The Original Star Trek
and the New
Myth of the Machine

by Ken Sanes


1. Star Trek And the New Myth of the Machine (Main Essay)

The original Star Trek depicted the essence of contemporary society, which is based on our growing ability to control the natural world and worlds of illusion. It similarly captured our essential ethical dilemma -- as we gain these new abilities, our wisdom will have to keep pace with our power and we will have to resist the temptation  to escape into false paradises and  seek after shortcuts to power before we are ready. All of the Star Trek series convey this theme to one degree or another, but it is the original Star Trek that introduced it and conveyed it most effectively.

2. Star Trek's The Cage: Simulation as a Symbol of Dreams and Regression

The pilot episode for the original Star Trek, titled "The Cage", and the novel The Futurological Congress both depict characters who are trapped in realms of simulation that immerse them in lifelike fantasies. And both the original Star Trek and The Futurological Congress depict these realms of simulation as something that can tempt us to to regress into a world of imagination in which dreams seem to come true. These two works of fiction have the same message: we have to resist the allure of simulation and maintain a correct perception of the  world. But we also have to conquer the illusions in ourselves, and see ourselves and our regressive desires as they are, Star Trek tells us, so we will not fall prey to these temptations.

3. Star Trek, Simulation and Postmodern  Society

This essay describes how the original Star Trek was the inspiration for a theory of simulation. The essay, which is the preface to a collection of excerpts on Postmodern Society, goes considerably beyond Star Trek. 


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