Every year, one of the first things I say to my students is: "I believe we should build Star Trek." There is often laughter, along with some appreciative nods. By the end of our year together, not every students believes in this vision, but no one is laughing anymore.
What does this mean, "build Star Trek"? The answer is at once simple and complex. Let's discover what a real expert said, Captain Jean-Luc Picard of the USS Enterprise-D, in the film "Star Trek: First Contact," while speaking to the character Lily:
"The economics of the future are somewhat different. You see, money doesn't exist in the 24th century. The acquisition of wealth is no longer the driving force in our lives. We work to better ourselves, and the rest of humanity."
Whenever I have uttered the phrase, "Let's build Star Trek!", this is what I had in mind. This vision, this ideal, this goal. A society free of anger, hatred, greed, violence, war, and dehumanization. A society where people struggle to improve themselves both physically and mentally, but do not struggle to eat, to affording clothing or shelter, or medical care. This society is entirely possible, it is just that no one has built it.
Nations of this planet have wasted uncounted trillions on weapons of war that cannot be used; this has been enormously wasteful of both man-hours and resources. Imagine what those wasted resources could produce if we shifted the entire planet towards outer-space exploration and settlement!
To think of it is to be amazed by option of it. To me and to many, no other future makes sense. Let's build Star Trek!
Shawn M. Lynch, Ph.d., is the co-founder and Co-President of Better of Elections Now!