Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Star Trek

What was it about that show? The many shows? Why is it so popular? Why do people, many of them anything but whacked-out science-fiction nuts, flock to the conferences? Because it is about philosophy, life and the human condition. That series of shows and movies always remained oriented around truth, justice and the dream of a better future. The dream of adventure filled with compassion and caring. Even when using such dialogue as "the need of the many outweighs the need of the few," it was written from a viewpoint of self-sacrifice, not enforced sacrifice. We are tribal in nature, we band of humans. We are not national or international, except by association. We take care of the people we know. The people we like. We admire cult, television and sports stars from afar, and it is to their advantage that most never become known by almost anyone, other than those selected to be in their close tribes.

We are living in a time when we are going to be forced to become more homogeneous, not less. We are not going to be run by some international government, or, if we are, we are not going to care. We are going to soon be forced to look within, to our family, our circle of close friends, our neighborhood. And that is where we shine. Just as the 'tribe' in Star Trek was, in reality, a small cadre of tribal members who manned the bridge of the Enterprise, or appeared on it regularly. There is even a standing joke among Trekkies with respect to crewmen who wore red uniforms. When those 'non-tribal member' crewmen appeared in a scene you knew they were going to get killed by the aliens or in some gruesome accident. And it did not matter all that much. But when a tribal member was lost to the show, as in life, then there was grief and wailing to no end.

Tribalism is good. From the close association of tribal members comes new ideas. Comes synergy of ideas and work. Comes survival cooperation. We are all in this life to survive and propagate. That is it. All that was given to us by biology and physics. But we, us homo sapiens, have taken that to a height beyond what we know to be the case in this universe. We have used tribalism to advance ourselves to the point where we can actually give ourself as one for the good of the many. And that is a tribal achievement. Our young men and women still dying in Iraq and Afghanistan, are not dying for the money, the contract they signed, or for the Marine Corps or the Army. They are not dying and being horrendously wounded for you and me. Unless that you and me has a family member or friend doing so. They are doing it for the tribe they serve with and the tribe they have back home. It is how we get through. How we survive. And it is good.

As Obama is organizing a tribe to surround him in the White House, to supplement the family one he is moving in there, we are called upon to do the same thing in our lives. Think. You have time. Who do you want in your tribe? What does it take to have that participation? What must you do to be a member? What must you require of other's for their membership? It is time to take an active role in such thoughts, and then actions. In this direction lies bliss. Joe Campbell. This is about Joe's understanding of mythology and the real world. Come in from the real world. You can only survive the real world by living in the mythical one.

My coming series, called The Mastodons, is all about this. The first book is called The Boy and will be available at soon. Come, adventure with me.

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