I watched William Shatner’s Documentary “Get A Life”, about Trekkies at the Las Vegas Star Trek Convention. He talks to the curent head of Joseph Campbell Foundation about what mythos we live by. Many of us that grew up with Star Trek The Original Series have taken Gene Roddenberry’s vision to heart. From the documentary it is clear that there is an underlying story that has a universal , common story to it. More so than I think Star Wars does.
Gene had a hopeful vision of a humanity that accepts ALL humans as equals. A FUTURE that IS possible. For a kid who was raised in a Methodist church that said all of humanity IS equal and that everyone belongs, the show’s main theme was not a surprise to me. I just accepted that all the people on the USS Enterprise were team mates and loved each other. But what a shock comes when we get to stories about wars in TOS. The stories of wars were done through the alien cultures. And we’d get how much more balanced humans are to aliens. (Ego much there Captain Kirk?)
Then in 1977 came George Lucas’ Star Wars. HUMANS were now fighting other humans, an Empire that demanded you to conform to the Empire or die. The thrill of a galactic story that happened in the PAST. That the idea of War should be IN the past and not our current present. (George was on to something there by setting war in a long time ago in a… well you know it). Now we see a story of rebels fighting for the lives and freedom of the people. But the story wasn’t really about the rebellion, as we would learn that it was the story of the Skywalker family and the restoration of one man’s soul. (Yep, Episodes I through III changed our perception of what Star Wars was)
I think that George Lucas had always wanted to make the Star Wars movies a metaphor that would inspire generations to rethink about what Empire is. HOW we live our lives. And yes, I think he has accomplished that. But look at the stories that other people have written and how dark that galaxy still is. With an Episode VII on the horizon, I fear that the hope that came at the end of Return of the Jedi will be lost.
Now I’ve not read or really bothered to read the beyond ROTJ stories, the only ones I really read were the Marvel comics series, because I’m of the mind set that “All Good Things” must come to an end so a new beginning can happen. As much as I’d like to think that life is a circle, I still slip and end up on that linear time line.
I have also thought deeply on why so many people were disappointed with SW I-III. My conclusion is that it’s not only Jar Jar Binks or the meticlorian idea, it’s that the movies, for some, did not live up to the ideas that they had in their heads about what the past really was for the Star Wars galaxy. Our stories didn’t match up with what the creator, George Lucas, had come to his mind. I was NOT disappointed or annoyed, I was FASCINATED. Where I saw the story of a child corrupted by a power and then redeemed, other people have seen something else.
I find that when you do things that the fans are expecting and you cow-tow to the money, you become highly rich, but loose your story to the masses. Your vision doesn’t matter anymore, the one that started the vision disappears and a different story line takes over. Then you go back to the story creator’s vision and find that it sucks because you don’t like it. You want to make it over in YOUR image and story. Along the way of changing the story to fit your personal style, you discover something that you were NOT looking for. That the vision of the original story maker IS better that what you though you could come up with.
Here’s the problem: No matter how much tweaking, or changes are made, the past vision is set and unless you destroy it all, the original story is still there! And the fans don’t LIKE that.
Every time a sequel movie or TV series is created, either by the author or the company, the story gets added to, nothing is gone from the memories of those who saw the original. “Han shot first” comes to mind. This is how I remember it happening. But George changed it to a “quick draw”. And so now the puriest come along and try to stop the creator from fixing his story to match what he says it is. The next “George” knows better than the original “George”.
In this case, the creator has to pass on his vision because it becomes bigger than himself. He has lost all control of his creation and has let it have a life of it’s own. And the people start to write their own version and ignore what has gone on before. There gets to be more and more added, and most of it is not benificial to the story, but man can you get rich off the story, sell the rights and spread the wealth. (BTW, I just missed spelled “wealth” and the auto correct thought I was trying to type “death”. Hmmmm)
This happens with trying to live in duality. Then there comes an us vs. them mentality. And those of us who like both are stuck in the middle of a battle we can’t win. So we do what we can to be the mediators, hopefully make both sides see what new hopes can be found as we boldly step into a new reality steeped in a new vision. (And coming off sounding like we are egotistical too)
The vision that I find in Star Wars is NOT a unified universe, but one of constant duality of good and evil. Star Trek had conflicts but all the series find a way to END the conflict. Star Wars fandom seems to not want that. The battle of duality doesn’t want an end, it wants to keep the trap of and endless cycle of hate, fear and destruction so that there is always a new hero to come and save everyone. But what if the ONE has already saved the galaxy? What if the duality story is causing us to be in an endless cycle that never brings peace?
So how about a NEW story all together?
How about a story based on the values that intrigued you? Instead of passively sitting there waiting for the next story and then aggressively attack what you don’t understand, create a NEW universe, a new story that will describe your view? I have to admit that I would like to create a new universe using the themes that I find intriguing and unifying. I would like to see a new creation instead of trying to out do the previous TV series or movie franchise.
I would prefer to see a TIMELESS story reintroduced to speak to a NEW GENERATION in a way that can communicate HOW we all wish to see our reality. If that be without a deity, how would that way look and would it be worth living? If there is a deity, HOW does that deity act? If we are a continuation of a story, who’s the original author? What is that universe built on? Is it science? Is it built on a foundation of peace and not war? Could it be said that war is something that should be only in a far far away place in a distance past? Or is the universe built on a circle motion that our ending is our beginning?
As I have written this post, I find that I want to go where no one has gone before, but with a story that is founded on a concept know in Greek as “Agape”. Something I find to be the underlying story of BOTH the Star Trek and Star Wars universes that NO ONE is willing to admit is there.
Yes, we map out our own reality and yes, we need to have a main story to go on. Otherwise we are just wasting time, space and our life. For me, a “Star Warrior” universe is a sustaining of good and evil. I want a universe that says there is no place for war. No place for hate and fear. I want to live in a universe of acceptance, and unconditional love. A place where people are quick to forgive and even quicker to forget why the fight ever started. A wondrous world that puts creativity above profit. A world not founded on personal power, but brings power to a person through self control and self sacrifice. A world founded on serving one another in Love.
I find the universe of Star Trek tells tales of our present past with the revelation that we HAVE overcome our differences and work together to be a much more satisfying ending to our lives than one of continual war and battles. This is how I wish to end my story when my body finally wears out and I can meet the ONE who’s story I REALLY live in. I find in Gene Rodenberry’s secular humanism story, the TRUTH about Christ. That all humanity IS one. That war is unnecessary between humans. I find that the Jesus story has this element too.
To those who wish to remain in the story of good vs. evil, I would like you to really think about what it mean to LIVE that reality out. To take a good look at the story that you believe to be the truth and then think about what it would mean to leave that vision, that story for one that is built on nothing but ONE UNCONDITIONAL LOVE!
In the Star Wars universe, the idea that the FORCE being ONE needs to be the factor to tie in the next part of the saga. Otherwise the series is “dead” and not worth watching or living. Star Trek needs to remember that it is the human heart where LOVE (God) lives. Otherwise Star Trek is “dead” and not worth watching.
There are stories to be retold. Timeless themes that need to be restored to all of us. The theme of unconditional love is hard to see in Star Trek, but you look at the fans that end up at the conventions. Same for Star Wars. You go to Comic Con or any “cult” TV show, you see unconditional love. You see people who are not concerned what faith you follow, who you voted for in the last election, or what you do to bring in the paycheck. We need to be taught how to overcome our egos and get right with love. Perhaps we need to show people the “Geekdom” in a wider way.
We all need unconditional love. NO MATTER HOW we get to it, we need it. That is the mythos that we need to recover, because it IS constantly there, has been from the day we were born, has been there before history, has been there because it is a part of us that needs to be used on a daily basis. And I have a feeling that science will catch up to our stories sooner than later. If anyone knows of a scientific study that can prove that we are to live in a constant state of love, please post the link in the comments. I would LOVE to see that.
Over the years I have learned that what we consider the good in life is NOT always good for us, it’s just the way we were meant to function. We have bought into lies that are not beneficial to our life. And we are still on a trek to find what really does work and what doesn’t. Constantly at war with our brothers and sisters just doesn’t help. We have to turn away from war and to something much vaster and indescribable that speaks to our heart.
According to the internet “Love” is a passing emotion. But what if it is NOT just an emotion, but the WAY to live life? What if love really is a state of being that has no conditions? What if unconditional love IS the NEW hope we have been treking for?
And no, Firefly or Babylon 5 aren’t the answer either.
We have returned to a time where we are lost and are looking for our story. We are in a time where we would rather sit back and not do anything but wait. But I see and hear unconditional love telling us of who we really are. I see in Star Trek a new world that is worth living in. Star Wars is the reality we have been living in.
Empire or Federation. Neither is founded in love, but love IS there. You just have to look and see with better eyes than you were born with. Your Jedi Master or Captain who can be an Emissary to your story is out there. You just need to find him or her.
As for myself, I found Christ. I found Christ through Jesus. I found a story that is worth living in reality. I have found that HIS story is a challenge to everyone who was born in the United States of America, including those in the religion that rose up about Him. I find his story quietly hidden in BOTH Star Wars and Star Trek. I hope you can see it too.