Real Life is Not Like Star Trek

For my birthday, my son and fellow Star Trek aficionado gave me some DVDs with the old TV series.  Needless to say, I have made a lengthy review of the subject lasting far into the evenings over the last week or so.


As a fictional future, Star Trek set a high standard:  there was always in interesting planet to explore, every week there was a challenging interpersonal (interspecies?!) relationship to develop, the good guys always won, camaraderie reigned supreme.  Even logic and reason, while important, were shown to be inferior to human intuition and compassion.  Every episode left you with the feeling that things just would just get better and better.  What an exciting, upbeat, pleasantly challenging universe we would encounter in the future!  Pop culture was profoundly affected:  “Beam me up Scotty!”


So my evaluation of the genre?  Star Trek ruined an entire generation, maybe two.


Don’t get me wrong – I really enjoy the old series (except maybe for the first movie).  I still do.  I indoctrinated my kids and they are working on indoctrinating my grandkids.  Beam me up Scotty, indeed.


Alas, one of the most poignant Dilbert cartoons of all time has a senior engineer telling a naive young intern to “climb into the Jeffries tube” (the air conditioning duct) to get to “engineering” where an impending disaster could to be averted.   After the intern gets stuck in the duct, the senior engineer says “this is where the intern finds out that life is not like Star Trek”.   Too true:  real life is not like Star Trek.


We have not found any alien civilizations (yet), nor life of any kind elsewhere.  Even the evidence for fossilized life on some meteorites is highly controversial.  Humans have briefly scouted exactly one other world full of “magnificent desolation.”   Most of our human time has been spent in low earth orbit, eking out a toehold in space.  Some of our robots have visited more worlds and their splendid visits give us some hope for future exploration.


But for my generation, indoctrinated in the Star Trek mythos, the bar was set high and in real life the results have been, well, meager.  Space exploration has lead to the development of loads of new technologies (GPS, direct broadcast satellite TV), and there have been many examples of courage and heroes to inspire us; but we are a little short in the interaction-with-beings-from-other planets department.  (No UFO letters please).


Real life has turned out to be a lot darker and more complicated than any of the TV episodes or even the movies.  Nothing really gets settled in an hour in real life, does it?


Over the years the Star Trek franchise also changed as the new episodes became darker and less optimistic.  Picard stuck in endless battles with the Borg; Voyager never going to make it home, Deep Space 9 battling shape shifters to an inconclusive standoff, and Enterprise which became a dark soap opera centered on the relationships between the crewmembers.  The last movie has become the of the darkest of all – exchanging a bright future timeline for a more sordid and darker one.  Sigh. So much for “rebooting” the future.


(Meanwhile, I have often pondered the metaphorical symbolism of the Borg Collective as a substitute for the OMB.  Really.  “Resistance is Futile.”  Think about it.)


If the Star Trek writers were to make a more real-life episode, it would probably have consisted of Jean-Luc Picard testifying before the Federation Senate subcommittee on the Star Fleet budget and how it was inadequate to carry out the exploration mission which was the primary reason for the existence of the Fleet.  An interesting or exciting episode?  No.  But then, as I said before:  real life is not like Star Trek.


So a whole generation or maybe three has been ruined to expect excitement, glamour, interspecies interaction, and a host of things that space exploration in the real universe simply does not provide.  Ruined.  Expectations set too high.  Thus we have many people who might otherwise support space exploration but are disappointed by its current status.


I was fortunate to have a personal interaction with the Great Bird of the Galaxy, Gene Roddenberry while I was in college in the early 70’s.  His vision – and it remained constant until he passed away – was of an optimistic future.  A future where hard work, risk taking, and good judgment, trust, and compassion would lead to rewards for both the individual and society as a whole.  The franchise did not turn dark until he was gone. 


Call me a pollyanna if you like, but I agree with Roddenberry.   There is an exciting future out there for us. 


I guess I really have been ruined because I really do – at my core – believe that hard work, risk taking, good judgment, trust, and compassion will lead to great rewards for our whole society.   All the societies on Earth.  Heck, even those alien societies we may encounter some day.


Now if we could just get a Zefram Cochrane to show us how to travel a warp speed . . . . 

 . . . .   maybe real life would become like Star Trek.

29 thoughts on “Real Life is Not Like Star Trek”

  1. I, too, am optimistic, Wayne. Without optimism, why even explore space? Without optimism, why work to get the next generation and the one after that interested in, engaged in, excited about exploration, space flight, the future?

    Ruined? There, I disagree. The Great Bird of the Galaxy shared with us a vision of what COULD be, what CAN be. Though we’re not there yet, it’s a future. It’s a possible future. It can only become a probably future with work from people like you who caught the bug, who remember the excitement of the great Apollo efforts, who believe that we CAN go beyond that scant few quarter million miles and out “To Infinity, and Beyond!”

  2. On the other hand, I was inspired by The Next Generation as a kid, and that inspiration led me to working on the next closest thing I could get my hands on. I’m currently at JSC, working on Orion. So even if we grow up and realize life isn’t like T.V., it’s still a good lesson, and still inspirational!

  3. If I was ever lucky enough to have been on a launch pad with Wayne Hale as Launch Flight Director I would have not been able to stop myself saying “Beam me up Wayne” when it came to the Launch Status Check. I hope whenever they invent a teleporter device they call it the “Hale Device”. In 2001 Space Odyssey it “predicted” a space plane taking passengers up to a space station – hey wait a minute isn’t that what you guys (and girls) at NASA were (and are still) doing both in actual year 2001 and since? I’m amazed just how much “science fiction” NASA has brought to life. Warp drive? – only another 54 years until someone at NASA invents it in 2063……maybe Wayne Hale Jr?

  4. Gene Roddenberry gave us a gift, a gift of his imagination that struck a chord with Americans during the heady days of the early space program. It did indeed set a high bar, not only of technology but to change how we look at ourselves as well as others.

    Back then, if we couldn’t get along with the Soviets how could we get along with Vulcans? The human race is still too xenophobic to be encountering humanoids with half-black/half-white faces or pointed ears.

    Go back to the original “The Day The Earth Stood Still”. Remember the conversation where Mr. Carpenter told the scientist that one day soon, nuclear power would be mated to a spacecraft? Well, Project Prometheus was developed and put on hold 40 years ago. Why?

    As I sat in the auditorium at NASA Headquarters with my family during Sean’s farewell gathering, a thought came to me as I watched Scott Bakula’s Captain Archer give his presentation:

    If we don’t work on what we’re working on today, that future will not happen.

    Yes, it will have been a long road getting from here to there, but even “there” will be its own beginning, as humankind takes its first baby steps into a larger voyage of discovery.

    I was always a fan of “Q”, because he tried to teach Picard to open his mind to greater possibilities.

  5. Oh, you geek, you. 🙂

    Glad to see you’re with me — firmly in the Original Series camp. (What a terrific gift, too!)

    For myself, over the last few years I’ve come to realize that real-life spaceflight isn’t such a big let-down from science fiction as it’s often made out to be. The more I watch of our comparatively humble space efforts, the more exciting I find them. And my guess is, that’s because the appeal of Star Trek isn’t, ultimately, the nuts ‘n’ bolts, the specific hardware. It’s those values you noted. And the real-life space program, for my money, exhibits those values bountifully. And if that makes me hopelessly cheesy and a pollyanna, I can live with that. I’m in good company, because I’ve lost count of how many astronauts spoken along these lines. Most especially I think of the some observations by Dan Tani shortly before he left the ISS. Sure, Star Trek is cool, but it’s also inspiring to be around to see the beginnings of Starfleet.

    Another way of looking at it: go back to that question of whether we’re currently at the “sailing ship stage” or just the “dugout canoe stage.” Everything starts somewhere — it can’t be stone knives and bearskins one day, and starships the next. Gotta crawl before we can walk. And Picard’s forebears probably *did* do a whole lot of testifying before the Federation Senate subcommittee on the Star Fleet budget — we just don’t see that part on screen!

    (I’d love to hear more of your meeting with Roddenberry)

  6. Same for me as with brandon. Watching Star Trek, especially “The next generation” as a child has led me to the wish of improving myself. If it hadn’t been for Star Trek to show me what could be possible, maybe future wouldn’t interest me. I would have another character today. The only thing I’m still waiting for is to prove my abilities and my Star Trek-given standards to the society. They didn’t let me… yet.

  7. I’ve always thought (perhaps erroneously) that but for some quirks of money and politics ‘we’ would have been on Mars already. It was the logical extension of the Apollo program. As I understand it, the shuttle was but one part of a much longer program that was scrapped for budgetary reasons. Humans didn’t have to stay in LEO for the past ~40 years. We chose to.

  8. By the numbers:

    1 – I remember that Dilbert cartoon you mentioned. It was between Asok and Alice, and it was one of my all-time favorites.

    2 – The latest Star Trek, while a bit darker, was highly entertaining, easily influenced by Star Wars, and a box office success at many levels. I suspect that a lot of young folks will be influenced by the movie, and will want to explore science, music, writing, etc.

    3 – Star Trek as a whole probably over-ramped expectations of the real manned space program, but I don’t think that those of us born in the 60’s ever really tired of the goals and dreams of space exploration.

    4 – NASA should take comfort that there are still lots of die-hards who believe in fully funding the exploration of the solar system and beyond. We will happily do whatever it takes to ensure that this priority is retained in any and all future budgets.

    5 – The US must never relinquish our role in manned space exploration. To do so would be a national shame, as well as a disaster to national security.

    There is no Number Six. (obscure geek reference)

  9. I certainly understand where you coming from, our expectations are high. Some would argue that the Constellation program is filled with outdated technology, and that because we’ve been to the moon in six short trips we shouldn’t go again. Not to mention that these are just some of the folks who agree with manned space flight and space exploration. Lets not even get started on those folks who don’t believe we ever went to the moon in the first place, or believe NASA’s budget is bigger then what it is and somehow hindering the US. Not to mention unrealistic expectations of technology, which are either impractical due to cost/capabilities/ or are simply impossible.

    Then there is the idea that private industry is going to do what NASA can’t, even though there is no profit in replacing NASA. Especially considering despite the disappointment in NASA by some, NASA is the most capable space agency in the world. I would hate for that to change.

    Especially when it isn’t in nobody’s interest for it to change.

  10. Why do we long so much to make contact with alien species? Are we already so bored with ourselves or looking for new worlds to sack and enslave? Just look back on human history — Columbus, J. Cook etc. What we expect to be the dawn of a new era for the human race may prove as false as the trinkets first European explorers swapped for precious stones with Native Americans (granted, many thousands benefited from the discovery, but for the rest it resulted at best in mixed blessing and at worst in tragedy). Has it ever crossed anybody’s mind that extraterrestrials we blithely fancy to meet might turn out to be technologically superior to us but equal in mentality? Simple logic suggests they would treat us exactly the same way we do our planet, animals and each other — just picture what it would be like. Indeed, greeting aliens would be a mind-blowing experience, but are we morally prepared? As a matter of fact many sci-fi shows and movies, like ‘The Outer Limits’ etc, pose the same question.

  11. I’m glad Starfleet didn’t have to worry about budgets beyond the cost of their sets, personally. Gene Roddenberry’s vision of the future was also one that wasn’t limited by a monetary system. Just think of how far we would be now if it wasn’t for the limitations we put on ourselves.

  12. How pessimistic! AT least the bulk of your post is, though you end with some sign of hope and optimsim.

    Star Trek was set 200-300 years in the future.

    Look how far we’ve come in the last 100 years, from no powered flight to commercial airliners that fill the sky with millions of travelers each day.

    Look how far we’ve come in the last 50 years, from no spaceflight at all to fairly routine launches of both man and machine into low earth orbit and to exploring other planets with amazing little robots that far exceed mission design expectations.

    Look how far we’ve come in the past decade, from only super-power nations controlling spaceflight to private companies being contracted for payload delivery to outer-space, and multiple private companies on the verge of offering low-orbit or sub-orbital commercial tour flights.

    Mankind now has a semi-permanent presence in orbit, and multiple nations will be visiting the moon in the next decade; the search for resources and bragging rights to exploit will drive space exploration further in the future.

    The future may never be as depicted in Star Trek, but I’m confident that in 100-150 years mankind will be living on at least two or three celestial bodies (Earth, Moon, Mars), and in 200-300 years, who can even guess where we will be? One thing’s for certain, if we give up hope and dreams and fantastic visions, we won’t be as far as our human potential could take us.

  13. All good fiction, especially so science fiction, sets unrealistic standards. However, SciFi doesn’t set scientific goals for NASA any more than James Bond sets intelligence gathering goals for MI-6. The gadgets, worlds, and aliens are just dressing. The Merchant of Venice isn’t about Italian shipping.

    The point of SciFi is to reflect the absurdity of humanity at the time within a framework of a world in the future. For instance, Star Trek The Original Series emphasized the racial tensions of the 1960s both by including Uhura on the bridge as a main character and conflict with the Klingons.

  14. Thinking some more. Another problem with the “Sci-Fi makes people think real spaceflight is boring” argument. Okay: the Sci-Fi spaceships can do things that are faster, cooler, and just plain more convenient than ours.

    But, if one actually has an interest and starts reading more and more about the real systems, one begins to gain an appreciation for how complex they are. For WHY things are done the way they are. So maybe the real problem, is people not looking deeply enough into stuff that interests them. Those who stay at that shallow view weren’t going to become aeronautical engineers anyway, is my guess.

    I see a depressing number of commenters who seem authentically enthusiastic, yet post questions here and there along the lines of “Have you met any aliens yet?” or “Can you see the flag on the Moon from there?” It would have taken just the most trivial amount of independent reading, to not need to ask these questions.

  15. In terms of us being ‘ruined’….. I don’t think I agree.

    I remember a young man asking an older woman why she liked opera so much: “..Because it’s so much bigger than life?” he said.
    “NO! Opera is exactly the Size of life! We just too often have less-than-full life people surrounding us”.

    We are capable of achieving more; so much more. Let’s not blame the people who have shown us how to life life to the full for ‘ruining’ us; let us instead realize that we, our country, and Earth’s society should be doing so much better than we are, and work to make it happen.

    I guess I really have been ruined because I really do – at my core – believe that hard work, risk taking, good judgment, trust, and compassion will lead to great rewards for our whole society. All the societies on Earth. Heck, even those alien societies we may encounter some day.

    Said like a true Trekker!

    I’ve put my Star Trek badge in my shirt pocket every morning that I start work; it’s my mnemonic, to remind of why I’m here and what I believe in. (I also met Roddenberry in college, by the way).

    Now if we could just get a Zefram Cochrane to show us how to travel a warp speed . . . . . . . . maybe real life would become like Star Trek.

    Wellll….. don’t give up hope. One of the things that we may have the potential to be a lot closer to, say, a real solar system drive at least, than most realize. It’s not just Chiang’s VASIMIR; there has been enough thought – and only a little funding – to alternative fusion technologies that would also be suitable for spacecraft use. One of the things I believe the new ARPA-E should be considering is a game-changing, 10-yr/$1 billion ($100m/yr) program to validate which of such alternative fusion technologies really might have the mojo; such as one of the various types of aneutronic fusion, which have been tested on what is essentially a desktop level so far. (I can explain sometime else how I come to that number).

    Imagine that, Wayne; real travel to any planet in the solar systems, within months, in your and my lifetimes. It’s possible. But not at the rate we’re going.

    Dave Huntsman

  16. Well, I have a bitter-sweet reaction. How dull would my childhood have been without the dreams sparked by Star Trek, Alan Shepard, and space science? As for ST being like real life; I was never confused, I understood how we were very far away from the technology of the story! But I was always hoping to be a part of the effort to get there. I am sad for the kids of today as it seems they have little interest in learning about the technology around them. But then, ST wasn’t about exploration very much at all when you look at the stories in the script; just a contemporary soap opera and a few statements that sounded like what the science or philosophy teacher might have said. The good part, if you can give ST credit for, is that more people have more interest and compassion, even though tainted by the American Business model, for helping people in other countries of the world live better or even come up to survival.
    My guess(and a colleague suggested it)that the idea of the Borg came from stories about Intel and Microsoft…observation rather than fiction. Actually I would propose ‘Galaxy Quest’ is more like real life! Or maybe even Mars Attacks…
    It seems that smart people are no longer coming to America, we get mostly poor and uneducated, so that the growing population, by percentage, shows diminishing value in science compared to the ‘advanced civilization’ that was here follwing WWII. Even fringe things like UFO interest have dwindled(someone asked: With all the video camera capability today, why do we have less pictures and fewer encounters?). We still have religion and political oppression, things I thought I heard someone say were going to be ‘fixed’ by the time I grew up…
    The risk takers and scientists of Mercury Program have long been retired and the new engineers are probably smart people but no longer have the respect the profession once had.
    I find Engineering work still rewarding but the demand seems to be dwindling as time goes on. Even now I have a Mars camera that should be riding on MSL but is suffering political exile from an empire builder at JPL; he’s a victim of the economy no doubt.
    I know the young geeks will follow that path they seem to be drawn to, but I sometimes hope there will be some Country we can go to where there is support and interest in learning about the universe and not just selling a look at old photos in the museum.

  17. First of all, TV isn’t real life. TV is required to be much more interesting than real life. A good example of a not-so-exciting but more “real life” episode about bureaucratic paperwork and worrying about promotions is “Lower Decks” from TNG season 7 ( )

    Secondly, the Enterprise’s mission was to explore (and defend if necessary.)

    The Fleet’s mission wasn’t necessarily exploration.

    Perhaps this explains why NASA has trouble with funding.

    Supposedly NASA is about exploration and inspiration.

    Actually NASA was about getting to the moon before the USSR, no matter how inspirational-sounding its vision statement is. *It always WAS dark.*

    Just look where Federal money goes: if we had spent the money we’ve spent on Iraq and Afghanistan in exploration, we would have multiple International Space Stations completed and transiting passengers to the Moon and Mars colonies. But there’s no military threat.

    There’s a cute bit in _Lucifer’s Hammer_ by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle in which the US and Soviet space agencies collaborate to tell their respective governments that the OTHER government is planning a mission, so that each can get funding for a mission through the Congress/ Politburo’s suspicion of the other. Maybe Pournelle could offer some tips to NASA on how to get funding.

    Here’s a real-life vision statement: “establish justice, ensure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty.” Note that defense is explicitly stated; “explore the Universe” might wiggle in under the general welfare clause, but the only part of the NASA vision statement that is congruent with the Constitution’s vision statement (or preamble) is “protect our home planet.”

    Find some evidence that the Cardassians are on their way with photon torpedoes and NASA will have so much money you won’t know what to do with it.

  18. We all look into the heavens with awe and wonder. I guess we all are explorers in our own way. I think first it is important to explore within oneself to meditate on the energy that lies in our creation. go within without ego & trust me all is found.

  19. Sorry Wayne – you and I usually agree 100%, but this time you got it wrong – at least for me. I’m 48 so I think I’m in the target zone of your ‘generation’.
    I’m currently a lead flight software engineer working on (mostly) NASA satellites. I’m in this largely because of STAR TREK:TOS. I’m currently working the LCROSS program. I walk outside almost every night, look at the stars and staunchly vow – if it’s possible – to become “Zephram Cochrane” 🙂 I firmly believe it’s possible to go to the stars, exceed the speed of light, live the dream, “Boldy Go..”. Heck look at the ST timeline – Zephram wouldn’t actually have been born yet 🙂
    I’m in this for the long haul – as long as I get anyway.
    For those of you who have never read the Star Trek novel “Federation”, please do so. Hopefully – without Col Green and the Optimum Movement – that’s where we’re going. Gene Rodenberry was a true visionary, and I count myself as a true believer.

  20. I always wondered if corporate management in America couldn’t learn something from Star Trek Management, especially in regards to meetings. But I guess Star Trek is a military management crafted from the real-life U.S. military, which is why their meetings are terse, quick and to the point, and why communication is so formal.

    But the key difference from real life may be that all of their personnel are more than competent, they are the best of the best – something that doesn’t happen in real life, even at the top of the military or even at Google, I imagine.

    The point that Picard is not constantly tangled up in red-tape, filling out paperwork or testifying is well taken too, that seems to be something that real-life cannot allow.

  21. You have to remember that The Federation was birthed out of the very last world war where all of mankind( yes, I said mankind because I am not politicaly correct ) was somewhat wiped out and the whole concept of The Federation was to better ones self by bettering others, if you go back to the movie First contact it will better explain why and how there was a United Federation of Planets. One man made a difference, that was Zefram Cochrane with his vision. Just imagine what would happen in our contry if we had a man of vision that could lead truly lead just into the next decade where would our contry be.

  22. I thought that ‘2001 a Space Odyssey’ was a more realistic dipiction of the future (or a possible future) of space exploration and where technological progress would take us if the colonisation of space was a combined international effort (like the multinational ISS partnership) and received the funding to make such a vision a reality. With sufficient funding, R&D work, vision & political will is there anything from an engineering standpoint that would prohibit the construction of a large rotating ‘Station V from 2001 a Space Odyssey’ type space station or an SSTO shuttle like the Orion spaceplane from the same film or even a nuclear powered manned deep space vehicle like ‘Discovery-one’ again from 2001. Also would a ‘Tycho’ or ‘Clavius’ base with a moon shuttle ferrying between the Earth orbiting space station and the Lunar bases be feasible? To this day ‘2001 a Space Odyssey’ remains one (if not the only) film that accurately portrays living & working in the space environment, technically & visually amazing given that ‘2001’ was made before the first men had landed on the Moon! For me credulity was streched to and beyond breaking point with Star-trek’s pseudoscientific technobable and scientific implausibilities for example what is an ‘Inertial Dampener or Dammeter?’ and how exactly does it work to nullify the effects of the G-forces on the crew of Picards Galaxy class Enterprise when it accelerates to warp speed? And what is a warp engine chamber containment field and how does it function? I’m sorry that attempting to give Star Trek Next Gen some scientific credibility by including professor Stephen Hawking in one episode just doesn’t work either. As a sidebar if you look closely at the modelers detail on the saucer section of the Next Gen Enterprise you can make out the words ‘UGLY’ which speaks volumes about what the Enterprise model maker thought of the design of his own creation! Serenity & Firefly were vastly more superior sci-fi shows in just about every department, it went straight into the action and the characters with none of this ‘Inertial Dampeners/Dammeters’pseudoscientific nonsense that Star-Trek Next Gen was awash with and just bogged the action and development down! Other offenders included the sci-fi series Space:1999 (bad or non-existent science mixed with wooden acting!) Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea – TV series & film (should be renamed Voyage to the cutting room floor! Because that’s where it should have stayed!), Blakes-7 (bad or non existent science coupled with one dimensional characters), the Star Wars prequels and the CGI used in them and the ‘digitally’ revamped original Star-Wars films that make them look like a Playstation game instead of a Film. I had to laugh at the film ‘Space Camp’ which was the one where a group of wanabee Astro Kids get ‘accidently’ launched into space on the shuttle by a robot that engineered a ‘thermal curtain’ failure in one of the shuttles solid rocket boosters to overheat and forcing the launch controllers to initiate a liftoff! It allways amazed me in Star-Trek that the Enterprise was able to go to a new planet every weekly episode (amazing feat the Starship Enterprise could do this given the unimaginably massive scale of the universe and the vast distances involved in reaching habitable planets even at maximum warp in the time scales presented in the shows! I think Einstein would be turning in his grave! Who say’s having real science fact rather than fiction is boring in a film?

  23. “Weathermatrix” wondered if corporate management in America couldn’t learn something from Star Trek Management. It just so happens I own a little book called “All I really need to know I learned from watching Star Trek.”! Written by Dave Marnaccio, in 1994. It’s been ages since I got this, but as I recall it’s pretty much what you’re thinking of.

    (Hee-hee, I’m such a big geek…)

    And Andy, about 2001: Yes, it’s much more (beautifully, painstakingly) scientifically accurate, but it doesn’t have the _heart_ that Trek does. I’d rather serve under passionate Jim Kirk than robotic Dave Bowman. If you could put the stories & philosophy of Trek into the mechanics of 2001, you’d really have something. Firefly does come close, but lacks the giddy optimism.

  24. Another book on Star Trek management

    “Make It So: Leadership Lessons from Star Trek: The Next Generation,” by Wess Roberts, Ph.D. and Bill Ross, 1995

  25. Star Trek is a world governed by the laws of art, budget, and the practical realities of filming.

    It is a horrible measuring stick for our space program.

  26. “I guess I really have been ruined because I really do – at my core – believe that hard work, risk taking, good judgment, trust, and compassion will lead to great rewards for our whole society. “

    I agree wholeheartedly. The problem is that hard work is being discouraged, we aren’t allowed to take risks anymore (I’ll have to put my kids in bubble wrap before they ride their bikes before too long), good judgment in my generation (I’m almost 35) is nearly non-existent, no one trusts anyone anymore (you see a new scandal or two everyday in the news it seems) and I don’t see compassion much anymore either – everyone is out for themselves and forget the weak and vulnerable.

    I think there IS hope for the future, but my generation is going to have to teach their children those values that Roddenberry, you and I hold dear. With broken or nonexistent families and hedonism run rampant, it’s going to be a tough job.

    The technology is there and is unceasingly amazing, In fact, my husband and I regard our iPhones as proto-tricorder/communicators.

    It is that spirit that we have as Americans and it is getting suffocated by the new “values” so prevalent in our media and society.

    Now, that’s not too curmudgeonly for a 35 year old woman is it? 🙂

  27. Okay, it is true that “Real Life Is Not Like Star Trek” in any form, but, with the scientific research that is being done now days, that kind of future may end being reality. From what I understand is that N.A.S.A. is working on a plasma drive for space ships, as well as anti-matter too. Now granted these systems may not come around in our time, but with time & alot of hard work, it will come about.

  28. o_O I wouldn’t say that any generation was RUINED by the fact that fiction is not always like real life… that’s a pretty old fact…

    As it is, we have not yet come close to the point in time when it would be really POSSIBLE to have an existence like in Star Trek. It most likely will not happen in our lives. But it would be more unrealistic to actually suggest that, in the entire universe, we were the only forms of life to come into existence than the other possibility. I mean, realistically, the first complex alien life forms we encounter will probably be either not-as-advanced-as-us or more advanced (and, in this scenario, probably found us instead of the other way around), and with either one, a great many years will probably be spent working various things out, first and foremost the whole ‘language’ thing, since there’s a good chance it wouldn’t even resemble anything we had ever considered words at all. So it’s not really ‘star trek is utterly unrealistic in every way possible,’ and more, ‘Star trek, like most television, is very optomistic, but still kind of possible in many ways.’

    Warp technology, unfortunately… doesn’t make sense. There are things LIKE it that people are trying to develop… and who knows, maybe there’s some kind of federation out there waiting for us to do so… but Warp technology itself, I’ll admit, is an optomistic, fool-hardy joke.

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