Saturday, May 16, 2009

Lessons Learned from Star Trek

I've never been a Star Trek fan. My limited exposure to it growing up were the seconds-long glimpses when I was a kid while someone in the family was channel surfing. The only reason I wanted to watch it was because I wanted to see more of Chris Pine after I saw the movie's trailer for the first time. Other than that, I didn't really care much if the movie sucks since I have no expectations anyway.

I don't know if it was my lack of expectations that made me appreciate the movie but I ended up thoroughly enjoying it. Seeing Zachary Quinto (Sylar of Heroes) play Spock was one of the highlights there and it didn't hurt either that there was just so much physics in it. It was like being a kid again and dreaming about being a quantum physicist. Somehow, regardless of the absurdity of that dream for me, it was one that's always there - what I call my happy thought, the eternal what-if.

I found this interesting piece that made me think that one way or another, there are some lessons we can glean from the movie. The following are some of mine and though they are far from scientific and extraordinary, they're equally interesting for me:
  • Lesson #1: Believing can be a powerful catalyst. ~ Captain Pike made his pitch to James T. Kirk to enlist in Starfleet by encouraging him to follow his father's footsteps. The captain did this despite what information he already have about the younger man. The simple and straightforward challenge was spoken with sincerity. He saw the potential, perhaps because of what he knew of the father, and tried to give someone who appears irresponsible and bereft of direction that choice to make something of his life. I think that it's a gift to meet someone who has that kind of faith in the potential of others. Captain Pike believed there was something more in James Kirk. That one act of faith helped changed the path of a man who ended up becoming leader and hero.
  • Lesson #2: "What is necessary is never unwise." (Sarek) It made me think how sometimes we agonize about the wisdom of decisions we make. I'd like to believe in what Sarek said. At the end of the day, we do what we need to do. To follow our heart's desire may be the wisest thing we could do for ourselves.
  • Lesson #3: "Put aside logic and do what feels right." (Spock) Similar to lesson number two, I think. Logic is often the safest route to everything. It's easier to explain logic. Logical is responsible. But sometimes there are things that are better understood by the heart. Not all things that we see or feel can be explained by pure logic alone. What separates us from machines is our ability to feel. I doubt if it's even humanly possible to function in pure logic alone. I try to imagine myself not feeling anything and sometimes I think that would be sheer bliss. But then again, if I'm incapable of tapping on to that ability to feel, I'd guess I couldn't really say if it's bliss or not
  • Lesson #4: There is a lot to discover if we listen with an open heart and an open mind. Captain Pike's leadership skills revealed itself again when he listened to what a frantic James Kirk was trying his best to convey. They were headed for trouble and only the young man seemed to have realized this at that point. There may have been too little they could have done by then seeing that they were seconds away from Vulcan but those precious seconds afforded them some time to be more prepared for the unknown dangers that were waiting for them. I think that perhaps sometimes it would be good to listen no matter how unpleasant both the messenger and the message are. I couldn't help but think how sad it would be to struck a messenger, especially if he's on our side. The thing is, if we do that, it's possible we could either break a messenger enough not to trust us or we could silence it to apathy. And if either of that happens, it would be a sorry day if we get blindsided by things that we failed to anticipate just because we're in short supply of brave messengers willing to risk life and limb to bring messages that not a lot of people would care to deliver.

This Star Trek movie has definitely awakened my curiousity to see more of what I've seen. I can't wait to see and read more Star Trek stories.

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