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Star Trek is supposed to give us a sense of optimism about the future…

But sometimes, after watching Star Trek, I think about how there probably isn’t any advanced intelligent life anywhere near us, how we don’t have things like artificial gravity or warp drive, how warp drive, while perhaps possible in theory, is probably just a distant dream, and how transporters are just plain impossible. I think about how we will surely never have ships like the Enterprise or Voyager, or holodecks with tangible holograms. I think about how humanity will probably sooner destroy itself than rid ourselves of monetary systems or come close to solving problems like poverty and prejudice any time soon. And then I think about how humanity, at least for now, apparently has little interest in space exploration, and how NASA is so severely underfunded, and how it’s just as well possible I and my generation could be dead before we even travel Mars or at least anywhere beyond. I think about all that, and I become sad.

And unlike how some might have a similar feeling after seeing the wonders in Doctor Who and then realizing the TARDIS and the Doctor aren’t real, it makes me sad not necessarily because some of it is impossible or unlikely, but because some of it IS possible, and if humanity collectively wanted to, providing enough to time make such advances, we probably COULD have starships and a Starfleet, and world peace with no more poverty.

Instead, looking at the current state of affairs, it’s difficult to see that happening, even within a few hundred years. But I guess that’s the point of optimism, to have it especially when there’s little reason to.

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