“Logic is the beginning of wisdom, not the end.”Mr. Spock, Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country
Today Jeff is joined by fellow integral nerds Cindy Wigglesworth and Corey deVos in this warmhearted appreciation of the venerable Star Trek franchise, one of the oldest and most robust pop culture franchises in existence.
Spanning more than 50 years, 741 episodes across six different series (The Original Series, The Next Generation, Deep Space 9, Voyager, Enterprise, and now Discovery), and 14 feature films, the lore and philosophy of Star Trek runs incredibly deep, making it incredibly ripe for an integral voyage into its most significant themes and messages.
At its heart, Star Trek is a show about our own evolving morality. The very best episodes across its numerous series are often about how to make the most difficult ethical choices when no easy solutions can be found. But the ethics of Star Trek are not mere dogmatic values floating in some idealistic interstellar vacuum — these values are enacted and renewed time and time again every time they intersect different civilizations and different conflicting notions of “the greater good”.
“Universal law is for lackeys; context is for kings.”Captain Lorca, Star Trek: Discovery
In other words, Starfleet values are not mere codes of conduct to be memorized and executed. These are not black-and-white values. As Corey says in his review, Star Trek: Discovery and the Moral Arc of the Universe, “it’s about having a very strict Prime Directive, and understanding why it must never ever be broken — and then knowing exactly when you need to break it.” Starfleet values are not inert, they are more like hyper-objects that, when enacted, actually pull the characters (and the audience, and the writers, and the showrunners…) into higher, deeper, more evolved waves of being, inviting all of us to explore more subtle, more sensible, and more sophisticated considerations in our own moment-to-moment ethical algorithms.
In this respect, when it comes to its morality, its humanitarianism, its underlying philosophies, and its capacity to activate the better angels of our being, the Star Trek franchise more or less stands alone in our increasingly dystopian media landscape, and continues to offer us an aspirational roadmap to help us climb our way out of the bizarro mirror universe we currently seem to be inhabiting.
“Our species can only survive if we have obstacles to overcome. You remove those obstacles. Without them to strengthen us, we will weaken and die.”James T. Kirk, Metamorphosis
We often talk about the difference between “integral art” (artworks that are created from an integral consciousness) versus “enacting art integrally” (engaging any given work of art from an integral point of view). Every now and again, we get the rare opportunity to do both simultaneously, as we do here in this integral celebration (and integral enactment) of the Star Trek franchise.
So open hailing frequencies, set phasers to stun, and prepare to boldly go where no Star Trek review has gone before.
Written by Corey deVos
“Live now; make now always the most precious time. Now will never come again.”Jean-Luc Picard, Inner Light