Star Trek Philosophy & The Key Principles All Fans Should Know
The world is home to 7.9 billion Star Trek fans...just not all of them realize that they're fans yet.
However, once they learn about the beautiful and intricate Star Trek philosophy, we're confident they'll realize their sleeping fandom.
If you're ready to dive headfirst into the Stark Trek series and awaken your inner Trekkie, this guide is for you. Here's a Star Trek analysis that breaks down the 4 key principles of the series.
1. The Prime Directive
In Star Trek, something called the Prime Directive, or the Non-Interference Directive, commands all Starfleet ships to follow a single command. The fleets must not interfere with other civilizations or cultures.
In Star Trek, captains have to adhere to this directive above all else. Captain Kirk says it best when he states that "a starship captain's most solemn oath is that he will give his life, even his entire crew, rather than violate the Prime Directive."
Now, let's take a deeper look at that. This policy might seem rigid at first glance. After all, wouldn't Starfleet be able to save thousands of innocent people if they just interfered in the affairs of other civilizations?
Well, while they may be able to do so, they may also cause disastrous consequences as a result of interference.
Now, think about how this philosophy might apply to the real world. Star Trek raises a question that many have pondered (and will continue to!) for thousands of years. It's up to you to figure out where you stand.
2. The Concept of Consciousness
Another interesting concept that Star Trek plays with is the idea of awareness, personality, and memories. Philosophers have debated where our consciousness comes from for centuries.
Now, while some philosophers believe that we have a soul outside of our bodies, others believe that they are one and the same.
Star Trek makes us think deeply about this question thanks to the transporters, which convert your body into energy and infuse your atomic blueprint into a new body. This is what allows Spock to come back to life in The Search for Spock.
Another part of Star Trek where we're forced to think about the connection between the mind and the body is when we look at the Vulcans. The Vulcans have a soul that they can detach from their body and insert into other people's bodies.
All this talk about the body, mind, and soul, leads us to two philosophies:
Let's check out the definitions of these philosophies and how we see them demonstrated in Star Trek.
Dualism states that the mind is non-physical. That means that, theoretically, the mind and the body are separable.
We see an example of this in the Vulcans, who can separate their mind from their body and implant it into another being.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, materialism believes that our minds are functions of the brain. If our brains were no longer in our bodies, our minds wouldn't necessarily work.
The series supports the idea that the human mind gains consciousness through your body's senses while also supporting the idea of dualism. The result is that Star Trek never chooses a single philosophy, but toys with both sides of the debate.
3. The Needs of Many vs the Needs of Few
One of the key concepts in Star Trek looks at whether the needs of many should outweigh the needs of one. We have a heart-wrenching moment with this concept when Spock sacrifices himself to save the Enterprise.
Now, before you start thinking that the needs of many should always outweigh the needs of one, let's hit the pause button and think about it differently.
For instance, let's consider if everyone decided to sacrifice themself for the greater good. Although it might sound good at the moment, it could end up being inhuman.
If you only lived to further the greater good, you'd wind up with a society where individual needs would always be wholly sacrificed for the good of the community. In other words, you would wind up with The Borg.
If you're familiar with The Borg, then you know that it's packed with mechanized humanoids that demand people give up everything that makes them unique to benefit society. And this isn't a good thing. In fact, they're considered some of the worst enemies in the series.
This gets us thinking: should we really always give up what we have to benefit the community? Should the "greater good" always outweigh our own needs? Or can we possibly find a balance?
While Star Trek might not have all the answers, it certainly gives us some glimpses into possible outcomes and provides food for thought.
4. A World Without Money
Most of us can't fathom the idea of a world without money. However, Star Trek's Captain Picard states that "we work to better ourselves and the rest of humanity" instead of focusing on material money.
This philosophy is extremely interesting and is certainly something that makes us stop and think for a moment.
In Star Trek's universe, you can recreate everything you need, including food, clothing, and medicine. That means that the need for money is completely diminished.
What if one day, our world could achieve that? Philosophers like Karl Marx hope so.
However, Star Trek also uses a system of Federation Credits. While these don't matter as much, they still circulate in the universe and can purchase things for individuals.
What that leaves us to ponder is whether or not this kind of world could ever exist. And if so, what would it look like?
Leave Your Planet and Follow the Star Trek Philosophy
Although you might not realize it, there's a lot of Star Trek philosophy to be aware of. This series is much more than just a fun romp through outer space; it's a series that tackles life's deepest questions.
If we've thoroughly converted you into a Trekkie, welcome to the club. Browse our products and start living out your newfound fandom in every aspect of your life.