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- What is STAR TREK?
The Philosophy of Star Trek
- Gene Roddenberry's life before Star Trek
- Gene Roddenberry's vision
A new World is created
- The variety of the STAR TREK-UNIVERSE
- The ideals of mankind
Menaces in the star trek-utopia
- Are human instincts stronger than moral principles?
- The Star Trek-Legend lives on
In 1964, every concept the American futurist GENE RODDENBERRY, had ever explored in his scripts, all his previous experiences, all his beliefs, came together in a single idea:
"Wagon Train to the Stars"
That one phrase summed up the concept for a television series, through which the creative mind of GENE Roddenberry launched a phenomenon without precedent in show business and touched the lives of millions.
The series boldly prophesied a future that is penetrating mankind's endeavor and achievement; the exploration of human emotions and issues in an alien environment seized the imaginations of generations after generations.
Roddenberry's works and ideals have been integrated into numerous cultures worldwide, offering each a sense of hope for humanity.
His series thrust science fiction from a genre backwater into a major cultural phenomenon.
He called this new series, "STAR TREK".
The philosophy of Star Trek
Gene Roddenberry's life before Star Trek
Gene Roddenberry was born in El Paso, Texas, on August 19, 1921, spent his boyhood in Los Angeles, studied three years of policeman ship and then transferred his academic interest to aeronautical engineering and qualified for a pilot's license.
Finally, he volunteered for the U.S. Army Air Corps and was ordered into training as a flying cadet when the United States entered World War II.
During this time he also began to write.
At war's end he started studying literature at Columbia University.
Afterwards Roddenberry continued flying until he saw television for the first time.
Correctly estimating television's future, he realized that the new medium would need writers and decided that Hollywood's film studios would soon dominate the new industry.
He acted immediately, left his flying career behind and went to Hollywood, only to find the television industry still in its infancy, with few openings for inexperienced writers.
He joined the Los Angeles Police Department, following in his father's footsteps and gaining experiences, which would be valuable to a writer.
By the time he had become a sergeant, Roddenberry was selling scripts.
soon he established as a writer, turned in his badge and became a freelancer.
Later, he served as head writer for highly popular series.
Next, he created and produced a whole series, called The Lieutenant.
In 1964 Star Trek followed...
The philosophy of Star Trek
Gene Roddenberry's vision
Star Trek's first performance took place in the middle of a period containing big doubts and conflicts:
America was involved in the South Eastern Asia conflict, race riots and tensions at the universities became worse.
Besides implications of the Cold War were established in the public's imaginations: By pushing a button we all could send to the next world, and everyone was sure about that.
Under this circumstances the liberalism, created by KENNEDY and adopted by Roddenberry, which includes readiness for discussion and diplomacy, racial harmony and international cooperation, was very essential.
By underlining human decent Roddenberry wanted to reflect the present chaos in a positive way:
When the FEDERATION is able to negotiate successfully with its enemies, it must be possible to reach peace in reality as well.
At least, Roddenberry allowed us this dream.
Furthermore his vision had a very inspiring influence:
Roddenberry let us believe in a future, in which all earthly conflicts are eliminated.
Besides we got the opportunity to launch the greatest of all adventures:
The exploration of space
The principles, which make such a future possible, were put to the test in each series:
Are there possibilities, which avoid a peaceful solution?
Is it possible to overtax the readiness for using mercy?
But all this never happened. Star Trek's principles succeed.
And every time Roddenberry's Star Trek heroes pass the test of human tolerance and decent, we pass it as well.
This gives us hope for the future.
A new world is created
The variety of the Star Trek-Universe
In 1964, GENE RODDENBERRY first published plans for his Science-Fiction series.
Finally, the first STAR Trek episode launched in February 1965 on NBC.
Captain Pike and his crew aboard a starship called Enterprise started exploring space.
But ”The Cage" was pronounced "too cerebral" by the network.
Furthermore, NBC didn't agree to MAJEL Barret, who starred as Captain Pike's First officer. The producers claimed that the audience wouldn't accept a woman as a Deputy Commander, and neither did they.
Once on the air, however, NBC was willing to give GENE RODDENBERRY a second chance.
In September 1966 the second pilot иWhere no man has gone before" launched on screen!
Actors were switched and the Canadian WILLIAM Shatner was given the role of Captain James T. Kirk!
His crew consisted of brilliant actors whose performances influenced people's mind:
Nichelle Nichols played Lieutenant Uhura, the first black given an important role on television! Besides, she's a woman and her acting encouraged other black woman, e.g. Whoopi Goldberg.
During a meeting with Martin Luther King he explained Nichols she was a vital role model for young black people in America and told her not to give up her playing.
Needless to say, NICHELLE stayed with the show and has appeared in six of the seven subsequent movies.
Moreover, WALTER KOENIG, born to Lithuanian Russian Jewish parents, landed the role of Ensign Pavel Chekov. This character gave the American people, threatened by the Cold War, hope for the future.
The Starship Enterprise is the leading ship of Starfleet, an operating authority for deep-space exploratory, scientific, diplomatic, and defensive agency of the United Federation of Planets.
The UFP consists of an interstellar alliance of planetary governments and colonies, united for mutual trade, exploratory, scientific, cultural, diplomatic, and defensive endeavors, founded in 2161.
In 2373, the Federation comprised more than 150 member planets; spread across was predicated on a number of factors, such as the existence of a unified planetary government.
Members of this organization are Earth, Vulcan, and numerous other planetary states.
The Federation is governed by the Federation Council, composed of representatives from the various member planets that meet in the city of San Francisco on Earth. The FEDERATION PRESIDENT, whose office is in the city of Paris on Planet Earth, leads THE COUNCIL itself.
Although the Federation and it's Starfleet have done an extraordinary job of maintaining a generally peaceful climate in this part of the galaxy, they have been challenged by several galactic powers and eventually been involved in a number of armed conflicts over the years.
The following list presents important races living in the Star Trek-Universe:
l. The Vulcans
This well-known species from the planet Vulcan is member of the UNITED Federation of Planets.
The Vulcans are a humanoid race. They were once a passionate, violent people whose civilization was torn by terrible wars.
The ancient philosopher Surak, revered as the father of Vulcan civilization, led his people some two thousand years ago to reject their emotions in favor of a philosophy that embraced pure logic.
This remarkable renaissance became known as the TIME OF AWAKENING.
Vulcan society is now based entirely on logic, and any trappings of emotion are considered to be socially unacceptable.
Gene Roddenberry invented the Vulcans for personal reasons:
"I have had so much trouble with emotion in my life I thought it just would be fun to write someone who didn't have that problem."
(--From "Late Night America" - 9/24/85)
2. The Ferengi
The Ferengi are a humanoid species living on the planet Ferenginar.
The 285 Rules of Acquisition let no doubt of their philosophy ruthlessly embracing the principles of capitalism.
Besides, Ferengi consider the sanctity of a contract to be a cornerstone of their civilization. Breaking a contract is unthinkable, and will generally result in the offender having his Ferengi business license revoked and all of his assets seized.
But their greediness for material enrichment is not their race's only human sin:
Moreover, the discrimination against women, still a problem nowadays, is very well established in the Ferengi culture:
The Ferengi are sexist in the extreme, and do not allow their females the honor of clothing.
In addition, Ferengi females are kept housebound, uneducated, and wholly dependent on their male counterparts.
A new world is created
The variety of the Star Trek-Universe
3. The Borg
The Borg are an immensely powerful civilization of enhanced humanoids coming from a distant sector of our galaxy.
They implant themselves with cybernetic devices, giving them great technological and combat capabilities.
Each Borg is tied into a sophisticated subspace communications network, forming the Borg Collective, a shared consciousness in with the idea of the individual was nearly a meaningless concept.
"RESISTANCE IS FUTILE" is their motto.
By assimilating civilizations and technologies thereon the Borg conquer entire worlds.
Individual members of assimilated races are implanted with sophisticated cybernetic implants, permitting each individual to perform a specific task as required by the collective. Thousands of worlds across the galaxy were conquered in this fashion.
The mission of the Borg, the adaptation of individual consciousnesses, circulates nowadays the fear that we will become just elements of the rising development in computer technology very soon.
The ruthless invasion of the Borg doesn't contain the question when technology comes, but to how much destruction it will lead.
It's very essential that we never forget our right place in evolution, no matter how far technology is developed.
4. The Klingons
The Klingons are a humanoid warrior civilization.
The capital planet of the Klingon Empire is called Qo'noS (pronounced "Kronos").
The Klingons are a proud, tradition-bound people who value honor.
Their aggressive culture has made them an interstellar military power to be respected and feared.
In the days of the COLD WAR, the Klingons functioned as a metaphor for the Soviet Union.
When this species first appeared in Star Trek the tensions between the USA and the Soviet Union were urgent and the menace of a nuclear destruction very intensive.
The fear and the mistrusting between the FEDERATION and the KLINGON EMPIRE, which lasted so long, reflect our superpower's history.
In the following 29 years this aggressive species has changed into an honorable, high-respected society.
The latest episodes of Star Trek reflect the political changes and diplomatic negotiations in the former Soviet Union.
You see, Star Trek reflects our history and reality.
People are sensitized to think over their principles and actions.
We all know human life is hard and complicated, but Star Trek shows us that there are always possibilities to reach peaceful compromises.
A new world is created
The ideals of mankind
In 2063 mankind was able to launch the Phoenix, the first vessel fitted with warp drive, an enormous power, making vessels traveling faster than light speed.
The flight attracted the attention of a Vulcan survey vessel, which was in the solar system.
The Vulcans subsequently sent a shuttlecraft down to make contact with mankind.
The discovery that the human race was not alone in the universe had a profound impact on mankind, bringing all the people of the Earth together as never before.
As the only species equipped with warp drive technology, humanity was able to virtually create the concept of interstellar trade. Human-built spacecraft totally monopolized this trade for over twenty-five years, bringing a flood of revenue, which rebuilt the war-torn planet and turned it into an economic powerhouse.
By 2113 poverty, hunger and war had been abolished from the planet and humanity was a major power.
Since the foundation of the United Federation of Planets, human ideals and principles have become very essential.
The economic structure within the FEDERATION makes very little use of money in the 20th century sense of the term.
The acquisition of wealth has ceased to be the driving force in the lives of the majority of Federation citizens.
People work to seek out knowledge about new life and new civilizations. They don't live just to get rich, but to improve their selves and the rest of humanity.
Moreover, the Prime Directive is one of the most important parts of the Federation-Charter and a mainstay of the UFP.
The directive is stated as follows:
The Prime Directive
As the right of each sentient species to live in accordance with its normal evolution is considered sacred, no STARFLEET personnel may interfere with the healthy development of alien life and culture.
Such interference includes the introduction of superior knowledge, strength or technology to a world whose society is incapable of handling such advantages wisely.
STARFLEET personnel may not violate this Prime Directive, even to save their lives and/or their ship, unless they are acting to right an earlier violation or an accidental contamination of said culture.
This directive takes precedence over and all other considerations, and carries with it the highest moral obligation.
Such principles and efforts, manifested in the FEDERATION-CHARTER, are noble, but nevertheless threatened:
Menaces in the star trek-utopia
Are human instincts stronger than moral principles?
Such principles and efforts, manifested in the FEDERATION-CHARTER, are noble,but nevertheless threatened:
The validity of the Prime Directive is often questioned in episodes.
Additionally, misguided idealists menaces the basic principles human life is founded of:
Liberty, Equality and Justice.
Such threats arise not only by external factors, e.g. different-thinking life forms, but by internal ones as well, coming right from the core of the FEDERATION.
Section 31 is such a menace in the Star Trek utopia.
The designation Section 31 includes a secret STARFLEET sanction, which has been operating independently since the creation of the FEDERATION-CHARTER.
It's a secret division of STARFLEET INTELLIGENCE that seeks out and identifies potential threats and eventually eliminates dangers to the FEDERATION, by whatever means necessary.
Starfleet-Command doesn't confirm its existence, but doesn't deny it either.
Officially, Section 31 does not exist.
There is no main base of operations and no files are kept where they can be easily found.
Any tracks, which could prove its existence, are kept in the minds of "a select few". (DS9-episode "Extreme Measures", Season 7)
There is one man who appeared in each of three episodes based on Section 31.
His name is Sloan.
But it is unknown who is really in charge and leader of this organization.
Among the many things Section 31 is responsible for creating is the disease that nearly wiped out the Founders, one of the FEDERATION'S archenemies.
Star Trek shows us in an impressive and very convincing way that there will always exist threats jeopardizing moral principles.
If our very survival is at stake, are we willing to sacrifice our basic ideals forming the fundamentals of human living?
The United Federation of Planets was not founded just to cover a secret division doing their dirty work.
By tolerating such an organization like Section 31 people violate any principles the Federation stands for.
It's a very poor excuse that such an autonomous division helps ending bloody wars and conflicts although FEDERATION citizens are right out there fighting wars to safe such principles and ideals Section 31 is violating.
This is one of the basic messages Star Trek is teaching us:
When ethics and moral aren't able to guarantee our survival any more, when all our lives are jeopardized more than ever, are we able to resist our strong human instincts willing to go to any length to survive?
We all know that we are not able to answer absolutely truthfully to such a question.
But we can say something for sure:
No matter how far mankind is developed, no matter how strong our sense for moral and ethics is marked, human instincts will never be totally suppressed.
Achievement of the vision presented in STAR TREK may at times seem unattainable to those of us locked into this century, but as more than one STAR TREK captain has said, "There are always possibilities."
Perhaps it is hope for those possibilities that reinforces the appeal of STAR TREK.
Although the "GREAT BIRD OF THE GALAXY" passed away October 24, 1991, Roddenberry's legacy remains:
Up to now, 9 movies and almost 600 episodes have been produced.
Star Trek Voyager starts its final season this fall. Besides, the next Star Trek movie, ST X, is planned to launch in 2001 and a new STAR TREK series is just being developed to maintain Roddenberry's vision of the future.
The great adventures have not come to an end.
The Star Trek-Legend lives on...
- Internet, e.g. www.treksites.com.www.roddenberry.com
- STAR TREK'S DS9 episode "Inquisition". 1997. Season 6
- "30 Years Of Star TreK', special edition. copyright © 1996 Paramount Pictures Corporation
- "The Star Trek Encyclopedia", copyright © 2000 Paramount Pictures Corporation
- Quote paper
- Verena Maus (Author), 2000, Star Trek - How humanity should be?, Munich, GRIN Verlag, https://www.grin.com/document/104662