My absolute favorite television series of all time is Star Trek: The Next Generation. It’s a very important show because it’s not mindless entertainment, in most of the episodes there’s something special, a lesson to be learned. Now not all of the episodes that exist are good, but it definitely improves immensely as it goes along. For me, I find that the best episodes are not the bombastic action-packed episodes with high stakes, but the more personal and small-scale stories that build on characters and have a good message to go along with it.
“It is possible to commit no mistakes and still lose. That is not weakness, that is life.”
Star Trek is 50 years of philosophical and metaphysical messaging that gives us an ideal to strive for, a glowing representation of humanity, a shining example of what we all could be in the far future, if only we can cast aside our petty differences of the present and work together. I’ll be sprinkling some great quotes from the show throughout this writing, but there’s so many good ones that I can’t possibly fit all of them here.
“Villains who twirl their mustaches are easy to spot. Those who clothe themselves in good deeds are well camouflaged... spreading fear in the name of righteousness.”
Star Trek often deals with heavy social and political issues, which is very brave especially for it’s time. Star Trek explores the terrible consequences of war and violence, the realities of racism and discrimination of all sorts, it deals with complex topics such as religion, morality, death and loss, the meaning of life, the struggles and beauty of existence.
"The claim "I was only following orders." has been used to justify too many tragedies in our history."
"The first duty of every Starfleet officer is to the truth. Whether it is scientific truth, historical truth, or personal truth. It is the guiding principle on which Starfleet is based."
The Federation is what humanity should strive to become. There are no more wars and internal strife, no more hate and discrimination for petty differences on ethnicity, gender, sexuality or religion. There is no more economic inequality since there is no longer a concept of money and artificial scarcity, everyone’s needs are met. The accumulation of wealth is no longer the driving force in our lives. What you do with your life is a matter of self determination, personal fulfillment and your sense of duty to the community, to contribute in a positive way to the world in which we live. Humanity is united under a banner of peace, and our reach extends far across the stars.
“The uncertainty, self discovery, the unknown. These are many of the qualities that make life worth living. I wouldn’t want to live my life knowing that my future was written, that my boundaries had already been set.”
“It is the unknown that defines our existence. We are constantly searching, not just for answers to our questions, but for new questions. We are explorers, we explore our lives, day by day. And we explore the galaxy trying to expand the boundaries of our knowledge.”
My absolute favorite character on the show is Captain Jean-Luc Picard, he is the ideal of humanity, a shining beacon of morality and integrity. Instead of relying on battle prowess and direct confrontation to solve problems, he is at heart a diplomat and an envoy of peace. He solves issues by building bridges and understanding so that conflicts can be solved without the need for violence. Captain Picard also has some brilliant Shakesperian speeches that are rousing and inspirational, I often come back to the episodes just to hear them again.
“Our time in this universe is finite, that is one of the truths that all humans must learn.”
That’s what’s missing from the newer Star Trek movies and television series. They fail to understand that it’s not about the cool ships and phasers and space battles, the core of Star Trek is the philosophy and introspection. It’s about exploring and making discoveries, out in the universe, and also in ourselves. To boldly go where no-one has ever gone before.