I am writing another book.
I am very concerned, as I am sure many others are, with the status of our world. However, I am worried that we are experiencing a self-fulfilling prophecy. Is the world really as bad as the media reports or do we have a skewed perception that is influencing our decision making?
Negativity can be a malignant disease that spreads subcutaneously through a society. Once it infects someone, it can be very difficult to cure. Worse, when it envelopes groups, like your work place or school, it can wreak considerable harm by withering morale, driving poor decision making, and destroying hope. In its most virulent form, it can plague an entire culture or society causing widespread fear, distrust, and malaise.
Amazingly, most books set-in our near future do not depict a positive, happy, bright world. Popular science fiction movies, like Soylent Green, Planet of the Apes, The Matrix, Terminator, Hunger Games, and Wall-e, just to name a few, all have a similar dystopian quality about them also. They paint depressing pictures of a future where society has finally imploded. Stories in the genre share a comparable premise of civilization’s inevitable collapse. The writers assume that our fate is already sealed, as if we are doomed to a bleak existence.
I think that is why I always liked Star Trek. Its creator, Gene Roddenberry, must have been an optimist. In the Star Trek world mythos, humankind has its difficulties over the centuries, but we always persevere. Somehow, we overcome our problems and, at times, ourselves and struggle onward. Eventually, we reject racism, sexism, materialism, and war and embark on an epic voyage across the stars. We hope “to boldly go where no one has gone before!”
When I would tell my students that I was a “Trekkie,” usually they would first ask, “What is that?” After my initial shock that they did not know what a “Trekkie” was, I would explain to them that I was a fan of the television show Star Trek. Their disapproving reaction was usually, “That’s a boring show!” and “It so fake.” Their blatant criticism took me back, not because of my admiration of the legendary Captain James T. Kirk, but because they could not seem to accept a future where our world survived. The possible reality of society pulling through and achieving great things was nowhere near as exciting as our imminent demise to them. I struggled to understand if they were brainwashed into believing that we are on a one-way track to self-destruction or that suffering and death is more exciting than exploration and triumph.
I try not to make too much out of my impromptu pop-cultural analysis. However, it has led me to search for some answers. The central question I keep coming back to involves wanting to know where we as a civilization are heading. In the vast dark cosmos, is our light preordained to be extinguished by our own hand? Alternatively, are we living a lie that has been perpetuated and expanded by our omnipresent and increasingly powerful social media?
The internet is an unmatched source of information. It is also a disseminator of dis-information. Sometimes, the wrong information is passed on by ignorance. Other times it is passed on for nefarious reasons. Unfortunately, dis-information can be used to sway people for or against specific issues or to mislead people on specific topics. Maintaining objectivity and getting to the truth of the matter can be extremely difficult.
My goal in writing this book is two parts. First, I want to present a balanced view of our world using reliable and accurate data so that people can make up their own mind which direction we are heading. Second, I want to quell my own boy-hood fears that our world is in dire trouble. As I researched and wrote this, I am much more confident that we are on the path to a Star Trek type future.
Please share your thoughts on this topic. I am sincerely interested to know how others out their on their family travels feel. I want to get a more global perspective. Thanks!