Star Trek is Humanity’s Mirror

The series that spawned modern day Star Trek is over. It probably wasn’t the best series of Trek ever developed, but it still had its moments. But none can deny that if it wasn’t for Discovery we wouldn’t be having the Trek resurgence we have today.

When I first saw a clip of Discovery on YouTube I was a little confused. Was this a new movie? How did I miss this one?

The special effects were beyond movie quality, but the basic premise was very Star Trek. Protecting an indigenous species without contaminating their culture. This is how I found out they were making Star Trek again. Real Star Trek, set in the main universe.

Of course, many people didn’t like NuTrek. It didn’t have that hopeful outlook that 90s Trek had, instead focusing on war, pain and action. It still had Star Trek in its core, but it felt different. For me I felt it was reflective of the times.

Growing up in the 90s, everything was optimistic. The world was at a relative peace compared to earlier in the century. Countries were forming relationships under organisations like NATO and the EU. Human rights were progressing. A new technology called “the Internet” was gaining traction and seemed like it was going to unite humanity even more.

And so Star Trek was just as optimistic. It showed that there was hope for humanity to unite under one banner, to found world peace, and to go out and explore the stars. In hindsight it felt like we missed things that were bubbling under the surface.

The world wasn’t perfect. There were still wars. There was still racism, xenophobia, and hate in general. Many believed these would disappear with the growth of new technology. Now it seems that technology is responsible for many hateful organisations growing.

Gone is the optimism. The future looks bleak. It feels like the utopia we dreamed of has gone. We are heading toward a dystopia. That is, unless we are already living in one.

The influence may be subtle, subconscious. But it really feels like NuTrek is being influenced by the current zeitgeist. It’s hard to write an optimistic future when you can no longer imagine what that future would look like.

That isn’t to say that NuTrek doesn’t have its flaws. There are genuine issues with the writing and production that are subject to valid criticisms. And I also don’t think it’s wrong to say that you don’t like it because it’s too bleak.

But I also think that Star Trek is a mirror to our own humanity. Right now, the world is literally on fire, wars are breaking out left and right, and the technology that was supposed to unite us is instead dividing us. Star Trek is nothing more than a reflection of that.

I do enjoy the modern day Trek series overall. But I hope that one day we can have a more optimistic, utopian Star Trek again. And I especially hope that it is a reflection of a future we will have one day.

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