Growing up I had a very traditional upbringing for a white American. I grew up to divorced parents who each had partial custody of my brother and I. Our parents both worked at General Motors and both got remarried while we were still young. We went to a pretty middle of the road school, to a rather standard church and lived rather typical middle-class lives. There was drama, as there always is in split families, though I would say our family was a model of a modern family.
As much as I hate to admit it, I am now an adult. I have a well defined personality and world view that is no doubt shaped by the events that
have occurred throughout my life. The strange thing to me has always been how different I see things than most people I know. I always keep an open mind, questioning everything. I don’t accept things at face value, even when those things come from my elders or people in power. I somehow have developed an inquisitive mind that is unlike that of most people around me. For the longest time I could not figure out why that was.
Recently I was re-watching a TV show I enjoyed as a child and I started to realize that this particular show may be responsible for it all. That show is Star Trek (The Next Generation, to be precise.) I watched the show when I was younger because my brother watched it, and everything he did was obviously the coolest thing in the world to me. So I watched the show a lot. I don’t know if I always understood what was going on in each episode but it certainly piqued my curiosity. Looking back I see how this show influenced my mind, getting me to think about things critically. Creating and interest in scientific reasoning.
When I was a teenager I began to become very interested in physics, I remembered all of these fantastic things that I had seen on Star Trek. I remember a book my brother had “The Physics of Star Trek” that tried to explain the science on the show using real world theories and knowledge. In High School I once asked my physics teacher about string theory and was thrown back a bit when he said he wasn’t allowed to discuss it because it was still too new. This made science seem forbidden and even more mysterious to me and just made me want to learn more. So I did, over the years I took it upon myself to stay up to date on any new advances in the fields of physics, reading books when I could and just reading the internet the rest of the time.
Star Trek taught me to be open to things that were different from me. It helped me learn how to think critically. It opened my mind to possibilities that I never would have thought of. I think I can safely say I would not be the person I am today without Star Trek in my life. I always thought that the things I saw on TV didn’t effect me that much, but I suppose in this case being brought up watching TV ended up being a good thing. Thank you Gene Roddenberry, you are a most awesome creator of tales.