Friday, June 3, 2011

What makes a man

I always loved to watch Star Trek. I was a fan of Picard rather than Kirk, my apologies to the purists. One of the things I thought fascinating about the show was that it was the future, and while I knew that it was fictional, I also knew that people thought a great deal about how they would represent the future and I wanted to see it. I wanted to understand what we ought to be, in the grand ideal of these writers.

And, if one were to look at the manner in which Star Trek began, it really cut its teeth on controversy. Beginning with the bridge crew, there was a black woman in a leadership role, a Russian and an Oriental, there was a Vulcan....whatever that was, and he was second in command. And venturing further, Kirk sought to have relations with every woman he could.

Still, I liked Picard. He was intense, intelligent, and in control. And yet, this is not why I'm writing tonight. I am writing about another wonderful bit of future fantasy mirroring our present day.....and wondering why so many fingers can point and still some don't see.

So, Data wants to be a man. And, what is it that makes one a man? What steps, what thoughts, what actions? What? For, if we actually just go on our initial reaction, Data is, of course, not a man. He is but mere machinery, right? Isn't it just simple to presume that as he is not like us, obviously quite different in fact and deed, that he is not a man. He therefore has less rights, less allowances, less merit to that which is the man's perogative. He surely is no man....or is he?

Does a man only have "white" skin? Is then a man only from a certain country, a certain neighborhood? How about a man only having one philosophy, one religion? Is a man only allowed to have a woman for a lover, then? What must one be to be free, to be a man worthy of the rights and privileges - and even responsibilities?

I am so proud to look back on episodes like this that challenge us into thinking. For, if we can root for Data, then we can open our eyes - as a nation - and hear the arguments for what they are: self-serving rationalisms geared only to maintain a status and an ego. Wouldn't that be just so wonderful if we could find that same cauldron to burn away prejudice, presumption, pride and leave us with truth and understanding?


Doug said...

I am a big Star Trek fan myself. I thought all the leaders had special qualities and should be admired for who they were.

There were so many great episodes in the Star Trek series but this has to be one of the best. I remember quite a few times thinking about episodes and how they affected me, caused me to think about things.

If we could only get over all these prejudices in our world and be more like it is in the future like Star Trek shows us. They do have their problems but nothing like we have now. Everybody accepted everyone else for who they were. It did not matter where they were from, what they spoke, or what planet they came from.

I just hope we can get to that point without destroying ourselves first.

randy said...

Amen, Doug.

Scottie said...

I agree. Star Trek gave me my first glimps into a place, a future, where all were respected for who and what they were, for where people strived not for power over another, but to be the very best they could be. Follow there dreams, love and be loved. They had enough food, they had shelter, no one punished or looked down on the other. I was hoping to wake up one day and be Spock, where the pains wouldn't matter any more, and I could control the hurt. I wanted a family like the bridge crew and a father like kirk, a healer like Bones.....Sadly the show was banned in my childhood and watching it was something I did in secret. My step father did not believe in such things. No future such as that. Boys should only watch sports. That was all. Boys should do, not read. Boys should grow up to be hard men.

I want the world of Star Trek, so I guess I will have to do my part to make that world come true. I will be the best Scottie I can be, I will help others as best I can, I will remember their rights and needs and feelings. I will help that future come to be.

Hugs for the future. Scottie

randy said...

Hi Scottie;
And there-by will the dream be fulfilled.
hugs for the now you create.

Scottie said...

one last thought about the Star Trek world. If we had such a world where one could live their dreams with out worry aobut food, shelter, paying the daily bills we all work for, I know that I would spend my days doing what I love...fixing computers for those who don't have the income to take them to a shop and caring for the people in our ICUs. Both things bring me more joy than I can say, and even though the ICU stuff is challenging it is also a source of great fulfillment. In both jobs I make a difference in peoples lives. That I love doing. I hope it is a positive one. Hugs to you.