President Obama Speaks About the ‘True Meaning’ of STAR TREK

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In a new interview with WIRED, outgoing president Barack Obama spent a few minutes discussing why he was such a fan of Star Trek and how the shows’ themes still resonate today.

What made the show lasting – it wasn’t about technology – it was about values and human relationships.

Trek is “really talking about a notion of a common humanity and a confidence in our ability to solve problems,” said Obama, who has been long-known as a fan of the classic series. He spoke to his love of Spock in a 2015 statement after the death of Leonard Nimoy, and has made references to the series other times throughout his time in office.

  • Locutus

    Having a Trekkie in the oval office is something I will miss. I felt better knowing my President appreciated Star Trek.

  • Eric Cheung

    I love that he cites The Martian as a movie that shares the spirit of the TV series, despite its recasting of characters of color. I’d love to see Trek movies evoke that film much more than stories about good versus evil and vengeance-seeking villains.

  • Flintheart Glomgold

    A great pity that he must leave the Oval Office. (Maybe the best US-President in the last six decades). And I am scared about the two candidates running for the White House. I don’t trust Hillary Clinton, but Trump is a crassly stupid person.

    • Arch Stanton

      The irony, of course, is that your hate-filled comment is crassly stupid. Come back once you have an actual point to make or an argument.

    • DaMac

      He ain’t perfect but no matter who wins it’s one hell of a downgrade.

  • M33

    I could really say a lot here, but I will refrain. Not really the forum for it.
    Live long and propser.

  • Rene Perez

    Sounds like he kinda remembers liking Star Trek in the past. He quickly changed the subject away from Star Trek because he seems to not know too much about it any more. I wish we did have a leader who understood Star Trek. This guy just wants to sound cool to the popular kids.

    • Io Jupiter

      From what I can see is your just speculating about his knowledge of Trek. Do we know how much you know? It is for to easy for you to sit back and whine about something frivolous. I’ve been a Trek fan since 9/8/66, and have seen and read more about Trek before you took your first dump in your moms womb. Now I’m going to speculate about you, you sound not so much like a Trek fan because us Trekkers never bash someone for liking Trek. We may have disagreements on which Trek we like but we are all Trek fans. You sir have a flaw like a Star Wars fan.

    • Io Jupiter

      From what I can see is your just speculating about his knowledge of Trek. Do we know how much you know? It is for too easy for you to sit back and whine about something so frivolous. I’ve been a Trek fan since 9/8/66, and have seen and read more about Trek long before you took your first dump in your mom’s womb. Now I’m going to speculate about you, you sound not so much like a Trek fan because we Trekkers never bash someone for liking Trek. We may have disagreements on which Trek we like best but we are all Trek fans. You sir have a flaw in you like a Star Wars fan. PS, The President probably knows more about today’s Trek than you do. I remember then screening 09 Trek at the White House for the President because of his love for Trek. Perez you are a very highly illogical person.

      • Rene Perez

        If he really liked or loved Star Trek, he would use this opportunity to spread the message of Trek. But instead he changed the subject before he could be exposed as a fraud. He’s a politician. This is what they do. They are professional liars. Not sure why your so mad or why you’d question my loyalty to Trek. As for my love and knowledge of Star Trek = I have directed movies with Star Trek actors, the newest “A good day to die” aka “Prey for death” (starring Connor Trinneer from Enterprise), I have written a star trek fan fiction comic book which is free to all- google search “star trek rebirth rene perez” and am currently filming a star trek fan film. How much more of a Star Trek nerd do I need to be to have an opinion on this faker? Any one who loves star trek is a friend of mine. Period. So thank you for the debate.

        • Io Jupiter

          Your still highly illogical son.

          • Michael

            You remind me of Tuvok during that episode where he lost all of his skills and intelligence.

          • Rene Perez

            I didn’t realize that Star Trek fans still believed in politicians. I thought we could all see through those types of lies. I guess not. Sorry to insult the current puppet.

          • M33

            “The beaurocratic mentality is the only constant in the universe.” – Dr. McCoy

      • M33

        “…before you took your first dump in your mom’s womb.”

        Woah, dude! You are the first to use vulgar language on this thread, and then you insult Star Wars fans? What happened to IDIC, to openmindedness for differening views?

        • Io Jupiter

          Same here buddy about people. You don’t have to like the President’s policies but we can tell you and Rene Perez just hate the guy plane and simple. Don’t sound like you too are Star Trek fan material at all.

          • M33

            Plain and simple? You judge me without knowing me. I am calling you on your language and attitude here, that’s it.
            As far as where I view Obama, I have many thoughts from observing his words, actions, and policies, which is how people are supposed to judge someone. I have not expressed any opinion here, yet your infer I have.
            BTW, I am a big Trek fan, own all the series, rewatching Enterprise, big financial contributor to this site, and I have the Starfleet logo tattooed on my body. I would call that definitely a Star Trek fan.
            I have never seen you comment on this site before and I come here frequently, so it is curious to me that you show up here being offensive and expect to take the moral high ground.
            Very strange.
            We can agree to disagree on our views, but wholesale judgments about me or others here is unwanted entirely.

          • Michael

            You get no special privilege for donating to this site. Stop trying to bully people by throwing that around. Not ethical.

          • M33

            Only saying it to show my support as a trek fan. Nothing else.

          • Michael

            Sure.

      • Michael

        ABM alert!

    • Mo

      Or maybe he’s been a bit too busy to watch reruns over and over, for the purpose of memorizing every detail. He got the important part. Dry your tears.

    • Sykes

      Being a Trek fan is not about remembering details or knowing factoids. It’s not up to you to decide if he is a Star Trek fan, it’s up to him.

    • pastorbill44

      I don’t think he cares any more about sounding cool. He isn’t running for anything. But he has lived up to Star Trek themes…that all humans have a vested interest in working together to solve problems.

  • Michael

    “Outgoing” is the key term here. This person has done more damage to the core values of our country than the nUTrek verse has done to Star Trek’s core messages.

    Bring on President Trump.

    • Io Jupiter

      You haven’t heard lately? Donald Rump’s rating’s are slumping badly. His down fall is because he just can’t keep his mouth shut.

      • Michael

        Yea, and the so called “experts” said he would not win the GOP nomination. So called “experts” said Brexit would never happen.

        This election is unlike any other. Traditional methods of judging who will win do not apply. This will be a Trump landslide, similar to Ronald Regan in 1980.

        It’s ok though, keep being used by Hillary. She just expects the African-American vote because it has been as regular as going to Red Lobster on Sunday’s after Kingdom Hall. But that has been changing, as the food has
        at Red Lobster.

    • eatrains

      Donald Trump and his rhetoric are incompatible with Star Trek’s core messages.

      • Michael

        Thankfully, Star Trek is fantasy land about something that never will happen.

        • zero

          Thankfully? Last I checked, humanity was doing pretty ok for itself within the Star Trek universe, arguably better than we are doing now.

          • Michael

            Yea, no. Starfleet has been involved in numerous wars with dozens of other sentient species. We only kill each other. That’s better.

          • StuUK

            So it’s the depiction of the Human race’s involvement in war that keeps you thankful…

            The show reiterates time and time again that Starfleet is committed to the peaceful exploration of the galaxy. When the show presents us with conflicts, battles and wars they’re nearly always initiated by an aggressive species, not Starfleet.

            The show also reiterates time and time again that Humanity has actually got it’s shit together; that on the whole Human’s are an enlightened race of people that through the might of their intellect and their technical savvy have successfully created on Earth a global utopia that provides for all and excludes none. – Now THAT’S better!

          • M33

            Always liked that Federation didn’t get itself involved in interventionist wars, unlike Bush did in Iraq and Obama did in Lybia, Syria, etc.

          • Michael

            Peaceful exploration always seems to lead to war. I guess you are forgetting what Captain Sisko told his dad about space regarding wars.

          • StuUK

            There he is!!

            Keep in mind that the Federation never initiated the wars that they were involved in.
            The Klingons, Romulans, Cardassians, the Borg, the Dominion and those beings from the future who initiated the temporal cold war (I haven’t left anyone out have I?) they were all the aggressors forcing the Federation in to a situation where they’d have to either fight or be conquered.

            In Voyager, Species 8472 were prepping for an invasion of the Federation and Janeway jumped at the chance to make peace with them. Hardly surprising behaviour for a Human of the 24th Century.

            This is Star Trek’s sentiment when it comes to war:
            “Death, destruction, disease, horror. That’s what war is all about, Anan. That’s what makes it a thing to be avoided…” – Kirk in A Taste of Armageddon

            “It was a calculated risk. Still, the Eminians keep a very orderly society, and actual war is a very messy business. A very, very messy business.” – Kirk in A Taste of Armageddon

            Q: “I know human beings. They’re all sopping over with compassion and forgiveness. They can’t wait to absolve… almost any offense. It’s an inherent weakness of the breed.”
            Picard: “On the contrary, it is a strength.” Q & Picard in Deja-Q

        • StuUK

          Thankfully?

          Star Trek is idealistic, inspirational and aspirational; if you don’t buy in to any of that then just what is it about that show you even like?

          • Cabo 5150

            Well said, sir.

            We may be – scratch that – we *are* a very long way from the idealistic Star Trek universe – but there’s no shame in reaching for or aspiring to it.

            I don’t come across it all that often, but, without necessarily singling anyone out here, I am sometimes genuinely amazed at the sociopolitical wordviews of some fans – which are seemingly at direct odds to those of the show.

            Each to their own of course.

          • Ace Stephens

            I don’t know what they’re talking about with “thankfully” but I’d just like to note that one need not agree with the themes, tone, message, or whatever else regarding a fictional work to value the storytelling. I watch a lot of horror movies but never because I would ever want the world to work “that way.” I might like the characters or think the subtext or social commentary is interesting or any number of things. But, even if the message of something I watch may be hopeful or optimistic in a form, that generally isn’t the purpose of that entertainment in that context to me because I plainly contextualize it as fiction.

            So, while I find it odd when diehard fans seem to have a worldview largely incompatible with the show’s tenets, I also find it questionable that some seem to negate its inherent power as fiction while solely stressing the thematic concerns’ applications in reality.

          • StuUK

            In reference to the word thankfully… We were clearly curious as to why Michael would use that particular word to present an opinion that Star Trek and all the “core messages” contained within are a fiction and will forever remain fiction.

            If this site was dedicated to the fictional dystopia’s of say “The Terminator” or “The Matrix” in which Human beings are promised a pretty rough ride, then I get where Michael if coming from; I’d be saying “Thankfully that’s just fantasy land…” – That’s not the sandbox that Star Trek has spent the last 50 years playing in though is it.

            On the one hand, we’re living in a world populated with communities of people that find it difficult (if not impossible) to coexist in a civilised way. Differential advantage has seen it possible for the planet’s top 65 earners to possess the same amount of wealth between them as the bottom 3.5-Billion. The top 5 wealthiest nations on this planet, never more advanced, never more wealthy, never more enabled to employ some serious resources in solving problems continue to tread water on issues like poverty and homelessness, corruption in government, corruption in business, corruption in the banking system and an overreliance on countless thousands of charitable causes set up by the average Joe to pick up the slack for all those issues the system has been compromising on for generations. Ever growing rates of consumption under the current model have promised that in less than 100 years our planet will be fundamentally incapable of sustaining its population.

            On the other hand there’s the Roddenberry-verse. A universe that depicts a united planet Earth upon which all those challenges have been addressed and the Human condition that looks nothing short of admirable.

            So given the choice Ace, which world would you rather be living in and which one would you be thankful you didn’t?
            Forget what’s realistic or reasonable or plausible within your lifetime… Imagine Q has just appeared in your living room and is giving you an unique opportunity to point the world in one direction or the other. – Which one you gonna choose??

            Of course Star Trek is fiction! But it’s depiction of planet Earth in the 23rd/24th century is utopian. It’s responsible for the formation of a fandom, the emergence of ideas, concepts, possibilities (and a few impossibilities granted). But this show has also been responsible for inspiring doctors, inventors, scientists, engineers; some even claim that it’s responsible for saving their life! – This Roddenberry-verse may exist from a world of fiction but there exists a potential for that world to spill in to ours; I’d be content for that spill to turn into a flood!

          • Ace Stephens

            So given the choice Ace, which world would you rather be living in and which onewould you be thankful you didn’t?

            It’s not up to me. I am not the original poster and they are allowed their interpretation, which need not fit within the limitations placed by others. There are plenty of negative and positive – in varying ways – fictional realms I do not attempt to contextualize as probable realities for myself and the world in general, even if they may be a notable step up or step down. I think that’s sort of a false dichotomy view – I don’t have to choose a fictional world to live in because I live in the real world.

            As for the use of the term “thankfully,” I still don’t know the exact meaning they intended with that but I also don’t assume that simply because they don’t seem to perceive Star Trek the exact same way as many others do that it must be an inherently “bad” way they mean it (socially, morally, whatever).

            Forget what’s realistic or reasonable or plausible within your lifetime… Imagine Q has just appeared in your living room and is giving you a unique opportunity to point the world in one direction or the other. – Which one are you gonna choose??

            I understand what you’re suggesting but, regardless, I’m going to choose seeking mental help for hallucinations. Then again, I’m practically-minded like that. I get comparisons to Spock fairly often.

            But the show’s depiction of planet Earth in the 23rd/24th century is utopian.</blockquote.

            The nature of which goes against drama and involves numerous groups still in conflict. So simply because it's better for "humans" or "humanoids" – excluding the numerous ones that remain in conflict in some forms – does not implicitly mean that it is better overall. I mean, it also establishes that there was a horrific World War III first. Not exactly the best "real world" route to becoming utopian in my view…

            This show has also been responsible for inspiring doctors, inventors, scientists, engineers, teachers, artists; some even claim that it’s responsible for saving their lives! – The Roddenberry-verse may only exist in a world of fiction but there exists a potential for aspects of that world to influence and affect the real world that is ours.</blockquote.

            And, to whatever degree these things do influence matters will be the choice of individuals within “the world.” I don’t wish to negate individual interpretation, inspiration, etc. and so I do my best not to judge people on the basis of generalities such as those which have been directed at this party for contextualizing fiction as fiction – because I believe that doing so can actually be antithetical, in some forms, to Star Trek’s message. I try to be understanding and allow variance where it’s possible, looking for alternate reasoning or merely questioning where something comes from if I don’t understand. I am obviously not perfect in these regards (as I can not conceive of all things by myself) but neither is the “world” Star Trek presents in many regards – depending on the immediate interpretation of individuals, no matter how aspirational/inspirational some may find it.

            That is not to say that I do not find myself surprised at the amount of people who seem to love the show but do not embrace many of its messages. But there is no inherent reason that they must do so or must share my morality or vision for the future, just like there is no assurance they must do that regarding the show. No matter what is achieved that resembles it, no matter how closely, it remains fictional, as it always will.

          • StuUK

            Oh Ace, you chose evasion! – It IS absolutely up to you as it is ME asking YOU the question directly.
            The preference that I’ve asked you to highlight is no different to you being placed in the position of indicating whether you prefer the colour red over the colour yellow or ice cream over cake; would you evade revealing those preferences also for fear that it might be interpreted as some sort of endorsement? I can see it now: “Well I’m a greyscale kind of guy and I don’t eat desserts!”
            If you were to prefer the colour red over yellow… ice cream over cake… utopia over dystopia, nobody can really hold you to account for that as it is merely an opinion which is wholly yours. Your preference would carry no consequences one way or the other, outside of you painting a fuller picture of yourself and thus allow the rest of us to better interpret the man behind the words you type on the forums. What are you afraid of?

            And I absolutely 100% do not dispute that Michael is entitled to his opinions as indeed we all are. But where’s the harm in seeking clarity from Michael about what it is he’s actually thankful for with respect to the Star Trek universe being confined to the pages of fiction. He’s chosen not to clarify anything; in the pursuit of context all we have to go on are his prior posts… such as they are! What is he afraid of??

            Your visit from Q: Ace, you can’t twist the scenario that I have set up around you; it’s not the Matrix! I’m trying to squeeze you for an answer… No, you’re not hallucinating and it really is Q and he’s going to pester you for your choice for the rest of your life if you don’t give it. Don’t overthink it, you know who you are. Door number 1 or door number 2?

            The route to Utopia: I suspect that Michael wasn’t thinking too deeply about that. But for you I’ll offer this. Okay the Roddenberry-verse had to pass through World War III to arrive at its utopia; it’s a big downer but it has a happy ending.
            In the real world it would seem that for any sustained conflict we bring to a close, we do not enter in to anything resembling utopia… We actually enter in to page 1 of the next sustained conflict. – Now does that sound ideal to you?

            Star Trek The Classroom: To me it’s pretty clear as to why there are facets of the Star Trek audience that will admit to loving the show but really don’t buy into all that utopian nonsense. Star Trek is an entertainment piece first so when people tune in that’s what they want to be first and foremost. – Entertained.
            Some of the audience see a little more in it: Star Trek as a concept is not like a straight ahead cop show or soap; it’s a period piece that started with no references outside of the head of Roddenberry, so it had to be designed and created from the ground up so it really is a shining showcase for imagination and creativity on television.
            Some of the audience see a little more than that: Human beings though not invisible to the mirror of their time were generally depicted in the 23rd/24th Centuries as brimming with all our finest traits. Human society depicted as having cast off all of it’s social-ills.
            Some of the audience are content to see each episode… ONCE; others purchase DVD boxsets of the series so they can watch them over and over.
            Some of the audience can’t put the show down and delight in dissecting every aspect of the show, what’s on screen, off screen, the mythos that is etc… create Star Trek art, amass vast archives of peripheral Star Trek material on their computers, go to conventions, participate in Star Trek discussions on forums (err… me!).

            There are levels of fan from casual to nutjob; it’s down to the individual how much they want to scratch beneath the surface and see what’s there. Not everybody affords Star Trek that much thought but then not everybody affords much thought to the world they live in either.

          • Ace Stephens

            The preference that I’ve asked you to highlight is no different to you being placed in the position of indicating whether you prefer the colour red over the colour yellow or ice cream over cake; would you evade revealing those preferences also for fear that it might be interpreted as some sort of endorsement?

            I have no reason to make the choice within a hypothetical as it isn’t reality. Similarly, fiction is not reality. That remains the point that was stressed regarding the comment I first replied to and I find it understandable. I’m not one of these people who mistakes reality for fiction or fiction for reality as it suits me.

            If you were to prefer the colour red over yellow… ice cream over cake… utopia over dystopia, nobody can really hold you to account for that as it is merely an opinion which is wholly yours.

            What is the relevance of being “held to account” here? Over a hypothetical? Who cares? As for “utopia over dystopia,” that is not a fair assessment of Star Trek as opposed to whatever else. The notion that Trek has resolved all issues of racial, social, etc. disparity is false and very “human”-centered, at absolute best.

            Your preference would carry no consequences one way or the other, outside of you painting a fuller picture of yourself and thus allow the rest of us to better interpret the man behind the words you type on the forums. What are you afraid of?

            There is no fear guiding this action and I think it paints a fairly full picture of myself that I don’t entertain hypotheticals that are to no end other than affirming the biases, preconceptions, concerns, etc. of the party bringing them up.

            But where’s the harm in seeking clarity from Michael about what it is he’s actually thankful for…

            There isn’t one but that doesn’t change that it remains fiction and so, perhaps, not all people think that reality should allow fiction to take the lead in every respect just because a form of it here or there seems preferable in some respects.

            What is he afraid of??

            What is this obsession with “fear” being thought of as a basis for decision-making?

            No, you’re not hallucinating and it really is Q and he’s going to pester you for your choice for the rest of your life if you don’t give it.

            But I do not consider this a choice as my chosen future would be to be free from that choice. My independence is not reliant upon false or imposed choices being made. Hence, a lack of focus on fiction as reality surrogate and my understanding of that perspective being why I interjected with a potential consideration some have left out regarding the nature of fiction to some perceptions.

            We actually enter in to page 1 of the next sustained conflict. – Now does that sound ideal to you?

            No. It sounds realistic, which is the type of thing which keeps something like Star Trek rather firmly in the realm of fiction in many – although not all – regards.

            There are levels of fan from casual to nutjob; it’s down to the individual how much they want to scratch beneath the surface and see what’s there.

            Similarly, I think an individual should be free from choices that are imposed from a place of agenda rather than allowing individual freedom of thought.

          • StuUK

            It’s interesting that you say that you don’t entertain hypotheticals; that being the case, don’t you think it’s a little ironic that you even afford the works of science fiction and fantasy any time whatsoever?
            How on Earth do you find the harmony in allowing the sci-fi genre (suspension of disbelief in the audience often being a pre-requisite requirement), to entertain you if you flat refuse to allow yourself to ponder the themes and topics explored and enjoy the characters that explore them. – The ultimate truth being that none of these things have any bearing on reality, so why invest in any of that, right??

            Future of mankind then: Let’s try this direction. Leave sci-fi in its realm. You live in the here and now, firmly in this reality (as do we all); you know about the world around you. I’ve already alluded to what it is that disappoints me about the current state of the Human condition… the Human experience… The systems we a born it to and are motivated to subscribe to. Tell me, how do you feel about where we are as a species; are you satisfied with how we’ve turned out? Do you think there’s room for improvement?? Improvement in what regard???

          • Ace Stephens

            It’s interesting that you say that you don’t entertain hypotheticals; that being the case, don’t you think it’s a little ironic that you even afford the works of science fiction and fantasy any time whatsoever?

            No. Fiction is fiction and has a place in reality. Just like hypotheticals do if they’re applicable – that is, suited toward an actual end – but, while I understand interest in the potential regarding one of two responses, this one is not in my view.

            …if you flat refuse to allow yourself to ponder the themes and topics explored, the rules that govern their fictional universes and of course the motivations and actions of the characters that play in them.

            I do all of these things in great depth, just as I consider all things to the best of my ability. Fiction is not a hypothetical – it exists. That does not make the contents of fiction reality.

            The ultimate truth being that none of these things have any bearing on reality, so why waste time investing in any of that, right??

            I believe you’re limiting your own perception and seemingly projecting it onto me. I need not interpret fiction in the exact same manner you do but simply because I may not doesn’t mean that I don’t consider themes or the internal logic of propositions or similar. But, in the case of fiction, the “purpose” there is clear and direct on a personal level – enjoyment. The purpose of random hypotheticals that serve little purpose, as far as I can tell, aside from allowing someone to feel righteous in presupposing the nature of something while presenting what I perceive as false dichotomies that aren’t fully accurate to the options present in reality? …There is no purpose there I wish to serve. There is nothing I see to be gained by either party – the other already thinks they have the right answer (and thus, if I play into the false dichotomy, they either feel righteous in my having picked “their” answer or righteous in considering me lesser for not having done so – the outcome is the same) and I gain nothing of note.

            I assume that isn’t your inherent intention – to perhaps appear righteous or correct regardless of my input – but it appeared to me as what the probable outcome was nonetheless.

            Tell me, how do you feel about where we are as a species; are you satisfied with how we’ve turned out? Do you think there’s room for improvement?? Improvement in what regard???

            I can discuss ideas so this is far more agreeable as I communicate for this purpose – to grow in understanding and (hope to) help others do the same. As a species, I feel we are incomplete and not necessarily on our way to something better – although we’re often so self-important as to think we are better than we are or we are automatically improving. There is so much room for improvement as to make the question of if there’s room for it nearly farcical. As for what improvement is necessary for growth as a species, I think the bulk of it involves more people directing more discerning thought toward the weight of actions and consequences. But, given that the population grows at the rate it does and with more people of lower intelligence procreating than those of higher…I don’t have a great deal of faith that one day the less considerate will suddenly turn to their fellow human beings and decide that consideration and the application of thought is more important than the pursuit of material goods and personal/familial continuance.

          • StuUK

            I’m gonna offer you an admission at this point: You’re right, I am a little self-righteous; but I do think that character trait has arrogance on speed-dial, which I’m not a fan of so I do make an effort to temper all that with objective, justifiable opinion. I’ll never claim to know it all and I’ll always be open to re-evaluating what I know or what I think I know(on anything!) to align with that of a more informed opinion; but that person’s gonna have care enough to work at it!

            But you’re also correct in that my participation in this somewhat lengthy discussion has little to do with one-upmanship or proving me right and you wrong (really!); it’s more about understanding a point of view, pure and simple. And it’s the weekend so I have a lot of time to play on this.

            As I understand it, you have grown accustomed to this idea that works of fiction that have taken a crack at depicting alternative societies and the exploration of social ideas (like Star Trek) offer little or no relationship to the issues of the real world and that direct comparisons are futile. – It’s fiction, it’s fun to play in but it will always remain fiction and that’s where it should stay.
            You believe in that so wholeheartedly that you will write 100… 200 lines of text to support your refusal to allow your own personal values the permission to inform an opinion that’s taken on board a little of what you learned from a work of fiction because as you have said many times, this is reality.

            Whilst I can digest your point of view, I don’t think we’ll ever be able to bridge the way we see things in this context.

            Science fiction is my favourite genre; I think it’s the most creative kind of storytelling and I do in fact use it to help inform my personal values, opinions and judgements about the state of the world today and where that world might be going tomorrow. It really doesn’t matter to me if the events depicted in “The Terminator”, “The Matrix” or in any Star Trek episode becomes even remotely comparable or identical to what our day to day reality will ultimately become. My imagination is nurtured by science fiction. Star Trek’s exploration of the Human condition (that is to say that of it’s characters) has encouraged me to take an interest in the Human condition of my species as a whole.
            When I thumb through Jill Sherwin’s book “Quotable Star Trek” which contains countless quotes from the show, covering many topics and character moments, not to mention the odd speech championing the moral high ground. My brain won’t let me compartmentalise those lines to that and only that of the world of fiction. Personal judgement has already (many many years ago) harvested the bits I like and made so many of these philosophies and points of interest a part of who I am; same goes for the show itself, there is no going back for me.

            There exists a slogan in our culture: “…science fiction becoming science fact” As we become increasingly advanced technologically, we as a species might dust off some of those sci-fi movies/shows to inform the debate on how we should conduct ourselves in the future. Take Artificial Intelligence: It’s getting quite likely that this technological revolution will arrive inside our lifetime and the debate on what the consequences will be to Humanity are circulating on the tech pages of news sites all over the internet. BBC News caught up with Stephen Hawking some months ago about the topic who advised caution before making this leap; “Terminator 2” and Skynet was mentioned yet again. Now maybe one of our most celebrated minds is absolutely right (maybe not!). Should we at least employ Asimov’s three laws of robtics all the same?

            As to your opinions regarding where we might be going as a species: I’m inclined to agree with much of what you said.
            I do think we are capable of realising the fantastic but presently we’re too dependant on out of date systems to enable those possibilities within any measures of ease and those systems are only getting more chaotic, corrupted and more of a nightmare to manage.
            Through my adulthood I’ve become something of an idealist so it’s all too easy for me to demote what’s been established as less relevant (sometimes even irrelevant); unreasonable expectation is a side effect of possession of such characteristics I feel, but I can’t help myself. In the social grand scheme I still have hope that things will improve, but I do have this nagging suspicion that it’ll get far far worse before it gets better.

          • Ace Stephens

            …it’s more about understanding a point of view, pure and simple. And it’s the weekend so I have a lot of time to play on this.

            I completely understand. I often engage with people at length and it seems to baffle and frustrate others who appear to believe that the chance to read, skim, whatever anything that isn’t a one-liner or brief paragraph is somehow an insult or indicates some major failing on my part.

            As I understand it, you have grown accustomed to this idea that works of
            fiction that have taken a crack at depicting alternative societies and
            the exploration of social ideas (like Star Trek) offer little or no
            relationship to the issues of the real world and that direct comparisons
            are futile.

            I would say that’s not very close to my view at all. It’s just that fiction is always going to be simultaneously independent from and dependent upon reality but the manner in which it is those things is largely inverted. It exists separately in that it is not reality but exists within reality as a matter of course and so most of our frame of reference, aside from whatever the conceit is, will be largely due to our awareness and/or experiences in reality. Comparisons can always be made, certainly, but a lot like those who moralize about fictional works (“How dare you have a gay character in this!” and “How dare you have a villain kill a bunch of teens who engage in sexual activity!” and all this), the relationship to reality is more projected than it is inherent to the work in many cases. Of course, with Star Trek, it was intended as an optimistic potential future of sorts but that doesn’t change that, as an audience, our interpretation shapes its direct relevance to our reality more than necessarily – beyond certain evident, informational stuff (“factual” within the fiction) – the content itself.

            So just like I don’t see a graphic horror film and decide that the people who made it are evil because, if those things really happened and they thought it was entertaining, I would be absolutely horrified and disgusted (because, instead, I view it as fiction…it didn’t happen so that morality outside of it is a false construct to impose)…I similarly do not value this fiction solely dependent upon its personal relationship, in my view, to the world (or morality) around me or my personal outlook on things beyond fiction.

            You stand by that opinion so wholeheartedly that you will write 100…
            200 lines of text supporting your refusal to allow yourself the
            presentation of an opinion, a judgement, a preference that may have been
            informed by what you learned from a work of fiction because as you have
            said many times, this is reality.

            I do not feel that is what I did. Choosing not to put forward an opinion within a forced construct can be done to stress individual intellectual freedom – which displays a worldview regardless. Additionally, you appear to be getting into a similar realm to those who question why I would write this much. It’s not complicated – I had enough thoughts to write this much. I’m practically-minded in many regards and this is one of them. While less might be easier to comprehend in some cases while more might provide the necessary detail or nuance, regarding my personal investment, length is largely irrelevant.

            As for investment in this being a probable reality, I don’t invest in Friday the 13th being a probable reality or its immediate “influence” on the real world. The real world is (regarding the work itself), at most, a basis for comparison. But once the work establishes its tone and reality, those elements then replace the ones in mine for the playing of that. And I know one might turn up one’s nose and say, “But that’s Friday the 13th!” but it’s simply another fiction. Whatever I might take from it is on me. Just like I don’t truly give it “credit” when some someone says, “I watched a horror movie and it made me kill!” I don’t give Star Trek “credit” when someone says, “I watched an episode dealing with this social issue and it inspired me to help an organization that deals with our version of that!” The individual still made the connection and the choice. It’s on them, whatever the immediate information or presentation was. For all I know, there may even be instances of people suggesting Star Trek caused them to kill. And, similarly, I wouldn’t then go, “Well, that’s it! Cancel Star Trek!” or entertain thoughts along those lines of blaming the work. Instead, I’d go, “That person, whatever the immediate elements were, chose to do that.”

            What good you have done “because of” Star Trek, you have done because of you. It may have said, “Look, good stuff!” or “Look, bad stuff!” or whatever else, but you interpreted it and then took action or molded behavior or whatever else based on that. And plenty of people see it and don’t then “go that way.”

            Should we at least employ Asimov’s three laws of robotics all the same?

            I don’t see why they would ever be applicable, in terms of reason. In terms of design, perhaps…but it would be difficult to ensure that design remains. Those are, after all, rules for fiction.

          • StuUK

            It’s been quite the journey hasn’t it Ace!
            I thought I had figured you out but it would appear that in what must be a million lines of text and all the detail and nuance contained within, I’m still not quite getting it.
            Despite my deep seated memories of weathering a minor inferiority complex throughout my late teens (thank you University for that!) I don’t honestly consider myself to be intellectually fragile. Maybe it’s the way you put things across; maybe the two of just us exist on different rungs of the intellectual ladder.

            I’d like to talk about being influenced by fiction:
            A train of thought exists in Human behaviour (and one that I actually subscribe to) proposes that a Human being having been built from the building blocks of Mum and Dad will have hardwired into their genes a unique library of inclinations, vulnerabilities and propensities. At the point of conception there exists no guarantees as to what kind of Human being you are going to develop into; the single constant throughout your life is your exposure to environment which handshakes constantly with those inclinations, vulnerabilities and propensities. A Human born with a genetic pre-disposition towards psychosis will not necessarily exhibit the extreme characteristics that disorder has been associated with so long as the appropriate environmental conditions are continually reinforced to downplay that behaviour. – That’s an extreme example but it also applies for the subtleties of behaviour as well. Why am I bringing this up?

            If the train of thought holds water then everything that you are in the here and now, your life’s experiences, the people you meet and learn from, the greatness and the horrors that you witness, the fiction you expose yourself to… All of it takes a measure of credit in the motivation or demotivation of your behaviour. Nobody who has ever lived has ever really expressed a truly original opinion; they might think they have but what they’ve actually done is built a fresh idea on the shoulders of a selection of ideas that came before it; everything the Human race has achieved by this point has all been derived from elsewhere.

            Except for the ground that we walk on and the air that we breathe, all that we see around us is a Human invention; our choices in entertainment are not excluded from that reality either. In ’64 Roddenberry might have said, “I’ve got this idea for a television show, it’s called Star Trek and here’s an outline of my characters…” but it took countless thousands to people to action the decisions to create the show that was placed on our TV schedules. Just another Human invention that millions of people have been watching for 50 years and as a result claiming measures of credit for influencing the behaviour of it’s viewers… No, not dictating it; influencing it.

            Likewise, I agree, horror film’s do not turn viewers in to crazed killers and the film’s are hardly going to be created by groups of crazed-killer-filmmakers; but the crazed killers portrayed in those films probably do inspire some of those viewers who already possess a strong inclination towards killing in the real world with some interesting new approaches to their business that they had never thought of before.

          • Ace Stephens

            Just another Human invention that millions of people have been watching for 50 years and as a result claiming measures of credit for influencing the behaviour of it’s viewers… No, not dictating it; influencing it.

            External factors, in these regards, only influence an individual capable of (what might generally be considered) free thought to the degree they allow. Which means it is then their choice. If someone is rude to me, I can be rude back or I can ignore it or I can be kind back or whatever else. To default to the presumption that I must act this or that way in a manner beyond my will is to negate humanity – to prescribe rather than describe (which, I’d venture, science is often “guilty” of). I believe Star Trek is thematically about a strengthened humanity so I feel that this view – even while scientific innovation is a staple of it technologically – is largely antithetical to Trek, which I feel indicates that we do have a choice. Of course, I don’t care in any particular manner what it indicates in those regards in relation to reality (as a prescription or similar), but it does seem to indicate that.

            Think about it. If it – on the whole – indicates something like, “We just inject people with the right thing and they never have those feelings…” or “We just genetically engineer the ‘bad’ feelings out…” or other things of this nature, it then (if we believe the show is “responsible” for the messages people take from it and decisions they make – as though it’s propaganda rather than entertainment) promotes the diminishment of humanity. Because humanity is not just all that is good – it includes all that is bad within the human purview. Not that we should condone the bad (actions people choose to take) but we should not exclude the choice as a matter of course. To me, to do so is inhumane.

            I’m not inclined to think they’re all that mistaken.

            It’s almost always socially unacceptable to say (and, for some, even consider) the notion that, while there were various factors, they ultimately chose to do the “good” thing. It is often viewed as bragging or not giving credit where it’s due if anyone or anything else was even remotely associated. However, it seems it’s common and, to an extent, socially acceptable to say, “I did this bad thing because of that bad thing!”

            The common factor is the individual. Whatever their genetic or environmental factors are, I may be Spock-like but I refuse to view people as equations, a jumble of figures that – with the correct output, produce the appropriate result. That may be the scientific view for many but, although some might feel they overlap, I feel that it is far from a humanist one.

            Because at what point is Star Trek a hopeful view of the future of humanity if – rather than by free choices – it comes at the expense of that humanity? If we “gain the whole universe but lose our souls”?

            Are you endorsing Trek/humanity or the Borg?

          • StuUK

            Unless you really are Spock you won’t have that level of control over the development of your own mind.

            Of course you maintain the ability to make choices; the train of thought doesn’t take that away. The train of thought is more about the relationship between environment and behaviour.

            Every day you make hundreds of decisions, some more labored than others, most if not all of which are subject to your own catalogue of values which you has assembled over your entire lifetime of experiences.

            Your earliest experiences of course being childhood; a time in your life where your choices were extremely limited and your environment was very much subject first and foremost to the will of your parents. It’s also a time in your life where you are most vulnerable to the assimilation of ideas presented before you (both good and bad) as you lack the skills and the patience to criticise them rationally and objectively and of course most parents are inclined to think that a well behaved child is one that obeys without question. It’s at this time you’ll be forming numerous core traits of your character based on what your environment has been teaching you. It is probably the point at which the environment is either doing you the most good or the most harm as these formative learning experiences will resonate throughout your personality, (leading you to all manner of consequences) for the rest of your life; if you’re lucky, you’ll have been exposed to a little Star Trek during this time! Short of experiencing the extremes of Human experience (ie. a warzone) there probably won’t another time in your life where your behaviour will be more vulnerable to influence… But it will always be to some degree. Yes you’ll continue to make choices but you will always make them based on your own system of values and they are the things that are subject to change, for better or worse.

            My own personal journey has shown me that a condition like anxiety disorder is a solid example of how repeated exposure to the wrong environment can have a lasting detrimental effects on a persons ability to function rationally and action well reasoned choices. And anxiety is learned behaviour.

            “Just engineer the bad feelings out”: Apparently that’s not as ‘easy’ as it sounds. There is a lot of redundancy in your genes and it would seem that there is no singular gene for any given trait. If you were to identify a gene that was keyed towards intelligence and remove it, but you kept that person in an environment that continuously reinforced education and life skills, that person would eventually overcome that disadvantage.
            Again the train of thought puts forward that Humans are not born bad! (or good). Humans reflect the value system of the environment (ie. the culture… the society) that they are raised in. If society were to start looking at the genes of a Human to weed out all the so called ‘bad’ ones, they’re looking in the wrong place and it really would be the most unusual instance of the pot calling the kettle black.

            I invite you to view this. It certainly presents things better than I can and it’s where I draw much of this opinion from anyway.
            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uwhihv2T5FA

          • Ace Stephens

            Unless you really are Spock you won’t have that level of control over the development of your own mind.

            I believe you are mistaking decision-making with development.

            Inclination to make a choice does not make it unless one negates individual being.

            I don’t disagree with the general applicability of what you put forward regarding childhood (and potential traumas or similar) and how values and behavior might change. But an individual remains capable of decision-making if they choose to within these conditions.

            As for engineering factors out, while my stated examples were manners of influencing the genetics or chemical conditions present in the individual, I noted that there were other things of this nature (obviously, within this context). Here, that would allow for any engineering which also merely relates to the environment. That is, “environmental engineering” or “social engineering” or similar. I also believe that this (the manipulation of these elements) negates humanity/choice.

            Regarding humans reflecting the value system of their environment, I agree that this generality remains applicable (as a generality) but find that this is because most individuals choose not to choose. Not because of a false construct imposed but more like because they are unaware there is a construct and therefore largely unaware that they have a choice. The construct you are putting forward is in the realm of determinism. Which, to me, suggests that any hope or probable potential for the human race is not truly derived from choices or actions but from a default set of conditions which simply permeate outward or similar. At which rate, if I consider it to genuinely be a possibility (that is, not so much fiction as a prescription), I would more likely consider it an inevitability (as it is either possible or impossible and, under determinism, if possible, must essentially occur). But I don’t. And, if I did, why would I bother “hoping” about or working toward something which is considered by me to basically be a guarantee?

            Do you understand what I mean? There is no hope in this to me. It is death. It is negation. And therefore I find it antithetical to Star Trek, which seems to me – as a world – more prone to recognizing individuality and the strength of the individual than simply presenting the conditions regarding this potential outcome. Even so, I do not consider it a probable fiction.

            In my view, there is no strength (that is, no humanism, hope, etc. – in the realms Trek portrays in some fashion) in focusing on the “programming” of individuals to the negation of their individuality. What you note in the above as a documentary is what I would consider “programming” to those who engage it in that fashion – that is, propaganda, indoctrination, etc.

            I do not engage it in that fashion. Just as I do not engage fiction, in general, in that fashion. I choose not to accept that (what I consider) false construct as a valid choice. You apparently choose to engage it for various reasons which are your own. To you, I must assume it appears true. To me, it is yet another easy answer, simple solution or oversimplification that actually contributes to the concern it seems to contest. And I do not value things like this. Just like I don’t value false and/or inhibiting conditions within a hypothetical that has no practical, immediate application.

    • DaMac

      How can you possibly love Trek and support Trump? Those things are literally incompatible.

      • Michael

        Star Trek is fiction and fake. President-elect Trump is reality and is the lesser of two evils. I can’t afford Obamacare anymore for my family as companies are pulling out of the exchange in my state – and we have only one choice now! And yes, they are increasing our rates by nearly 60%, while raising the deductible by 20%. Did I mention by law we are forced to purchase health care thanks to Obamacare? And we have no choice? Does that sound right to you?

        This is not fantasy land – it is taking place to my family. For years in the old system we had great health care as it was possible to shop around. We had better rates, better deductibles, and we had the same doctor for years. Along comes Obamacare and that all went away. We could not see our doctor anymore.

        I have to look out for my family first. I am sorry if others suffer, but they are not my problem. I can’t keep paying to support their health care as well.

  • Arch Stanton

    Says The Divider In Chief. Ambassador Stevens knows all about your, “values”, Obama. So do all the innocent people who you predator droned.

    Sounds like a Star Trek and the people behind it are desperately trying to lose over half their audience politicking for the Demorats.

    That’s fine. Star Trek had a good run. There are other properties to enjoy.

    Now… Bring on the whiney butt-hurt, Libtards.

    • DaMac

      I’m amazed anyone who is a fan of Trek could possibly be alt-right, but it somehow seems to happen. The whole show is based on ideas and values you seem to despise (secular humanism, open borders, diversity).

  • if this guy hadn’t become president, but instead had been a teacher, an educator, a scientist, a philosopher… i think he could have achieved great things… there’s wisdom in him, and i can’t wait to see him (hopefully) put it to the best possible uses after he quits his stupid job… <3

  • David Dennis

    It’s nice to have a Trek fan in the White House whatever his or her party and I hope he won’t be the last.
    Folks taking this little story and turning it into a hatefest is pretty disgusting. I guess a few more angry people to block.

  • Shane

    This president believes in science. If I remember my Star Trek, science plays a key role in its existence. The president believes in diversity, something one of the current candidates berates. Even stories of Starfleet is at times littered in political corruption which is what another candidate can’t shake. Even if you don’t agree with all this president has done, would it kill you to compliment him for what he likes which is what we all like (Star Trek). Mostly everyone on this board has fallen into the trap of berating, demeaning and insulting. That goes against what Star Trek is all about. I respect those who respect me even though we may not see eye to eye. Demeaning or insulting a person cause you disagree with them is the chicken and easy way out. You are all better than that. Please prove it. Oh, Live Long and Prosper!

    • M33

      Just so I am understanding your point, which candidate are you referring to?

      • Michael

        Obviously Clinton, as she is corrupt as heck.

        • Snap

          And Trump is a racist misogynist who thinks it’s okay to talk about treating women in a completely unacceptable manner since it is only “locker room talk” yet he has also uttered this particular phrase: “This is my boardroom and not a locker room. Maria, you’re fired.” I guess we can add “hypocrite” to his resume.

          He is the antithesis of everything Star Trek is meant to represent. At best, he is Ja-rod betraying Khitomer to the Romulans.

          • Michael

            Trump just talked dirty, Bill actually raped and Hillary covered it up.

          • Axanar Lives

            Nope. Ken Starr himself found no evidence of that.

            But in an interesting twist, ole Ken Starr was fired from Baylor University for a scandal in which he tried to cover up sexual assaults. LOL

            So in summary, the nations leading Clinton prosecutor, who himself has experience in how to cover up sexual assaults, could not prove a thing on that silly Clinton rape claim.

          • The Science Fiction Oracle

            Yea, that was all disproven 20 years ago. The minute they got lawyers to take JB’s statement, she decided to tell the truth that he did not do it. Then years later, when she needed some bucks, she decided to make up stuff again — cha ching!

            How funny that Kenneth Starr is now the one on the other side here!

          • The Science Fiction Oracle

            Nope, Trump admitted on video that he gropes women, force kisses them, and walks into dressing rooms to get naked views…and then he expects us all to dismiss this when people validate that what he claimed himself to be his behavior, really is his behavior. How precious is that? :-))

            He and Booger are hilarious!

          • Snap

            Do you have any proof that Trump “just talked dirty”? He has already proven himself a hypocrite by claiming “nobody respects women more than [him]” while taking great pleasure in denigrating a former Miss Universe for gaining weight and making false accusations regarding a sex tape.

            I’m not even an American and I can see that Trump is a disgusting bag of mostly water who is nothing more than a petulant bully who has absolutely no place anywhere near the White House. Could you see him treating the rest of the world leaders the same as he has Hilary during the debates?

  • grandadmiralbinks

    Every human being should be a Star Trek fan. Not because it would glorify the franchise, but because it enriches the human being. So many shows out there that glorify death, stupid shows about murders, zombies, sad family stories, etc, which do nothing to the person who watches them, except subconsciously fill them with bad thoughts, sadness and pessimism. Star Trek is a celebration of life, diversity, knowledge, good spirit and optimism. We need that. Maybe more than ever before. What many people don’t seem to understand is that not all sci-fi is stupid, childish bullshit. MOST sci-fi is actually the most progressive genre of literature/shows/movies. Because it goes beyond (pardon the pun, it was not intended).

  • bytes

    Why is there so much effort in attempting to align Star Trek with liberal politics this year? Star Trek is about values and humanity’s future. A future where the drive is to improve yourself, work hard, grow, never ending effort to care for others… and not get paid a dime for it. Life in a society where there is no greed, no hunger, no illness. An ever bright place we all should strive to reach for. To advertise and align it with so much liberalism, just seems like such a shame to it’s true core.

    • Ace Stephens

      It’s not uncommon for people to oversimplify things in order to have them suit their political views. To some, the suggestion that many things are multifaceted and might not fully align with an obvious political viewpoint is a concept they can’t or won’t grasp.

    • DaMac

      I’m not making fun of you but if you can’t see that Star Trek is a deeply Leftist show then I don’t know what to tell you.

  • Michael

    The sooner this clown is out of the Oval Office the better.

    • DC Forever

      I assume you are backing that paranoid, nut-case, serial woman molester who thinks he’s God?

      • Michael

        Huh? Bill Clinton has already been President – he is not eligible to run again.

        • Axanar Lives

          Say what you want about the Clintons, but the economy grows and budgets get balanced when they are in power. If the price of that means a couple of their self-serving fairly inconsequential scandals, then scandal away…the 90’s were the best period for the U.S. in the past 25 years.

          • The Science Fiction Oracle

            Yep. FACT — both Clinton and Obama faced huge deficits from their Republican predecessor’s out of control spending, and Clinton got us to the first balanced budget in 40 years, and Obama cut Bush’s annual deficit in half. FACT!

    • The Science Fiction Oracle

      Maybe Trump can talk about what the Klingon Empire has meant to him and Booger?