I was 9-years-old when I first watched Star Trek The Motion Picture in a theater. I remember thinking how far away the year 2000 seemed. I expected a moon base, humans traveling to other planets, and space tourism by the millennium. I felt hopeful towards our future because of analogies made about us in popular books and movies. As I sit here now, in 2014, I have to wonder if I have lost the future I once felt promised to a machine, and I am not speaking about something fictional that has returned from the Final Frontier.
Is there a method to the madness of social networks other than collecting information that we users voluntarily hand over to them? Is it only about profit? Will a completely interconnected world help us look further to the "heavens" or will we become so enamored with who said what today (or who did what to whom) that we will forget to work toward a future?
The news is overrun with sensationalized, greedy, mechanical madness. In society, school shootings occur so often that I bet most can’t name them all now. Murder and mayhem seem to be an accepted norm for at least the first ten minutes of every local news broadcast. One reporter speaks about tragedy while the other bobbles his or her head; neither seems to shed any tears. I’ve been saddened by what I have seen so many times in the news that I don’t turn it on much anymore, and don’t even get me started on the popularity of television serial tragedies.
We are more than a country of robots trying to interpret the ideas of several dead founders, but what good is anything anyone built if in the end we are fighting each other over who's right?
Reporters competing to be the first to report tragedy, kids killing kids in schools, citizens living behind locked doors in fear of someone stealing from them or worse, or a culture of greed that has corrupted the ideas of what could have been; we cannot continue a course led by machines that don’t know how to set a direction beyond their initial programming. We cannot continue to produce generations that do not know how to think for themselves and live in fear when they do.
The machine of narrow-mindedness can threaten every single one of us if we choose to believe in its function: that this is all we are; that there is nothing more. But what if this post could be about something more. What if our news reports didn't give the same news across all stations? What if some chose to lead their broadcasts with good news instead of bad? What if all of our schools were smaller, and not the size of small communities; where kids get the help they need and are treated as individuals and not as financial assets? What if our society was not rooted in a world where those with the most toys win?
I am on the verge of turning 44-years-old now, and thankfully that 9-year-old kid, full of open wonder, is still with me. He still finds hope in science-fiction and science-fact and still enjoys watching Star Trek The Motion Picture from time to time. Sometimes I get lost in the machine of narrow-mindedness but thankfully he is always there to find me, despite it all.