Third Nacelle wrote:
As for everybody calling BS on Roddenberry's vision of enlightened humanity, think of this: Star Trek is farther in the future than slavery is in the past. If you don't think it's realistic to portray humans as bettering ourselves and socially evolving, take a frakkin' look around you.
Again is anyone really against that?
It's the odd extremes that Roddenberry seemed to take things to about interpersonal relationships, not the general idea that people can get past the obstacles of today. Gene seemed to be in love with aspects of Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs
. Which says that once other needs such as the basic needs to survive are taken care of a person is free to become a self-actualized person. Which is really great and something to strive for. One of the things that we keep going 'round about in Season 1 is how our crew pretty much said that verbatim to anyone who would listen. How about instead of all this exposition, we saw people who were just living their lives as an example of people who have a very good shot at self-actualization?
Where Gene's newer (post-TOS) outlook starts to become unrealistic is that it seems that in his mind by being self-actualized suddenly nothing would affect you ever. No external events seemed like it should bother anyone. And of course there is some truth to this, hypothetically feeling self-actualized a person would generally feel good about his/herself and not generally feel threatened or bothered by other people who are at a different place in their lives or are different personalities, etc.
However, when you something happens that affects getting one of the lower needs met in the pyramid of needs, it can become harder to feel like a self-actualized person. Those other levels include things not addressed in the predominantly economic/social problems exposition that we hear from Roddenberry's mouthpieces in Season 1. For example love and belonging needs are not met in-and-of-itself by having a society that has no need of money and shares resources and has advanced medicine, etc. That would meet physiological and safety needs. But would have little to do with being loved or fostering a person's self concept/esteem.
Obviously these all interrelate, but it doesn't necessarily follow from one to other that suddenly no one would have personality conflicts or feel anxiety about a situation or person or place, etc.
People have different temperaments (which is both a biologically and socially influenced trait), people have different predispositions to things like addiction. These are genetic traits that won't just go away, unless we resort to eugenics and we all know how Trek feels about that.
I love the idea of the world we see in the TNG-era in general, and I truly believe we as humans really could get to something close to what Trek portrays.
It's just what became of Roddenberry's own ideas and how staunchly he felt that no major issues on almost any scale (Federation-wide all the way to interpersonal) would be too much to handle for people. Yet ironically he had a therapist in the crew, specifically for people to work through issues to keep bettering themselves and emotionally feeling safe enough to continue on their self-actualization course. So the idea was there, but it was like he couldn't bring himself to think that people might still have some issues.
We're not perfect, we'll never be. We can be better, perhaps a lot better than we are now. In fact the overly homogenous, "whitewashed" place he was taking it to is almost a reversal of IDIC, because everyone is nearly the same. What happened to celebrating and incorporating diversity?
Weather he meant to or not, TNG Season 1 is almost the exact opposite of the man who said this in 1971:
“If man is to survive, he will have learned to take a delight in the essential differences between men and between cultures. He will learn that differences in ideas and attitudes are a delight, part of life's exciting variety, not something to fear.”
Even as recent as 1985 I love this quote from his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame ceremony:
"I believe in humanity. We are an incredible species. We're still just a child creature, we're still being nasty to each other. And all children go through those phases. We're growing up, we're moving into adolescence now. When we grow up – man, we're going to be something!"
So if you extend his metaphor, by the 24th century humanity is in adulthood. But adults aren't perfect either, they've learned a lot about the world, and hopefully have some more wisdom and common sense than children or teens would.
So in the end it seems that Roddenberry's best and worst idea was what he made out of his generally very positive and hopeful philosophy of humanity in the future.
It seems his philosophy really did best when others contributed to it (i.e. Gene Coon in TOS and the team led by Michael Pillar on TNG). Which kind of circles back to IDIC doesn't it?