention the boost to the feminist movement in assigning high rank and or important roles to female cast members). Then there was usually a bit of science I could pull out of most shows. But most important was the moral of each show and the class discussion of just what was taught and what was to be learned. I do miss Star Trek in it's original form where people and social interactions were the focus rather than computer tricks and fancy fire balls.

    Can not leave without one more Star Trek story. My daughter got divorced and came home to go back to college while I took care of our granddaughter. Voyager was the Star Trek of the time and of course as I and my children due to my indoctrination were Trekkies so we as a family never miss the program.

    Elaine brought our granddaughter Krystle home when she was 15 months old so we had ample time to train a young mind as to the importance of Star Trek. On her first day in kindergarten the teacher was encouraging a discussion with the class concerning the do's and don'ts in the classroom. Going around the room for ideas she finally came to Krystle. Our sweet granddaughter seriously explained her very important rule saying, "You never talk during Star Trek."

    BB

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  8. Great stories Brenda, particularly the one about your granddaughter. If only you could have heard how loud and hard we laughed.

    ReplyDelete
  9. I was among the original Trekkies and honestly believe the show with its morality teachings had a clear effect on that first generation who were testing the waters of integration. Of thinking and behaving other than how their fathers did before them.

    The newer Star Trek off shoots continued this morality theme and they too have lead to a more tolerant society in my opinion.

    I remember one show in particular that so impressed me: the plot had two beings endlessly battling each other. Each of them was one half black and one half white. When Kirk asked them why they were fighting over the color of their skin both men were amazed at his inability to understand. Then one black/white man pointed out, "Can't you see that he is black on the left and white on the right, and I am black on the right and white on the left?"

    I used the re-runs of the original Star Trek as a teaching tool for my third grade class. The show came on every evening at 5:00 pm. (I watched the show with my 3 and 5 year old children cuddled on the couch next to me) Watching it was a class assignment and then the next day we would discuss the show. So much learning could be instilled in the young minds during these discussions! Of course there was always tolerance for differences in the multi-racial cast (not to mention the boost to the feminist movement in assigning high rank and or important roles to female cast members). Then there was usually a bit of science I could pull out of most shows. But most important was the moral of each show and the class discussion of just what was taught and what was to be learned. I do miss Star Trek in it's original form where people and social interactions were the focus rather than computer tricks and fancy fire balls.

    Can not leave without one more Star Trek story. My daughter got divorced and came home to go back to college while I took care of our granddaughter. Voyager was the Star Trek of the time and of course as I and my children due to my indoctrination were Trekkies so we as a family never miss the program.

    Elaine brought our granddaughter Krystle home when she was 15 months old so we had ample time to train a young mind as to the importance of Star Trek. On her first day in kindergarten the teacher was encouraging a discussion with the class concerning the do's and don'ts in the classroom. Going around the room for ideas she finally came to Krystle. Our sweet granddaughter seriously explained her very important rule saying, "You never talk during Star Trek."

    BB

    ReplyDelete
  10. Regardless of the lessons of astronomy and physics, Earth is (and will likely remain) the center of our universe. Even though we are revolving around a tiny star out on one of the arms of the multi-armed spiral of our galaxy (one of millions), it is the only world we have so far walked on. History teaches, it should not be ignored. Being conservative does not mean eschewing innovation, it means innovate based on sound lessons of the past.

    ReplyDelete

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